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Compact Membrane Systems to expand lab space

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Compact Membrane Systems CMS Newport Delaware John Carney Christine Parrish

Christine Parrish, business development lead at Compact Membrane Services, shows a unit to Gov. John Carney during a visit to their Newport site in March 2023. | DBT FILE PHOTO

With plans to expand its membrane manufacturing, Compact Membrane Systems (CMS) Inc. is investing in a new $3.1 million laboratory and plans to add 50 technology workers in the next three years.

The new lab will be built near Wilmington University at Reads Way. CMS officials told the Delaware Business Times that it chose New Castle to recruit scientific and technical talent from the University of Delaware, with special hiring at the “world class”  University of Delaware Chemical Engineering department.

CMS will also be recruiting membrane scientists from DuPont and Nemours in the Wilmington area for its 15,000-foot lab expansion. In January, CMS received taxpayer-backed grants from the state Council on Development Finance, including a Graduated Lab Space grant of up to $760,480 and a Jobs Performance grant of up to $115,000 from the Delaware Strategic Fund.

“CMS has grown up as a Delaware company and, through this state support, is excited to cement our future in Delaware,” said Erica Nemser, CMS’s CEO, who also chairs the Delaware Sustainable Chemistry Alliance Board. “We love the resources and opportunity Delaware has to offer, from excellent scientific and technical talent to the commitment to manufacturing advanced technology to address climate emissions.”

The expansion includes building 10,864 square feet of research and development and manufacturing-focused lab spaces along with more than 4,216 square feet of additional new space. By 2027, the firm is expected to grow to 60 employees, if milestones are met.

CMS is a 30-year old membrane technology company founded by Stuart Nemser, who invented these carbon capture membranes, and his daughter is now the global CEO.

“We will be recruiting heavily at UD Chemical Engineering, which is world class in developing membrane technology,” said Charles Swartz, who is director of special projects and a CMS spokesperson. “People will have outstanding careers with CMS and we need the blocking and tackling of scientists who want to grow with us.”

The new lab will also feature a pilot manufacturing program to launch its carbon capture membranes at the new lab. 

“We have three partners in Europe and these are very large demonstration projects for our customers,” Swartz added. “Our CEO Erica is in the Netherlands today working with these suppliers. We have supply partners in Asia, Europe, and the U.S. GHG capture is needed more than ever. This technology supports a circular economy.” 

CMS plans to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. “We can make companies and heavy industry more compliant,” said Swartz. “We can take some of the waste stream issues off their hands and use this circular economy approach to reduce CO2 output.”

“We won’t solve everything, but this CO2 capture is a hot button issues today and it’s great to be able to deploy our membrane technology to stop the industrial carbon output.”

With a massive shortage of membrane fiber needed to meet industry demands, CMS says it is expanding to help fill the growing needs of the carbon capture and sequestration market. The company believes this market has tremendous growth potential in the fight against climate change.

CMS has been shifting from a small, research-based company utilizing federal grants for R&D projects to further its business objectives to a rapidly growing commercial entity with a double bottom line, said the firm.

CMS is marrying commercial success with social responsibility by delivering innovative new products while also capturing and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As the company has evolved, including raising $16.5 million in a Series A venture capital round in 2023, it investigated the best places to build its new labs and manufacturing location.

 “It’s vitally important we keep legacy companies like CMS in our communities growing and thriving,” New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer said in a prepared statement “We have the talent right here in our state, and this expansion presents opportunities for our workforce to stay right here at home.”

 

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