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Synthesis of Bacterial Cellulose in Low-cost Culture Medium Using Hot Water Extracted Wood Sugars

20113-10 Bacterial Cellulose Yield

Figure: Bacterial yield in hot water wood extract after 28 days of cultivation at pH (first number) and temp (second number).

Cellulose is well known as one of the most abundant biodegradable materials in nature and has received considerable interest in both academic and industrial fields. Cellulose synthesized by bacteria is of particular interest over plant cellulose for some applications due to its unique structural and mechanical properties and high purity.

Some high value applications for bacterial cellulose include biomedical applications (scaffold for tissue engineering, wound dressing materials, artificial skin), and production of membranes for high tech applications, such as diaphragms for loudspeakers.

Problem: Bacterial cellulose is currently expensive to produce and purchase however, due to the expense of the media.

Solution: Use inexpensive hot water extracted wood sugars for bacterial cellulose production.

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The first commercially viable non-toxic fiber board

2013-13 NFC board

UMaine formaldehyde-free particle board sample

This invention provides particle board or fiber board that is 100% non-toxic and 25% stronger than currently available products.  This is accomplished by replacing commonly used formaldehyde based resins with a safe, renewable nanocellulose based binder.

Benefits:

  • Reduction of health problems and related expenses ($9m – $48m per year1) caused by formaldehyde exposure
  • 25% strength increase reduces material and transportation costs
  • Nanocellulose, a renewable resource, replaces binders generally synthesized from non-renewable resources

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Zeolite Composite Materials for Waste Odor Control

A composite material for environmental odor control is useful in controlling odors from waste, for example, as an alternative daily cover for landfills and in composting applications. The composite material includes a fiber web and a zeolite containing metals to promote absorption of odorous has.

US Patent 8,100,605

UMaine Reference: 2008-35

Inventors: Karl Bishop, Susan Mackay, Michael Bilodeau
License exculsively to Zeomatrix

Analyze Samples in the Lab or Field with this New Portable Fluorescence Spectrometer

PROBLEM: 1.) Important science topics are sometimes not addressed in high schools because spectroscopy instruments are too expensive to purchase and maintain  2.) Field technicians have to take water and soil samples to a lab for spectroscopy analysis, adding time and complication  3.) Valuable data is not available from remote sensors due to spectrometer power and durability limitations.

SOLUTION: A portable, durable florescence spectrometer that costs 50% less than comparable instruments in most applications due to its novel design and simple components.

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Environmentally Friendly Adhesive Bonding for Composites, Pollutant Remediation, and Dye Decolorization

PROBLEM: Environmentally friendly methods are needed to bond wood products and other composites without formaldehyde. Organic pollutants and dyes from textile and paper plants in industrial wastestreams need remediation.

SOLUTION: Using the chemically enhanced Fenton system, dyes can be remediated quickly in an environmentally safe manner. Natural lignin from wood residues can be activated to produce an formaldehyde-free adhesive system and organic pollutants in waters or soils can be broken down.

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New Composites Made from up to 60% Inexpensive, Raw Plant Material

PROBLEM: Composite manufacturers need ways to improve extruded thermoplastics using inexpensive, environmentally friendly ingredients and without slowing process time.

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A Stronger, Simpler Fuel Cell Membrane Electrode Assembly

Membrane technology first developed to create artificial muscles may soon be used to improve fuel cells. Pictured above is a fuel cell membrane manufactured using this new method. Resulting surface porosity (a) and a deeply diffused conductive area (light lines in b) increase surface area available for electricity production and create a stonger, simpler, long-lasting membrane.

PROBLEM: Manufacturers of low temperature fuel cells need solutions for improving the strength, durability and manufacturability of a key component, the membrane electrode assembly, or MEA.

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