Applied licenses autotrophic MBfR technology from Northwestern University

Applied Process Technology Inc. has licensed the MBfR from Northwestern University and now has exclusive, worldwide rights to market the technology for water treatment applications...

PLEASANT HILL, CA, Sept. 12, 2005 -- After two years of research focused on developing the innovative hollow fiber membrane biofilm reactor ("MBfR") technology for commercial water treatment applications, Applied Process Technology Inc. has licensed the MBfR from Northwestern University and now has exclusive, worldwide rights to market the technology for water treatment applications.

"The MBfR has truly great potential for solving serious, ubiquitous water contamination problems and has already generated significant interest from the water industry," stated Terry Applebury, president and CEO of Applied Process Technology Inc. "The MBfR's reductive process will complement our existing HiPOx oxidation technology platform. Together these two very different treatment solutions will enable Applied to address a vast range of contaminant issues at a given treatment site without generating waste concentrates."

Licensed by Applied primarily for its tremendous environmental and cost advantages when compared with ion exchange, reverse osmosis and traditional biological treatment systems, the MBfR's uniqueness lies in its autotrophic nature and use of hollow fibers. As water flows along the outside of the hollow fibers, hydrogen is diffused from the bore of the fiber outwards, acting as an electron donor to promote the growth of bacteria that naturally occur in the water. The bacteria then consume waterborne contaminants, either destroying them or reducing them to innocuous products. So, unlike ion exchange and reverse osmosis, no waste concentrates are generated.

The MBfR has been demonstrated to effectively reduce a wide variety of toxic compounds that are not adequately removed using traditional treatment methods. A few of these compounds include: nitrates, which are ubiquitous and can cause serious health impacts when present in drinking water sources; perchlorate, a constituent of rocket fuel that has been reported in the water supplies of 20 states across the US and has been assigned a California drinking water action level of 6 ppb; chlorinated solvents such as trichloroethylene (TCE) and dibromochloropropane (DBCP); and other already oxidized compounds.

"We are continuing to discover more and more applications for the MBfR technology," says Applebury. "Contaminants such as chlorinated solvents, which were not initially identified as targets for the MBfR have been shown to respond well to the technology, even when multiple contaminants are present."

The MBfR has immediate applications as a remediation technology, shows promise for treatment of industrial process waters, and is expected to qualify as a drinking water treatment technology. It has also shown great potential for treating concentrated waste streams from ion exchange and reverse osmosis systems, both of which produce waste concentrates that require decontamination or disposal.

Applied has scaled up the MBfR from the laboratory to pilot-scale systems and will commence field demonstrations during the fourth quarter of 2005.

Applied Process Technology Inc. ( provides technically superior ex-situ and in-situ water treatment solutions and services to the water industry. Applied specializes in treatment technologies that do not generate byproducts or waste streams. HiPOx products utilize advanced oxidation and ozonation processes to destroy a wide variety of VOCs and microcontaminants, treat Geosmin, odor, taste, and color contaminants, and perform disinfection. PulseOx in-situ chemical oxidation technology treats groundwater contamination directly in the aquifer. The novel membrane biofilm reactor (MBfR) technology utilizes autotrophic biological reduction to destroy contaminants such as perchlorate, nitrate, and chlorinated solvents.


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