Intensified Microwave Reactor Technology

This project looks to develop both foundational hardware and modeling tools for microwaves as a non-conventional energy input source - a key theme in process intensification - for reactions across chemical conversions and materials synthesis. The project develops scalable microwave technology (MWT) across industries and RAPID focus areas (FAs) and demonstrates its diverse applications with different spatial, temporal, and phase characteristics, often combined with additional process intensification (PI) technologies.

Investigators

Dion Vlachos
Allan and Myra Ferguson Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Date approved

January 01, 2018
Current TRL
3

Use of Power Ultrasound for Nonthermal, Nonequilibrium Separation of Ethanol/Water Solutions

Separation of liquid mixtures, frequently by distillation, consumes large amounts of energy in the chemical and process industries. This project proposes to develop, test, and demonstrate a continuous-flow, scalable, nonthermal, nonequilibrium liquid separation for the test case of ethanol + water that uses ultrasound, and avoids the heat transfer losses and azeotropic bottleneck of distillation. The basis of the separation is straightforward. When ultrasound passes through a nominally quiescent liquid with a free surface above, droplets are produced and form a mist.

Investigators

Hao Feng
Professor of Food and Bioprocess Engineering

High Purity Ethanol without Distillation: Carbon nanotube Enabled Ethanol Dewatering

Biofuels produced from fermentation processes have long been processed using decades-old distillation technology. Distilling a minor component of this broth to a high purity requires substantial amounts of energy that can lessen the net-energy and profitability of the fuel produced. This work will demonstrate a new technology concept developed by Mattershift, LLC that uses a carbon nanotube (CNT) membrane to selectively extract the biofuel, in this case ethanol, from a fermentation broth.

Investigators

Jeffery McCutcheon
Associate Professor and Executive Director, Frauhofer USA Center for Energy Innovation

Partner Organizations

University of Connecticut

Three-Way Catalytic Distillation to Renewable Surfactants via Triglycerides

Renewable feedstocks, including triglycerides and lignocellulose-derived sugars, can be converted to a new class of ionic surfactants, called “oleo-furan sulfonates” (OFS) by multi-step solid acid catalysis. The renewable OFS surfactant exhibits superior properties relative to conventional fossil-derived materials with higher micelle-forming efficiency, stability in cold water, and resistance to hard water.

Investigators

Paul Dauenhauer
Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Date approved

March 01, 2018
Current TRL
3

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