Newton, MA, United States
Newton, MA, United States
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Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.05M | Year: 2016

Real-time monitoring of wastewater quality remains an unsolved challenge in the treatment industry. The standard method of biological oxygen demand (BOD) yields slow results (five days); another standard method, chemical oxygen demand (COD), uses hazardous chemicals and does not provide direct information on potential for ecological pollution. The treatment industry has expressed need for the development of new, meaningful fast-responding measurement methods to complement (or replace) the current standard methods. The overall objective of this project is to develop deployable instrument for continuous in-line monitoring of treated wastewater quality. Phase I demonstrated a new electrochemical measurement process for the determination of wastewater constituents as alternative to present standard measurements. Laboratory studies and comparisons to standard methods confirmed the feasibility of the proposed approach in simulant mixtures and real-world wastewater samples. Phase II program will feature further optimization of the measurement process to define and establish a new metric paralleled with an extensive comparison with standard BOD and COD measurements. Phase II program will also include design, fabrication, and integration of Giners PureSens probe as a portable sensor for on-site testing of wastewater samples at multiple treatment facilities.


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: National Institutes of Health | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 226.31K | Year: 2016

PROJECT SUMMARY ABSTRACT Marijuana Breath Analyzer Enforcement of drugged driving laws has attracted significant attention due to increase in drug related incidents and the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana in some states Studies have shown that marijuana use can impair a driverandapos s judgment Next to alcohol marijuana is the second most frequently found substance in the bodies of drivers involved in fatal automobile accidents Currently there is no commercially available field device that allows for detection of marijuana The overall goal of this program is the development of the Giner DrugSens monitor to enable real time marijuana measurement in the breath at the point of collection DrugSens monitor would be the most convenient and the least invasive way for marijuana detection in breath matrix and better coincide with impairment Authorities will obtain breath samples noninvasively as they do in alcohol testing and receive the results on the spot This field device for enforcement will deter drivers from driving under the influence of marijuana and thereby reduce the associated increase in traffic accidents protecting both individual and public safety The monitor can also be used in substance abuse research medical screening and employment testing The Phase I will demonstrate feasibility of the proposed measurement and monitor followed by fabricating an advanced prototype in Phase II for validation in clinical and field testing PROJECT NARRATIVE The Giner marijuana breath analyzer provides rapid accurate and non invasive determination of recent marijuana use to assess drugged driving This field device for enforcement will deter drivers from driving under the influence of marijuana and thereby reduce the associated increase in traffic accidents protecting both individual and public safety In the long term the implementation of a marijuana analyzer as a standard drug test will help prevent accidents due to drug use and provide a sound basis for the use of this analyzer in other areas such as substance abuse research medical screening and employment testing


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.50M | Year: 2015

Measurement and monitoring of subsurface microbial activity plays an important role in studying the extent of heavy metal, radionuclide, and industrial chemical contamination at the Department of Energy (DOE) sites and their impact on the surrounding environment. Development of field-deployable microbial monitoring systems is critical in achieving long-term success for environmental restoration efforts. The proposed program will develop a field portable instrument that would enable rapid detection and continuous monitoring of select microorganisms in groundwater and soil samples. This electrochemical sensor instrument employs novel sample processing techniques and utilizes reusable electrodes and highly sensitive detection algorithms to allow for low level detection limits specific to the presence of targeted nucleic acid sequences judiciously selected from genes and microorganisms that have key roles in environmental restoration and bioremediation The feasibility of Giners electrochemical hybridization sensing approach has been demonstrated for detection of model Geobacter gene sequences in water and groundwater. The Phase I program achieved microbial level of detection (LOD) values that are three orders of magnitude lower than the average measured quantity of Geobacter population. The Phase II program will feature detection of additional microorganisms relevant to bioremediation applications, design and fabrication of a field prototype instrument, and an extensive environmental water and soil testing using field samples. Giner will advance its portable microbial sensor technology by expanding the portfolio of microorganisms, refinement of its sensing algorithms, and development of field-friendly sample treatment protocols. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits The highest initial impact of the proposed sensor technology would be for enabling sustainable bioremediation technologies to ensure the successful implementation of microbial communities in contaminated sites such as Superfund sites, wetlands, and coastal environments. Successful development of this technology will enable more effective management of environment to provide wide-spread application of bioremediation technologies and to help maintain biodiversity in ecosystem. Other versions of the proposed system could be used to monitor bacterial contamination of food, drinking water, and household or clinical surfaces to provide fast and accurate screening of microorganisms at low cost.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.93K | Year: 2015

