Direct Conversion of CO2 to Liquid Hydrocarbon Fuel
ABSTRACT: This project will investigate the feasibility of converting carbon dioxide (CO2) and water into liquid hydrocarbon fuel using solar energy and the same thermodynamic principles that enable biological photosynthesis; however, existing industrial technologies and processes will be integrated and substituted for biological processes. The significance of the artificial photosynthesis process is that for the first time, military units will be able to produce fuel using atmospheric or other sources of CO2 and water at or near the point of use in the theatre of operations, thus reducing the logistical footprint and associated costs of providing fuel to the military. Phase I activities will include development of concept designs utilizing commercially available technologies and demonstrating the ability to fabricate the necessary nano-scale components of the system. Research facilities at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF) will be utilized to develop and test the required hardware. Phase II activities will concentrate on optimizing the solar energy collection and conversion efficiencies, increasing fuel production capacity, and reducing the complexity of the system to facilitate manufacturing. The Principal Investigator, Kevin Mulrenin and the Senior Scientist, Dr. Stephen Bergin have both demonstrated that they are highly qualified to perform this work by developing and commercializing similar synthetic fuel technologies for the Government. BENEFIT: The development of a system for producing liquid hydrocarbons using artificial photosynthesis has broad application across the nation. This technology stands to replace some, if not all, traditional petroleum-based refinery production of transportation fuels and to dramatically reduce CO2 levels in the atmosphere. This technology will be marketed to both traditional and non-traditional energy suppliers in the private sector. Licensing arrangements will be pursued with large energy providers such as ExxonMobil, BP, and other traditional fuel suppliers. In addition, it is likely that this technology will also enable non-traditional private entities to license this technology and enter the fuel production market, thereby diversifying and increasing the competitive landscape of the fuel production market. The size of the fuel production market is immense. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the U.S. consumed 14.7 million barrels of petroleum each day in 2007 within its transportation sector. This amounts to 5.2 billion barrels per year and the rate of consumption is projected to grow over time. It"s clear that, given our nation"s economic and military dependence on transportation fuels, a fuel-production system that is powered by solar energy and uses CO2 and water as the feedstocks would be a technology in high demand. The market demand for such a fuel drives M3"s commercialization strategy. A key advantage offered by the team of professionals proposed to support this project is that the Principal Investigator and Senior Scientist have worked together on similar projects for almost 10 years with a history of successful transition of technology from research to production. A prime example of this proven commercialization track record is the ultra-clean synthetic fuels program that was jointly managed by the PI and Senior Scientist assigned to this project. Under this program, sponsored by the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the Department of Energy, these two principals successfully developed, demonstrated, tested, deployed, and produced a synthetic fuels technology based on the Fischer-Tropsch (FT) process. The fuel produced under this program was subsequently used by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army to certify the use of these fuels in military equipment. This fuel has now been certified for use by the U.S. Air Force in several fixed-wing aircraft and is projected to be fully certified for all USAF equipment by 2012. At this point, there are several commercial suppliers preparing to service the military need for these FT fuels. This program serves as a prime example of how the principals involved in this proposed SBIR can and will transition alternative fuel and energy solutions to commercialization. It also demonstrates our understanding, experience, and demonstrated success with working with DoD, DoE, and other government agencies to achieve these commercialization objectives.
Small Business Information at Submission:
M3 Consulting Services, Inc.
63520 Georgetown Washington, MI -
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