By Emma H. Peterson

It was a ground-breaking year in 1976 for the water filtration indus­try, though many may not know it. That was the year Dr. Evan Koslow (then a student at Yale University) and his peer founded KT Corporation. Since the company’s conception, the industry has received some of the most advanced technology ever created. Today, KT Corporation is making these technologies mainstream.

Following time at Yale and Cornell Universities, Dr. Koslow worked as a scientist at the well-known, high-tech filter company Pall Corporation, working on the development of hydraulics and lubricating filters for commercial, military and aerospace appli­cations. It was here that he received his first training in the field of filtration. Dr. Koslow later became the Technical Director for the development of nuclear, biological and chemical defense equipment at Pall as well as providing technical support to several military divisions.

Emerging from Pall Corporation, Dr. Koslow led the development at KT Corporation of extruded activated carbon blocks in a partner­ship with EXXON Chemical Company, later forming KX Industries in 1989. KX Industries ran with this for many years and was later sold to Berkshire Hathaway/Marmon group in 2006, of whom they are a part to this day.

KT Corporation is responsible for a vast number of technologies on the market today. “We’re a real innovation hub. We’re the in­ventor of not just the extruded carbon, which is now the basis for a very large percentage of the industry, but we also created the first refrigerator filter in 1996 with Frigidaire and the first health-claim end-of-tap filter for PUR.” Dr. Koslow was also the inventor of the filter medium currently used in Brita’s high-performance products. On top of this, Koslow was the inventor of the KYBLOCK binder system and, of course, the scale control resin ScaleStop that doesn’t need to be regenerated with salt and is now widely sold as an alternative for water conditioning.

Dr. Koslow holds almost 90 patents and is the inventor of over a hundred consumer products. “We’re behind all kinds of technol­ogies that people don’t even realize,” he said, “We work on all levels. We invent the raw materials from which everything is made… for example, we make the bulk nanofibers and metals adsorbent used in FUSION filters. We also create the processing plants and machinery used to manufacture these raw materials, the complete filters and even complete water purification systems.” KT Corporation provides expertise and consulting in the fields of carbon block production, formulation of carbon blocks and the development of critical new raw materials such as catalytic carbons, nanofibers, scale control resins, toxic-metal adsorbents and filtration media. Today the company is operating from a 45,000- square-foot facility in Waterbury, CT and a 15,000-square-foot R&D facility in Watertown, CT.

KT Corporation is a privately held, family-owned business. Many of the employees have been with Dr. Koslow for over 20 years and it is a small close-knit group. Two of Dr. Koslow’s four sons also work at the company. Jules Koslow now leads new product development and marketing while Benjamin Koslow carries out new product prototyping, testing, and development.

Despite joining the business only a couple years ago after COVID- 19 ended his career in New York City, Jules has already submitted for his first patent on Delta technology, ultra-compact water puri­fiers. He originally entered KT Corporation in marketing, but the longer he worked there, the more inspired he became and he switched to product development. Jules explained that “I was sitting at my desk thinking about how we can get this product (FUSION Filter media) out to as many people as we can around the world who lack clean water and I took a sheet of this amazing filter paper and folded it to make a weirdly-shaped funnel. The resulting DELTA product can be folded to a tiny device that takes out virus, bacteria, toxic metals, organic compounds — just about anything you can throw at it.”

His goal with this invention is to get clean water to people who are suffering from the impact of a disaster or for the army, but it can also be used by hikers, campers, etc. “It has amazing geometrical advantages,” Dr. Koslow said, “FUSION Filter media can be manipu­lated to form amazing new products and even a few grams can match the performance of full-size carbon blocks.”

Dr. Koslow’s latest invention, FUSION, is a filter medium that he calls ‘carbon block on a shingle,’ but it’s actually not a carbon block at all. Made at a paper mill using proprietary nanofibers produced by KT Corporation, this small piece of filter paper has all the power of a carbon block and more, while weighing only several grams. The new FUSION filter medium consisting of Electrokinetic Nanofiber Composite to provide a combination of microbiological, organic chemical, toxic metal and comprehensive aesthetic purification of water in a single flexible water filter medium. This new material is nearly 10 times more efficient than current carbon block with very small filters providing extended life, performance, and economics.

Dr. Koslow jokes that some FUSION filters are so small and light that “If you let go of it, it will float to the ceiling.” To manufacture FUSION Filter paper, a pulp is made at KT Corporation and con­verted to paper at a paper mill. “A carbon block extruder makes roughly one of these (carbon blocks) a minute, but our new process produces 600 flat-sheet filters per minute and they are vastly more powerful,” he said. “Fast production, low cost and capable of meeting every health claim imaginable.” Though not marketed broadly yet, the company plans to be mainstream with this product by the end of 2022.

“We’re working with companies to take our technology forward to the market. It’s a versatile medium that can be made into myriad products,” Jules said. Carbon block has been the standard for 30 years, but they are produced by a slow process compared to FUSION technology. “When we invented carbon block extrusion, you could manufacture millions of filters. In this early case, we evolved carbon block production from a few hundred thousand filters a year to factories making tens-of-millions. We commoditized carbon block and changed the entire industry. FUSION tech­nology permits the next quan­tum leap to producing tens-of-millions of filters in a week, not a year.” Dr. Koslow said.

In the next few years, KT Corpo­ration plans to greatly expand its filter raw materials, FUSION filter media and finished filter manufacturing operations. The company has traditionally devel­oped these powerful technol­ogies and eventually sold these assets to strategic buyers. The Koslows plan to continue this basic business development model. Being “an innovation and scale up factory,” according to Dr. Koslow.

“The economics of off-shore production have deteriorated and supply chain risks have increased. Transportation costs are suf­ficiently high as to threaten the economics of imports,” Dr. Koslow said. “For this reason, there is a new interest in establishing world-class manufacturing in the United States and KT Corporation sees this as an enormous opportunity. The company has been involved in the development of products that represent billions of dollars at retail and intends to continue such contributions into the future.”

KT Corporation is one of the few companies in the potable water industry that develops fundamentally new technologies and ideas that lead to new opportunities. With so many new products in the making, one can expect KT Corporation to continue on their impressive track record for years to come. “Don’t be surprised if you start seeing flat sheet filters on the shelves soon!” Jules said.

About the author
Emma H. Peterson, author of WC&P International’s corporate and dealer profile series, is a student at the University of Arizona, majoring in journalism, with a minor in natural resources. Throughout her college experience, she has developed a following for her photography and photojournalism endeavors. After graduation, Peterson intends to broadly expand her creative/ feature writing and photography prospects, as well as pursue her personal interests in skiing and rock climbing.

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