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26 May 2017

EnVerde converts Minnesota research

The cleantech spinout has signed an agreement with University of Minnesota to commercialise research that converts organic waste materials into synthetic gas.

Author: Thierry Heles, editor

EnVerde, a cleantech spinout of University of Minnesota, is set to commercialise research that converts organic waste materials into synthetic gas to power generators.

The university signed an agreement with EnVerde on Wednesday to license the technology, developed and patented by associate professor Paul Dauenhauer in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Material Sciences.

The waste-to-energy technology enables wastes to be instantly turned into gas through catalytic processes rather than combustion or incineration. The resulting product – dubbed syngas – can be used by power generators to generate electricity or heat.

Syngas can also act as a substitute for other chemicals, such as petrochemicals, to produce household and industrial products. An added benefit of Dauenhauer’s technology is that syngas avoids the harmful byproducts of burning waste and does not create new sources of carbon.

Andrea Festuccia, chief engineer and scientist of EnVerde, said: "As we scale this technology up from the lab, we will be evaluating the wide range of potential feedstocks that exist locally and globally.

"Waste biomass from forestry and agricultural activities will be our top priorities.  Materials that are land-filled or pollute our communities – especially in areas where sanitation and water cleanliness are critical – will also be assessed. Wherever there are humans there will be waste streams for us to address and convert into useful green energy.”

Russ Straate, associate director of the Venture Center in the Office for Technology Commercialization, said: “EnVerde has put together the kind of diverse and experienced team that can – in our experience in spinning out more than 100 companies to date – develop this technology successfully, creating benefits for the environment and economic development in the communities that adopt it.

"It is always exciting to see another university technology take the next steps on the path to commercialisation, and this a great partnership that leverages the environmental and economic strengths of this technology with a strong management team at EnVerde."

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