David E. Steitz/Doc Mirelson
NASA Announces 2005 Agency Invention of the Year Winner
A groundwater treatment technology developed at the Kennedy Space Center, Fla., was recognized Thursday as NASA's 2005 Government Invention of the Year and Commercial Invention of the Year Award winner.
The Emulsified Zero-Valent Iron (EZVI) technology was developed by researchers from Kennedy and the University of Central Florida, Orlando. The technology is used to clean up environmental contaminants in ground water around industrial areas, like rocket launch pads. The invention also provides a means to clean up Superfund sites.
A traditional method of cleaning up areas with pollutants has been to pump out the groundwater and treat it to remove harmful contaminants. The EZVI process can exceed "pump and treat" systems in both the time it takes to achieve clean up and cost.
During NASA's early years, the grounds around the launch complex at Kennedy became polluted with chlorinated solvents used to clean Apollo rocket parts. Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids, or DNAPLs, were left untreated in the ground and contaminated the fresh water sources in the area. A DNAPL is denser than water and doesn't dissolve or mix easily in water. These pollutants are a common cause of environmental contamination at thousands of government and private facilities around the country.
NASA has signed six nonexclusive licenses with companies to market and further develop EZVI. For more information about EZVI, visit: http://www.sti.nasa.gov/tto/Spinoff2005/er_2.html
For information about NASA's Invention and Contributions Board and NASA Awards, visit: http://icb.nasa.gov/
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