Polyazacrown-based Materials for Mercury Capture

Executive Summary

Coal burning plants emit significant amounts of mercury to the environment, which is harmful to humans. A variety of processes are currently used to mitigate mercury emissions, but there is a need for more effective approaches. MSU researchers have developed a new polymer and method of synthesis for binding to mercury ions and removing them from contaminated liquid streams. The system is air stable, highly selective to mercury, has high capacity and is regenerative.

Description of Technology

Elemental mercury and derivatives are highly toxic to humans and bioaccumulates. One significant source of mercury emissions is from coal burning power plants which use several methods to reduce mercury from effluent including scrubbing or fly ash capture. However, there remains a need for a more selective binding of mercury by air stable, regenerative materials. MSU researchers have developed a polymeric complex and method to synthesize that is well suited for removal of mercury from effluent streams. The material is polyazacrown polymer that has a high selectivity to bind with mercury cations, high capacity for mercury, stable and regenerative. The polymer can be used to remove mercury from aqueous streams in a scalable process. The removed mercury can then be concentrated for subsequent proper disposal.

Key Benefits

  • Highly selective polymer to bind with mercury
  • Stable, regenerative system
  • High mercury removal capacity


  • Mercury removal from coal burning plants

Patent Status

US Granted Patent 7,968,673

Licensing Rights Available

Full licensing rights available


James Jackson, Volodymyr Tarabara, Mikhail Redko, Julian Taurozzi

Tech ID


Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Jon Debling
Technology Manager
Michigan State University