Specially Functionalized Nanomagnetic Particles and Ionic Liquids for Harvesting, Dewatering and Extraction of Lipids and Carbohydrates from Algae

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-10ER85774
Agency Tracking Number: 95431
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: 26 d
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0000161
Small Business Information
Quartek Corporation
4180 Piedmont Parkway, Greensboro, NC, 27410
DUNS: 149147204
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Reyad Sawafta
 Dr.
 (336) 316-0088
 rsawafta@quartekcorp.com
Business Contact
 Reyad Sawafta
Title: Dr.
Phone: (336) 316-0088
Email: rsawafta@quartekcorp.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
This Phase I SBIR project deals with production of biodiesel from microalgae. One of the major costs of biofuel production is harvesting the biofuel from large volumes of culture media. Harvesting, rupturing, drying and extracting oils from algae accounts for 40-60% of the cost of producing. The Proposed Technology will provide a quantum leap in the extraction of fuel producing lipids and carbohydrates and dramatically reduce the production cost of algae biofuels. Current methods are expensive and limit the commercial viability of the products. We propose two innovative solutions: 1. Specially functionalized nanomagnetic particles for harvesting, dewatering and extraction of lipids and carbohydrates from algae. This technology employs physical approaches that use no energy as they employ permanent magnets. In addition, the algae biomass is dewatered without pressure, thus protecting its lipid content for the extraction process. 2. Novel classes of functionalized ionic liquids (fILs) designed to go through phase transitions at precise temperatures for extraction and separation. These fILs produce virtually no hazardous or flammable vapors and they are often nearly fully recoverable. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: If successful we will enable the domestic production of carbon neutral biofuels thus reducing the release of CO2 from fossil fuels known to contribute to global warming and climate change. Also, the technology described in this proposal will minimize adverse environmental impacts during biomass crop conversion (for example: reduction of energy use and water use during conversion; reduction of harmful byproducts from conversion) and have carbon reduction benefits. As algae can be grown in areas unsuited to food stock production, including many areas of depressed economic conditions, our innovations can help rural areas with depressed economies and high unemployment. The proposed technology has a far reaching impact beyond algae since it can also be utilized for biofuel production from other food and non food agricultural crops as well.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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