Hydrogen production for mobility and energy storage from proton exchange membrane (PEM) water electrolysis is attractive due to its efficiency, ability to quickly cycle up and down, and deliver hydrogen with high and differential pressure. However, capital costs are high due to expensive materials, especially the membrane and catalyst. Though membrane costs are predicted to decrease, precious metal catalysts costs will come to control capital costs as this technology matures. Decreasing the precious metal requirement for PEM electrolysis is therefore vital for the wide spread use of this technology. The overall objective of the Phase IIB project is to commercialize low precious metal loading, high-performance catalysts for PEM water electrolysis that we have successfully developed in our Phase II project, which may significantly lower the capital cost of water electrolyzers. In Phase II project, we have developed and demonstrated two advanced catalysts. These two catalysts enable reduction of the precious metal catalyst loading on the anode by an order of magnitude, while maintaining performance equivalent to an industry-standard anode. These catalysts also demonstrate good endurance over a 1000-hour test. In the proposed Phase IIB, we will further develop and transition the innovative catalyst synthesis technology to successful commercialization. First, we will scale up the catalyst synthesis process to make short production of these catalysts. Second, we will develop an effective Membrane and Electrode Assembly (MEA) fabrication process to make reproducible and full-sized MEAs. These MEAs will be subsequently integrated into large-size electrolyzers to test their performance and durability. The success of the Phase IIB project will lead to the commercialization of these advanced catalysts for hydrogen production from water electrolysis. These catalysts enable reduction of precious metal catalyst loading on the anode by an order of magnitude while maintaining performance equivalent to an industry-standard catalyst. Alternatively, operating costs (dominated by the cost of electricity), the highest cost of PEM hydrogen production, can be lowered by increasing the loading of these catalysts. These combined efforts will make the commercialization of PEM water electrolysis for production more viable.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.99K | Year: 2015

The non-aqueous ionomer dispersion technology invented at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has demonstrated great potential to significantly improve the lifetime of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells and electrolyzers. However, further validation and improvements are needed to make this technology commercially viable. The overall objective of this project is to further develop and commercialize LANLs ionomer dispersion technology. The ionomer dispersion technology will be integrated with dimension- stabilized membrane (DSM) platform to create more durable membrane and electrode assemblies (MEAs) for PEM fuel cells and electrolyzers in an economically feasible way. In our Phase I project, this ionomer dispersion technology was successfully combined with DSM technology to create more durable MEAs. These MEAs simultaneously demonstrated remarkable chemical stability and mechanically stability after being subjected to accelerated stress tests. In the Phase II project, we will further develop this technology in more processable, scalable, and profitable ways. We will use a roll-to-roll process to make full-sized MEAs that combine non- aqueous ionomer dispersion and DSMs. We will evaluate these MEAs in more extensive and practical conditions and explore their potential markets. The successful completion of this project will improve the durability and performance of PEM fuel cells and electrolyzers, significantly reducing the cost of fuel cell vehicles. This will lead to a widespread deployment of fuel cell vehicles, which will relieve the nations heavy dependence on imported oil and reduce air pollutants.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 747.52K | Year: 2016

Giner, Inc. has developed an advanced high pressure electrochemical oxygen concentrator (EOC) that offers a simple alternative to the use of pressure swing adsorption (PSA) systems to generate high pressure oxygen for the International Space Station (ISS) and future human space flight applications. The high pressure EOC is based on proven electrolyzer technology demonstrated at Giner and delivers a continuous stream of dry oxygen with a highly controllable oxygen pressure (0-3600 psi) by feeding a low pressure humidified oxygen stream into the cathode side of the stack where oxygen is consumed. The generation of pure oxygen at 3600 psig is particularly applicable for filling tanks used for extravehicular activity (EVA). The benefits of using this technology rather than a standard high or large pressure differential electrolyzer stack include: 1.) significantly reduced membrane degradation resulting in an improvement in stack lifetime, 2.) increased safety as there is no risk of producing a combustible gas mixture in the event of gas crossover through the MEA, and 3.) simplified balance of plant (BOP) for the reason that typical liquid cathode feed electrolyzer stacks require sophisticated water management. Giner further simplified the high pressure EOC BOP by integrating a low pressure static vapor feed electrolyzer (SVFE) into a shared-end-plate stack.


