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Generating IP Across a Wide Range of Industry


The RICE Project generating IP across a wide range of industry including reducing energy consumption in response to COVID-19

One of the key output indicators for the RICE Project is the generation of intellectual property (IP) as measured by Patent Applications. To date the RICE Project is responsible for 17 Patent Applications across a broad range of areas.

Although some of the applications are directly applicable to the pilot demonstrations within the RICE Project, as with many creative processes, the IP generated is often a spin-out of a development in the program. In this regard the IP impact of the RICE project has extended far beyond its original expected range.

With direct relevance to WP1 two applications have been made in the US for new carbon based-adsorbents for use in PSA CO2 capture. A further application has been filed in US, Europe, Mexico and Canada in partnership with e-Corp International (USA), while another has already been issued in India and filed in US as well as being in commercial use by NoPo (India).

One of the IP application to both PCT and USPTO came out of the COVID crisis, and circles back to impacting energy consumption and hence decarbonisation that is an unusual example of technology connectivity.

The need to create anti-fouling surfaces was developed as part of WP2 in creating membranes that allow separation of algae products. This work led to the development of superhydrophilic ceramic membranes, which has resulted in a PCT Patent application with applications for the oil and gas industry in partnership with Apex Water Solutions (Qatar) and Apache Corporation (USA). In itself this is a useful application of the IP; however, as we all know COVID-19 caused the world to change.

Air handling in buildings has become of interest because the concept of creating safe buildings and transportation systems such as trains and aircraft. HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems use filters of different levels, where the finer the filter the higher the level of energy required to push the air through. The extreme of this is HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters which significantly add to the cost of energy and infrastructure. Changing the level of filtration is already creating a burden on HVAC users, thus, it is desirable to have a high flux air filter that removes viruses.

Using the combination of iron oxides that are known to trap viruses including COVID-19 and the concept of superhydrophilic surfaces to collapse aspirated droplets that contain viruses enabling the COVID-19 to be immobilized. In partnership with Arizona Institutes for Resilience (AIR) at University of Arizona we have demonstrated that HVAC filters with high air flow (and hence low energy costs) can exclude and immobilize COVID-19 as well as HEPA filters. This work is now being commercialized in partnership with FXI, Inc. (UK) and Steel Jupiter (USA).

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