STTR Phase I: Low-Cost Biodiesel Production via Novel Esterification and Transesterification Catalysts

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0711652
Agency Tracking Number: 0711652
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Awards Year: 2007
Solicitation Year: 2006
Solicitation Topic Code: BT
Solicitation Number: NSF 06-598
Small Business Information
Midwest Energy Group Inc.
210 S. Wedgewood Lane, 6745 HOLLISTER AVENUE, Carbondale, IL, 62901
DUNS: 788119118
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Rong Jiang
 (618) 351-7424
Business Contact
 Rong Jiang
Title: PhD
Phone: (618) 351-7424
Research Institution
 Southern IL University Carbondale
 Yong K Gao
 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Carbondale, IL, 62901 7211
 (618) 453-4904
 Nonprofit college or university
This Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) Phase I project develops methods for the use of novel esterification and transesterification catalysts to cut the cost of biodiesel production which have become a critical bottleneck for greater biodiesel use. At the current time, biodiesel is produced through a transesterification catalytic process and the catalyst employed is sensitive to water and free fatty acids (FFA). As a consequence, biodiesel producers have to purchase expensive equipments to remove water and FFA from the feedstocks which lowers the yields of biodiesel production. This research develops a novel transesterification catalyst that can tolerate water, FFA and a second esterification catalyst to directly convert unwanted FFA into biodiesel. The broader impacts of this work are: (1) cutting the cost of biodiesel production due to improved production yields and the adoption of high-volume, continuous production of biodiesel; (2) potentially expanding the range of biodiesel feedstock selections to allow much cheaper inedible animal fats and recycled cooking oils, all of which contain significant amounts of FFA; and (3) finally, enabling the wider use of biodiesel to reduce our reliance on crude oil imports, support local agricultural economies, and provide a more environmentally friendly alternative to non-renewable fossil-fuel energy sources.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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