BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - A Virginia company has created a way to harvest harmful pollutants from the air and turn them into recyclable material for profit. MOVA Technologies’ panel-bed filtration system is designed to help both the environment and the economy. Last week, it passed its proof-of-concept testing, bringing it one step closer to the market.
Located in the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center in Blacksburg, the Dr. Joseph Meadows and a small team at the Advanced Propulsion and Power Laboratory has been testing a prototype of the filtration system for the last 11 months.
“What it does is it take containment gases that we would potentially see in the stream of flue gas coming out of a power plant and it extracts those through a chemical process of absorbing the chemicals and solid absorbents that go inside these louvers that go in the device,” Meadows said.
Pollutants like nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and flue ash are constantly being released into the atmosphere whether it’s from a power plant or even from a car. Existing technologies capture and dispose of some of the pollutions, but MOVA’s panel-bed design harvests and recycles the pollutants.
The heart of the technology is inside a metal box, bigger than a microwave but smaller than an oven. Inside the box are four panels, each with a different type of absorbent that’s designed to attract various pollutants. By capturing each pollutant separately, the chemicals can be removed and sold to different industries.
“NO can be potentially recycled into fertilizer and there’s a lot of interest in recycling CO2 and capturing CO2,” Meadows said.
Besides turning nitrogen oxides into fertilizers, NO is also used in pharmaceutical anesthetics and food preservation. Fly ash can be used in cement. Sulfur dioxide can be used in paper products. And carbon dioxide can be used in different paints and inks, biomass and enhanced oil recovery.
“This technology could be applied to any industry, whether it’s agriculture, energy production, shipping or even direct air capture,” MOVA Technologies relations manager, Luke Allison said. “We need to make sure we’re cleaning up whatever it is, whether it’s air exhaust or energy production facilities or even manufacturing facilities. We should be designing these engineering answers to those problems and MOVA Technologies is tackling the air pollution problem. "
For Southwest Virginia, a region that prides itself on producing energy sources like coal and natural gas, creating an economic gold mine like this kind of filtration technology is a game-changer.
“The next chapter is it’s time to proud of the technology that is helping advance energy technology and keep that same energy vibe going,” Allison said. “And it’s a paradigm shift of pollution.”
That means one industry’s trash is another industry’s treasure, and Southwest Virginia is where X marks the spot.
“For our hometowns, you’re at the center where technology is being tested that takes an environmental liability and turns it into an economic asset,” Allison explained.
Another aspect that makes MOVA unique is that approximately 75% of its investors are from Southwest Virginia.
“The economic implications of something like this being successful is that Southwest Virginians, the community of southwest Virginia would benefit the most,” Allison said.
Now that its conceptual prototype has been successful, the next step for MOVA is to create a bigger, more to-scale model to be tested in a larger capacity.
Monday, June 29 at 10 a.m. MOVA Technologies will hold a Zoom Press Conference to announce the results of proof-of-concept testing conducted by APPL at Virginia Tech and discuss the next step in its plans to commercialize the panel-bed filtration technology designed by Dr. Arthur M Squires.
Steve Critchfield, President and CEO of MOVA Technologies, Inc.; Matt Gulotta, Director of Technology Development; Congressman H. Morgan Griffith (VA-9); Delegate Israel O’Quinn (VA-5); Todd Haymore, former Virginia Secretary of Commerce; Jonathan Sweet, Pulaski County Administrator; and Will Payne, Director of the Southwest Virginia Energy Research and Development Authority are expected to speak at the event.
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