DETROIT NextCAT, Inc., a Wayne State University startup company, has received a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the amount of $498,830. This brings NextCAT's total grant funding to $1.3 million.
NextCAT is working to advance a biofuel catalyst technology developed at the National Biofuels Energy Laboratory at Wayne State University. The company's goal is to commercialize a class of catalysts that enable biodiesel producers to convert cost-effective raw materials such as waste vegetable oil, animal fats and residual corn oil into biodiesel. This technology offers a unique process solution for an industry that has been mostly idled in the United States since 2008, when rising feedstock prices rendered the production of biodiesel uneconomical. With a cost savings of at least $1 per gallon versus the traditional biodiesel production process, the NextCAT solution greatly changes the economics of a biodiesel plant.
In addition to the National Science Foundation funding, NextCAT has secured seed funding from Automation Alley and the Michigan Pre-Seed Capital Fund to design, build and install a pilot reactor at a biodiesel equipment manufacturer's engineering center.
The SBIR project proposes a potentially viable solution for many financially stressed biodiesel producers. Producers will simultaneously be able to use low-cost feedstock and greatly simplify the biodiesel production process. Also, currently idled facilities will be able to produce biodiesel fuel at prices competitive with petroleum diesel and help meet anticipated global market demand of approximately 8 billion gallons of biodiesel by 2015. The new process will also add jobs in economically depressed areas of the United States and bring the nation closer to energy independence.
In addition to the cost and energy savings associated with biodiesel fuel, there are several advantages that make it a s
|Contact: Julie O'Connor|
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research