SBIR Phase II: Highly Ordered Membranes for Molecular Separation
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
20 Godfrey Drive, Orono, ME, 04473
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project proposes to develop a ceramic nanofiltration membrane with highly uniform pores oriented perpendicularly to the membrane surface using DNA as a template in a silica sol-gel. This membrane will be optimized to perform molecular separation and purification of fuels and chemicals from cellulosic biomass. The research objectives are to create a membrane with the desired pore size and orientation features. A prototype membrane will be produced and tested for its ability to dewater biofuels by pervaporation. It is anticipated that the selective ceramic membrane layer will provide efficient separations and have high temperature and chemical tolerance. The membrane will have applications for a range of industrial markets including wastewater purification and desalination. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is the development of an innovative membrane technology that will contribute significant energy savings to the production of alternative fuels from cellulosic biomass. Potential end users will include biorefineries that convert cellulosic biomass to fuels and chemicals. A great advantage of molecular separations by membranes rather than distillation is the 40- 50% savings in energy. If successful, this project would lead to a new class of high-throughput ceramic nanofiltration membranes that will have applications to other industrial sectors, including wastewater purification, natural gas purification, and coal gasification. This project promises to contribute significant energy savings to the production of alternative fuels from renewable resources.
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