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Butte small business receives EPA research contract

Release Date: 3/10/2005
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      Denver -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that Resodyn Corporation of Butte, Mont., received $70,000 from the Small Business Innovation Research contracts program. Resodyn was chosen from a pool of 363 applicants across the country.

Dr. FX Yang, Senior Biochemical Engineer at Resodyn Corporation, proposes to demonstrate the technical feasibility of using trap grease and other types of waste grease as the starting materials for large-scale biodiesel and lubricant production.

There are more than 11 billion pounds of trap grease that are annually available. This material has the potential to create over 1 billion gallons of biodiesel that could be used to power the nation's public works and public transit systems. Removing this trap grease from our nation's wastewater treatment facilities and infrastructure would reduce the maintenance on existing sanitary sewer collection mains and the loads on local landfills.
The research will initially focus on biodiesel production from “fatty acid methyl ester” and, at a later stage, will expand to lubricant and solvent production. A small, experimental Acoustic Grease Conversion Reactor will be designed, constructed and operated to achieve this objective. In addition, laboratory experimentation will optimize the reaction conditions. Resodyn hopes to demonstrate that the reactor will be a cost-competitive production technology to synthesize biodiesel and lubricants from trap grease and other types of waste grease in one step. It will convert both free fatty acids and triglycerides from trap grease into these value-added products. Moreover, the proposed process will eliminate the use of solvents and catalysts and the generation of waste by-products. In the future, the technology could be expanded to lubricants, special solvent and polyester monomer production, and a large, pilot-scale reactor.

The 22 million small businesses in the United States employ about 51 percent of the private work force and develop most of the country’s new technologies. Years ago, Congress recognized the need to strengthen the role of small businesses in federally funded research and development and passes a law creating the Small Business Innovation Research program for businesses with no more than 500 employees. EPA’s highly competitive SBIR program offers critical financial support to small businesses to develop the best, new, innovative technologies. EPA’s SBIR program focuses on important areas related to environmental protection, including clean air and water, hazardous and solid wastes, pollution prevention, remediation, and monitoring,. Recent issues include homeland security, clean-up technologies, and technology solutions for specific environmental needs.

To learn more about these research projects and EPA’s SBIR program, visit:

EPA relies on quality science as the basis for sound policy and decision-making. EPA’s laboratories, research centers, and grantees are building the scientific foundation needed to support the Agency’s mission to safeguard human health and the environment.