Generation of Ferric Ion
Generation of Ferric Ion
The Powerhouse building in Houghton is one of three SmartZone business incubators.
The Powerhouse building in Houghton is one of three SmartZone business incubators.
Mahesh Gupta has opened Plastic Flow in the Powerhouse.
Mahesh Gupta has opened Plastic Flow in the Powerhouse.
GS Engineering's MTV. Adam Johnson is in the foreground; Andrew Halonene(left) and David McKinstry are next to the vehicle.
GS Engineering's MTV. Adam Johnson is in the foreground; Andrew Halonene(left) and David McKinstry are next to the vehicle.
“ . . . biogenerated ferric iron can be used to improve the economy of sewage treatment . . . ”

Michigan Tech has a number of technologies that are available for licensing, for sale, and for supporting collaborations with private industry. See the web at: http://www.admin.mtu.edu/iptc/.

Michigan Tech’s technologies range from gene sequencing software to wood product manufacturing to fly ash beneficiation. To learn more about practical applications and advantages of licensing our technologies, contact Jim Baker, director of technology partnerships, at 906-487-2228 or see www.admin.mtu.edu/iptc/

Commercialization and Spin-Offs

Licensing Program Results in New Companies

Ferritech Licenses Biological Generation of Ferric Ion

Two Michigan Tech faculty members have formed Ferritech, Inc. to promote the licensing of technology for the biological generation of ferric iron.

Ferric iron is a powerful oxidant that has numerous industrial applications ranging from scrap metal recycling and sewage treatment to water treatment and bioleaching.

Carl Nesbitt (chemical engineering) and Don Lueking (biological sciences) have developed and patented the SAAB-FIG process (Stand-Alone Automated Bioreactor for Ferric Ion Generation). This process allows the continuous biogeneration of ferric iron at a constant level.

Depending upon the specific application involved, ferric iron generation by the SAAB-FIG process can produce ferric iron for as little as $0.06 per pound.

Nesbitt and Lueking are currently working with industry to design and build a pilot scale facility for separating copper and iron from scrap metal.

Scrap metal containing a mixture of both copper and iron has little value. However, processing the scrap with ferric iron generated by SAAB-FIG technology can readily separate copper and iron and facilitate the recovery of metal value.

In addition, “biogenerated ferric iron can be used to improve the economy of sewage treatment, as well as remove phosphates from water and hydrogen sulfide from the off-gas,” Nesbitt says.

Plastic Flow Consults on Injection Molding Process

Mahesh Gupta, associate professor of mechanical engineering, used his interest in polymer processing to develop a flow modeling software called PELDOM. Michigan Tech has recently licensed this software to Plastic Flow, LLC, for marketing.

PELDOM simulates the flow of polymers in injection molding and extrusion processes. The software, which is based upon a unique, proprietary constitutive theory developed by Gupta, accurately captures the material behavior of polymers and helps engineers to design, optimize and troubleshoot polymer processing systems. Gupta has been involved with polymer processing research since 1987. In 2002, Gupta founded Plastic Flow to provide consulting services for polymer extrusion and injection molding. The company is planning to market the PELDOM software in the near future.

Plastic Flow has an office in the Michigan Tech SmartZone’s business incubator in Houghton.

The Michigan Tech SmartZone

Companies looking to license Michigan Tech technologies, or develop other science- and engineering-related businesses, can get an extra boost from the SmartZone.

The Michigan Tech Enterprise SmartZone is a collaboration between Michigan Tech and the cities of Hancock and Houghton. The SmartZone captures certain state taxes, with the goal of creating or attracting more than 500 science and engineering jobs to the area.

The SmartZone operates three business incubators, with a total of 26,000 square feet. One is Michigan Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center. The SmartZone shares the ATDC with the university’s Ford Student Design Center, a Keweenaw Research Center testing facility and Tech’s corporate services offices.

You can reach Alan West, executive director of the SmartZone, at 906-487-7000.

GS Engineering Serves Military and Commercial Customers

GS Engineering does not license a technology, but was spun off from Michigan Tech’s Keweenaw Research Center (KRC). Based on expertise and contacts developed at KRC, GS Engineering does engineering, design and modeling for military and commercial customers.

The company primarily provides engineering services such as research and development, concept modeling and prototyping, and lightweight component structural design.

The photo below shows one of their concepts, HT MTV—a dump vehicle that is lighter, stronger, cheaper, and capable of twice the payload of the vehicle on which it is based.

GS Engineering is located in the Michigan Tech SmartZone’s Houghton business incubator.

Other Companies Licensing Michigan Tech Technology

Nitrate Elimination Co. Inc.
Agreement Executed: 1991
(Return of rights agreement with Inventor)
Technology: Purification of Nitrate Reductase

Strandwood Molding
(now GFP Strandwood Corp.)
License Executed: 1992
Technology Licensed: Molding of wood
composite materials

IR Telemetrics, Inc.
License Executed: 1994
Technology Licensed: Telemetry technology for
wireless transmission of data from extreme
environments such as inside an internal
combustion engine.

QivaStar
Agreement Executed: 1996
(Return of rights agreement with Inventor)
Technology Licensed: Coating technology for
aerospace applications

ThermoAnalytics Inc.
License Executed: 1997
Technology Licensed: Thermal modeling
software

Construction Productivity Institute
Agreement Executed: 1997
(Return of rights agreement with Inventor)
Technology: Software for Constructability of
industrial facilities

Reticle Inc
Agreement Executed: 1997
(Return of rights agreement with Inventor)
Technology: Activated carbon electrode