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'Mercury sponge' technology goes from lab to market

RICHLAND, Wash A material designed to capture and remove mercury and other toxic substances from industrial waste streams is now available for commercial use.

Battelle has licensed the SAMMS technology developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to Steward Environmental Solutions of Chattanooga, Tenn. Battelle operates the laboratory for the Department of Energy and transfers lab-developed technologies to the marketplace through licenses and other means.

SAMMS, or Self-Assembled Monolayers on Mesoporous Supports, is a technology that can be tailored to selectively remove metal contaminants without creating hazardous waste or by-products. Steward intends to initially market use of the SAMMS for treating stack emissions from coal fired power plants, process industry and municipal facilities.

In tests conducted at PNNL, 99.9 percent of mercury in simulated waste water was successfully removed. That reduction places the mercury levels well below the Environmental Protection Agency's discharge limits. This could equate to significant savings in disposal charges for users with mercury or other toxic metals in their facility waste streams, said Rick Skaggs, PNNL commercialization lead.

According to Skaggs, SAMMS can be easily adapted to recover many toxic substances, including toxic metals such as lead, chromium, arsenic, as well as radionuclides. "PNNL is ready to expand upon the SAMMS platform to continue to develop new application technologies," Skaggs said. PNNL and Steward are investigating the capture of other metals from power plant emissions.

Steward spokesman, Robert E. Jones, believes the economic and effective capture of mercury in aqueous and organic solutions also holds great promise for treating mercury-laden effluents. The company also expects to work with PNNL on other applications. "We intend to develop alternatives to traditional technologies that result in mercury going into fly ash by-product
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Contact: Geoff Harvey
geoffrey.harvey@pnl.gov
509-372-6083
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
23-May-2006


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