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Aloha Carbon: Community-Informed Bioenergy Projects from Cellulosic Urban Wastes

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0021819
Agency Tracking Number: 0000260192
Amount: $206,500.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 10a
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-06-28
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-06-27
Small Business Information
Kailua, HI 96734-3941
United States
DUNS: 829887491
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Marie-Joelle Simonpietri
 (808) 341-7984
Business Contact
 Marie-Joelle Simonpietri
Phone: (808) 341-7984
Research Institution

Bioenergy projects face multiple headwinds: low to moderate public support; mis‐matches between the scale of economically recoverable feedstock and economically operable conversion technology; and stiff competition from low‐cost fossil fuels. These headwinds are particularly acute for commercial customers who lack other renewable alternatives and are actively seeking bioenergy products, such as commercial aviation. Airlines have been seeking sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) supplies to meet both customer demand and the International Civil Aviation Organization mandate to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of international flights starting in 2025. We are developing an innovative integrated “bolt on” gasification and gas cleanup process to convert low‐quality urban lignocellulosic biomass waste into cost‐ competitive, high‐performance biofuels and biopower. Specifically, we are focused on recycling waste lumber and other organic materials from construction and demolition (C&D) debris into syngas and hydrogen for biopower and sustainable jet fuel production. C&D waste is difficult to recycle and usually is disposed of in landfills. Our first commercial project would divert waste from a landfill located within an economically depressed native American residential area and relocate recycling to an industrial zone. We propose to perform an iterative social science perception study in a spiral development process, integrating community input with basic block flow diagram chemical engineering, technoeconomic analysis (TEA), and physico‐chemical feedstock characterization, to develop a basic design package for a community scale C&D waste‐to‐fuel plant. Our research institute partner for the stakeholder perception and community education and outreach is the University of Hawaii at West Oahu. We are also bringing in non‐profit, municipal government, and private investment fund partners to facilitate engagement in the community‐informed project design spirals by local stakeholder groups. This research and commercialization effort would address current problems and provide public benefits in several areas: Social goals of reducing environmental racism while retaining/creating higher‐quality jobs that embody cultural values of protecting the land and conserving resources; Environmental goals of increasing landfill diversion and recycling and displacing lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels; Municipal goals to increase waste recycling and re‐use, and revitalize Opportunity Zone areas with economic development clusters of advanced technology, and skilled labor jobs; Market goals to develop a viable process and supply chain for lower‐cost lignocellulosic fuels; Technical goal of developing a cost‐effective integrated system to thermochemically convert contaminated lignocellulosic material like C&D wood waste into fuel and fuel intermediates.

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

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