A Glendale company turns wastewater into fertilizers for plants, feedstock for animals and magnesium-based wall panels for houses. Now, the "clean tech" company is poised to commercialize a process of making the same type of biodegradable products out of carbon.

"We are tackling two of the world's most serious environmental problems: wastewater and carbon," said Ahron Arakel, president and chief technologist of Geo-Processors USA Inc.

The company's patented Sal-Proc technology, used to capture carbonate minerals from byproducts of desalination, is already being tested by a water authority that serves Orange and Riverside counties.

Now, the company is preparing a pilot study on a portable Carbon Capture Production Recovery system. Housed in a small building near high-pollution sites, such as alongside a freeway, it would capture carbon from the air and turn it into magnesium carbonate for biodegradable building materials, and magnesium hydroxide for animal feed.

Geo-Processors is in the process of building a consortium of international and domestic companies, municipalities, research universities and investors to launch the first phase of the pilot study.

Nine engineers work at Geo-Processors, and they all have Ph.D.s. The company gets revenue from consulting and licensing contracts through its wastewater technology, and private investments from Arakel.

Arakel, a 30-year veteran of the business who holds numerous patents for technologies that treat wastewater and carbon dioxide, launched the company in his hometown of Sydney, Australia, in 1995 and moved the company to Los Angeles in 2005.

LED Craze

Since engineers found a way to turn light-emitting diode bulbs once used primarily for red elevator buttons into a bright white light a couple years ago, the market for the technology has taken off.

LED studio lighting, produced by North Hollywood-based LitePanels Inc., outfits the White House pressroom, and handheld LED light therapy devices for faces, produced by Valencia-based Ageless Beauty Corp., is sold at Nordstrom just to name a few applications.

Compared to these startups, Torrance-based LEDtronics Inc. is a veteran. It's been around since 1983. The founders were the pioneers of those red elevator push buttons and placed the long-lasting, nonthermal LED lights in traffic lights about a decade ago, and more recently in street lights.

Now, they have released a dimmer for LEDs, a rheostat that controls the intensity of the bulbs. Typical electronic dimmers don't work on LED lights.

What's so hot about LEDs?

The bulbs last up to 100,000 hours if designed correctly, compared with 2,000 for industrial-grade standard light bulbs.

It also uses 70 percent less energy, because LEDs are powered by semiconductor chips, not electric coils heated to generate light.

In the Air

Find yourself sitting in airports more than on freeways?

The online social networking scene crowded with niche sites for just about any interest or demographic has a community even for business travelers.

Launched this week, Placely.com allows users to set up their profiles along with their travel calendars. Insert a location and travel date and the site shows who among your network of friends will be exactly how many miles near the destination.

The site uses Google Map in the back end of its system to calculate the distance, but the algorithm that automatically links the latitude and longitude of each user's travel destination to everyone else's calendar is patented. Privacy settings can be determined by the users to limit their calendar access to others.

"There are always lost connections when you're traveling for weddings or when you bump into people at the airport," said Rishi Jain, founder of Hermosa-based Placely.com. "The site connects people through a time- and location-based calendar."

Advertising will also be location-based. Placely.com is working on partnerships with travel sites Travelocity and Expedia to offer targeted advertising on the site based upon the contents of user-generated travel plans.

Executive Shift

Jean-Claude Asscher will retire next month as chairman of Calabasas-based Ixia, a company that tests Internet protocol-based infrastructures and services for enterprises.

Chief Executive Errol Ginsberg has been named the new chairman. Asscher and Ginsberg were among the founders of the company established in 1997.

Ixia is a public company that posted $175 million in revenue year to date and has 750 employees.

Staff reporter Booyeon Lee can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 230, or at blee@labusinessjournal.com .

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