The Department of Defense has awarded University of Arkansas-based startup CatalyzeH2O a $1.1 million U.S. Army contract to design a more efficient and less expensive system to remove explosives from water.
The engineering firm creates nanotechnology and electrochemical clean water solutions. It was founded by Shelby Foster, a doctoral student in the Ralph E. Martin Department of Chemical Engineering, and Lauren Greenlee, an associate professor of chemical engineering.
Foster is the company’s CEO' Greenlee serves as a technical adviser.
“We are looking to remove explosives from water at production facilities,” Foster said in a news release. “Explosives are often kept in solution for safer handling of the compounds. However, explosives can also be found in both soil and groundwater after use. … The two explosives we are looking at removing are carcinogenic and often lead to other adverse health effects in mammals.”
CatalyzeH2O said its method is more cost effective than and destroys explosives in the water supply compared to expensive current approaches that only remove the explosives. The firm uses a catalyst-embedded nanoporous material, known as a CNpM, which it said will be able to detect, sequester and remediate explosive materials in water.
Over the next year, CatalyzeH2O will focus on optimizing the manufacturing of its CNpM composite and testing it in different water sources.