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SBIR Phase I: Carbon Neutral Renewable Liquid Hydrocarbon Fuel Production System

Award Information

Agency:
National Science Foundation
Branch:
N/A
Award ID:
98814
Program Year/Program:
2010 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
0944957
Solicitation Year:
N/A
Solicitation Topic Code:
CT.
Solicitation Number:
N/A
Small Business Information
Sustainable Innovations, LLC
160 Oak Street Unit 412 Glastonbury, CT 06033-0000
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
 
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2010
Title: SBIR Phase I: Carbon Neutral Renewable Liquid Hydrocarbon Fuel Production System
Agency: NSF
Contract: 0944957
Award Amount: $150,000.00
 

Abstract:

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project seeks to improve the conversion efficiency of an electrochemical process that produces liquid organic fuels from carbon dioxide using a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) cell. The work leverages extensive university research wherein fundamental studies have demonstrated the conversion of CO2 to various organic products, but at low Faradaic efficiencies caused by poor mass transport at the cathode. Our research will target increasing the CO2 pressure, and hence its availability to support the cathode reaction, to improve these efficiencies, as well as modifying cathode materials and structures to better support the electrochemical reaction. Using a novel, high pressure PEM cell, electro-reduction studies will be conducted at pressures greater than 800 psi with a goal of achieving a Faradaic efficiency of >90% to hydrocarbons such as methanol at economically viable current densities (>500 mA/cm2). This will be achieved through careful experimentation using a high-pressure laboratory system to facilitate operation of this PEM cell. Analytical chemistry protocols will be developed and implemented to identify and quantify the mix of reaction products. From these data we will calculate the efficiency at which current, passed through the cell, is converted to desirable liquid organic products. The broader/commercial impact of this project is its outcome, if success, will address the concern about the increasing level of carbon dioxide. Many believe that there is a connection between greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, driving societal interest in developing carbon-neutral fuel solutions. The electrochemical CO2 reduction system being investigated in this program projects to cost-competitively produce methanol from CO2 and electricity in a single electrochemical reactor. The methanol can be used either as a fuel with a worldwide market of >5 M tonne/yr, or as a commodity chemical, with a worldwide market of ~50 M tonne/yr. This work will develop a better understanding of the science of CO2 electro-reduction reaction, and effect a translation of this technology from laboratory single electrode studies to a high-pressure cell architecture that can provide the basis for a commercial product. This system offers the potential to produce methanol fuel from clean, renewable electricity, provides a means of transforming domestic coal to liquid fuels, offers a pathway for the capture and reuse of CO2 released from industrial processes, and can be used for closed environment life support.

Principal Investigator:

Trent M. Molter
PhD
8606529690
trent.molter@sustainableinnov.com

Business Contact:

Trent M. Molter
PhD
8606529690
trent.molter@sustainableinnov.com
Small Business Information at Submission:

Sustainable Innovations
114 Harvest Lane Glastonbury, CT 06033

EIN/Tax ID: 260288544
DUNS: N/A
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No