Clean Earth Tech will commercialise a dust suppressant polymer invented by Minkyu Kim at UA's College of Engineering.

University of Arizona has officially launched US-based dust control polymer spinout Clean Earth Tech, with an undisclosed sum from its tech transfer office, Tech Launch Arizona (TLA).

TLA supplied the funding through its Asset Development Program, which invests in early-stage businesses advancing university-owned technologies.

Clean Earth Tech is working on a polymer-based formula that can be applied to surfaces so that they stay damp for more than two months, which helps prevent the accumulation of dust.

Lubricating the ground with water is common for dust control in arid climates, however the sites often require frequent lubrication in order to keep the dust at bay.

Dust storms in dry climates, including in Arizona, are a detriment to respiratory health and can also negatively impact machinery such as cars.

Although polymer dust suppressants for water applications already exist, Clean Earth Tech’s approach exploits a biodegradable material that is safe for human consumption and, as such, is safe to use in groundwater.

The spinout initially hopes to win business in East Asia, particularly in South Korea, where new legislation has been introduced to limit the dust discharged by heavy industrial plants.

Clean Earth Tech has commenced a field test of its material with Seoul’s Metropolitan Subway aimed at determining whether the product reduces dust levels in subway tunnels.

Clean Earth’s polymer material is the invention of Minkyu Kim, an assistant professor of materials science, engineering and biomedical engineering at UA’s College of Engineering.