SBIR Phase I: Cultivation of Duckweed for Bioremediation of Delaware and Chesapeake Watersheds, and for the Sustainable Production of a Renewable Chemical Feedstock
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
15 Reads Way, Suite 106, New Castle, DE, 19720-0000
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project aims to develop a duckweed system for poultry waste bioremediation and use of the duckweed as a renewable feedstock for Clostridium acetobutylicum (Cac) biofuel production. Runoff from agricultural, municipal and other sources leads to eutrophication of the Chesapeake and other bays, with approximately half of the loads from agriculture, particularly poultry production on Delmarva. This work will provide an alternative nutrient reduction strategy, while simultaneously providing feedstock for clostridial biobutanol fermentation and poultry feed supplements. Current biobutanol work relies on corn hydrolysate, and duckweed is an attractive renewable feedstock. Life cycle assessments of environmental impacts indicate the ideal systems combine strategic placements of small/medium-scale wastewater remediation with biofuel feedstock production. The broader/commercial impacts of this research are the development of poultry waste bioremedation strategies coupled with the development of that biomass for renewable chemical and biofuel technologies. The goal of this Phase I project is to maximize manure remediation while producing biomass for Cac biobutanol fermentation. Depletion of non-renewable energy sources, leading to high oil prices, highlights the importance of economically-viable technologies for production of biofuels from renewables. Renewable biomasses should be carbon-neutral and be efficiently used in biorefinery production. The economic potential of biorefineries is hindered by cellulosic materials that compete with food supply economics (i.e. corn). The commercial potential of a biomass from a nuisance plant, duckweed, combined with the use of clostridia biobutanol production is exceptional, but remains unexplored. This project aims to demonstrate this potential.
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