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Indestructible Ultra-filtration: Ceramic HEPA Filters

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

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Technology Marketing Summary

High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are widely used commercial products to remove airborne particulates from a gas stream in a gas process system or ventilation system. Filter life span is determined by filter design and materials. Existing HEPA filters are made from glass fiber, which is fragile and easily damaged. They are subject to handling errors. Shelf life is reduced by contact with moisture. They are damaged by high pressures, chemical attack, high temperature, and fire. Alternative technologies face challenges with weight, strength, flow rate, and pressure drop. Alternative technologies also face challenges with life cycle cost, support system cost, regulatory scrutiny, radiolysis, weight, strength, flow rate, and pressure drop. Sand filters are not an economical option for many industries (e.g., biotech). Teflon© filters recently encountered regulatory issues which have limited their application.


A ceramic HEPA filter designed to meet commercial and DOE requirements, as well as to minimize upgrade installation logistics for use in existing facilities. Current key performance requirements are described in DOE Standard 3020. The ceramic filter is designed to be nonflammable, corrosion resistant, and compatible with high temperatures and moisture. The ceramic filter will significantly increase filter life span and reduce life cycle costs, and open up new opportunities for overall process gas system and ventilation system design.

Watch the inventor present his work in this movie.


Advantages include: specialty application processes could be significantly improved by a ceramic HEPA filter with NBC performance characteristics exceeding that of traditional, non-ceramic filters, ceramic HEPA filter will minimize retrofit problems and costs while meeting requirements, industries utilizing fume hoods and glove boxes can benefit from a nonflammable, corrosion resistant ceramic filter, replacement of existing filters with more durable versions with enhanced capabilities and open up industrial avenues closed by current technology and regulations.

Features include: moisture resistant, longer lifespan, more durable, nonflammable, more corrosion resistant.

Benefits include: increase safety of operations, minimize contamination issues, longer operational life of filters, longer shelf life of filters, minimize operational downtime due to maintenance outages, fewer interruptions in the manufacturing process, lower life cycle costs, lower support system and regulatory compliance costs, lower waste disposal costs, capable of handling higher temperatures, higher pressures, more resistant to chemical attack, and more resistant to fire.

Applications and Industries

Ceramic HEPA filters open the doors for new applications of HEPA filtration in numerous industries, such as biotechnology. Nuclear reactors, radiological facilities and other hazardous material processing facilities that encounter nontrivial contamination issues and life cycle costs (both operational and waste disposal) for filters and affiliated support systems.

Industries that may be interested include: Biotech, Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, Clean Coal Power Generation, Hazardous Materials Processing, Metals Processing, Wastewater Treatment, Semiconductor Fabrication, Nuclear Power Generation, Radiological Facilities, Aerospace, Defense Industries, and Petroleum Processing.

More Information

Numerous ceramic materials and fabrication techniques have been developed and tested. Ceramic coupons will be tested shortly. The next step is the fabrication of a prototype filter.

Watch the inventor present his work in this movie.

Patents and Patent Applications
ID Number
Title and Abstract
Primary Lab
Application 20130068104
An equipment component system including an equipment component structure having a first unit and a second unit and an intumescent paint or sealant on said equipment component structure. The intumescent paint or sealant provides sealing or prevents warpage or deformation or separation of a equipment component or sub-component in a fire or at high temperatures. The intumescent paint can shut a gap in a fire or at high temperatures. The intumescent paint can also pen a gap in a fire or at high temperatures so that fluid flow is preferentially directed one route versus another.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 09/12/2012
Application 20130048579
Ceramic Filter with Nanofibers
A filter system for filtering a fluid containing particles includes a porous substrate. The porous substrate is made of a porous ceramic material. A filtering material is connected to the porous ceramic substrate. The filtering material includes nanofibers. The fluid travels through the porous ceramic substrate and travels through the filtering material wherein the particles are captured in the porous ceramic substrate and in the filtering material.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 08/29/2012
Application 20140263085
Continously-Operable Flow Stream Processing System and Method
A continuously-operable flow stream processing system and method has two or more fluid processing media arranged in a fluid conduit network to provide alternate flow paths for a flow stream to be processed (e.g. filtered). Valves and other flow control devices, e.g. controller module and sensors, are used to redirect the flow stream from one or more service-needed fluid processing media to service-ready fluid processing media without taking the system offline to remove, repair, replace, clean in situ, or otherwise service the service-needed fluid processing media, so that the system may operate continuously to process the flow stream without stoppage. Redirection into alternative flow paths and media may be automatically implemented based on a predetermined threshold or trigger condition, such as may be detected by sensors directly or indirectly monitoring media condition.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 03/14/2013
Patent 9,017,458
A system for concurrently filtering particles and collecting gases. Materials are be added (e.g., via coating the ceramic substrate, use of loose powder(s), or other means) to a HEPA filter (ceramic, metal, or otherwise) to collect gases (e.g., radioactive gases such as iodine). The gases could be radioactive, hazardous, or valuable gases.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 04/28/2015
Patent 9,457,297
Method of securing filter elements
A filter securing system including a filter unit body housing; at least one tubular filter element positioned in the filter unit body housing, the tubular filter element having a closed top and an open bottom; a dimple in either the filter unit body housing or the top of the tubular filter element; and a socket in either the filter unit body housing or the top of the tubular filter element that receives the dimple in either the filter unit body housing or the top of the tubular filter element to secure the tubular filter element to the filter unit body housing.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 10/04/2016
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated

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