From still left: Ranil Wickramasinghe, co-founder, advisor Xianghong Qian, co-founder, advisor and Davar Sasongko, principal investigator, co-founder.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – SIEV Technologies, a catalytic membrane reactor style enterprise begun by College of Arkansas scientists, has been awarded a $256,000 Smaller Small business Innovation Exploration Grant from the Nationwide Science Foundation to acquire know-how that enhances biofuel manufacturing.
The grant will permit SIEV to continue on acquiring its small business model as very well as its catalytic membrane technologies. This technologies will take lignocellulosic biomass or other carbohydrate-wealthy feedstock, these kinds of as corn fiber or agricultural waste, and converts it into marketable products and solutions, like biofuels and bio-based mostly products and solutions. SIEV will to begin with focus on ethanol production.
The federal Modest Enterprise Innovation and Investigation award program incentivizes smaller organizations to pursue study and enhancement with the probable for commercialization. The purpose is for corporations to attain their technological potential and to build a pathway to profitability as a result of commercialization.
The U.S. generates an believed 386 million tons of biomass squander a year, most of which is possibly burned or sent to landfills, symbolizing a possibly broad amount of feasible feedstock for biofuels and other utilizes. The company’s first target on ethanol output will help output plants to convert the cellulosic corn fiber byproduct they at present offer as minimal value animal feed into the extra lucrative cellulosic ethanol, a biofuel.
The corporation is centered on numerous patents held by Ranil Wickramasinghe, distinguished professor of chemical engineering, and Xianghong Qian, a professor of biomedical engineering. The organization is led by their former undergraduate pupil, Davar Sasongko. A subaward of $81,839 from the more substantial SBIR grant will go to Wickramasinghe and Qian to validate their catalytic membrane technology’s potential to transform corn fiber to biofuels.
While there are only all over 200 ethanol generation vegetation in the country, Wickramasinghe described it as “a beachhead market, representing the shortest path to commercialization for the corporation.” With SIEV’s bolt-on technological know-how, present products can be adapted onsite to convert its corn fiber byproduct into cellulosic ethanol, a additional financially rewarding merchandise. This also indicates additional ethanol can be manufactured from the plant’s current corn feedstock. There are no other transportation fees or other refining amenities concerned.
Sasongko also pointed out that, in addition to earning extra cash off the byproduct of ethanol manufacturing, ethanol businesses that adopt SIEV’s reactor program can generate Low Carbon Gas Regular (LCFS) credits – part of a market-centered incentive plan built to lower the carbon intensity of transportation fuels in just collaborating states, this kind of as California. These LCFS credits can then be offered for added income. He also mentioned that SIEV “can use the ethanol sector as a springboard into other markets and apps making use of bio-centered platform chemical compounds.”
Importantly, Qian emphasized that their preferred feedstocks “don’t contend with foods. You can utilize cellulose, food stuff and agriculture squander, which you can not make use of. All of it can be turned to biochemicals.” This incorporates matters like almond shells, rice hulls and woody biomass.
Assuming profitable completion of Stage I, SIEV anticipates possessing at least a practical product or service by the conclusion of Section II, which would commence summer months of 2022.
The scientists were earlier assisted by both of those gap and commercialization funding from the university’s Chancellor’s Fund. The SIEV cofounders also participated in the NSF I-Corps application.
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