Dr. Anja Mueller, Associate Professor of Chemistry at Central Michigan University was in CMURC Wet laboratory facilities working on a dendritic polymer-based filtration material with high capacity for the selective extraction of perchlorate ions from ground water. Through this project she identified an alternative application inventing a method to filter 300 times more perchlorates from water than typical consumer filters currently on the market. CMU was able to apply for a patent on this technology.
Central Michigan University Research Corporation had been working with Dr. Mueller on the commercial feasibility, the business model, and potential revenue streams. Assisting in this process, the Small Business and Technology Development Center played and intricate role in providing additional market research. Market entry points have been identified from this compiled research and currently grant funds from the Michigan Initiative for Innovation & Entrepreneurship have been solidified to investigate further into these niche markets. It was always clear that Dr. Mueller had no intent of running the company so CMURC provided a solution by connecting her to the MEDC Michigan Green Tea event where she made her first initial connection with Erik Hall, president of Lee Shore Ventures. It is from this connection that the company established to commercialize the perchlorate filtering process. With the assistance of the CMURC, Mueller and Hall licensed the technology with Central Michigan University and provided resources to establish a business in order to commercialize the patented process.
The technology, recently licensed by CMU, is being developed into products that will be easy to install and can be utilized by popular home purification methods. A working prototype is currently being tested by CMU. Common filtering methods on the market capture contaminates in a screening system. Mueller has patented a chemical compound process that ironically bonds to perchlorates in water, allowing these contaminates to be removed from drinking water. Perchlorate is a contaminate that is difficult to remove because it is highly water soluble and does not attach to mineral surfaces resulting in 10 percent of all drinking water in the U.S. is known to contain perchlorates. Timing is critical for this patented process as the EPA is developing new regulations for drinking water. New standards are expected to be implemented in 2013. Currently there are no filters available on the market to remove perchlorates.