Biodegradable Polymers for Pollutant Remediation and Toxin Reduction (2013-054)

Market Overview:

This innovation is the process of using poly(lactic) (PLA) particles equipped with appropriate functional groups that allow the complex to effectively sequester specific pollutants via chemical reactions. This technology’s ability to address complex mixtures of contaminants utilizing an environmentally safe method results in odor absorbing applications, including direct application on odor sources, air filtration, VOC capture, and odor absorbing coatings and paintings. Traditional odor and pollutant elimination methods use toxic material platforms for non-specific reactivity and nondisposable resources. However, Clemson University researchers developed a method to create environmentally friendly, disposable PLA particles decorated with tunable functional groups. These functional groups can be effectively varied in order to successfully allow the complex to react and degrade a variety of pollutants. This technology could benefit companies involved with but not limited to water and air treatment, protective coatings, industrial coatings, plaster and dry wall materials, paint coatings, and advanced material additives. 



VOC capture management; Coatings and paints; Water, gas, and soil treatments; Filter systems



•  Raw materials are plant-based and renewable, resulting in environmentally friendly degradation of

   by-product contaminants in gas and aqueous solutions

•  Variety of functional groups can be incorporated on the PLA particle, customizing functionality and degradation

    time and allowing particles to specifically capture molecules from complex mixtures


Technical Summary

This patent pending technology is a method of modular formulation of biodegradable, non-toxic poly(lactic acid) (PLA) materials with surface-decorated nucleophiles/oxidants for the capture of environmental pollutants and/or toxins. The process involves using PLA particles equipped with the appropriate functionality to react and neutralize aqueous and gaseous pollutants. The surface of the PLA particles, decorated with various functional groups, allows the complex to react and degrade a variety of pollutant classes. The functional groups can be varied to ensure complementary reactivity with different pollutants and successful sequestering via chemical reactions. The technology has been successfully tested into rendering plant sites for capturing malodorous gases. The manufacturing process to scale up the production of the technology has been demonstrated.


Stage of Development

Validated Prototype


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Inventors:                        Frank Alexis, Daniel Whitehead


Application Type:            Utility


Serial Number:                15/012,991


CURF Ref No:                  2013-054


Patent Information:
Advanced Materials
For Information, Contact:
Chris Gesswein
Director of Licensing
Clemson University Research Foundation
Daniel Whitehead
Frank Alexis
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