The U.S. Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and Water Technology Group Inc. (WTG), Harvard, Mass., have signed a licensing agreement that provides exclusive rights to commercialize the Nano-Composite Arsenic Sorbent (N-CAS). It will improve the ability to remove arsenic from contaminated water supplies, and purportedly is seven times more effective than current arsenic removal technologies. 

In 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards reduced the maximum allowable concentration of arsenic in drinking water from 50 parts per billion (ppb) to 10 ppb, creating an expensive dilemma for 4,000 American municipalities and nearly 14 million homeowners whose water resources now exceed the new limits. N-CAS is said to provide an economical method to treat water supplies and meet these new standards. 

Signing the license for WTG, Jack Boyles, chief financial officer, says, "Since the EPA lowered the standards for arsenic in drinking water in 2006, we've seen growing public awareness of the health risks of arsenic in drinking water and frustration at the lack of effective approaches from the water industry. N-CAS technology will provide affordable, effective and manageable solutions for municipalities, small public water systems and residential systems with arsenic contamination."

INL's project manager, Troy Tranter, who led the team's research efforts, notes, "This technology will aid millions of Americans and more than 70 million people around the globe who are exposed to dangerous arsenic concentrations in their drinking water." 

A winner of both an international competition for the R&D 100 award and a Nano-50 award, N-CAS contains high concentrations of arsenic-adsorbing nanoparticle metal oxides embedded in a strong composite polymer matrix.