Alternative energy firm receives nearly $150,000 in funding from U.S. Department of Energy

June 19, 2014  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A Purdue Research Park-based company whose one-step, patent-pending technology could improve the efficiency of alternative fuel production has received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Spero Energy Inc. has received a nine-month SBIR Phase I grant from the Department of Energy worth $149,882. Its technology is based on Purdue University intellectual property developed under the DOE-funded Center for Direct Catalytic Conversion of Biomass to Fuels.

Basudeb Saha, chief technology officer, said Spero Energy's technology could benefit firms that produce cellulosic ethanol.

"Our novel, single-step catalytic process converts the lignin in wood biomass, which inhibits the production of cellulosic ethanol, into two products: lignin-free material that is ready for ethanol production, and dihydroeugenol, which is a valuable chemical," he said. "The SBIR Phase I grant will allow the company to perform critical research on catalyst recycling, test its products in different markets and carry out economic analysis."

Saha credits the DOE for initiating a program that is designed to transform the nation's biomass resources into biofuels and high-performance chemicals.

"Spero Energy's technology, which makes high-value petroleum products from lignin and lignin-free cellulose, could play a significant role in this objective," he said. "These products are expected to provide an entry into the larger renewable commodity chemicals and transportation biofuels market space."

Spero Energy won the 2014 Midwest Clean Energy Challenge Aviation Biofuel Prize in April, sponsored by Boeing, United Airlines and UOP Honeywell. The company has received guidance from Purdue Foundry and Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization.

About Spero Energy Inc.

Spero Energy Inc. is an Indiana-based technology company with the mission of developing cost competitive conversion of non-food biomass feedstock to high value chemicals (HVCs) and renewable fuels. Spero Energy is developing processes for a range of renewable specialty chemicals targeting flavor and fragrance ingredients, high-performance materials and pharmaceutical markets. For more information, visit www.speroenergy.com

About Purdue Research Park

The Purdue Research Park is the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country. The Purdue Research Park manages the Purdue Technology Centers in four sites in Indiana located in West Lafayette, Indianapolis, Merrillville and New Albany. The more than 260 companies located in the park network employ about 4,500 people who earn an average annual wage of $63,000. The park is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year by the National Business Incubator Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org 

Purdue Research Park contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342, sgmartin@prf.org 

 Source: Basudeb Saha, 765-237-7649, bsaha@speroenergy.com

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