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Patent
University of Southern California, Gc Environmental and Media And Process Technology Inc | Date: 2014-03-17

Systems and methods for removal of gas phase contaminants may utilize catalytic oxidation. For example, a method may include passing a gas that includes a gas phase contaminant through a catalytic membrane reactor at a temperature of about 150 C. to about 300 C., wherein the catalytic membrane reactor includes a bundle of tubular inorganic membranes, wherein each of the tubular inorganic membranes comprise a macroporous tubular substrate with an oxidative catalyst and a microporous layer disposed on a bore side of the macroporous tubular substrate, and wherein at least about 50% of the gas flows through the tubular inorganic membranes in a Knudsen flow regime; and oxidizing at least some of the gas phase contaminant with the oxidative catalyst layer, thereby reducing a concentration of the gas phase contaminant in the gas.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 996.81K | Year: 2012

Nationwide about 2.4 billion gallons of lubricants are consumed annually for automotive crankcase (about 58%), industrial processes, machine lubrication, mining, and others. About 1 billion gallons/yr is currently collected as waste oil, equivalent to1-1.5% of annual US crude oil import volume. Presently, about 9% of the collected used oil is re-refined at six facilities in US. The majority of this resource is currently burned as fuel. A report issued by the DOE in 2006 in response to The Energy Policy Act of 2005 Section 1838 highlights that the major impediment to expanding lube oil re-refining is investment costs required to design and construct new facilities for re-refining. According to the literature, about $40million in front end capital investment is required for a 30 million gallon per year (MGY) re-refining facility. This explains why the capital investment cost is listed as the primary impediment for expanding current re-refining capacity. Media and Process Technology Inc has been involved in the re-refining of waste oil using an innovative separation process which does not involve phase separation and hydrotreating as in the conventional technology. Thus, the re-refining facility can be designed and constructed in a small scale and modular operation without paying an economy of scale penalty. This not only reduces the front end capital investment per facility, but makes it uniquely suitable for regional re-refining operations to match waste oil supplies, as opposed to the conventional technology requiring a centralized operation to justify its large capital investment. A clean in place (CIP) methodology with our specially formulated cleaner package was developed to restore the flux of our ceramic membranes severely and irreversibly fouled during used oil processing, overcoming a key barrier to the commercial viability of this re-refining process. In addition, a rapid QA/QC strategy for used oil feedstock characterization and suitability for re-refining was developed. Process was demonstrated at the pilot scale in four months of continuous operation. In addition, the CIP is considered universal for oil filtration applications; several generic energy saving opportunities have been identified, which can benefit from the industrial membrane system equipped with the CIP we developed. We plan to expand our existing re-refining pilot operation to a semi-works facility to demonstrate the performance and economics of our upgraded re-refining process for petroleum-based waste oil. Then, we plan to establish the 1st regional re-refining center with our operational partner to showcase the technology and process and in parallel begin the deployment of the regional centers nationwide. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Our re-refining technology could positively impact the national energy consumption profile via an economically driven approach, potentially resulting in a 1% reduction in crude oil imports and significant reduction in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Nationwide, waste oil re-refining with this technology is expected to create job opportunities. Further, the technology is readily exportable.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.95K | Year: 2010

In the US today, over 1,800 trillion BTU/year is lost as waste heat from industrial processes as has been identified by the DOE. The energy loss in this category is primarily derived from the waste heat contained in flue gas and drying operation exhausts generated from a wide array of manufacturing processes. The recovery of this


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.98K | Year: 2010

Biodiesel production has grown substantially in the past few years in response to the increased price of imported fossil energy and significant interest in the private and public sectors for a clean renewable energy source, a desire to reduce dependence on foreign oil, and a desire to provide opportunities for American agricultural products. The U.S. market is expected to grow to between 1 to 2 billion US gallons in 2010 and double that worldwide. Beyond 2010, market growth in green energy is projected to increase dramatically due to trends in mandates by many states. However, the only conventional technology capable of satisfying the new more stringent biodiesel specifications consistently for a wide range of waste feedstock


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2015

Nationwide about 2.4 billion gallons of lubricants are consumed annually for automotive crankcase (about 58%), industrial processes, machine lubrication, mining, and others. About 1 billion gallons/yr is currently collected as waste oil, equivalent to1-1.5% of annual US crude oil import volume. Presently, about 9% of the collected used oil is re-refined at six facilities in US. The majority of this resource is currently burned as fuel. A report issued by the DOE in 2006 in response to The Energy Policy Act of 2005 Section 1838 highlights that the major impediment to expanding lube oil re-refining is investment costs required to design and construct new facilities for re-refining. According to the literature, about $40million in front end capital investment is required for a 30 million gallon per year (MGY) re-refining facility. This explains why the capital investment cost is listed as the primary impediment for expanding current re-refining capacity. Media and Process Technology Inc has been involved in the re-refining of waste oil using an innovative separation process which does not involve phase separation and hydrotreating as in the conventional technology. Thus, the re-refining facility can be designed and constructed in a small scale and modular operation without paying an economy of scale penalty. This not only reduces the front end capital investment per facility, but makes it uniquely suitable for regional re-refining operations to match waste oil supplies, as opposed to the conventional technology requiring a centralized operation to justify its large capital investment. A semi-works facility has been in operation for 9 months to demonstrate the innovative industrial membrane system we developed. About 50,000 gallons of re-refined has been produced and sold to blenders. In addition we have identified two dirty oils available in refineries which can benefit from our innovative membrane system. A lab feasibility study was performed to demonstrate its technical and economical viability. We plan to expand our existing re-refining pilot operation to a semi-works facility to demonstrate the performance and economics of our upgraded re-refining process for petroleum-based waste oil. Then, we plan to establish the 1st regional re-refining center with our operational partner to showcase the technology and process and in parallel begin the deployment of the regional centers nationwide. Also we will pursue the commercialization of the applications involving two dirty oil streams. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits. Our re-refining technology could positively impact the national energy consumption profile via an economically driven approach, potentially resulting in a 4-10% reduction in crude oil imports and significant reduction in air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Nationwide, waste oil re-refining with this technology is expected to create job opportunities. Further, the technology is readily exportable.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2010

