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Release Date: 03/16/2005
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Environmental News
Dale Armstrong
(913) 551-7316


March 16, 2005


A Manhattan, Kan., company has been awarded two EPA grants totaling $140,000 to develop nanotechnologies that help produce a cleaner environment and to reduce hazardous waste production.

The company, NanoScale Materials, was one of 34 small companies awarded more than $2.6 million under EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research program. NanoScale was chosen from a pool of 363 applicants across the country.

EPA Regional Administrator Jim Gulliford, in Kansas City, Kan., said, “Nanotechnology is an emerging field that has the potential to transform environmental protection. We are pleased to support this kind of leading-edge research here in Region 7.”

Nanotechnology is the ability to work at the molecular level, atom by atom, to create materials and structures with fundamentally new functions and characteristics that give them unique properties. NanoScale is the first commercial “spin-off” from Kansas State University. The company has evolved from a single employee working in leased laboratory space to a staff of more than 30.

NanoScale researchers using the first of EPA’s two grants will work to develop materials that remove perchlorate from contaminated water. Perchlorate exposure has the potential of blocking iodide uptake to the thyroid gland.

Iodide is an essential component of thyroid hormones. The thyroid helps regulate the metabolism in adults and plays a major role in the proper development of children. Impaired thyroid function in pregnant mothers can result in children with changes in behavior, delayed development and decreased learning capability.

Contaminated drinking water is the most likely way perchlorate exposure can occur. Perchlorate contamination of ground and surface waters is difficult to treat and has placed drinking water supplies at risk in communities throughout the United States.

NanoScale’s patented technology uses nanomaterials, which have a higher surface area, to adsorb contaminants. The nanomaterials also have many other features that enhance the adsorptive capabilities. NanoScale plans to test the materials under actual contamination situations once this initial research is complete.

NanoScale’s second project involves developing more environmentally friendly processes for producing barium and strontium titanate commonly used in the electronics industry for state-of-the-art capacitors in circuit boards.

Manufacturing processes use large amounts of organic solvents and produce sizeable wastewater streams. NanoScale will use its experience in developing, producing and applying nanocrystalline chemicals. Preliminary research has shown that NanoScale’s proprietary titanium dioxide process could be an environmentally friendly solution.

EPA’s highly competitive innovative research program offers critical financial support to small businesses to develop the best new innovative technologies. EPA’s program focuses on important areas related to environmental protection, including clean air and water, hazardous and solid wastes, pollution prevention, remediation, and monitoring.

More information about NanoScale Materials is available from Kyle Knappenberger, manager, Technical Sales Support, Phone: (785) 537-0179 (x134), email: <>.



Read more about EPA’s small business program and research projects at: