U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Awards Tersus Patent for Self-Nanoemulsifying Oil
Research Triangle Park, NC April 28, 2016 – Tersus Environmental announced today that the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted a patent for soil or groundwater remediation using a self-nanoemulsifying oil. The issuance of this patent further validates the innovative nature of Tersus’ electron donor technology platform and family of biotechnology-based solutions to manage complex, challenging environmental liabilities.
Officially granted on April 12, 2016 the U.S. patent number for bioremediation of soil and groundwater is #9,309,136 B2. The patent application was filed on June 12, 2014 (14/120,646) by Tersus Partners John Archibald, P.Eng and Gary M. Birk, P.E.
Nanoemulsions are a class of emulsions with droplet sizes typically ranging between 50 and 500 nanometers (1,000 nanometer = 1 micron). Common methods for producing nanoemulsions involve are high-shear mixers or high-pressure homogenization. Tersus’ spontaneous emulsification is an energy efficient alternative which is ideal for site remediation operations and less expensive. This innovative approach is actually a very energy efficient process, taking advantage of the chemical energy stored in the system. The small size of the particles in a Self-Nano Emulsion delivery system offers a number of benefits including improved subsurface distribution, enhanced long-term stability and increased bioavailability.
Research Triangle, NC April 28, 2016 – Tersus recieves approval from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP), accepting the use of NutriBind™ as an innovative technology in the treatment of contaminated soil and groundwater. While the Florida DEP does not provide brand name endorsements or performance certifications, it does determine product acceptability in the context of environmental regulations, safety and the protection of public health. These approval letters make it easier for Remediation Project Managers to specify Tersus products in site-specific Remedial Action Plans.
During this month of Thanksgiving I have been reflecting on the things I am most grateful for. Primarily among them is our talented group of associates and business partners across the globe. I consider myself extremely blessed to be a part of Tersus since its inception. It’s been my home away from home.
We have a great Team that celebrates and supports each other – through the good times and bad. I am immensely proud of our associates and their desire to further engage and to deepen our relationships so that we can all grow together. We bring care and passion to the table every day, and even when the occasional disagreement arises, we always come back together as Family.
I am also proud to see how our associates and business partners are happy, engaged, inspired and driven to take care of the ones that make this all possible, our clients. Without our clients, there is no Tersus. So on behalf of the entire Tersus family, I’d like to thank our clients for offering us the opportunity to provide technology-based solutions to manage complex, challenging environmental liabilities and reduce costs for site closure.
It’s an honor to be a part of this Team and to work with our associates and business partners in serving, our clients. I wish you a Thanksgiving filled with abundance and bright moments.
Gary M. Birk, P.E.
Managing Partner, Tersus Environmental
Currently, there is some confusion and uncertainty about whether the use of eZVI for soil and groundwater remediation infringes on U.S. Patent 7,531,709 (“the ‘709 patent”) titled Method for Accelerated Dechlorination of Matter. While some of you may have received notices (either oral or written) alleging that any use of ZVI plus soybean oil for soil and groundwater remediation infringes the ’709 patent, we are certain that the eZVI marketed by Tersus Environmental does not infringe on the ‘709 patent.
Tersus Environmental respects the intellectual property of others and would not intentionally promote the use of any methods or techniques which infringe a valid and enforceable patent. Further, as practitioners, you must be free to choose the appropriate methods of remediation without fear of unjustified claims of infringement or litigation.
The eZVI patent application was filed on October 2, 2001, 461 days prior to the ‘709 patent priority date. Further, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was granted U.S Patent 6,664,298 titled Zero-Metal Emulsion for Reduction of Dehalogenation of DNAPLS on December 16, 2003, 1,974 days (5.4 years) prior to issuance of the ‘709 patent.
The simple answer is this: The use of Tersus eZVI product does not infringe on the ‘709 patent.
*eZVI is a NASA developed and patented technology, U.S. Patent Application Nos. 6,664,298 and 7,037,946. eZVI is sold under License Agreement No. DN-1205 between NASA and Tersus Environrmntal.
Electrical resistance heating is an excellent way to remediate VOCs in tight matrices. TRS Group, a company Tersus represents, has completed about 15 rock projects. The case study and article in the link below provide additional information.
Typically, ERH involves heating the subsurface to convert liquid phase contaminants to a gas phase, extracting the gases from the vadose zone and treating the vapors with conventional technologies at the surface. TRS has applied ERH at sites impacted by chlorinated solvents, volatile petroleum hydrocarbons and semi-volatile hydrocarbons. ERH is fast, simple and robust.
