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 layout enterprise commenced by University of Arkansas scientists, has been awarded a $256,000 Compact Company Innovation Investigate Grant from the National Science Basis to build technology that increases biofuel output.
The grant will enable SIEV to keep on building its organization design as nicely as its catalytic membrane engineering. This technologies usually takes lignocellulosic biomass or other carbohydrate-abundant feedstock, these as corn fiber or agricultural waste, and converts it into marketable products, like biofuels and bio-primarily based products. SIEV will originally target on ethanol creation.
The federal Tiny Business Innovation and Analysis award application incentivizes tiny businesses to pursue research and progress with the potential for commercialization. The objective is for firms to access their technological probable and to create a pathway to profitability by commercialization.
The U.S. generates an approximated 386 million tons of biomass waste a calendar year, most of which is either burned or despatched to landfills, symbolizing a probably extensive amount of money of feasible feedstock for biofuels and other employs. The company’s original concentration on ethanol output will allow production plants to transform the cellulosic corn fiber byproduct they at this time provide as lower benefit animal feed into the far more profitable cellulosic ethanol, a biofuel.
The firm is primarily based on numerous patents held by Ranil Wickramasinghe, distinguished professor of chemical engineering, and Xianghong Qian, a professor of biomedical engineering. The enterprise is led by their previous undergraduate pupil, Davar Sasongko. A subaward of $81,839 from the much larger SBIR grant will go to Wickramasinghe and Qian to validate their catalytic membrane technology’s means to convert corn fiber to biofuels.
Even though there are only close to 200 ethanol production plants in the place, Wickramasinghe described it as “a beachhead marketplace, representing the shortest route to commercialization for the corporation.” With SIEV’s bolt-on know-how, present products can be tailored onsite to convert its corn fiber byproduct into cellulosic ethanol, a much more rewarding solution. This also usually means additional ethanol can be produced from the plant’s existing corn feedstock. There are no other transportation expenditures or other refining services included.
Sasongko also observed that, in addition to earning much more income off the byproduct of ethanol manufacturing, ethanol corporations that undertake SIEV’s reactor system can generate Low Carbon Gas Typical (LCFS) credits – part of a market-dependent incentive software built to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels inside of participating states, this kind of as California. These LCFS credits can then be offered for additional earnings. He also stated that SIEV “can use the ethanol marketplace as a springboard into other markets and applications utilizing bio-primarily based system substances.”
Importantly, Qian emphasized that their favored feedstocks “don’t compete with meals. You can make use of cellulose, food and agriculture waste, which you can’t make use of. All of it can be turned to biochemicals.” This contains matters like almond shells, rice hulls and woody biomass.
Assuming prosperous completion of Phase I, SIEV anticipates owning at bare minimum a practical merchandise by the conclusion of Stage II, which would commence summertime of 2022.
The scientists have been earlier assisted by both hole and commercialization funding from the university’s Chancellor’s Fund. The SIEV cofounders also participated in the NSF I-Corps method.
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