Environmental Protection

DeconGel 1 of 3 Finalists for Homeland Security Award

DeconGel, a polymeric hydrogel technology for containing and decontaminating radiological waste and potential nuclear threats as well as chemical and other toxic wastes, has been recognized as one of three finalists for the Christopher Columbus Foundation Homeland Security Award for 2009. The Polymers Division of Cellular Bioengineering, Inc. (CBI), a Hawaii-based technology accelerator, developed the technology.

The award is the result of a year-long national competition to identify the individual or company that is making "a measurable and constructive contribution related to basic and/or advanced research in the area of homeland security which will result in a significant and positive benefit to society."

The Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation is an independent federal government agency established to "encourage and support research, study and labor designed to produce new discoveries in all fields of endeavor for the benefit of mankind."

Kimberly Owens, chair of the Board of Trustees for the Christopher Columbus Foundation, congratulated CBI for its development of DeconGelTM. "This hydrogel is a powerful tool in the remediation of radioactive waste and nuclear threats, and future uses are sure to be discovered," she said.

Nuclear power plants and government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Defense are early customers and users of DeconGelTM. Additional applications are being expanded for the decontamination of industrial and military grade hazardous chemicals and biological agents.

DeconGelTM was funded by the Hawaii Technology Development Venture/Office of Naval Research. Additional R&D funding was secured through the USAF Force Protection Battlelab, the National Defense Center of Excellence for Research in Ocean Sciences under its contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the Department of Energy. The company launched the product last year.

CBI is a venture accelerator focused on disruptive biomedical and biodefense innovations. Founded in 2003 in Honolulu, Hawaii, the company works with world-class research institutions to transform novel ideas into commercial products; especially in the area of chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear detection and remediation.

"We are extremely honored to be named as a National Finalist for this prestigious award," said Larry Stack, chief operating officer of CBI Polymers. "This award exemplifies CBI's motto: Invent. Disrupt. Inspire."

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