The Line by PRF
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The Line by PRF

Green innovations available to license through OTC

By Madeline A. Kamats, Purdue Research Foundation

April 22 is Earth Day. Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 and is the largest nonreligious observance in the world, with over 190 countries participating in this day of action. Earth Day serves as a day of ecological awareness for countries to come together and promote environmental protection.

Today we are sharing 10 green-related innovations by Purdue University researchers connected to Earth Day . These innovations have been disclosed to the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) and are available for further commercialization.

Each entry includes the innovation’s title, reference number, non-confidential summary and domain. They are:

New Possible Fuel Alternative

Track Code: 2018-VARM-68041

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a new technology that allows for the conversion of glycerol to hydrocarbon. This technology is natural, so it is better for the environment and is a renewable resource. This technology can be used for many aspects including providing renewable energy.

Domains: Chemistry and Chemical Analysis, Green Technology

A Thin and Light-weight Coating of Boron Nitride Paints for Efficient Radiative Cooling

Track Code: 2022-RUAN-69542

Xiulin Ruan, a Purdue University professor of mechanical engineering, holds up his lab’s sample of the whitest paint on record. (Purdue University/Jared Pike)

Researchers at Purdue University have created a boron nitride paint with an ultra-high solar reflectance. This paint reflects most of the incident sunlight back to deep space and emits infrared heat that travels through the atmospheric transparent window to deep space, meaning that the paint provides a cooling effect and will cool below outside temperatures.

Reflective paints on the outside of buildings may reduce air conditioning use, which is a significant contributor to global warming. This paint achieves a solar reflectance of 98.1%.

Domains: Green Technology, Materials and Manufacturing

Simple Process to Remove Almost All Traces of Oil in Produced Water

Track Code: 2019-MISH-68359

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a process which removes almost all traces of oil in produced water. The process uses activated charcoal foam and subjects it to solar light. The heat generates steam at the surface of the foam.

The distillate met all EPA standards for clean water from industrial sources and had a total organic carbon of 7.5 mg/L. This simple, clean, and inexpensive treatment process for produced water had higher recovery capacity than conventional methods in laboratory experiments.

Domains: Civil Engineering, Green Technology

Water Production and Energy Storage by Salinity Gradient

Track Code: 2020-WARS-68811

Graduate students Abhimanyu Das (left) and Akshay Rao adjust a piston tank, the key component to a new desalination process called “double-acting batch reverse osmosis.” (Purdue University photo/Jared Pike)

Researchers at Purdue University have created a grid-scale salinity gradient for water production and energy storage. Desalination is the most energy-intensive and costly step in the water production process, and there remains a need to create the supply necessary to meet the world’s demand for drinking water.

Currently, water systems operate at constant power, which is often wasteful and inefficient. Most facilities are not adapted for price fluctuations or seasonal changes as a result. By implementing new configurations for reverse osmosis (RO) in water management facilities, Purdue researchers were able to control water supply based on load. This approach, by splitting the recovery ratio of the feed into steps, can make RO both demand response capable and more energy efficient. In addition, this economical, reliable, and environmentally friendly solution is not limited by geographical or elevation constraints, unlike conventional plants.

Domains: Green Technology, Mechanical Engineering

Novel Enzymes for Biomass Conversion

Track Code: 66227

Alternative fuel research is important due to dependence on foreign oil and oil prices. Ethanol derived from corn is an alternative fuel that is currently utilized; however, ethanol is not a sustainable fuel source due to the high demand for corn for human consumption and animal feedstock. Ethanol production from alternative plant sources is an important aspect of alternative fuel research.

Purdue University researchers have found digestive enzymes in termites that enable utilization of nonfood biomass. The exact mechanism is not yet known; however, researchers have two hypotheses. The enzymes may target lignin, an abundant natural polymer that is difficult to convert into bioethanol and reduces overall conversion efficiency, or they may synergize the release of fermentable monosaccharides from lignocellulosic biomass.

Domains: Agriculture, Green Technology

New Method for Separation of Rare Earth Elements

Track Code: 2018-WANG-68073

New efficient and inexpensive technologies being developed by Linda Wang could allow the extraction of rare earth elements, critical components of many electronics and green products, from waste coal ash. (Photo by Vincent Walter)

Ligand-assisted displacement chromatography can be used to separate rare earth metals. For this process to have a high yield and high efficiency, many pieces of equipment must be optimized. Right now there is no available method for designing these ligand-assisted displacement machines. Often it takes trial and error to test them, which leads to low yield and low efficiency. They also cannot adapt to changes effectively.

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a new method for designing these ligand-assisted displacement machines. Specifically, it is designed to help separate rare earth metals. This new method allows for easy design using a computer software program. This design method is much faster than the trial-and-error method used before. The higher efficiency of this method will lead to higher yield, also. This new method can change how efficient the designing of ligand-assisted displacement machines are.

Domains: Chemical Engineering, Green Technology

Functionalized Sponges for Rapid and Robust Oil-Water Separation

Track Code: 2016-WEIB-67262

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a facile and inexpensive method for making high-absorption capacity sponges. By combining superhydrophobic and superoleophilic properties, the sponge can effectively separate oil and water. Through the suction of the sponge, this technology can continuously separate various types of oil and organic solvents from the surface of water without unwanted water absorption.

Domains: Green Technology, Materials and Manufacturing

New Design Makes Solar Panels Shade Tolerant

Track Code: 66109

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a new solution to this problem by designing a radial layout for a solar panel. This design assures that a shadow will shade many cells at once, allowing the reverse voltage to distribute across the shaded cells. This design avoids reverse breakdown without the need for external bypass diodes, thereby simplifying the manufacturing process and alleviating shadow degradation.

Domains: Electrical Engineering, Green Technology

Method for Recycling Plastic Waste

Track Code: 2018-WANG-68066

Water bottles, gallon jugs and other plastic debris washed ashore along a beach. (Stock photo)

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a new technology for recycling. This new technology can recycle plastic waste into useful materials. This can covert more than 90 percent of the plastic waste into pristine polymers, clean fuels, or monomers. This technology can help major companies change how they deal with their waste management and actually help the environment. This also provides incentives to major companies to adopt this new technology because it would be a great look for them by being more economical.

Domains: Green Technology

Wind Turbine Blade Load Monitoring

Track Code: 65122

Researchers at Purdue University have developed an inexpensive and reliable method to provide more accurate and timely information about changing wind profiles to the controllers of wind turbines. This technology can maximize efficiency in low-wind conditions while protecting the wind turbine from stress damage due to high winds.

Domains: Green Technology, Mechanical Engineering

Are you interested in learning more about developing or commercializing the innovations listed above or others in OTC’s green-related innovations?

The best next step is to contact OTC via email at



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