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Innovative Water Purification System for Space Exploration Wins National Commercialization Award

Awardees Dr. Mathias Vanotti, Dr. Ariel Szogi, and Bill Cumbie receive the award at FLC Awards in Philadelphia

Pancopia, Inc., a small Virginia-based R&D company, was recently awarded an Excellence in Technology Transfer award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium.

HAMPTON, VA, USA, May 2, 2018 / -- On Wednesday April 25, 2018 Pancopia, Inc. received a National Excellence in Technology Transfer Project of the Year 2018 award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) for the development of a next-generation water purification system for NASA’s use in manned space exploration, including possible Mars missions and colonies. Pancopia was a co-recipient of the FLC commercialization award with USDA, which has been a partner in the development, patenting, and licensing of two sets of organisms used in this innovative technology. In September, Pancopia and the USDA won a similar award for the southeast region and were recently winners on the national level.

NASA has sponsored and invested in the development of this technology through Phase I and Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts. Collaborating with NASA and the USDA, Pancopia has developed a process that incorporates current wastewater treatment technology with recently discovered, patented organisms and processes to remove the major wastewater pollutants—organic carbon and nitrogen—at a far lower cost than any current treatments. Pancopia is also developing similar technology for use in the $100 Billion plus municipal and agricultural wastewater market.

Bill Cumbie, Pancopia’s CEO and founder, noted “We are honored to receive this award with USDA who has partnered with us to develop this technology. NASA’s support and funding for our research has provided the platform to assist in meeting their needs and commercialize our process. With their support, Pancopia is moving forward with plans for its first municipal pilot installation this summer.”

The FLC is a federal network of over 300 agencies, laboratories, and research centers across the United States that focuses on commercialization strategies for accelerating the movement of technologies from research to the marketplace. For more about the FLC, please visit
Pancopia, Inc. is based at the Peninsula Technology Incubator in the National Institute of Aerospace, located in Hampton, Virginia. It has received grants from the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) to assist in its development of its technology and two contracts with NASA for development of its process for use in space exploration. Pancopia also partners with leading universities including Old Dominion University, Virginia Tech, Bucknell, and Purdue to develop transforming technology. Visit for more information.

Rachel Willinger
Pancopia, Inc.
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