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Friday, June 01, 2007



Crystal Clear Technologies partnered with University of Oregon chemist Darren Johnson and his lab to take a piece of Johnson’s research to the global market. About two years ago Johnson was conducting research on the feasibility of using nanotechnology to create  organic compounds that would bind with arsenic in a water system. Basically his lab wanted to create an organic compound that would, when placed in water filters like those made by Brita or Pure, bind with toxic heavy metals. Crystal Clear was interested in using that technology to create an inexpensive water treatment system to remove mercury, lead, arsenic and uranium from drinking water worldwide. Through Crystal Clear, Johnson’s lab received $100,000 from a National Science Foundation grant, as well as about $200,000 from the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute. Johnson has one patent pending on his filtration system with expectations to file another this summer. Crystal Clear hopes to have a retail product in about a year that would, according to president Lisa Farmen, “purify enough water to support one person for a year for $1 a day.” Farmen also hopes to recycle the elements filtered out of the water for use in new products.

Going green is getting easier. Now businesses can qualify for larger incentives from Energy Trust of Oregon for installing commercial solar power systems. The new incentives cover systems that produce up to 50 kilowatts. The maximum incentive increased to $70,000. Businesses with solar power systems remain connected to the local electricity grid and receive a credit for power generated but not consumed.

For those who don’t feel fully dressed without a Leatherman tool attached to their belt, the Leatherman Tool Group factory store is the place to go. The 400,000 square-foot showroom opened in April and stocks a complete line of Leatherman products. Juli Warner, spokeswoman for Leatherman, says the showroom marks the first time the company will sell products directly to the consumers. Visitors can also see the factory floor through a glass wall within the shop. “You can play with any of the products,” Warner says. For those who get a little too close to the business end of a Leatherman, the staff does have bandages on hand.

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