Cleveland Water Alliance, NASA Glenn Form Partnership for Water Technology

The Cleveland Water Alliance and NASA Glenn Research Center have announced a new initiative for economic development that would help NASA Glenn form partnerships with companies and organizations that could help turn water-related technologies into commercial products.

According to the Cleveland Water Alliance, there are more than 200 water-related companies in Northeast Ohio that account for more?than 4 percent of the?international water industry market while bringing in more?than $6 billion in direct economic impact to?the region.

Recently, NASA Glenn Research Center has joined the fight against harmful algal blooms like the one that forced Toledo to issue a ban on drinking tap water in 2014.

Bryan Stubbs, president of the Cleveland Water Alliance, said over time, the NASA center could become a major player in the effort to address the problem ? and other water-related issues around the world.

?We want to make sure NASA Glenn is ? out of the 10 NASA research centers ? the one known for water,? Stubbs told Crain?s Cleveland Business.

Members of the Cleveland Water Alliance exchanged information with NASA Glenn researchers at the 2015 Ohio Water Innovation Summit in November. Three of Glenn?s presentations that day focused on projects that relate to the algal blooms that have been causing much of Lake Erie to turn green during the summer.

Around that time, NASA Glenn had developed a jet plane with a device for monitoring water quality when the Toledo water crisis hit in August 2014. NASA Glenn pilots were able to use a hyperspectral imager to view the massive algal bloom that covered much of Lake Erie?s western basin. The imager collects data on the sunlight that reflects off the algae. By analyzing the frequency of that light, Glenn researchers can tell if a given algal bloom is toxic.

NASA Glenn is now working on a smaller imager that could eventually be mounted on a drone.
Researchers are also working on a water purification system that could be used to sterilize water contaminated by all kinds of toxins, including those produced by some forms of algae. The device can kill micro-organisms by injecting plasma into water and hitting it with high-frequency bursts of electricity. It doesn?t need filters or chemicals, and it doesn?t heat up the water.

Glenn has been working with graduate students at Case Western Reserve University to find ways to commercialize the technology. It?s also hunting for other water-related technologies, according to Laurie Stauber, who helps lead Glenn?s local economic development efforts, which involves working with local businesses and organizations, such as the Cleveland Water Alliance.

To read more on NASA Glenn?s research initiatives for water technology, and its partnership with the Cleveland Water Alliance, check out the Crain?s article here:

NASA Glenn Research Center aims to fighttoxic algae

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