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Bioethanol Production with Mixed-Matrix Membranes

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-06ER84552
Agency Tracking Number: 81347S06-I
Amount: $749,753.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 33
Solicitation Number: DE-FG01-05ER05-28
Solicitation Year: 2006
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
Menlo Park, CA 94025
United States
DUNS: 112716311
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Yu Huang
 (650) 328-2228
Business Contact
 Elizabeth Weiss
Title: Ms
Phone: (650) 328-2228
Research Institution

The separation and concentration of bioethanol from fermented biomass by distillation is a highly energy-intensive operation. In this project, ethanol-selective pervaporation membranes will be developed to perform this separation. The pervaporation process uses zeolite-polymer (mixed-matrix) membranes that provide ethanol separation factors two-to-three times higher than with distillation. By using these membranes, the energy consumption of bioethanol separation will be reduced by 30 to 50%. The construction of the separation plant would provide for further capital cost savings. In Phase I, mixed-matrix membranes were made and shown to have the permeances and selectivities required to provide significantly improved bioethanol separations. Membrane production was scaled up to the bench scale. A small spiralwound module was made and operated successfully. In Phase II, the membranes will be scaled up to the small industrial scale. Four-inch diameter modules with a membrane area of 4 m2 will be fabricated, tested, and optimized in the laboratory using pilot-scale equipment. A pilot plant will then be demonstrated to validate its reliability and efficiency. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The simple flow scheme and low-maintenance operation should make this membrane process particularly applicable to small bioethanol plants such as cellulose-based bioethanol plants.

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

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