I-Corps: Reactive Nanobubbles Technology for Green and Sustainable Environmental and Agricultural Applications

Project: Research project

Project Details


The broader impact/commercial potential of this I-Corps project is to catalyze the development and commercialization of innovative nanobubble technologies in environmental, agricultural and other potential engineering applications. In environmental applications, reactive nanobubble technologies could impact water or wastewater treatment industries, municipal water treatment plants, drinking water disinfection, natural and landscape water management and remediation of impaired water bodies (e.g., by algal bloom). Value propositions include the improved water treatment efficiency (e.g., increased disinfection efficacy), reduced use of traditional hazardous chemicals such as chlorine, and reduced maintenance/operational cost in water remediation. In agricultural fields, irrigation with nanobubble water can significantly improve dissolved oxygen in water by 100-5000% and efficiently deliver oxygenated water and growth elements such as nitrogen to plant roots. Thus, the value propositions include improving crop or plant's growth, health and quality. Moreover, nanobubble water can positively affect turf and grass business and promote reduced or chemical-free fertilization in turf or lawn maintenance and therefore increase ecosystem safety and reduce negative environmental impacts. This I-Corps project explores fundamental engineering principles of colloidal bubble systems at nanoscale dimensions. Innovative scientific approaches employ reactive nanobubbles to control and mitigate water pollution as well as support smart agricultural irrigation/fertilization. Specifically, nanobubble technologies are processes that generate ultra-small sizes of bubbles with a diameter of < 1 um dispersed in water or other liquid media. Nanobubbles in water have a long residence time in water due to their low buoyancy and excellent stability against coalesces, collapse or burst, and the formation of bulk bubbles. Therefore, compared to regular bulk or large bubbles, nanobubbles have a higher efficiency of mass transfer due to their high surface areas, which also facilitates physical adsorption and chemical reactions in the gas-liquid interface. Therefore, nanobubble technologies are potentially useful in many industrial and engineering applications, ranging from ultra-sound imaging and intracellular drug delivery, pharmaceutical manufacturing, detergent-free surface cleaning, mining separation, water purification to wastewater treatment. This I-Corps project focuses on the evaluation of unique business models in water pollution control and mitigation as well as irrigation for agricultural applications.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Effective start/end date2/1/197/31/21


  • National Science Foundation: $50,000.00


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