An Industrial Membrane System Suitable for Distributed Used Oil Re-Refining

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-11ER90176
Agency Tracking Number: 97012
Amount: $149,972.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: 09 c
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0000413
Small Business Information
1155 William Pitt Way, Pittsburgh, PA, 15238-1368
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: Dr.
Phone: (412) 826-3711
Research Institution
R & amp;D activities on membrane-based separations have been extensive in the past several decades due to the potential to provide more energy-efficient separation processes than conventional distillation, extraction, absorption, adsorption, etc. Its simplicity, essentially as an advanced filter, offers significant advantage in operation, in particular for applications, which can best be deployed through a distributed network concept, such as distributed hydrogen production promoted by US DOE recently, distributed power generation from locally available feedstocks, etc. However, commercial implementation of membrane processes in this area, though consistent with the rising national energy and environmental concerns, has lagged. Two key barriers are identified: (i) performance or material stability and reliability barriers and (ii) barrier in integrating a new membrane process into an existing process. The above barriers have limited their uses in distributed production applications, which usually deal with variable feedstocks and require operational simplicity and stability due to the lack of highly technically trained operators on-staff. Our proposed industrial membrane process system will attempt to overcome the above barriers with a focus on the use of our commercial inorganic membranes for used oil re-refining through nationwide distributed network of facilities. The performance and materials stability and integration barriers have been overcome by our proposed industrial membrane system. In this proposal we develop an innovative solution to address the remaining barrier, i.e., reliability, which is critical for a membrane system fed with variable sources of feedstock. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: By re-refining waste oils, we project about 65 million barrels per year of savings potential can be achieved, resulting in about 1 to 1.5% reduction in crude imports. Recently, many new green energy sources have been developed as a result of the push by the current and previous administrations; however, the development of a high quality liquid hydrocarbon fuel and/or a replacement for liquid fuels remains a considerable challenge. Thus, any reduction in liquid hydrocarbon usage and imports via this proposed project is significant and complements the national energy technology development trend. Finally, due to the distributed generation of waste oil throughout the country, waste oil re-refining is best implemented through a distributed network of facilities.

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

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