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: National Institutes of Health | Program: STTR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 225.00K | Year: 2016

DESCRIPTION provided by applicant Non Invasive Highly Specific Detection of Oxytocin in Biological Fluids Oxytocin a neuropeptide hormone plays an important role in a variety of complex social behaviors including affiliation sexual behavior and aggression It is best known for its role to facilitate the birth process through induction of myometrial muscle contractions However recent studies have linked the exogenous administration of oxytocin during childbirth to various neurological disorders later in the offspringandapos s life including autism spectrum disorder bipolar disorder childhood cognitive issues and childhood ADHD Administration of oxytocin during childbirth can therefore have consequences on the neurodevelopmental trajectory of children necessitating its perinatal monitoring There is an increased interest in accurate determination of oxytocin levels in the body however research in this area has unfortunately been limited by lack of noninvasive methods especially considering the involvement of vulnerable patient populations Therefore it would be extremely valuable to provide researchers and medical professionals with a simple and practical point of care instrument that would accurately determine the peripheral levels of oxytocin in pregnant women and neonatals Currently oxytocin measurements are made using commercially available immunoassays however these methods are non specific to extended forms of oxytocin prohormones and they also require skilled personnel and laborious sample preparation protocols in well established laboratories that result in long turn around times hours to days The instrumentation is expensive as well and does not lend itself to desktop or portable needs To the best of our knowledge there is no currently available instrument that is capable of point of care detection of oxytocin Giner Inc Giner proposes to develop an electrochemical assay and validate a point of care instrument for highly sensitive and near real time perinatal monitoring of oxytocin During the Phase I work Giner will develop the first of its kind assay by using aptamer based targeting and direct electrochemical detection with a targeted oxytocin limit of detection LOD level of pg ml The results will be evaluated for specificity in the presence of non target peptide hormones such as vasopressin to achieve andgt x selectivity Finally the sensorandapos s performance will be evaluated in clinically collected human saliva samples and the results will be benchmarked to the immunoassay results In Phase II we will focus on miniaturization and automation aspects of the instrument sensor with associated electronics while improving the sensitivity and selectivity of the sensor that will aim to correlate the blood and saliva levels of oxytocin via a broader clinical research perinatal study PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE The overall goal of this STTR program is the development of an electrochemical assay and validation of a point of care instrument for monitoring oxytocin in noninvasive biological samples such as saliva Oxytocin is a hormone that is known for its role to facilitate the birth process through induction of muscle contractions Several studies suggest correlations between exogenous administration of oxytocin during childbirth and various neurological disorders later in life of the offspring Therefore a point of care instrument would be an extremely valuable tool for researchers and medical professionals to monitor peripheral levels of oxytocin in peripartum women and newborn infants


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: National Institutes of Health | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 224.92K | Year: 2016

DESCRIPTION provided by applicant Low cost point of care tools for saliva diagnostics of salivary gland disorders represent an unmet need in medicine Current research and clinical testing in this area often rely upon large expensive analytical equipment with lengthy turnaround times This time adds to the time needed to cryogenically preserve saliva for transport to an off site laboratory Giner proposes to develop a compact cost effective electrochemical sensor for point of care diagnosis and treatment of oral diseases such as Sj grenandapos s Syndrome A low cost device will enable more widely available units for a range of clinical settings with reduced sample handling and transport time The approach uses a cost effective label free bio FET Field Effect Transistor sensor utilizing high specificity aptamers for recognition and capture of salivary biomarkers to be used in all dental offices for early detection of severe oral conditions and diseases such as Sj grenandapos s Syndrome SS The Phase I feasibility study will demonstrate detection of carbonic anhydrase I CA a recently reported salivary biomarker for Sj grenandapos s Syndrome SS Combined with a microfluidic platform multiple biomarkers can be measured for increased diagnostic certainty while the use of diagnostic biomarkers in saliva greatly reduces patient stress especially in children The proof of concept will be based on the demonstration of low detection limit response stability linearity and rapid turnaround Device readings will be validated using conventional ELISA The Phase II microfluidics platform will be compact portable and designed for easy operation in dental clinics with small saliva specimens The design will permit expansion to include multiple biomarkers determined from single specimens of saliva The sensor will also be suitable for exploratory research into new promising biomarkers for which replaceable sensors can easily be fabricated and calibrated as required PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE Low cost point of care tools for non invasive saliva diagnostics of salivary gland disorders represent an unmet need in public health Giner Inc will develop a compact cost effective bio FET label free sensor with a microfluidics platform for detection of one or more diagnostic biomarkers to aid in the treatment of oral diseases and to develop a better understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of damaged glands The concept will be demonstrated using a known protein in saliva associated with Sj grenandapos s Disorder to show detection limits range analysis time and response linearity


