Value Recovery Inc., a research company based in southern New Jersey, has filed a formal patent application for a chemical process that converts hazardous waste materials into new nonhazardous products, by adding another chemical.
The company recently presented data at an American Chemical Society meeting in Boston, describing the economic removal of over 99 percent of phenols and cyanides from wastewater containing them. This is significant because they are uneconomical to remove using existing technologies.
The technology, based on Phase Transfer Catalysis (PTC), is applicable to phenols, cyanides, acrylates, azides, and organochlorine chemicals. PTC can also be used to scrub methyl bromide from air streams. Methyl Bromide is being advanced by a University of Florida team led by R. H. Scheffrahn as the most effective method for killing Anthrax spores. However, methyl bromide is being phased out of production due to its ozone depleting characteristics. PTC technology would prevent methyl bromide from reaching the atmosphere.
PTC is a sophisticated tool used primarily in the pharmaceutical industry to synthesize complex molecules. Its salient feature in environmental applications is that it can react hazardous chemicals dissolved in water or concentrated in gas streams and convert them into non-hazardous chemicals that can then be resold. This is not recycling in the classic sense because the recovery process results in the formation of a new product via the addition of a second chemical.
Value Recovery, Inc. developed its technology with grants from The U.S. Dept of Energy, Office of Industrial Technology, and the N.J. Commission on Science and Technology.