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  • CRADA Report

    Executive Summary

    This CRADA arose through the United States Industrial Coalition, Inc. to foster new business partnerships between the US and the Newly Independent States (NIS) of the Former Soviet Union under DOE’s Incentives for Proliferation Prevention (IPP) Program. The main goal of the DOE/IPP program is the development of commercially viable technology that will provide employment for NIS weapons specialists and diversion of equipment and facilities from weapons-related production. The NIS scientists involved in this CRADA had developed and sought assistance in commercializing a product called “Humosorb”. The goal of this project, which involve collaborative work between a US company, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and Russian weapons scientists at the Scientific Institute for Chemical Means of Plant Protection (SICPP), was to evaluate and field validate the application of Humosorb for in-situ remediation of metal-contaminated soils, specifically by immobilizing heavy metals in contaminated soil and preventing their uptake into plants. Problems were encountered in fully accomplishing the goals and objectives of the CRADA. The US company, Commonwealth Enterprises (CWE), failed to fulfill their commitments, and the CRADA was unilaterally terminated by ORNL for nonperformance. Because of the promising results by the NIS scientists and ORNL, DOE continued funding through the CRADA’s full two-year performance period. Significant technical progress was made in testing and validating the use of Humosorb in metal remediation. The product was fully characterized with respect to its chemical and physical properties. The extent of immobilization of eight heavy metals to Humosorb was determined and the effect of complex mixtures of toxic metals was also examined. Greenhouse studies demonstrated that Humosorb causes very large reductions in the bioaccumulation of metals by plants and results in a corresponding decrease in plant toxicity. In a field demonstration experiment in Moscow, the mobility of heavy metals in soil was decreased by application of Humosorb, and the protective effects to plants observed in the greenhouse studies were also observed at the field scale. In spite of the problems with the CWE, the principal objectives of this DOE/IPP Program have been achieved as a result of this CRADA. Another US company was recently formed to commercialize Humosorb for environmental remediation in the US. This company, Stable Earth Technologies, has formed a joint venture with the former 3 Russian weapons scientists, and are beginning to apply Humosorb (which they have re-named “Stabilite”) in remediation of mercury-contaminated soil. Further commercialization activities are being pursued that will likely lead to new projects and areas of research in this direction. In particular, the use of Humosorb/Stabilite to remediate soil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls will be pursued, possibly within the context of another IPP CRADA. In addition to commercialization within the US, the NIS weapons scientists have been able to achieve commercial success in Russia. Financial support from this CRADA, as well as technical results developed by SICPP and ORNL during the course of this CRADA contributed to the commercial success of these former weapons scientists.