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STTR Phase I:Refrigerant Ionic liquid Separation

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2232475
Agency Tracking Number: 2232475
Amount: $275,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: CT
Solicitation Number: NSF 22-551
Solicitation Year: 2022
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-04-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-03-31
Small Business Information
2029 Becker Dr
Lawrence, KS 66047
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Kalin Baca
 (505) 366-9984
Business Contact
 Kalin Baca
Phone: (505) 366-9984
Research Institution
 Gordon Research Conferences
United States

 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project will be to provide the refrigerant industry with the first commercial designs for separating complex, multi-component, azeotropic refrigerant mixtures for economical recycling. The American Innovation and Manufacturing Act authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to phase down production and consumption of refrigerants causing global warming by 85 percent over 15 years. The societal, economical, and environmental benefits are estimated to create thousands of jobs and increase manufacturing by billions of dollars in the U.S. while reducing venting and incineration, and subsequently global temperature rise. There are millions of metric tons of mixed refrigerants that cannot be reclaimed using current fractional distillation technology. The proposed ionic liquid extractive distillation technology will make possible the separation and reuse of these complex refrigerant mixtures. The startup company funded through this project will provide a novel separation technology to the refrigerant industry that is of strategic national interest. Outreach activities, especially toward the inclusion of women and underrepresented minorities will be supported through this project._x000D_
This STTR Phase I project proposes to demonstrate that complex, multi-component, azeotropic refrigerant mixtures can be separated using ionic liquids, and that the products can meet industry standard specifications. Refrigerant mixture R-404A, used broadly throughout the commercial refrigeration industry (e.g., grocery stores) is a complex, ternary azeotropic mixture containing HFC-143a (1,1,1-trifluoroethane), which has a high global warming potential. HFC-143a will be one of the first refrigerants to be reused in new low global warming blends containing hydrofluoroolefins if the HFC-143a can be economically separated. Over 100 complex, multicomponent refrigerant mixtures exist in the market. This project will enable the development of processes, technologies, and systems designs required for industry to meet and exceed the phase down goals. The program objectives include the separation of R-404A into components, the creation of a process model, and testing of recovered R-404A from industry to understand the effects of impurities. The results will be used to develop a technoeconomic model and commercial scale designs that the team will build and/or license to the refrigerant industry._x000D_
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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