Corrosion-related issues cost the U.S. economy an estimated $276 billion annually. Corrosion on metal items can cause safety hazards, loss of revenue, and environmental harm. Traditional corrosion-resistant coatings contain chromium and cadmium, which are expensive and environmentally harmful—and not the best solution for industry or end users.
To address this issue, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), developed a revolutionary, cost-effective process for delivering superior corrosion protection to metal products. This novel “green” coating process electrodeposits aluminum on metal surfaces to provide corrosion protection aimed at displacing existing anti-corrosion coatings. The process represents a major advancement over current technology, delivering improved versatility and diminished environmental impact at a reduced cost.
Successful transfer of this novel corrosion coating process to the marketplace was made possible by the expertise and efforts of a team of inventors and technology transfer professionals. Jessica Sosenko, NETL Technology Transfer Manager, led efforts to ensure compliance of the NETL-sponsored research co-developed with CMU, and managed NETL’s rights to the intellectual property. Sosenko, Leah Bower and Katie Klos actively worked with Drs. David Luebke and Hunaid Nulwala, inventors of the technology, to ensure that full rights to commercialize the technology were obtained.
To address this issue, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), developed a revolutionary, cost-effective process for delivering superior corrosion protection to metal products.
There were several obstacles to successfully transferring the technology. Because it was in an early stage of development, the technology required additional testing in an operational environment to validate its potential for commercialization. Funding limitations meant that the team had to be creative in identifying, obtaining, and effectively utilizing resources from both local and national revenue streams.
Working from the inside out, the team first sought support from their home bases. At NETL, the AECOM site support contractor team identified and secured corporate funds to assist with technology maturation activities. Additional seed funds were secured from CMU. Creating a startup company to commercialize this technology was another hurdle. Dr. Luebke weighed the risk and ultimately decided to leave his long-term position at NETL to focus his time and attention on launching a new startup business.
The end result proved to be worth the risk. LumiShield Technologies, Inc., was launched to deliver state-of-the art, environment-friendly, corrosion-resistant coatings for the biomedical, automotive, aerospace, infrastructure, marine, electronics and consumer products industries. The benefits derived from the adoption of LumiShield’s coating technology include decreased manufacturing costs and improved component performance, and should position LumiShield to rapidly carve a niche in the $10-billion metal coatings market.