Small Scale Ethanol Drying
There continues to be a need for production of fuel-grade ethanol from agricultural sources. The Federal Government is actively looking for biomass renewable feed stocks for enhancing gasoline and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. Ethanol from agricultural sources has many advantages including development of fuel independence, and ethanol has significant value as an oxygenate and octane improver, to name a few. Unlike gasoline, use of ethanol does not generate new greenhouse gases. Also, with significant environmental pressure to move away from MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) as an oxygenate because of its environmental effect, there is further need of ethanol. While there continues to be a significant need for ethanol, the cost of agricultural based ethanol and most specifically, the energy costs associated with developing dry fuel-grade ethanol are quite severe. Existing and new legislation provides significant incentives for use of fuel grade ethanol. Costs for manufacturing fuel grade ethanol especially on small facilities is significant.
Membrane processes are ideal for small applications. This is because the key components in membrane processes is the membranes and the associated pumps scale down linearly. Therefore while many existing biomass-to-ethanol plants are at 40 million gallons per year or greater and very few are at 10 million gallons per year, if a membrane process could be developed to be focuses on fuel grade ethanol membranes would be the most advantageous route for operation.
The product concept associated with this program is to operate primarily membrane and related processes to convert low volumes of biomass to fuel grade ethanol. In phase I we will demonstrate all key components of the membrane process on water-ethanol streams. Using this basic data we will do engineering evaluation to determine overall process costs. Our objective is to show a membrane process that is superior to any other process for 10 million gallon per year operation and that costs for fuel grade ethanol at 10 million gallons/yr are within 10% of large scale (40 million gallon/yr facility).
Compact Membrane Systems has established key industrial relationships with both membrane companies and ethanol engineering design firms. These relationships will be helpful in this SBIR and subsequent commercialization.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Compact Membrane Systems, Inc.
325 Water St. Wilmington, DE 19804
Number of Employees: