Organization: Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Year: 2016

U-Grabber is a superior adsorbent for the remediation of water and the extraction of commodities from traditionally difficult-to-mine sources, such as oceans, fly ash, mine-tailings ponds and geothermal brines, including fracking water. The adsorbent works by immobilizing (i.e., coordinating) metals on the highly grafted polymer. The use of metal coordination (i.e., grabbing the metal out of solution) allows U-Grabber to extract metals of interest, such as uranium, from solutions where traditional adsorbents are cost prohibitive. These solutions include high salinity solutions, such as geothermal brines, or high sulfate streams, which include some municipal water sources. This allows municipalities and companies to remove more toxic metals than with traditional adsorbents. The many deployment options available (e.g., braided fibers, nonwoven fabric, powder) allow the adsorbent to be deployed in the optimal manner, realizing extraction efficiency and lowering cost. U-Grabber’s durability permits multiple uses, while the adsorbed metals can be selectively removed and sold as commodity chemicals.