ACENT awarded Phase 2 DOE SBIR

Hampton, VA. August 19, 2009 – Algae has been identified as an attractive feedstock for the generation of biofuels and significant attention is being focused on making it an economically attractive alternative to conventional fossil fuels. ACENT Laboratories LLC (ACENT), in collaboration with the Virginia Costal Energy Research Consortium (VCERC), has recently been awarded a Phase 2 Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a low cost, high efficiency algae harvesting and dewatering system. Environmental engineer Melissa Green, ACENT biofuels lead, said that “the system addresses one of the critical process steps required to make algal biofuels economically practical as a fossil fuel alternative.” The work will be led by ACENT at its Hampton, VA location with significant support from the VCERC group at Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, VA.

In Phase 1 of the project, a small scale system was developed and tested with support from VCERC. Results were highly favorable with economic projections based on data obtained suggesting a fourfold reduction in cost for this key process step as compared to current technology. Further optimization of the system will take place in Phase 2 utilizing a larger scale system leveraging lessons‐learned from Phase 1. Refinement of the key performance parameters and cost drivers will be carried out and integration of the harvesting system into the end‐to‐end algal biodiesel production process will be investigated.

ACENT Laboratories LLC is a small business founded in 2007 to serve the Aerospace and Clean Energy Technology industries. The ACENT team is comprised of leading aerospace, defense and environmental scientists and engineers with experience managing and executing complex multidisciplinary technology development and demonstration projects for NASA, the DoD, and other organizations. With the skills gained and hard-won lessons-learned from these past projects, ACENT provides high-quality engineering services and applied technology/product development to a wide variety of customers including the US Department of Energy, US Air Force, NASA, and a range of public and private corporations. Headquartered on Long Island NY, ACENT has operations in Virginia including a laboratory facility in Hampton where experimental work in biofuels and combustion is conducted.