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STTR Phase I: Scalable thermochemical conversion of carbon dioxide to commodity chemical intermediates

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1913722
Agency Tracking Number: 1913722
Amount: $225,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: CT
Solicitation Number: N/A
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-07-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-12-31
Small Business Information
17815 GREEN WILLOW DR, TAMPA, FL, 33647
DUNS: 080485049
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Timothy Roberge
 (813) 732-6586
 troberge@mail.usf.edu
Business Contact
 John Kuhn
Phone: (813) 974-6498
Email: jnkuhn@usf.edu
Research Institution
 University of South Florida
 Venkat Bhethanabotla
 4202 E Fowler Ave
ISA 2019
Tampa, FL, 33620
 Nonprofit college or university
Abstract
The broader impact/commercial potential of this STTR project is to chemically recycle carbon dioxide, which would otherwise be released to the atmosphere, to useful fuels and products thus providing a closed loop for production and emissions for many common products. Virtually every industry uses petroleum and/or natural gas, either through transportation or plastics (e.g., packaging), and there is no current commercial CO2 /carbon recycling process. The current routes for CO2 conversion are crippled by one or more of the following challenges: (a) very low rates of CO2 conversion, (b) high temperature of operation, (c) non-selective product formation, and (d) issues with scalability of the process. This STTR Phase I project proposes to re-purpose CO2 from a pollutant to a feedstock for fuels and chemicals. Recent research has achieved a proof-of-concept on reverse water-gas shift chemical looping (RWGS-CL). Carbon monoxide (CO), a major component of synthesis gas, is selectively produced, which can be used as the backbone to any chemical or fuel through existing processes. Preliminary performance results and literature findings indicate that this process operation could contribute to unprecedented efficiencies and potential scalability within a small footprint compared to other futuristic technologies that convert CO2. The RWGS-CL process operates at reasonable temperatures with high CO2 conversion rates and highly selective towards CO formation. The RWGS-CL process is thus, unique and transformative in that it addresses all of the major challenges and paves the way for a sustainable generation of greener hydrocarbon fuels at industrial scale. This project aims to enable prototype construction of the technology at 100 x scale of lab tests using formed materials (pellets) capable of operating at industrial scale, a reactor model to capture the performance and size of the RWGS-CL unit, and a techno-economic analysis. 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.

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