Stony Brook University is among the recipients of the National Science Foundation’s first Innovation Corps (I-Corps) awards, which help develop research with commercial potential.

Each of the 21 recipients of the I-Corps awards receives a $50,000 grant to assess the commercial potential of emerging technology, advice from public- and private-sector experts, and investor meetings.

Stony Brook will use the grant to focus on an invention by Perena Gouma, a professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering, and graduate student Jusang Lee called nanogrids, which the university described as “miniaturized self-supported mats, similar to fishing nets” that float on water and use solar energy to rapidly decompose crude oil and other pollutants.

“The result is that pollutants are turned into water, carbon dioxide and other biodegradable organics for fast and efficient oil decomposition and environmental remediation,” Stony Brook said in a news release.

Potential commercial uses include oil spill cleanups.

“There are numerous applications for our nanogrids in water remediation,” Gouma said in the release. “They can clean oil spills effectively, whether near the shore or in the middle of the ocean, in a lake, river, a refinery or a water-cleaning facility.”

Stony Brook president Dr. Samuel Stanley Jr. said the grant “is a reflection of the pioneering research, discovery and technology transfer that is happening every day at Stony Brook.”

I-Corps Program Officer Errol Arkilic said in the release, “All show promise as potential innovations that could yield additional direct benefits to society.”


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