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TerraFusion and University of Idaho Announce a Joint R & D and Commercialization Partnership

TerraFusion Inc, a leading provider of environmentally sustainable soil stabilization products, is pleased to announce a new research, development and commercialization partnership with the University of Idaho.

TerraFusion Inc, a leading provider of environmentally sustainable soil stabilization products, is pleased to announce a new research, development and commercialization partnership with the University of Idaho. The new collaboration comes on the heels of the University’s patent application for a deep-soil stabilization treatment designed to increase soil resistance to liquefaction and sheering at depths below what most existing stabilizers are capable of achieving. TerraFusion aims to leverage its existing network of international distributors, technical and business partners to commercialize this technology in the developed and developing world’s construction markets. The partnership also has plans for future collaborative research and development efforts.

The new technology – invented by a team from the University of Idaho’s Biology and Civil Engineering departments – was shown to double the strength of soils at depths greater than two meters below the surface. The technique, which uses readily available and easy-to-manufacture components to stimulate biologically induced calcium carbonate precipitation, has been shown to increase strength from 2.5 MPa (360psi) to 6 MPa (870psi). The method works in almost any soil and the materials can be delivered and mixed on site – substantially reducing freight costs compared to stabilizers that ship by the gallon or drum. For its part, the University of Idaho will gain access to TerraFusion’s six-continent-wide distribution network and team of professional construction sales executives.

“This is an exciting and important partnership the university is embarking on, which will benefit TerraFusion, our faculty and researchers and the general public,” said Gene Merrell, University of Idaho associate vice president of research. “The technology and research developed here in Idaho has the potential to increase soil stabilization around the world and make the process easier, less expensive and safer. This is another reminder of why partnerships between commercial ventures and the university are important to invest in.”

The discovery, besides possessing a great commercial potential, can also help save lives. As recent events such earthquakes in Haiti and China demonstrate, a structurally sound foundation is absolutely necessary for the long term soundness and safety of any building or community. Providing a developing country with an affordable and dependable method of stabilizing its infrastructure can mean the difference between limited damage and a humanitarian disaster. That is the ultimate goal of this technology.

Additionally, TerraFusion, which already has close ties with nationally recognized soil engineering laboratories, will now add professors of biology and engineering to its team of research and development experts. “We see this as an extremely productive relationship for both parties,” said CEO Omri Dahan. “While this helps TerraFusion expand both its R&D efforts and its market reach beyond road construction, the University gets to see its hard work, experience and knowledge capital brought to life in real applications.”

The technology is expected to reach its next stage of development in 2010 and be ready for commercial distribution in 2011.

About TerraFusion
TerraFusion is a Brentwood, California, based manufacturer of biomass-based construction products that help clients save money, simplify construction processes and reduce overall environmental impact. TerraFusion is proud to be a leader on the cutting edge of environmentally responsible construction technology.

About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 130 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. The university is home to the Vandals, the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl champions. For information, visit www.uidaho.edu

By Omri Dahan and Alex Goykhman
Published June 25, 2010

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