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Argonne receives award for biomass resin wafer technology

Argonne National Laboratory has received a Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) Award for a technology improving the processing of biomass feedstocks into biofuels and chemicals.

By Kari Williamson

A team led by Argonne biochemical engineer Seth Snyder developed the resin wafer electrodeionisation technology, which significantly reduce the cost of producing biofuels.

In January 2011, Argonne executed a licensing agreement for the biomass separation technology with Nalco Company in Naperville, IL. Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) will be one of the first end users.

Argonne, Nalco and ADM are jointly developing the biomass separation technology to improve energy efficiency and environmental performance in integrated biorefineries.

The FLC recognised the partnership with the 2012 Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer.

Argonne's technology allows for the deionising or the continuous removal of charged products, like organic acids from aqueous streams, and eliminates the requirement to continuously add neutralising agents.

Conventional bioprocessing technologies require significant capital expenditures or energy-intensive steps to recover these products and typically generate large waste streams.

"The implications of this resin wafer electrodeionisation technology are both positive and exciting,” says Snyder.

“Bio-based chemicals and fuels are a clean and sustainable alternative to oil and gas consumption. Increasing their usage would help provide a home grown energy source, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, as well as overall energy costs. Our technology could help make affordable clean and bio-based products that are not currently economically competitive.”

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