Chemical Sponge: UMN Professor Creates Filter for 3M Pollution

Two professors side by side

Chief Technology Officer Abdennour Abbas, a University of Minnesota materials scientist, and CEO Michelle Bellanca

Abdennour Abbas, a UMN researcher and co-founder of "green chemistry" company Claros Technologies, hopes to address a state water pollution problem. 

Abbas, a professor of nanotechnology at the University of Minnesota, has developed products with nanoparticles — which are just 100 times larger than individual atoms.

The tiny particles can attract or repel pollution including mercury, PFCs and phosphorous.

Customers will be able to pop out the filters, like the oil filter on a car, and send them to facilities where the PFCs can be destroyed. The chemicals, which were marketed commercially and industrially in such products as Scotchgard and Teflon, are almost indestructible in nature, but Abbas’ method breaks apart the complex PFC molecules to render them harmless. That way, they can never be re-introduced into the environment.

Read the full story in the Pioneer Press.