An efficient "superfilter" able
to extract bacteria, cysts, turbidity and even viruses from water was among
four innovative space-based technologies inducted into the Space Technology
Hall of Fame last week in Colorado Springs.
The NanoCeram Superfilter, developed by Argonide Corporation of
Sanford, Florida, uses nanofibers originally developed at the Design
Technology Center (DTC) in Tomsk, Russia.
DTC, previously known as the Republican Engineering Center, developed
prototype materials for the Soviet nuclear weapons arsenal. During the 1970's
DTC perfected a process for manufacturing nanotechnology materials. Argonide
founder Fred Tepper recognized the commercial potential of these unique nano
fibers and powders. In 1994, Tepper helped to launch the U.S. Industry
Coalition (USIC), a non-profit association of U.S. companies interested in
technology commercialization with former Soviet weapons scientists and
USIC members' partnerships are supported by Initiatives for Proliferation
Prevention (IPP), a nonproliferation program sponsored by the National Nuclear
Security Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy. IPP assists former
Soviet weapons of mass destruction scientists and engineers to transition to
long-term, sustainable employment in peaceful, civilian technologies.
In 1997, Argonide and DTC launched their first IPP project, together with
DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. After observing the bio-activity
of the nanofibers, Argonide won two NASA-sponsored SBIR grants in 2001 and
2002 to develop advanced water recovery systems for long duration space
The NanoCeram filters were found to provide unsurpassed filtration
efficiency. Comprised of nanometer size particles, these filters far exceed
current filtration systems and can handle the most difficult treatment
requirements for industrial, residential and recreational water purification.
Today, Argonide markets the filters for multiple applications, including:
laboratory separations; residential drinking water; purifying water from
biological agents; concentrator/collectors for detecting biological agents;
and providing purified water for industrial, chemical and pharmaceutical
The technology was inducted into the 2005 Space Technology Hall of Fame on
Thursday, April 7, 2005 at the 21st Space Symposium, an event widely regarded
as the premier gathering of the space industry, with more than 6,500 attendees
Founded in 1988 by the Space Foundation, in cooperation with NASA, the
Space Technology Hall of Fame honors the innovators who have transformed space
technology into commercial products, to increase public awareness of the
benefits of space technology, and to encourage further innovation.
Space Foundation President and CEO Elliot G. Pulham said, "The 2005 Hall
of Fame inductees represent space technologies that save lives and improve the
quality of life for thousands of people every day. They are great examples of
why what we do in space matters on Earth."
Three other space-related technologies inducted into the Hall of Fame
include the InnerVue Diagnostic Scope System; Outlast Smart Fabric
Technology; and Portable Hyperspectral Imaging Systems.