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PolyGone Systems is a Princeton University spinout cleantech company with a mission to remove the trillions of potentially harmful microplastics entering the world’s oceans and drinking water. Microplastics are now considered an emerging aquatic pollutant, yet no systems can affordably and systematically remove them before they enter broader aquatic environments and drinking water sources. In response to this looming threat, our team innovated a biomimetic filtration system, the Artificial Root, which is designed to remove microplastics from wastewater treatment effluent channels, drinking water treatment channels, open streams, river mouths, marinas and lake outflows.

Our products include a modular filtration system and a floating supporting ponton, which can be easily accumulated to adapt to a wide range of water channels. Finally, we provide microplastic monitoring report services to help find the best-suited remediation option for the targeted waterways.

Our team has developed a microplastic filtration device known as the Plastic Hunter. This modular and cost-effective floating unit is designed to efficiently collect and eliminate microplastic debris from waterways, employing a range of proprietary filters. Our primary innovation, the Artificial Root Filter, mimics the structure of an aquatic plant root. Constructed from silicone fibers, this hydrophobic material effectively traps and adheres microplastic pollutants on its surface.

The filters are strategically deployed in the top 1 ft of the water column, targeting the areas where the majority of microplastics are found. We have designed, built, and validated our solution both through lab experiments, where we were able to remove over 70% of microplastics introduced to a controlled tank, and 25% in the field, in a polluted effluent stream. Notably, we captured plastic particles less than a quarter of a millimeter, which no other microplastic filter can achieve in open water.

Our technology has a few key advantages: 1. Our modular design can be easily adapted to any water channel; 2. The system is passive and does not require any electricity; 3. The installation is simple, with no heavy infrastructure or dependent system requirements. Our team is committed to developing an affordable and ready-to-use solution that can benefit not only established municipality users with infrastructure but also rural communities with little to no systems in place to protect them from aquatic microplastic pollutants. We work closely with stakeholders to ensure a smooth and safe deployment process.