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Nalco and Argonne Reach Licensing Deal for Resin Wafer Technology

Nalco (NYSE: NLC and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory have reached a licensing agreement for Argonne’s resin wafer electrodeionization (RW-EDI) technology. This separation-based technology is in early development and has the potential to create significant value in clean energy, chemical process and water treatment.

Argonne and Nalco have been involved in two DOE-funded research projects jointly developing this versatile RW-EDI technology. These projects have already demonstrated advantages in impaired water purification and in capture of CO2 from air.

“We are excited to pursue the further development and commercial fit of the RW-EDI technology in a variety of potential applications that will help Nalco customers meet their quality, financial and environmental targets,” said Cathy Doucette, Nalco Global Technology Leader. “We started our RW-EDI technology partnership with Argonne by advancing the use of this technology to allow impaired water to be used as cooling water in coal-based power plants. We expanded this collaboration through our ongoing ARPA-E funded effort to evaluate the technology for the energy efficient removal of CO2 from coal flue gas. We look forward to extending this partnership into many other areas of importance to our customers.”

Argonne's resin wafer technology is made from commercially available materials which by controlling dimensions, composition, porosity and conductivity, can be easily adapted to a targeted product and application need.

One application for Argonne's patented technology is bioprocessing. Conventional bioprocessing technologies, such as those used to produce organic acids, require significant capital expenditures on energy-intensive steps to recover these products and generate large waste streams. Argonne’s technology allows for the continuous removal of charged products like organic acids from aqueous process streams and eliminates the requirement to continuously add neutralizing agents, avoiding resulting waste stream.

"The implications of this resin wafer electrodeionization technology are both positive and exciting," said Argonne biochemical engineer Seth Snyder, whose group developed the technology. "Bio-based chemicals and fuels are a clean and sustainable alternative to oil and gas consumption. Increasing their usage would help provide a home grown energy source, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and overall energy costs. Our technology could help make affordable clean and bio-based products that are not currently economically competitive."

With the license in place, Nalco and Argonne will pursue the design and development of commercial platforms to help customers integrate the clean technology into their manufacturing and air and water treatment processes.

“Nalco is constantly seeking partnerships like the one we share with Argonne,” said Manian Ramesh, Nalco’s Chief Technology Officer. “Working with national laboratories, universities, suppliers and customers around the world combines the extensive intellectual talent available outside Nalco with the hundreds of researchers at our global R&D centers. This open innovation develops technologies that help customers reduce their operating expenses, increase productivity and minimize environmental impacts. That helps us provide them an environmental return on investment, what we call eROI.”

DOE’s offices of Fossil Energy and Biomass provided funding for the RW-EDI research and development.