SBIR Phase I: A New Bio-based Monomer for the Coatings Industry

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1849600
Agency Tracking Number: 1849600
Amount: $224,752.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: CT
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-02-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-07-31
Small Business Information
DUNS: 081249882
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Kevin Barnett
 (214) 886-3260
Business Contact
 Kevin Barnett
Phone: (214) 886-3260
Research Institution
The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project lies in the replacement of key petroleum-based chemicals used in the paints and coatings industry, representing a $7B industry that is growing at 7% per year. The total addressable market includes 3 similar diols: 1,4-butanediol (1,4-BDO), 1,5-pentanediol (1,5-PDO), and 1,6-hexanediol (1,6-HDO). In this project, 1,5-PDO is produced from furfural, a chemical made from renewable agricultural residues such as corn cobs and wood chips. Bio-based 1,5-PDO can be readily substituted for 1,6-HDO in many applications due to its analogous molecular structure and is similar enough to 1,4-BDO that it can be substituted for it in some applications. Rigorous technoeconomic analysis shows that this "green" 1,5-PDO can be made at 3x lower costs than oil-derived 1,5-PDO, opening new opportunities for its use as a renewable monomer for paints, coatings, adhesives and plastics. This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 project will allow the technology to be developed with commercially available fixed bed pellet catalysts to prepare the technology for scale-up. Thus far, the technology has been demonstrated in small scale fixed bed reactors with powder catalysts. A commercial scale process requires the use of pelletized catalysts due to inoperable pressure drops over powder catalysts in commercial-scale reactors. The higher flowrates inherent with larger scale reactors cannot flow through the tightly packed powder catalysts and cause a large degree of backpressure upstream of the catalyst bed; thus, pelletized catalysts must be sourced from commercial vendors and tested for activity and stability prior to scaling. The next phase in technology development is to scale up the process by >100x, enabling testing and validation of larger amounts of the bio-based 1,5-PDO product in potential customers' product lines. This SBIR Phase I project will also allow completion of the process design work needed to estimate the economics at commercial scale. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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

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