In 2007, UCF professors Christian Clausen, Cherie Geiger and Debra Reinhart were inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame. They were honored for their development of technology known as Emulsified Zero-Valent Iron, which reduces groundwater contamination.
Cleaning up chemicals used years ago to flush rocket engines and other space industry equipment has proved challenging because the chemicals seeped deep into the ground and contaminated the aquifers. The UCF discovery has led to the first efficient method for cleaning up the sources of the underground contamination by chlorinated solvents that are from the same family as dry-cleaning fluids.
The Emulsified Zero-Valent Iron technology also won NASA’s Government Invention of the Year and Commercial Invention of the Year for 2005. In addition, the group received a 2006 Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer. The technology was field tested by the U.S. Department of Defense. It also has been used by governments and industry in Arkansas, Illinois, Tennessee, New Jersey and Florida and by other governmental agencies.
Since 1988, the Space Foundation, in cooperation with NASA, has inducted into the Space Hall of Fame more than 40 technologies and honored hundreds of organizations and individuals for their efforts. Inductions recognize space technology innovators, increase public awareness of the benefits of space technology and encourage further innovation.