Hybrid Membrane Distillation Process for Enhanced Integrated Ethanol Production

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-05ER84224
Agency Tracking Number: 78204S05-I
Amount: $750,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2006
Solicitation Year: 2006
Solicitation Topic Code: 19
Solicitation Number: DE-FG02-06ER06-09
Small Business Information
325 Water Street, Wilmington, DE, 19804
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Sudipto Majumdar
 (302) 999-7996
Business Contact
 Nadine Nemser
Title: Dr.
Phone: (302) 999-7996
Email: nlester@compactmembrane.com
Research Institution
The conversion of corn and other biomass to fuel grade ethanol not only would reduce U.S. dependence on foreign energy sources but also would be a major industrial application for agricultural products. However, the process of drying the ethanol to fuel grade consumes significant amounts of energy, incurring costs that continue to increase as cost of natural gas increases. This project will develop technology for introducing a hybrid membrane distillation process that will significantly reduce both the energy and capital requirements for drying. Phase I demonstrated that the membrane technology could preferentially remove water from water-ethanol azeotrope and produce fuel grade ethanol (FGE). The membranes were shown to operate at high temperature (130oC) and high pressure (200 psia) while providing high flux, high separation, excellent chemical resistance, and long term stability. An engineering and economic model demonstrated that the membrane modules could provide major savings in both capital costs ($0.7 versus $4.2 million) and energy consumption (33 ¿ 239 billion BTU/yr) for a typical 70 million gallon/yr ethanol plant, compared to conventional molecular-sieve driers. In Phase II, both prototype laboratory systems and field test systems will be built and evaluated. Participation by ethanol design firms will facilitate field testing and subsequent engineering and economic analysis.Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The intial target market for this technology is the growing 13 billion gallon/year ethanol business. The technology also should be applicable to many other energy intensive separation processes

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

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