This SBIR Phase I project will develop a method that utilizes a carbon based adsorptive surface flow membrane to perform continuous concentration of methane from raw bio-gas from large animal feed operations. The membrane can upgrade biogas at 40 to 65% CH4 to 90%+ CH4 with <10% CO2 at minimal/no pre-compression. Then, the upgraded methane can be used to generate pipeline quality methane, to produce peak time electrical power from on-site gas storage tanks for resale to the grid and/or to generate power or heat for in-house use. The resulting methane can be used on site, supplied via pipeline after being pressurized, or be feed to an on site electrical generating plant.

The broader/commercial impact of the project will be first to reduce the release of the greenhouse gas methane, second to produce a stream of high quality natural gas at a theoretically lower cost than competing technologies.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2010

In the US today, over 1,800 trillion BTU/year is lost as waste heat from industrial processes as has been identified by the DOE. The energy loss in this category is primarily derived from the waste heat contained in flue gas and drying operation exhausts generated from a wide array of manufacturing processes. The recovery of this


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.96K | Year: 2010

Biodiesel production has grown substantially in the past few years in response to the increased price of imported fossil energy and significant interest in the private and public sectors for a clean renewable energy source, a desire to reduce dependence on foreign oil, and a desire to provide opportunities for American agricultural products. The U.S. market is expected to grow to between 1 to 2 billion US gallons in 2010 and double that worldwide. Beyond 2010, market growth in green energy is projected to increase dramatically due to trends in mandates by many states. However, the only conventional technology capable of satisfying the new more stringent biodiesel specifications, specifically including the cold soak filter test, is distillation at ca. 180-240


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.97K | Year: 2011

R & amp;D activities on membrane-based separations have been extensive in the past several decades due to the potential to provide more energy-efficient separation processes than conventional distillation, extraction, absorption, adsorption, etc. Its simplicity, essentially as an advanced filter, offers significant advantage in operation, in particular for applications, which can best be deployed through a distributed network concept, such as distributed hydrogen production promoted by US DOE recently, distributed power generation from locally available feedstocks, etc. However, commercial implementation of membrane processes in this area, though consistent with the rising national energy and environmental concerns, has lagged. Two key barriers are identified: (i) performance or material stability and reliability barriers and (ii) barrier in integrating a new membrane process into an existing process. The above barriers have limited their uses in distributed production applications, which usually deal with variable feedstocks and require operational simplicity and stability due to the lack of highly technically trained operators on-staff. Our proposed industrial membrane process system will attempt to overcome the above barriers with a focus on the use of our commercial inorganic membranes for used oil re-refining through nationwide distributed network of facilities. The performance and materials stability and integration barriers have been overcome by our proposed industrial membrane system. In this proposal we develop an innovative solution to address the remaining barrier, i.e., reliability, which is critical for a membrane system fed with variable sources of feedstock. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: By re-refining waste oils, we project about 65 million barrels per year of savings potential can be achieved, resulting in about 1 to 1.5% reduction in crude imports. Recently, many new green energy sources have been developed as a result of the push by the current and previous administrations; however, the development of a high quality liquid hydrocarbon fuel and/or a replacement for liquid fuels remains a considerable challenge. Thus, any reduction in liquid hydrocarbon usage and imports via this proposed project is significant and complements the national energy technology development trend. Finally, due to the distributed generation of waste oil throughout the country, waste oil re-refining is best implemented through a distributed network of facilities.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 100.00K | Year: 2009

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will develop a one-step membrane reactor-based process to clean-up, concentrate, and condition bio-based syngas to make it suitable for downstream processing into fuel or chemicals. The biomass-based energy production pathway has been favored recently due to no/minimal net CO2 emission. The recent skyrocketing prices of imported crude have made domestically available biomass a very attractive alternative fuel and chemical source. Thermochemical conversion of biomass into fuels and chemicals has been considered one of the better developed bio-based energy production processes. However, today for thermochemical conversion of biomass to play a significant role in reducing our country's dependence on imported fossil fuels, the syngas generated during biomass gasification must be (i) meticulously cleaned to remove trace contaminants (e.g., tar, H2S, NH3, HCl, etc.), (ii) concentrated via removal of a broad range of diluents (e.g., N2, O2, CH4, etc.), and (iii) conditioned to the proper ratio to meet the feedstock requirements of such diverse products as hydrogen for fuel cells or syngas for methanol and higher alcohol synthesis and for hydrocarbon production via Fischer-Tropsch. During Phase I of this project, the gas clean-up/concentration/conditioning process based upon the proposed one-step concept will be demonstrated in a bench top unit with synthetic feeds. The experimental and simulation results thus generated will be used to validate the proposed technical concept and provide economic basis for the next phase technical and commercial development with an end user participant. The development of this process will play a pivotal role in linking the existing upstream biomass gasification technology with the downstream hydrogen or syngas use technology. The production cost using existing technology was about 2 to 4 times of the cost of fossil diesel in 2004. By implementing this technology, the projected bio-based fuel cost will be in line with current fossil fuel prices according to preliminary cost analyses. The development and commercialization of this process will play a pivotal role in linking the existing upstream biomass gasification technology with the downstream syngas to fuel/chemical conversion technologies and will boost the domestic energy supply with minimal net greenhouse gas emissions.

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