SBIR Phase I: Development of Low Cost Enzymatic Biodiesel Production from Wastewater

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0944884
Agency Tracking Number: 0944884
Amount: $149,944.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: BC
Solicitation Number: NSF 09-541
Small Business Information
609 Albany St, Boston, MA, 02118
DUNS: 800769734
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Theresa O'Keefe
 (617) 638-0312
Business Contact
 Theresa O'Keefe
Title: MBA
Phone: (617) 638-0312
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project aims to create an automated low-cost, low-energy system to produce biodiesel from wastewater. Water cleaning is currently an energy intensive process that places high monetary and environmental demands on many industries. This proposed scientific development will create a revolutionary process that both cleans water and produces bioenergy in a single, internally driven system. Due to the safety and ease of operation, it will be possible to use this process anywhere to rapidly eliminate dangerous contaminants while creating clean energy. The process to be developed will use cyanobacteria's (blue-green algae) vitamin B12 production to drive a simplified enzymatic biodiesel production system using wastewater. Combined in an automated system, wastewater will be seamlessly converted into clean water and biodiesel allowing heavy water users, including beverage, food, and biofuel industries, to become clean water and clean energy producers. Wastewater cleaning will become an energy efficient, sustainable activity that creates financial value for the end-user. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be to reduce the cost of energy used to clean and supply water. Large quantities of energy are used to clean and supply water. California uses 19% of its electricity, 30% of its natural gas and 88 billion gallons of diesel fuel to supply clean water and manage wastewater. Many industries, especially food preparation, textile, and biofuel, are heavily dependent on clean water. During their processes, they create large quantities of contaminated water that must be cleaned at great cost before it can be returned to the environment. For example, a single moderate-sized brewer will produce over 80 million gallons of wastewater each year and wineries produce over 9 gallons of wastewater for every gallon of wine. As the demand for clean water increases, energy demands also will increase. The proposed technology will lower the cost to clean wastewater while creating clean fuel.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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