PCI New Technology for Converting Solar Energy to Fuel Wins DOE SBIR Phase I Grant

June 30, 2016

(North Haven, CT) Precision Combustion, Inc. (PCI) announced today that it has won a competitive Department of Energy (DOE) SBIR Phase I grant to develop a new material and technology for using solar energy to make fuel.

PCI’s technology converts intermittent solar energy to transportation fuels by alternatively capturing and releasing of solar energy convert carbon dioxide and methane, abundantly available in both natural gas and shale gas, for use in scalable processes to manufacture fuels or chemicals. This novel combination of concentrated solar power collector and effective materials-based process, plus other design features, provides process intensification for cost effective enablement of CO2 conversion to fuels.

Fully renewable resources are the key to the future of green technology. But non-carbon renewable sources of energy, including wind and solar, are intermittent and present challenges in terms of round-the-clock and mobile power availability. PCI’s process provides an alternative to storage of captured carbon, using renewable solar energy to convert the carbon back into transportation fuels or chemicals. Our scalable process readily converts CO2 and CH4 into a range of chemicals or fuels, providing a green alternative to conventional petroleum refining. By using captured CO2 together with energy from a 100% renewable resource, heat from a concentrated solar power collector, the process is complementary to carbon capture technologies, offering an efficient green path to making fuels.

According to Dr. Jeffrey Weissman, the Principal Investigator, "This work represents an entirely new concept in using abundant and clean solar power to reduce, reuse and convert greenhouse gases into useful products. This DOE Phase I project gives us a chance to explore this technology and prove that the underlying concepts are valid." Kevin Burns, PCI President, adds “If successful, this offers a route for converting solar energy and captured carbon to fuels or chemicals that will boost energy efficiency and resource efficiency while taking advantage of America's abundant natural gas. Our plan is to work with American energy and power companies to develop the technology."

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