STTR Phase I: Low-Cost Biodiesel Production via Novel Esterification and Transesterification Catalysts
This Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Phase I project develops methods for the use of novel esterification and transesterification catalysts to cut the cost of biodiesel production which have become a critical bottleneck for greater biodiesel use. At the current time, biodiesel is produced through a transesterification catalytic process and the catalyst employed is sensitive to water and free fatty acids (FFA). As a consequence, biodiesel producers have to purchase expensive equipments to remove water and FFA from the feedstocks which lowers the yields of biodiesel production. This research develops a novel transesterification catalyst that can tolerate water, FFA and a second esterification catalyst to directly convert unwanted FFA into biodiesel. The broader impacts of this work are: (1) cutting the cost of biodiesel production due to improved production yields and the adoption of high-volume, continuous production of biodiesel; (2) potentially expanding the range of biodiesel feedstock selections to allow much cheaper inedible animal fats and recycled cooking oils, all of which contain significant amounts of FFA; and (3) finally, enabling the wider use of biodiesel to reduce our reliance on crude oil imports, support local agricultural economies, and provide a more environmentally friendly alternative to non-renewable fossil-fuel energy sources.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Research Institution Information:
Midwest Energy Group Inc.
210 S. Wedgewood Lane 6745 HOLLISTER AVENUE Carbondale, IL 62901
Number of Employees:
Southern IL University Carbondale
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Carbondale, IL 62901 7211
Yong K. Gao
Nonprofit college or university