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Professor Pioneers New Product to Purify Polluted Water

06/21/2010

MELBOURNE, FLA.—Florida Institute of Technology chemistry professor Virender K. Sharma is making new strides in solving an old problem—safely and efficiently cleaning polluted water.

Sharma has invented a liquid cleaning product based on ferrate, a supercharged iron molecule. The resulting compound may be used as an oxidant, disinfectant and coagulant, and for industrial “green” purposes. A powerful oxidant, the liquid ferrate compound has attracted interest for applications in “green chemistry” because the byproducts of its use, iron oxides, are environmentally safe.

In addition to being eco-friendly, Sharma’s liquid ferrate product is also much more economical to produce than other, similar purification solutions.

“With this product, all functions of treatment can be achieved using only one chemical whereas separate oxidant and coagulant are currently being applied in other treatment approaches,” Sharma said. “This gives ferrate cost advantages over other commonly used chemicals in the wastewater industry.

“The technology developed at Florida Tech has made a break-through in synthesizing liquid ferrate at a price, which is fraction of the selling cost by vendors in the current marketplace,” Sharma added. “Liquid ferrate produced at Florida Tech is also stable for at least two weeks, unlike competing products. This liquid can be produced in the lab in less than one hour with minimum amount of supplies, equipment and labor.”

Working with the Florida Tech Technology Transfer Office, which fosters business applications of University innovations, Sharma is bringing his ideas and inventions to market in collaboration with Ferratec, LLC, a group already familiar with ferrates and actively commercializing a complementary technology developed by Battelle Memorial Institute.

Ferratec was formed by the private investment and business incubation firm The Incubation Factory. The Incubation Factory is a St. Louis-based holding company with the exclusive license to manufacture and distribute potassium ferrate worldwide under the process developed with Battelle. Ferratec is able to move the ferrate products to market efficiently by achieving economies of scale in establishing distribution channels and relationships with applications developers. They are also creating new revenue streams to maximize capital to support the new technology.

Ferratec has signed an exclusive license with Florida Tech to manufacture liquid ferrate which will open a wide variety of new applications for the company.

”We are very excited to be working with Dr. Sharma and Florida Tech,” said Andy Wolter, Incubation Factory COO and Ferratec Manager. “Dr. Sharma is a visionary in the world of ferrates. We share his goal of bringing this transformational, ‘green’ molecule to the world.“

Respected internationally in his field, Sharma earned a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Miami, a master’s in technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Delhi, India.

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