Recovery Act - Manufacture of Poly(Vinyl Butyral) by Reactive Distillation

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: 02-10ER85657
Agency Tracking Number: 92672
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2010
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: 10 b
Solicitation Number: DE-PS02-09ER09-27
Small Business Information
665 Amherst Road, Sunderland, MA, 01375
DUNS: 025207911
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 James Kittrell
 (413) 549-5506
Business Contact
 James Kittrell
Title: Dr.
Phone: (413) 549-5506
Research Institution
Poly(vinyl butyral) (PVB) is a large volume polymer used extensively as a laminating layer in safety glass for automotive and architectural applications. Essentially every automotive vehicle produced in the world includes a windshield containing a PVB laminating layer. PVB is currently produced by a complex, indirect, multi-step route, which leads to extensive distillation fractionation and purification steps, and much recycle, consuming substantial energy, and adding to production costs. Based on projections for the production of PVB for use in laminated glass and other applications, and estimates for the energy requirements for PVB production, the total energy input required for PVB production in 2010 will approach 10 trillion BTU/year. The complex production process and associated high energy costs result in excessive manufacturing costs for PVB, impacting the global competitive position of U.S. producers. This proposal addresses the reduction of both energy consumption and manufacturing costs for manufacture of PVB. The overall objective of the Phase I and Phase II project is to provide a novel route for the production of PVB, with substantially reduced energy requirements and overall production costs. This goal is to be accomplished by producing PVB by a novel reactive distillation process. PVB will be produced from low cost, low energy content raw materials by reactive distillation, a far simpler and more direct route than current commercial practice. The resulting overall process greatly reduces recovery and purification steps compared to the current indirect and complex process for PVB production, resulting in substantial savings in energy consumption and manufacturing costs. The program will demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of the novel reactive distillation technology, through the demonstration of the experimental performance of the reactive distillation system, analysis of the composition and structure of the polymer produced, and process design, cost estimation, and life cycle cost assessments. This program will be conducted with a subcontract to the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: This reactive distillation technology should find immediate application for the production of poly(vinyl butyral) for laminated safety glass for automotive transportation and other applications. This program will also extend reactive distillation technology beyond current uses, to the production of industrial polymers. Reactive distillation represents a new hybrid process technology offering the opportunity for substantial reduction in energy consumption and manufacturing costs for a wide range of industrial chemicals.

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

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