Fractionation and dehydration of existing feedstock for biomass and biopower production

Period of Performance: 06/13/2016 - 03/12/2017


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Shockkwave LLC
2151 Dean Ave. Array
Des Moines, IA 50317
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


This SBIR Project will address the problem of inconsistent feedstock handling from ambient conditions into a controlled reactor, a primary barrier to continuous operation of biomass conversion systems. Proposed Approach to a Solution: Successful solids handling will be achieved primarily through pneumatic control. Using robust blowers, duct size variation, and hydro cones, as well as applied temperature and pressure, the system controls the velocity of the feedstock solids to create the conditions to fractionation and coproduct separation prior to fermentation. The continuous handling of the solids can be adjusted through numerous assemblies creating a non-limiting through-stock allowing biochemical scenarios for production of cellulosic ethanol, fast pyrolysis and hydro treating bio-oil pathways. Scientific laboratories will be utilized for analysis. Certified Public Accounts specializing in the Ethanol Industry will provide economic modeling. Phase 1 Technical Objective: The feasibility of the system will be established through design, fabrication, and testing of various blower speeds, duct sizing and venturi models in our shop. From these models evaluation of economy and coproducts will determine feasible value of fractionated solids for an ethanol plant. The model will demonstrate that fractionation and separation of corn pre-fermentation coproducts such as Germ will be suitable for food grade oil and Fiber to create more cellulosic biofuel options. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The proposed system will not challenge the incumbent. The commercial application benefits existing ethanol plants that are not currently fractionating or that are fractionating with older equipment in need of updating to a more productive system with increased energy efficiency. The proposed system is projected to provide an operating ethanol plant with additional values a result of several factors: Fractionation removes inhibiting compounds resulting in faster fermentation time and more efficient conversions Decreased natural gas usage Higher prices for fractionation co-products Creates options for cellulosic biofuels from fiber Remove fiber, pretreat, add back into starch fermentation, or Separate cellulosic conversion EPA Pathways exist for corn fiber to cellulosic biofuels We have identified fractionation competition: Corn wet mill products using water This SBIR project reduces plant water consumption 18% per bushel This technology has the potential to be adapted to other feedstocks such as Class B Municipal Sludge, eggshell and membrane separation, and grease cake (food waste) to animal feed. Keywords: Biomass, solids handling, pneumatic, ethanol, cellulosic, corn, fermentation, biopower, feedstocks