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A Novel, Low-Energy Stripper-Membrane Hybrid Process for Bioethanol Production

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2007-33610-17987
Agency Tracking Number: 2007-00502
Amount: $79,998.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: N/A
Award Year: 2007
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
1360 Willow Road, #103
Menlo Park, CA 94025
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Yu Huang
 (650) 543-3354
Business Contact
 Elizabeth Weiss
Title: Government Contracts/Grants Mgr.
Phone: (650) 543-3378
Research Institution

"Demand for ethanol as a gasoline supplement is surging. Just over 100 U.S.corn-toethanol
plants are currently operating, with almost 40 new plants slated for completion in
the coming year. By 2012, 250 bioethanol plants are expected to be installed.
The current fermentation-distillation-molecular sieve process for ethanol production uses
up to 20% of the energy content of the ethanol separated. Therefore, development of a
lower-energy ethanol separation process is of considerable interest to bioethanol plant
operators. This proposal describes a novel hybrid stripper-membrane separation process
that could lower energy consumption of ethanol production by 45%.
Achieving this goal requires the development of membranes with high water permeance
that can remove water from ethanol solutions containing 50 wt% water at 100-130°C.
Current water-selective membranes cannot be used with ethanol solutions containing
more than 15 wt% water because of hydrolytic stability issues and excessive swelling.
We have had preliminary success in developing the required membranes. Availability of
these membranes would make radical changes to bioethanol separation flow schemes
The objective of this program is to demonstrate membrane performance under simulated
operating conditions, determine process feasibility, and set targets for pilot-scale
development in a Phase II project."

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

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