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Chromatographic separation of rare earth elements

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0023792
Agency Tracking Number: 0000272629
Amount: $206,497.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: C56-04a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0002903
Solicitation Year: 2023
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-07-10
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-07-09
Small Business Information
1 Westinghouse Plaza
Hyde Park, MA 02136-2075
United States
DUNS: 611380965
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Laura Sinclair
 (617) 364-2500
Business Contact
 Jessica Sweeney
Phone: (617) 364-2500
Research Institution

C56-04a-272629Rare earth elements are necessary for the manufacture of green energy technologies, defense systems, glass, ceramics, catalysts, and lights. Rare earth element isotopes are also important byproducts of nuclear energy and are sometimes produced as medical isotopes. Many industries therefore require techniques to measure rare earth element content within samples. Measuring rare earth elements can be very difficult, and often requires processes to extract and purify the rare earth elements from the bulk material. Existing processes suffer from high complexity and intensive labor requirements. This introduces potential issues associated with human error and contamination. Most importantly, these processes require long processing times, sometimes 12 hours or more, which lead to increased errors in quantification due to half-live losses when analyzing for short-lived isotopes. Better purification techniques are therefore required for advanced manufacturing, nuclear medicine research, and nuclear power industries. CF Technologies, Inc. has developed a patent-pending rapid and simple process to purify individual rare earth elements from a variety of feedstocks. This process uses inexpensive, off-the-shelf chemicals to purify these elements much faster than conventional methods, resulting in substantial savings and better data. The process will be developed further for application to a wider range of rare earth elements. This process is expected to be particularly applicable to the nuclear industry, where speed is critical for analysis of short-lived isotopes. During Phase I, CF Technologies, Inc. will focus on separating a wide range of rare earth elements, including the heavy and light varieties, from each other at high purities, simulating real life mixed nuclear products. Commercial application of this technology will result in faster and less expensive analysis across the nuclear industry, including waste management, medical isotope production, and researching next- generation fuels. After demonstrations on non-radioactive material, Phase II will involve purification of irradiated targets to demonstrate applicability to nuclear samples. Commercialization will involve licensing and equipment sales to the nuclear industry and to nuclear chemistry research laboratories.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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