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Recovery Act - Distillation Revisited: New Approaches to Energy Savings Using Integrated Distillation-Membrane Processes

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: 02-10ER85674
Agency Tracking Number: 92103
Amount: $150,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 10 b
Solicitation Number: DE-PS02-09ER09-27
Solicitation Year: 2009
Award Year: 2010
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2010-06-06
Small Business Information
1360 Willow Road, #103
Menlo Park, CA 94025
United States
DUNS: 112716311
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Richard Baker
 (650) 543-3343
Business Contact
 Elizabeth Weiss
Title: Dr.
Phone: (650) 543-3378
Research Institution

Separations using distillation consume 5 to 6 quads of energy annually in the United States. We propose to develop a combination distillation-membrane vapor separation process that cuts the use of energy for distillation in half. Separation of aromatic/aliphatic mixtures, an important process in refinery and chemical operations, has been chosen as the first target application for this project. In Phase I, bench scale membrane modules will be made and tested with a model mixture: toluene/methylcyclohexane. Phase I work will confirm that modules capable of efficiently performing the target separations are stable at the operating conditions of use, and that process designs based on these results can deliver the expected energy and cost savings. In Phase II, a pilot scale system including a small distillation column will be built. The system will be used to optimize the membranes and membrane modules, and to demonstrate the process with complex refinery feed mixtures. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Aromatic/aliphatic separations are used as the first step in the preparation of nine of the top 50 chemicals produced in the United States. Our technology could reduce the energy use of these separations by half.

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

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