STTR Phase I: Development of Multi-Functional Membrane-Based Reactor for High Alcohol Synthesis

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0740806
Agency Tracking Number: 0740806
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: AM
Solicitation Number: NSF 07-551
Small Business Information
DUNS: 802071662
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Paul Liu
 (412) 826-3711
Business Contact
 Paul Liu
Title: PhD
Phone: (412) 826-3711
Research Institution
 University of Southern California
 Lisa Inomata-O'Connell
 837 W. Downey Way
RM 330, L
Los Angeles, CA, 90089 1147
 (412) 826-3711
 Nonprofit college or university
This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project will develop a commercially viable ethanol process via a multi-functional membrane-based reactor using the best available catalyst. The proposed reactor incorporates the advantages of existing reactors which result from the in-situ product removal, without being hampered by some of the associated disadvantages, such as inefficient removal of the exothermic reaction heat. A nearly 100% carbon monoxide (CO) conversion with a high selectivity to ethanol is theoretically and practically feasible in this single stage reactor. Process intensification, as a result of the application of the proposed multi-functional reactor, will result in high efficiencies, low capital costs, and a small overall footprint, all required for the process to be a commercially viable. The broader impact/commercial potential of coal-derived ethanol is an affordable, efficient hydrogen carrier that can be distributed and stored using the nation?s existing fuel infrastructure. In addition, as is also the case with bio-ethanol (albeit at a smaller scale), coal-derived ethanol can provide an interim solution as a liquid automobile fuel/additive before the hydrogen-based economy is fully implemented. Ethanol derived from the abundant domestic supply of coal can reduce dependence on imported energy, and more importantly, offers an attractive alternative to bio-ethanol. An efficient coal-to-ethanol production process offers an economically driven ethanol supply (as opposed to subsidized bio-ethanol) to the growing market demand in the near-term, while providing a high energy density feedstock from domestically available coal for distributed hydrogen production in the long-term when the hydrogen-based economy will be fully implemented.

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

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