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Ohio University announces patent and technology license agreement with American Resources Corporation

Published: February 17, 2021 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University announced today a patent and technology license agreement with American Resources Corporation, a socially responsible supplier of raw materials to the global infrastructure marketplace, giving exclusive rights to utilize the technologies covered by the patents in applications related to rare earth mineral processing and graphene production.

The technologies were originally developed by Dr. Gerardine Botte while an OHIO Distinguished Professor and chemical and biomolecular engineering professor in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology.

“We are pleased to announce this new agreement and commend Dr. Gerardine Botte for the tremendous work she did while at the University,” said Robert Silva, director of the Ohio University Technology Transfer Office. “The agreement provides testimony to the importance of research carried out at Ohio University, and the role it plays in giving private-sector partners access to cutting-edge technologies.”

Botte’s current roles include Whitacre Department Chair in Chemical Engineering at Texas Tech University and Chief Technical Officer of Advanced Carbon Materials, a subsidiary of American Resources Corporation.

With this license agreement, American Resources will have the domestic rights and an option to international rights for four patents: “Coal Electrolysis: Hydrogen, Liquid Fuels, and Carbon Nanotubes Production,” “Simultaneous Removal of Ammonia, Urea, and Metals from Water,” “Methods for the Synthesis of Graphene from Coal, Carbon Chars, and Carbon Solid Sources,” and “Roll-to-Roll Transfer of Graphene and Substrate Recovery.”

“Commercial licensing is an important means for moving discoveries by our researchers to the marketplace to benefit society,” said Joseph Shields, Ph.D., Ohio University’s vice president for research and creative activity. “The license agreement with American Resources Corporation provides a pathway for Dr. Botte’s groundbreaking research to be translated into applications that are both economically and environmentally beneficial.”

The group of licensed technologies is focused on the use of electrolysis for separating and processing carbon, coal waste and carbon byproducts, such as fly ash as a feedstock. These technologies have the ability to provide a clean and viable solution for fly ash reprocessing and mitigate potential long-term environmental issues for existing and former coal-fired power plants.

The patents complete the American Resources Corporation’s “Capture. Process. Purify.” technology chain for rare earth mineral production.

“Several years ago, we set out to achieve an efficient and environmentally safer way to produce critical and rare earth elements through recycling and reprocessing waste streams and materials in the domestic market,” Mark Jensen, CEO of American Resources Corporation, said. “Today we can officially say that this technology and these patents that we have secured from Ohio University, with the assistance of their great team, significantly enhances our process chain of technologies at a worldwide competitive cost structure.”

The patents will help American Resources Corporation continue to focus on running efficient, streamlined operations while being a new-aged supplier of raw materials to the infrastructure marketplace in the most sustainable of ways. 

“I am excited and anxious to get started on commercializing these technologies that I have put my heart and soul into developing and refining. These patents and further work we are conducting with electrolysis lives at the heart of the ‘Process’ stage of American Rare Earth’s ‘Capture-Process-Purify’ technology chain that we have been building as a company,” Botte said. “The amazing aspect of electrolysis is that it will not only help us separate and improve our rare earth oxide concentrate, but it can also be a profit center from the byproducts derived during the operation and be an overall environmentally positive process.”