A Thermal Deoxygenation Process for Cellulosic Biomass Conversion to Energy-Dense Biofuels

Award Information
Department of Energy
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
10 b
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Seachange Group Llc
28 Stone Road, Cape Elizabeth, ME, 04107-5005
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Clayton Wheeler
(207) 581-2280
Business Contact:
Scott Eaton
(207) 664-4847
Research Institution:
University of Maine

5717 Corbett Hall
Orono, ME, 04469-5717
() -
Nonprofit college or university
This Department of Energy Small Business Technology Transfer Research Phase I project proposal aims to develop an intensive thermo chemical conversion method of biomass to non-ethanol biofuels. There is a substantial need for alternative sources of domestic transportation fuels to displace demand for foreign oil imports. Petroleum imports are proven to increase signs of global warming, compromise our national security interests and place the U.S. at an economic disadvantage globally. Petroleum production is expected to peak within the middle of this century which will strain the existing energy landscape. Symptoms are already being felt in the residuals fuels markets as emphasis on gasoline and diesel fuel production, has drastically reduced fuel quality. It has been proposed by the Department of Energy and the Department of Agriculture that a target of 20% of 2005 transportation fuel usage be displaced with domestically produced biomass derived drop-in fuels by the year 2030. Currently, there are a number of proposed catalytic routes being pursued to reach this goal, each at a variable degree of commercial readiness. The goal of this STTR phase I project proposal is to develop a new and intensive process, called Thermal Deoxygenation (TDO) for the direct conversion of biomass-derived carboxylates to drop-in biofuels. This process uses an alkali or alkaline earth base as an initiator, and likely a subsequent condensation catalyst, to remove oxygen by direct thermo chemical means. The product produced is a highly deoxygenated crude oil which has the potential to form various transportation fuel grades. These fuels will produce less greenhouse gas emissions and have a favorable processing profile due to the low fuel sulfur content. This research proposal will increase our understanding of processing parameters, such as relevant chemistry, reaction kinetics and mass transfer on product distribution and yield to further increase cost competitiveness of the process. This process is conceived to be readily incorporated into existing biomass processing and fuel distribution infrastructures. The commercial potential for this process is large given the range of fuel products achievable; with most of the economic benefit being centered in traditionally under- developed rural communities. Phase II efforts will aim to commercialize the process technology through revitalization of the nations biomass processing facilities, such as pulp mills

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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