UMass Dartmouth faculty members receive OTCV grant awards

The UMass Office of Technology Commercialization and Ventures awarded Professor Sukalyan Sengupta, Professor Amit Tandon, and Steve Zanganeh for innovative research proposals

The University of Massachusetts System Office of Technology Commercialization and Ventures (OTCV) recently announced the recipients of their 2021 grant awards which include UMass Dartmouth faculty members. Professor Sukalyan Sengupta (Civil & Environmental Engineering), Professor Amit Tandon (Mechanical Engineering), and Assistant Professor Steve Zanganeh (Bioengineering) each received an OTCV grant for their innovative research proposals.

The OTCV awards invest in faculty research and development projects that lead to further investment, workforce training, and job creation opportunities within the Commonwealth.

Professor Sukalyan Sengupta (Civil & Environmental Engineering) received an award for his project “Resource Recovery from Spent Lithium-Ion Batteries (LIBs).” According to Sengupta, spent LIBs contain valuable metals in the cathode (principally Lithium, Cobalt, Nickel, and Manganese) which need to be recovered and reused. Conventional LIB recovery processes based on pyro-metallurgy, hydrometallurgy, and biohydrometallurgy suffer from serious drawbacks including high energy usage, high concentration of corrosive and toxic chemicals, and low Li recovery rate.

This proposal presents an innovative process to recover Li, Co, Ni, and Mn from spent LIB at very high purity (> 99%) that can be reused in the manufacture of new LIB. The process involves the sequential and selective application of organic ligands to complex the metals in the spent LIB and recovers the metals through manipulation of solution chemistry to precipitate Li, Co, Ni, and Mn as high-purity compounds that can be used as a raw material in the manufacture of LIBs. The organic ligands are reused over multiple cycles, thus creating a nearly zero- waste emitting sustainable process.

Professor Amit Tandon (Mechanical Engineering) and his project “Aurelia: Low-cost user-friendly depth changing vehicle for ocean sensors” dive into the issue surrounding a growing need for inexpensive devices that detect important sub-surface ocean data (e.g., temperature, salinity, currents) in the upper ocean. The Aurelia is a unique simple-to-use low-cost design advancing work done by a senior design team at UMass Dartmouth, led by Mr. Pasteris, mentored, and guided by Dr. Amit Tandon. Aurelia features a low-cost depth control system to allow several dive/surface trips, an Android graphical interface for Bluetooth programming, and a deployable antenna for retrieval after completing its mission.

Assistant Professor Steve Zanganeh’s (Bioengineering) project “Ultra-Effective Air Filtration/Purification Media Based on Anti-Microbial Coated Advanced Flocked Fibrous Structures” utilizes a novel air-scrubbing/purification media concept employing Flocked Reticulated Foam (FRF) which has been conceived by UMassD engineers. This filtration media design is based on the biomimicry of lung cilia or nasopharyngeal hair which results in the creation of air filtration media materials having exceptionally low back-pressure. Additionally, this novel FRF concept is combined with the airborne pathogen destroying effects of flocked media coated with an antimicrobial chemical agent. It is expected that the inherently high surface area of these FRF structures will greatly enhance the antimicrobial effect of room-air passing through the antimicrobial-agent treated FRF media. In the proposed work, the effectiveness of this airborne pathogen destroying methodology will be systematically evaluated. Furthermore, commercial development research on this technology will be carried out in close cooperation with an industrial partner, Ocean State Shields of Providence, RI.

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