CeraMem Corporation is a Massachusetts Subchapter S Corporation, founded in 1986 to commercialize novel concepts for ceramic membrane modules. The base technology has since expanded to include multiple ceramic membranes for microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, pervaporation and elevated temperature gas separations.
CeraMem’s “mission” is the effective utilization of U.S. Government funding to seed the formation of new businesses based on technology innovation in these fields. CeraMem has obtained SBIR Phase III investment commitments from three large corporate investors: the Exxon Chemical Co., Corning Inc., and Ahlstrom Pyropower, Inc. The financing was used for capitalization of the joint ventures CeraMem Separations, Inc. and CeraFilter Systems, L.P. CeraMem has also licensed several ceramic membrane patents to Degussa AG.
In 1992, Exxon invested Phase III financing for the formation of CeraMem Separations, Inc. (CSI). CSI commercialized “first generation” membranes from CeraMem’s early SBIR programs. In 1994, Corning joined the JV. During its existence CSI sold membranes for twenty process systems into several market sectors. Included was the largest ceramic membrane system in the world at that time, for dextrose hydrolysate clarification.
In 1997, CeraMem sold its interest in CSI to Corning. CeraMem retained a license to the original CeraMem patents and know-how, and this provides one basis for a new ceramic membrane business CeraMem is now launching with second generation products. These new products use recrystallized silicon carbide (RSiC) and reaction-bonded alumina (RBAO) monoliths as membrane supports. These monoliths are included in a new intellectual property (IP) asset CeraMem is establishing, having filed six patent applications over the last four years. This new IP covers monolith materials, module structures, membrane chemistries, and processes for making and using these products.
In 2002, CeraMem initiated sales of prototypes of its new ceramic membrane modules. Sales have been made to the US Navy for shipboard bilgewater deoiling and to a Spanish OEM, who has sold over twenty bilgewater systems to the French and other NATO navies. Systems have also been sold for treatment of offshore platform produced water, alkaline degreasing baths, and a steel rolling mill spent lubricant.
CeraMem brings to a prospective partner novel membrane products with protection afforded by both patents and patent applications and the manufacturing know how required to make them.
Currently, CeraMem has a staff of twelve, including nine professionals (five PhD’s), two technicians, and one clerical staff. CeraMem’s 2005 revenues were about $1,800,000.