Heavy metal capture
E3 Materials, a UARF startup led by a UA graduate, is developing patented chemicals that capture heavy metals in water or steam. Heavy metals, which are a byproduct of many manufacturing processes, can cause corrosion, pose a danger to human health or damage the environment.
Clean coal fuel cell
Steven Chuang’s coal fuel cell produces twice as much energy per pound of coal as coal burning power plants and easily captures carbon dioxide and other harmful gases. Instead of burning coal, the fuel cell uses catalysts to speed up the reaction of coal and natural gas with air. FirstEnergy and the National Science Foundation have contributed almost $4 million to develop the technology.
UA partnered with New York’s eVionyx and Northeast Ohio’s RPM International to develop nickel-zinc batteries for use in electric vehicles. Nickel-zinc batteries, which are less expensive, safer and lighter than other rechargeable batteries, use a polymer coating to prevent the formation of metal deposits within the battery. UA polymer science researchers, led by Mukerrem Cakmak, are optimizing the manufacturing process. Efficient batteries are crucial in storing the power generated by new energy sources, like solar cells and wind turbines.
Ceramic nanofiber filtration
For millions of automotive and manufacturing companies, environmental friendliness comes at a price, but innovations pioneered by George Chase, Darrell Reneker and Akron entrepreneurial business MemPro Ceramics could make the process of filtering out pollutants much cheaper. Improving upon existing catalytic converters that turn environmentally harmful nitrous oxides into harmless nitrogen and oxygen molecules, the group places catalysts in and on ultrathin yet durable ceramic fibers for faster filtering.