High Performance Low Cost Bio-Polymer Building Material From CO2 and Recycled Wastes

Award Information
Department of Energy
Award Year:
Phase II
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
United Environment & Energy Llc
111 Ridge Road, Horseheads, NY, 14845-1507
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Ben Wen
(607) 796-0830
Business Contact:
Jessica Zhang
(607) 796-0830
Research Institution:

About 1,700 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) were emitted from 572 coal-fired power plants in 2012 in the U.S. To reduce the CO2 emissions, CO2 capture and sequestration processes need to be implemented. In addition to CO2, these plants produce more than 72 million tons of fly ash per year, among which 40 million tons are disposed of in landfills or surface impoundments with disposal costs of $222 million per year. Any beneficial, practical utilization of CO2 and fly ash to produce high value and high volume products would greatly relieve the pressure on the power industry. This proposed project concerns a novel and beneficial CO2 utilization technology concurrent with fly ash application. In the presence of fly ash, flue gas CO2 interacts with renewable oils to produce a high performance, low cost, highly energy efficient, and environmentally friendly biopolymer building material. Classified as a non-hazardous material, this biopolymer can be used to replace or serve as an additive to petroleum based asphalt, sealant, and polymers in the manufacture of building materials. Compared to petroleum based products, this biopolymer has significant advantages, including substantially lower production costs, direct use of flue gas CO2 without compression, utilization of renewable and recycled materials, a water- and solvent-free production process with no waste streams, improved thermal durability and low temperature performance, improved fungal resistance, high energy efficiency, and elimination of the odor and volatile organic compounds emissions associated with petroleum products. In Phase I, the biopolymer was successfully produced, and its properties were fully characterized. The optimal biopolymer production conditions were determined. The technical feasibility of this technology has been successfully established. An economic analysis was conducted and demonstrated the economic viability of this technology. The overall objectives of Phase II are to bring this proven and viable CO2 based biopolymer production technology from a laboratory scale to a pilot scale process, produce biopolymer for industrial scale evaluations at other companies, and demonstrate its commercial viability. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: An efficient transformation of CO2 and recycled waste into a high value biopolymer is of significant importance for resource utilization and pollution prevention. The success of this project will result in a high performance biopolymer for sustainable building and infrastructure construction that will bring significant cost savings to the end-users, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and waste disposal, protect the environment, reduce the use of petroleum based products, and meet the future building and infrastructure needs.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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