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On Demand Nitrate Production for Fertilizers

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2019-02269
Agency Tracking Number: 2019-02269
Amount: $599,999.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.13
Solicitation Number: USDA-NIFA-SBIR-006649
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-09-06
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-08-31
Small Business Information
706 Forest Street, Suite A
Charlottesville, VA 22903-5231
United States
DUNS: 627132913
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Matthew Merrill
 Senior Research Scientist
 (434) 220-2512
Business Contact
 Maggie Hudson
Title: Senior Contracts Administrator
Phone: (434) 483-4254
Research Institution

Luna is developing a new catalytic membrane reactor technology to produce nitrates for fertilizerwith less energy cost and environmental impact than the conventional industrial methods. Theconventional approach to industrially producing nitrogenous fertilizers helps feed about half of theworld's population but is energy inefficient and requires extensive infrastructure. Together theconventional Haber and Ostwald processes use about 1 - 2 % of the world's produced energy andproduce almost 3 % of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. A relatively simple efficient andinexpensive method is needed that can improve the productivity and profitability of farming for allof the world's population while lowering climatic impact. Advances in dual phase membranetechnologies that Luna has been developing for the Department of Energy for air separation andcarbon capture have been adapted to directly fix nitrogen from air and steam to produce nitrates asnitric acid. The catalytic membrane reactor has been designed to potentially use a tenth of theenergy with respect to the conventional processes is independent of fossil fuel resources and rapidstartup and shutdown for use with intermittent renewable energy sources (i.e. wind solar). InPhase I Luna developed the molten phase formulation and demonstrate a tube membrane operatingon the benchtop scale. In Phase II Luna will produce and evaluate a complete membrane module.This Phase II work will include the design and techno-economic analysis of the multi-module pilotscale system that willbuilt and tested in Phase III.

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

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