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Selenium, Ltd. Awarded $500,000 SBIR Grant for Biofouling Prevention Technology
Date:4/2/2013

Austin, Texas (PRWEB) April 02, 2013

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to biopharmaceutical company Selenium, Ltd. to advance the company’s effort to develop a market ready, antimicrobial spacer to be used in reverse osmosis (RO) membrane modules in water filtration systems. Selenium’s organo-selenium compounds have been successfully incorporated directly into RO spacers creating a market disrupting, low cost, “green” antimicrobial solution.

As water demands increase and potable water source availability decreases, industry is actively seeking more cost effective solutions for seawater and wastewater reclamation. Currently, much of the energy, chemical and labor costs associated with water filtration are required to address biofilm formation. The current US$6.9 billion desalination market size is estimated to double by 2016 and given the projected demand and scarcity of water, the market size could be propelled to US$25 billion by 2025 (Voutchkov, 2012). Primary elements of RO desalination costs are capital and annual operation/maintenance expenditures, which include biofilm cleaning and membrane replacement.

“Over time, bacteria build up in membrane modules which can inhibit filtration performance,” said Kris Looney, President of Selenium, Ltd. “Results from our Phase I SBIR Grant report show Selenium’s membrane module spacers substantially reduced biofilm mass and thickness, reduced micro-pollutants and showed an 85% improvement in water throughput over the control. These improvements increase energy efficiency and extend the life and functionality of the membrane. Our Phase II project will develop an organo-selenium enabled commercial spacer for independent testing by industry partners.”

“The NSF’s SBIR program is focused on identifying companies with innovative technology and talented teams capable of bringing products and techno
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