Valentine Nzengung named Regents’ Entrepreneur

Valentine N.
Valentine Nzengung, professor in the Department of Geology and founder of MuniRem Environmental, LLC, has been named as UGA’s third Regents’ Entrepreneur. MuniRem manufactures solutions for chemical neutralization of a broad range of explosives and chemical warfare agents. (Photo by Beth Chang for UGA)

The University System of Georgia Board of Regents approved Valentine Nzengung as Regents’ Entrepreneur at its Feb. 13 meeting. Nzengung is the third UGA faculty member to receive this honor.

The distinction recognizes innovative faculty members who have demonstrated success in translating research into a commercial setting. It lasts for an initial period of three years that can be extended by the board and provides a one-time $10,000 cash award.

“As Georgia’s only land- and sea-grant institution, UGA has a responsibility to produce research that serves the citizens of our state and stewards our natural resources. Dr. Nzengung has shown exceptional skill at translating his innovative research into a company and product that can save lives all around the world,” said Karen Burg, vice president for research. “I admire his innovative and entrepreneurial spirit and demonstrated ability to maximize the impact of his research. He is eminently worthy of this honor and achievement.”

Nzengung is a professor of environmental geochemistry in , 2016 UGA Entrepreneur of the Year, National Academy of Inventors Fellow, and was featured as a “Trendsetter and Planet Protector” by Georgia Trend Magazine. His research includes the development and evaluation of innovative technologies for the cleanup of contaminated water, sediment, and soils.

He holds five patents and one pending for proprietary green and sustainable remediation technologies. Nzengung has been a trailblazer in sustainable, environmental remediation technologies for over 30 years and is known best for MuniRem, a product that instantly neutralizes bulk explosives, bomb fillers, and chemical warfare materiel. The success of this product allowed him to launch his company MuniRem Environmental, LLC.

“I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the ۹ܼѴȫ, my mother, and the students I have worked with in my research for giving me the opportunities and support that have led to my being named a Regents’ Entrepreneur by the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. This recognition is an endorsement of my commitment to develop peaceful means to mitigate the hazards of explosives globally—in many regards, this work is just beginning and this recognition will further our ability to make advancements that will benefit all of us here on Earth.”

MuniRem Environmental, LLC, works with authorized partners to carry out a wide range of environmental remediation projects and is being selected for various global, high-value military and private contracts.

MuniRem technology showcased its capabilities during the salvage operations of the Confederate ironclad gunboat, CSS Georgia. The Georgia still contained several artifacts when it was rediscovered during a Savannah Harbor dredging project. Among these artifacts was ordnance filled with volatile black powder. Utilizing MuniRem, each shell was rendered inert, ensuring the safety of the artifacts for further examination and preservation efforts.