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Portable Water Purification System Utilizing Ambient Temperature Catalysts

Award Information

National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2002 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
UMPQUA Research Company
P.O. Box 609 Myrtle Creek, OR 97457-0102
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: Yes
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2002
Title: Portable Water Purification System Utilizing Ambient Temperature Catalysts
Agency: NASA
Contract: NAS8-01161
Award Amount: $70,000.00


A portable water purification system based upon an innovative ambient temperature mesoporous catalyst is proposed. This system will oxidize aqueous organic contaminants during transfer from storage to the point of use. Ion exchange media can be added as needed to remove ionic contaminants. Currently, the most active oxidation catalyst contains platinum and ruthenium supported on activated carbon. Alcohols, glycols, and aldehydes are slowly oxidized and urea hydrolyzed over this catalyst at ambient temperature. High surface area and catalyst loading are responsible for this performance; however, tenuous connectivity between micropores less than 3 nm in diameter impedes full utilization of all catalyst sites by limiting access to reactants and removal of by-products. The innovation will utilize recent advances in molecular self-assembly to fabricate mesoporous supports with high surface area, controlled pore size, and much improved pore access. An open framework of 30 nm pores will dramatically reduce mass transfer resistance and improve oxidation rates. This will allow water purification at the point of use and can also serve as an emergency back-up water processor. The Phase I project will demonstrate the feasibility of this approach. The Phase II program will deliver a prototype ambient temperature processor capable of eliminating organic contaminants from moderately contaminated water.

Principal Investigator:

James R. Akse, PhD
Director of R&D

Business Contact:

John Aker
Vice President
Small Business Information at Submission:

UMPQUA Research Company
125 Volunteer Way Myrtle Creek, OR 97457

EIN/Tax ID: 930789314
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No