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Highly Efficient Water Management System for Lignocellulosic Biomass

Award Information

Environmental Protection Agency
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2012 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Altex Technologies Corporation
244 Sobrante Way Sunnyvale, CA -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2012
Title: Highly Efficient Water Management System for Lignocellulosic Biomass
Agency: EPA
Contract: EP-D-12-024
Award Amount: $79,490.00


Life cycle analysis of biofuel production from lignocellulosic biomass combined with carbon capture has shown the potential to produce negative greenhouse gas emissions. More than a billion dry tons of freshly harvested lignocellulostic biomass is available at moisture contents between 20 and 60%. This material could be used for the sustainable production of biofuels. However, it is a challenge to harvest this material in a small window of time and then supply it to biorefineries throughout the year. The high moisture content of freshly harvested lignocellulosic biomass results in biomass decay, limits energy content and poses many environmental problems. This high moisture content also increases the cost of transporting biomass from the field to a biorefinery. In the Altex process, the moisture is removed by conditioning the biomass and facilitating the removal of bound water as liquid water rather than evaporating the water. The combined process of dewatering the biomass to the maximum extent possible and removing the remaining moisture by super heated steam drying will reduce the total energy requirement by 65% The reduced energy requirement has the potential to reduce the size of moisture management equipment and results in a significant reduction in drying cost. The initial analysis and preliminary tests show that the drying of lignocellulosic biomass by HEWMS system can reduce the total thermal energy requirement by 65% resulting in a cost reduction of drying of biomass by over 35% compared to the most advanced drying systems available with heat recovery. This moisture management also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 500 million tons per year, when all the available lignocellulosic materials are used for biofuels production. These are important benefits. Keywords: biomas, lignocellulosic, drying, dewatering, bound water, free water, super heated drying.

Principal Investigator:

John Kelly
(408) 328-8302

Business Contact:

Mehdi Namazian
(408) 328-8303
Small Business Information at Submission:

Altex Technologies Corporation
244 Sobrante Way Sunnyvale, CA 94086-4087

EIN/Tax ID: 770085545
Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No