A mineral processing technology developed at The University of Queensland (UQ) has been partnered with Australian resources company Zeotech Limited (ASX:ZEO).

Researchers from UQ’s School of Chemical Engineering have developed a novel approach to the production of synthetic zeolites – manufactured minerals often used in water treatment and detergents.

UQ’s commercialisation company UniQuest has negotiated an exclusive licence agreement with ASX-listed Zeotech (formerly Metalsearch), who will further commercialise the technology developed by UQ’s Associate Professor James Vaughan and Dr Hong (Marco) Peng.

Synthetic zeolites – commonly known as molecular sieves – have a sponge-like structure made up of tiny pores, making them useful as catalysts or ultrafine filters, and can be designed to selectively adsorb molecules or ions.

They are often used as water softeners, water filters, and as ion exchangers in many everyday dishwashing and laundry detergents, assisting to remove calcium and magnesium and thereby softening water so they work more effectively.

UniQuest CEO Dr Dean Moss said the UQ technology has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of manufacturing zeolites, compared to current production processes.

“The UQ technology used to produce the synthetic zeolite has shown potential to reduce energy consumption and production time, compared to traditional methods in lab experiments.

“UniQuest is very pleased to have partnered with ZEO for this promising technology.  With the ZEO licence, and an associated research agreement to follow shortly, we are excited to support ZEO to explore broader use across multiple industry applications and further commercialise this technology to create change.” Dr Moss said.

Zeotech’s COO Mr Peter Zardo welcomed the partnership.

“It’s an exciting time to join Zeotech with the addition of an innovative new technology that has the potential to disrupt the synthetic zeolite manufacturing market. Our relationship with The University of Queensland continues to strengthen and we now have a significant opportunity to leverage our Abercorn deposit and combine it with world-leading Kaolin technology,” Mr Zardo said.

“We are committed to extracting the significant benefits of this opportunity and commercialising it for ZEO’s Abercorn Project and broader market applications. We would like to thank UQ and UniQuest for introducing this technology to ZEO and enabling the licence agreement.

“ZEO now has the potential for reporting a strong maiden JORC resource on its Abercorn project, exciting technology and executive capability to go to the next level, we all look forward to the journey ahead and updating the market as we progress,” Mr Zardo said.

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