A series of increasingly large Biofuels Conferences were organized by Parnas in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010. These meetings were held at UCONN to learn the industry needs and problems, and guide the R&D efforts of the Parnas lab. A novel transesterification reactor was developed by Parnas and coworkers at UCONN to efficiently convert triglycerides to biodiesel UCONN was awarded 3 US patents on the reactor and associated equipment from 2009 to 2013 (2,3,4), and one patent remains in force, US 8,119,832 B2 from 2012. REA now holds the exclusive license to this patent.
A detailed mathematical model of the patented Reactor was developed to explain why the reactor works the way it does (5). A $600,000 grant was secured from the State of CT to open a Biodiesel Fuel Quality Testing laboratory in support of industry development.
A $1,200,000 grant from the US DOE was secured to support biofuels research at UCONN, and initial experiments with low quality feedstock were carried out to develop free fatty acid esterification parameters. Advanced solid Catalysts were developed for esterification that could be further developed into an improved esterification reactor (6).
A bacterial consortium was developed by directed evolution to convert the waste glycerol from biodiesel production into the platform chemical, 1,3-propanediol (7). Novel and patented polymer membranes were developed to purify the 1,3 propanediol exiting the fermenter (8). Further commercialization efforts were undertaken for producing biodiesel from brown grease FOG by securing enough funding to partially construct a demonstration system for placement at a wastewater treatment plant
REA secured the necessary investment to complete the demonstration project of converting FOG to biodiesel at the New Haven East Shore Wastewater Treatment Facility.
REA and UCONN developed a combined vacuum distillation / Raney Ni Sulfur reduction system to bring the biodiesel into compliance with ASTM B-100 requirements of Sulfur at less than 15ppm. A patent disclosure for this process is in preparation. REA secured a $5,900,000 contract to build a FOG to Biodiesel system at the Danbury Wastewater treatment facility. REA was recently awarded an initial $25,000 contract to begin developing a FOG management program for the Greater Hartford Metropolitan District Commission (MDC).
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