SBIR Phase II: Reducing Diesel Fuel Consumption in Recovering Woody Biomass

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Fleenor Manufacturing Inc.
2139 Elk Horn Street, Pella, IA, 50219
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Jeff Fleenor
(641) 620-1606
Business Contact:
Jeff Fleenor
(641) 620-1606
Research Institution:
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will build, field test, and prepare for commercialization, a prototype industrial tub grinder with integrated high inertia flywheel technology that will reduce the consumption of diesel fuel in recovering woody biomass. Low-weight, high-inertia flywheel technology can significantly assist the diesel engine duty cycle such that more production can be had with the same amount of diesel fuel consumed. This will in effect lower the cost of grinding woody resources as measured by cost per ton. Each year in the United States alone, an estimated 157 millions of gallons of diesel fuel are consumed in the processing of recovering woody waste streams. The woody waste streams have value in the forms of renewable energy source for electricity co-generation, potential feed stock for cellulose ethanol, engineered wood products such as particle board and press-forms, compost, landscape mulch, and other soil amendments. The USDA estimates that only 5% of the total available woody resources in the United States are currently being utilized. It is expected that recovering woody resources will grow as a source of green, renewable, carbon neutral energy source in the future and hence the need to lower the cost of processing. The drive to conserve energy and reduce the United States dependence on foreign oil will require a national effort on many different fronts, with each small efficiency gain contributing to that overall goal. The Phase 1 supporting research for this Phase 2 project indicates that a theoretical efficiency gain of 20% is possible with this technology. This Phase 2 project will reduce the diesel fuel consumption and hence total cost of the processing of woody biomass into useful forms. Developing this flywheel technology will make the woody waste stream more viable for energy generation including electricity and cellulose derived ethanol feedstock, reduce the nation's diesel fuel consumption, and it will make the companies involved in grinding woody wastes more profitable and productive. In addition to the impact this technology will have on recovering woody biomass, there are other markets where intermittent diesel engine duty cycles can benefit from developing high inertia flywheel technology. Concrete recycling, rock crushing, automobile shredding, and scrap tire recycling are market examples that can also benefit from adding low-weight, high-inertia flywheel technology to those equipment drive trains. It is expected that the technology developed and commercialized in this project will be applied towards those other markets.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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