SBIR Phase I: One-Step MembraneReactor-based Process for Conversion of Biomass Gasifier Off-gas to Syngas Ready for Alternative Fuel Syntheses

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0839653
Agency Tracking Number: 0839653
Amount: $99,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: BC
Solicitation Number: NSF 08-548
Small Business Information
Media and Process Technology Inc.
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
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will develop a one-step membrane reactor-based process to clean-up, concentrate, and condition bio-based syngas to make it suitable for downstream processing into fuel or chemicals. The biomass-based energy production pathway has been favored recently due to no/minimal net CO2 emission. The recent skyrocketing prices of imported crude have made domestically available biomass a very attractive alternative fuel and chemical source. Thermochemical conversion of biomass into fuels and chemicals has been considered one of the better developed bio-based energy production processes. However, today for thermochemical conversion of biomass to play a significant role in reducing our country's dependence on imported fossil fuels, the syngas generated during biomass gasification must be (i) meticulously cleaned to remove trace contaminants (e.g., tar, H2S, NH3, HCl, etc.), (ii) concentrated via removal of a broad range of diluents (e.g., N2, O2, CH4, etc.), and (iii) conditioned to the proper ratio to meet the feedstock requirements of such diverse products as hydrogen for fuel cells or syngas for methanol and higher alcohol synthesis and for hydrocarbon production via Fischer-Tropsch. During Phase I of this project, the gas clean-up/concentration/conditioning process based upon the proposed one-step concept will be demonstrated in a bench top unit with synthetic feeds. The experimental and simulation results thus generated will be used to validate the proposed technical concept and provide economic basis for the next phase technical and commercial development with an end user participant. The development of this process will play a pivotal role in linking the existing upstream biomass gasification technology with the downstream hydrogen or syngas use technology. The production cost using existing technology was about 2 to 4 times of the cost of fossil diesel in 2004. By implementing this technology, the projected bio-based fuel cost will be in line with current fossil fuel prices according to preliminary cost analyses. The development and commercialization of this process will play a pivotal role in linking the existing upstream biomass gasification technology with the downstream syngas to fuel/chemical conversion technologies and will boost the domestic energy supply with minimal net greenhouse gas emissions.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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