The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) seeks partners interested in the commercial application of the Activated Metal Treatment System (AMTS) for treating polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in paints. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is offering companies licensing or partnering opportunities in the development of this innovative remediation technology.

AMTS paste being applied to an I-beam contaminated with PCB paint.

Current physical removal methods are able to strip off PCB-laden paint from surfaces (e.g., media blasting); however, these methods typically create a new waste stream that must be treated according to Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) regulation. In contrast, AMTS extracts PCBs and breaks them down into benign byproducts while on the structure. Therefore, no additional treatment for PCBs is required. Also, because the treated surface can be reused following application, AMTS has advantages over other methods, and often opens up recycling opportunities that would not have been possible prior to AMTS application.

PCBs have been shown to cause cancer in animals and to have other adverse effects on immune, reproductive, nervous, and endocrine systems. Although the production of PCBs in the United States has been banned since the late 1970s, many surfaces are still coated with PCB-laden paints. AMTS can address the limitations with traditional abatement methods for PCBs. This innovative technology consists of a solvent solution (e.g., ethanol, d-limonene) that contains an activated zero-valent metal.

AMTS is first applied to the painted surface using either spray-on techniques or wipe-on techniques. The solution then extracts the PCBs from the paint. The extracted PCBs react with the microscale activated metal and are degraded into benign byproducts. This technology can be applied without removing the paint or dismantling the painted structure. In addition, the surface can be reused following treatment.

AMTS works on painted structures; concrete surfaces contaminated by PCB-laden transformer oil, caulks, and other adhesives; electrical equipment; soils (ex situ); and other PCB-contaminated debris.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact Lew Parrish at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to initiate licensing discussions. Follow this link for more information: http://technology.nasa.gov/patent/TB2016/TOP10-114 .

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the January, 2017 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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