SBIR-STTR Award

C56-10 a.3 Farmyard Biorefinery: Diesel Production from Stranded Biomass
Award last edited on: 11/26/2023

Sponsored Program
SBIR
Awarding Agency
DOE
Total Award Amount
$206,493
Award Phase
1
Solicitation Topic Code
C56-10a
Principal Investigator
Matthew Merrill

Company Information

WeNeW Carbology LLC

Po Box 8107
Charlottesville, VA 22906
   (540) 486-5576
   contact@wenewc.com
   www.wenewc.com
Location: Single
Congr. District: 05
County: Charlottesville city

Phase I

Contract Number: DE-SC0023795
Start Date: 7/10/2023    Completed: 4/9/2024
Phase I year
2023
Phase I Amount
$206,493
Substantial quantities of energy and carbon are presently going to waste as crop residues in farm fields. Sustainable or even regenerative approaches to harvesting this renewable farm resource are needed to decarbonize the agricultural industry. Ideally, the crop residueÂ’s energy is turned into renewable fuels while the carbon is sequestered in the soil for improved farm health and productivity. Unfortunately, there has been little success to date in effectively using this valuable resource with large, centralized biorefineries.Farms represent small, distributed point sources of bioenergy. In this case, the economies of mass producing smaller, standardized equipment modules can outcompete the conventional economies of scale. A pivot to small, modular biorefineries can enable more effective solutions. This approach can access >85% of domestic farmland by effectively scaling down to just 200 acres of corn or wheat without competing for food production. Community-based collaborations can benefit this pivot to biofuel (diesel) production to the local scale. Unique advances in gasification-based biorefinery design will be applied to increase diesel yields and process economics.The project will research and develop the approach to implementing small, modular biorefineries with minimal technical, economic, and social barriers. The project will advance how the biorefinery collaborates with the community, the crop residue harvesting logistics, farm soil health management, and facility layout and operations unique to these small, modular systems. To showcase how this biorefinery can be successfully implemented in almost any community, these efforts will lead to a pilot biorefinery demonstration in a historically underserved community within the next project phase.The production of diesel from crop residues can improve farm economics by increasing net revenues per acre and advancing soil quality. The soil health, productivity, and resilience can be not just sustained, but advanced by applying the biochar coproduct of gasification, nutrient recycling, and a combination of established domestic farming methods. This approach can enable farmers to profit from the bioenergy going to waste in the fields with little additional effort or effects on their present operations. This biofuel production approach can be easily extended to gasoline and aviation fuels. The biorefineries can effectively integrate into almost any agricultural community and collectively contribute substantial impacts on renewable fuel production and greenhouse gas emissions.

Phase II

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Start Date: 00/00/00    Completed: 00/00/00
Phase II year
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