A coupled oil extraction/distillation-biochar system to utilize Eastern red cedar in value-added products and provide environmental benefits

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2018-33610-28217
Agency Tracking Number: 2018-00566
Amount: $99,920.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.1
Solicitation Number: N/A
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-07-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-02-29
Small Business Information
10917 HIGH POINT DR, Manhattan, KS, 66503-9159
DUNS: 017344838
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Jeffery Neel
 Owner/ Senior Scientist
 (785) 706-1511
 blueearthling@gmail.com
Business Contact
 Jeffery Neel
Title: Owner/ Senior Scientist
Phone: (785) 706-1511
Email: blueearthling@gmail.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
Woody encroachment of grasslands has led to wildfires that have recently destroyed homes and adversely affected rural communities. Eastern red cedar (ERC) is a major culprit in woody expansion and causes habitat fragmentation for upland bird and other wildlife species, with adverse effects on infiltration of precipitation, induced changes to plant species composition that degrade habitat and reduce domestic livestock utilization. Currently, the common practice is to cut and burn ERC using government cost-share programs and/or at a land owner's expense, while not generating a beneficial, valued-added product. We propose development and commercialization of a coupled ERC oil extraction/distillation-biochar system to create the following, value-added ERC products: 1. ERC oil extraction/ distillation products; and 2. Biochar.Exploration of methods, coupled systems and processes would be piloted and demonstrated. The energy needs to extract/distill ERC oil reduce its economic return. We propose development ofa coupled system for ERC oil extraction/ distillation and biochar production using the heat from biochar to fuel the oil extraction/ distillation process. We would market the fuel used to extract ERC oil as a biochar soil amendment and recapture some of the heat for complimentary heating efforts, whlle producing a value-added product of ERC oil. We will evaluate the quality of the ERC end products utilizing our coupled system, while refining the system to achieve the simplest, most efficient and economicaldesign to suppport on-farm/ ranch applications and local/ regional rural development opportuntities.The target audience for this innovative solution would be rural businesses and land owners interested in business development and diversified on-farm/ ranch income. Commercialization and marketing of ERC utilization systems and value-added products would occur during Phase 2 after research and development in Phase 1. However, preliminary evaluation of commercialization and marketing of the coupleds systems and ERC biochar/ oil end products will occur during Phase 1 in partnership with regional biochar initiatives and wood product utilization programs. Production of value-added ERC products could supplement rural incomes or be sole industries, while providing environmental benefits.

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

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