A series of increasingly large Biofuels Conferences are organized by REA co-founder, Dr. Richard Parnas, in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010. These meetings are held at the University of Connecticut to learn the industry needs and problems, and guide the R&D efforts of the Dr. Parnas Lab. A novel transesterification reactor is designed by Parnas and his colleagues at UCONN to efficiently convert triglycerides to biodiesel (view video). UCONN is awarded three US patents on the reactor and associated equipment from 2009 to 2013. REA holds the exclusive license to this intellectual property.
A detailed mathematical model of the patented reactor is developed to explain why it works the way it does. A $600,000 grant is secured from the State of Connecticut to open a Biodiesel Fuel Quality Testing laboratory at UCONN in support of this groundbreaking industry development.
A $1.2 million grant from the US Department of Energy is also secured to support biofuels research at UCONN. Preliminary experimentation with low-quality feedstock is carried out to develop free fatty acid esterification parameters. Advanced solid catalysts are developed for esterification that can be further developed into an improved esterification reactor.
In June 2018, REA installs a prototype production system at the New Haven East Shore WPCA. This
14-month demonstration successfully converts brown grease waste into several hundred gallons
of heating-oil grade biodiesel. Further research and development enables our team to improve the system design to ultimately produce ASTM B-100 grade biodiesel. The plant operates continuously to demonstrate it can function at the WPCA without interfering in the facility’s operations.
REA and UCONN develop a combined vacuum distillation / Raney Ni Sulfur reduction system to bring biodiesel into compliance with ASTM B-100 requirements of sulfur at less than 15ppm. REA secures its first contract to build a FOG Receiving Facility and a FOG-To-Biodiesel system at the Danbury Wastewater Treatment Plant in Danbury, CT. REA is also awarded a contract from the Greater Hartford Metropolitan District Commission to develop a FOG Management Program for its municipality.
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