SBIR Phase I: Functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes for making highly efficient water separation membranes for ultralow sulfur diesel fuels

Period of Performance: 01/01/2009 - 12/31/2009


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Seldon Technologies, Inc.
31 Depot Avenue, P. O. Box 710
Windsor, VT 05089
Principal Investigator


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will develop a novel membrane based on functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes. This membrane will radically outperform conventional membranes used for water separation from ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD). Water present in ULSD forms highly stable emulsions which are very difficult to separate. There is a critical need for water separation from ULSD in diesel-vehicles because water drastically reduces the engines' durability and efficiency. Conventional membranes cannot destabilize these emulsions completely. Most importantly, these membranes perform differently over the range of ULSDs available. Surface chemistry of the fibers is critical for obtaining the optimal wetting behavior required for separation of such fuel-water systems. Multi-walled carbon nanotube surface chemistry will be used as a parameter for controlling the water-ULSD separation performance of the membrane. If successful, this would solve that long standing problem in the fuel industry and would also pave the way for subsequent products for water separation from liquids (e.g. biodiesels) which form highly stable emulsions with water. In the short term, this innovation would yield significant benefits for the ULSD vehicular industry by reducing the engines' maintenance and