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: National Institutes of Health | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.95M | Year: 2015

DESCRIPTION provided by applicant High Cell Density Bioartificial Pancreas Enabled by Implantable Oxygen Generator The overall goal of the SBIR project is to develop and test a human scale BioArtificial Pancreas with Implantable Oxygen Supply BAPIOS tm This consists of a miniaturized implantable electrochemical oxygen generator EOG that will continuously supply oxygen to islets or cells within an immunoisolation cell implant device Oxygenation maintains cell viability and function at high cellular densities minimizing overall implant size The first proposed application of this platform technology is a human pancreatic islet implant for the treatment of Type diabetes T D The implantable EOG is also a platform technology that may be combined with various cell implant devices and therapeutic cell types for additional cell therapies for indications such as liver failure Parkinsonandapos s disease para thyroid disease and pancreatectomy The Giner BAPIOS tm system includes a cell implant capsule with clinical testing and proven safety records The BAPIOS tm system will be fully implanted subcutaneously without infection prone percutaneous tubes leads Intraportal Pancreatic Islet Allogeneic Transplantation IPIATx liver is emerging as a promising treatment for select T D patients Results from leading centers demonstrate insulin independence for more than years for of the recipients this approaches the success rate of a complex whole pancreas transplant but IPIATx currently requires islets from donors Widespread clinical application of islet transplantation for T D is hindered by critical barriers including the need for systemic immunosuppression for the current transplant site and the limited supply of human islet tissue andlt U S pancreas donors per year The use of biocompatible retrievable cell isolating devices addresses these critical barriers by enabling the more effective and efficient use of allogeneic islets without immunosuppression and the eventual use of alternative sources of glucose responsive insulin secreting cells In the PhI project it was definitively demonstrate in a rat model that oxygen is necessary to allow the viability and function of a high density implant human islet equivalents IE per cm The results also showed that subcutaneous encapsulated oxygenated implants reversed diabetes with fewer islets lower marginal mass than literature results for the liver or kidney capsule sites in this animal model miniature EOG was designed and fabricated testing demonstrated more than sufficient oxygen for supporting the islet dose anticipated for human implant The outcome of the PhII project will be the first bioartificial pancreas with implantable oxygen supply The Ph II Giner BAPIOS tm system will have a modular design including a an implantable human scale EOG with novel provisions for biocompatibility and access to body water b a power system utilizing transcutaneous energy transfer and c an established cell capsule TheraCyte tm tailored for oxygen delivery The program concludes with preclinical trial testing the fully implantable PhI system and complete design for the human clinical model of the Giner BAPIOS tm system for future implementation and clinical testing PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE The goal of this project is to develop a bioartificial pancreas that includes a remotely powered miniature oxygen generator that can be implanted in the body The oxygen produced will be a critical enabler of compact cell therapy implants The priority application for this transformative platform technology is a pancreatic islet implant with the potential to cure diabetes


Grant
Agency: Department of Agriculture | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 599.99K | Year: 2016

Ammonia (NH3) is an extremely important feedstock for producing nitrogen fertilizers, such as anhydrous ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) and urea (CO(NH2)2), that provide essential nutrition for crop vitality. The worldwide production of ammonia is more than 100 million tons per year. The conventional Haber-Bosch ammonia production process requires high pressure and temperature (up to 300 atm and 500°C) and is, as such, extremely energy-intensive.The proposed Phase II project aims to further scale up the electrochemical synthesis of ammonia at lower temperature and pressure, and integrate this technology with off-peak renewable energy towards building distributed ammonia plants. The reactants are nitrogen and water that are immediately available and abundant. High-performance electrocatalysts and hybrid anion exchange membrane will be used to further enhance the ammonia production rate and process stability. These efforts may help transform the electrochemical production of ammonia to a more practical level.The successful application of this technology will lead to ammonia synthesis via a more environmentally-benign and economically viable approach, compared to the conventional Haber-Bosch process. The synthesized ammonia using renewable energy can be widely used as a feedstock for fertilizers in agriculture. The ammonia can also be considered as a means of storing surplus renewable energy during off-peak hours.

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