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December 2020

Innovation Award Winners, Nano Septic Considers Club Safety

By Scott Kauffman

Heading into the new year, practically all facets of society, and every entertainment, sports, leisure and travel business, is still seeking the most effective and efficient solutions to protect themselves and their customers from catching the novel coronavirus’ harmful pathogens.

The many products and technologies being used range from ubiquitous hand sanitizers and dispensers to electrostatic sprayers and contraptions that utilize varying degrees of ultraviolet light to self-sanitize smartphones and other small items. One of the latest innovative ideas to find its way into the marketplace is another branded self-cleaning product called NanoSeptic.

Developed by NanoTouch Materials LLC at the Center for Advanced Engineering & Research in Forest, Va., co-founders Mark Sisson and Dennis Hackemeyer actually won their state’s 2016 ISSA Innovation Award and received a $2 million grant to go with it. Driven by simple everyday experiences with concerns over cleanliness, the NanoTouch team decided there had to be a better way to deliver visible cleanliness in public places and high-profile touch points in a safer toxin-free manner.

According to the company, NanoSeptic technology kills pathogens by using a photocatalytic reaction with embedded titanium dioxide nanoparticles.  In plain language, when UV light hits the nanocrystals on the surface of the material, a powerful oxidation process is triggered that in essence attacks and breaks down the pathogens, creating a self-disinfecting surface.

One way the NanoSeptic technology is being used is through a septic coating that’s applied to self-adhesive plastic sheets. Then, by wrapping the product around a bathroom door handle, for example, NanoSeptic self-cleans every time it is touched.

Sisson says the basic science behind this photocatalytic reaction has been around 40 years but it “could never get out of the lab” because it historically required powerful UV light. With the innovation Sisson’s group discovered, they created a system that can function in the entire spectrum of LED, incandescent and fluorescent lighting.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, business has been brisk and the private company already gained the business of some high-profile clientele, including the U.S. Navy, Fortune 500 buildings, airports and the Federal Reserve. Next in line is possibly the PGA Tour to some degree, which NanoTouch reportedly met with in September, and any one of the country’s 14,000-plus golf facilities, if longtime golf businessman Tony Duran and his namesake Duran Group sales and marketing firm has a say.

According to Duran, NanoSeptic’s award-winning technology can be a great fit for golf’s many touch points on and off the course, and Duran is hoping to launch a suite of custom solutions for courses from bunker rakes to door handles that will give the industry “SafeGolf”  for many years to come. Another early adopter interested in bringing the technology to golf tournaments/venues is Kip McBride, vice president of operations for NHS Sports Group, a leading event manager with more than 350 professional events like the Memorial Tournament and AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Sisson says NanoSeptic products range in price from $1.75 for a small skin that goes on a door handle, up to $32.95 for a super durable counter mat. For a typical facility, customers will spend about 10 cents per square foot annually on a variety of NanoSeptic products, Sisson adds.

“Golf is a little different since a lot of the facility is outside,” Sisson says. “We’re looking at custom applications like rake handle wraps and pin wraps - anything that lots of people are going to touch. … The toxin free aspect is important to us. We felt like the world was simply throwing more chemicals and stronger chemicals at the hygiene problem, which didn’t feel like the smartest way to do it.

“Not only does the NanoSeptic surface not have any toxins, but since we’re dealing with a catalyst, nothing gets released from the surface or gets used up. So less environmental impact and certainly less contact risk.”

 

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