Modifiable Porous Hollow Silica Microsphere

Technology Overview

A porous hollow silica microsphere that can be used for different applications with high economic and ecological impact has been developed for applications such as lightweight and conductive materials, in biotech applications and water purification, and for microencapsulation of active ingredients. The microsphere has four major attributes that make it attractive for select applications.

  1. The surface chemistry can be modified (functionalized). This surface functionalization allows the microsphere to interact with different types of molecules.
    • Coating with graphene to increase surface area and thermal & electrical conductivity
    • The polar and non-polar group can be gArafted
    • Coating with metallic species
  2. The silica microsphere is porous (“mesoporous”). The porosity allows the content of the sphere to be exchanged with its environment. It can be used for the extended release of ingredients. The pores are also perfect support for bacteria/ enzyme immobilization.
  3. The silica microsphere has a high specific surface area which makes it well suited for adsorption/purification applications.
  4. The silica microsphere is hollow with a very low density (10X lighter than water). Therefore it can be used as an additive to reduce material density. It can also be used to encapsulate products, ingredients or formula

The technology provider is seeking for industrial or academic partners for project collaboration, joint-venture or licensing. 

Technology Features & Specifications

The microsphere is available in different particle sizes from 1 to 70 μm. Two typical products have a size around 10 and 30 μm

  • Surface area of 100 m2/g (2X107 m2/m3) and more
  • Particles covered with polar and non-polar chemical groups
  • Can be functionalized with other organic or inorganic species for specific applications
  • Can be dispersed in water, alcohols and other organic solvents.
  • Possibility to encapsulate different active agents such as nutrients for bacteria, fertilizers, etc .

Potential Applications

The silica microspheres has a wide range of applications:

  • It can be used for agriculture and soil remediation applications as media support for the preparation of beneficial microorganisms as in biofertilizers or bioinoculants
  • It can be for the biological treatment of domestic, municipal, or industrial waste water. More specifically, the hollow silica microspheres offer a media support for microorganism growth which can be used as bacterial carriers in both aerobic and anaerobic conditions for waste water treatment.
  • The microspheres can be used for a range of applications such as sequential bioreactor, membrane bioreactor, moving bed bioreactor, anaerobic or aerobic digester and activated sludge system.
  • The technology also allows for the encapsulation of different active agents inside silica microcapsules for extended release in specific applications (cosmetics, perfumes, textiles, chemical industries, etc.).

Customer Benefits

For the waste water treatment applications some of the benefits are as follow:

Reduced incubation time (e.g. 24 h vs 168h for commercial plastic carriers)

  • Reduce microorganism loss by increasing their agglomeration
  • Increase resistance of bacteria to physico-chemical changes and toxic contaminants
  • Can be used in aerobic or anaerobic conditions.
  • Possibility to increase the growth during the start-up by loading nutrients for bacteria inside the microcapsules
  • In anaerobic conditions, reduction of volatile solid and increase of biogas production by 30% compared to a reference medium (without bacterial carriers)
  • In aerobic conditions for nitrification, 60% more ammonia were converted after 94 days than the reference condition
  • Reduce sedimentation time in SBR (sequential batch reactor)

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