Some important points follow:
- Guaranteed results
- >99% contaminant mass (VOCs) removal within 4 to 9 months
- No rebound
- Equally effective in the vadose and saturated zones
- No soil desiccation – commonly used under buildings and roads
- Low permeability strata and sedimentary rock are ideal applications
The MAJOR DIFFERENCE between Emulsified Zero-Valent Iron (eZVI) and other ZVI products is the physical structure of the eZVI product, which is a water-in-oil emulsion (see below images). This structure makes the eZVI product hydrophobic, and therefore it is fully miscible with source material in situ. The water contained in the interior of the eZVI emulsion provides the hydrogen for abiotic reductive dechlorination reactions to proceed. Without a hydrogen donor, abiotic reactions that occur on the surfaces of the ZVI particles will not proceed. If you are implementing a source area remediation and using the eZVI technology, make sure that your product supplier can document the micellular structure and hydrophobic chemistry of their EZVI product. Please note that a combination of ZVI and emulsified oil (oil in water emulsion) WILL NOT provide the benefits that our eZVI product enables. The physical structure of the eZVI emulsion is the key to sustaining dramatic source area mass flux abatement and direct abiotic destruction of source mass, while simultaneously stimulating microbiological processes to destroy dissolved phase contaminants.
Due to the unique (patented) physical structure of eZVI, the ZVI component of the emulsion is protected inside of a hydrophobic membrane (see image above), and unlike any other ZVI products, this enables the ZVI to efficiently target the destruction of chlorinated hydrocarbons (e.g., contaminants that have the appropriate hydrophobic physical chemistry to pass through the vegetable oil membrane and contact the ZVI). Another significant difference between the technologies is the fact that eZVI takes advantage of the physical chemistry of the contaminant, and sequesters it within the vegetable oil membrane surrounding each micelle (see above images). The sequestering of contaminants into the vegetable oil membrane results in significantly reduced aqueous contaminant concentrations (~ 90% decrease), and therefore decreased mass flux from the source area. Contaminants that have phase partitioned into the vegetable oil layer then begin dissolving/diffusing into the aqueous interior of the micelle where they contact the ZVI and are destroyed (completely dechlorinated to ethane). A concentration gradient is established and the contamination is continually pulled toward the interior of the micelle where it abiotically dechlorinated. While both technologies utilize the same chemistries, eZVI is engineered to directly remediate source areas by taking advantage of the physical chemistry of the contaminant(s) and optimizing the role of abiotic reactions, which DO NOT create problematic daughter intermediates.
In addition to the above abiotic reactions, the vegetable oil membrane associated with the eZVI is a fermentable carbon source and therefore acts as an electron donor for biostimulation downgradient of the eZVI injection area(s). With eZVI you get a one-two punch; (1) optimized abiotic reactions along with (2) the polishing effects of anaerobic bioremediation processes. Target the use of your ZVI. Do not be fooled into thinking that injection of ZVI and a carbon substrate (e.g., vegetable oil, lactates, fatty acids, plant fibers) is the same as using eZVI. Our eZVI is the superior choice when remediating sites with source areas/DNAPL zones (residual or pooled).
Distributor Agreement Brings Chemical Fixation / Immobilization Technology to Tersus’ Portfolio of In Situ Soil and Groundwater Remediation Technologies
Wake Forest, NC – March 2015 – Tersus Environmental, LLC, a rapidly growing developer and marketer of advanced, innovative technologies for the remediation of soil and groundwater, and Ziltek Pty Ltd, Adelaide, Australia are pleased to announce that the two firms have entered in an agreement wherein Tersus is appointed the North American exclusive distributor for the RemBind™ product. RemBind™ is a unique powdered reagent that binds and immobilizes contaminants in in soils and sediments. RemBind™ treats a broad range of organics including PFOS, PFOA, PCBs, PCPs, PAHs, TPH, various pesticides and heavy metals such as arsenic, chromium and mercury.
Gary M. Birk, PE Managing Partner with Tersus said, “We are very pleased about the opportunity to partner with Ziltek. This agreement will facilitate a sizable expansion for Tersus into the soils and sediment remediation market. The breadth of the emerging contaminants that are amenable for treatment with RemBind™ will further enhance our leadership position in the remediation market sector. RemBind™ is a quality product for immobilization of Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and a great addition to Tersus’ suite of superior technologies and products.”
“Tersus has a stellar reputation and is a recognized leader in bringing new technologies and applications to the forefront in the environmental remediation community,” said Chris Lawrence, Ziltek Commercial Manager. “Our goal is to reach as many contaminated site owners as possible that will benefit from RemBind™. Our relationship with Tersus will allow us to further the realization of that goal.”