Automation Alley Funds Biodiesel Tech Developed At Wayne State

Detroit-based NextCat Inc. announced Wednesday that it has received $250,000 in seed funding from Automation Alley.

NextCat is commercializing biodiesel catalyst technology developed at the National Biofuels Energy Lab at Wayne State University that will allow biodiesel producers to use more cost-effective raw materials.

Founded in 2009, NextCat is commercializing a class of catalysts that enable producers to use a wide variety of inexpensive feedstock such as waste vegetable oil, animal fats and residual corn oil, and convert them into biodiesel.

NextCat offers a unique solution for an industry that has been mostly idled in the United States since 2008 when rising feedstock prices and the price drop of petroleum diesel made the production of biodiesel uneconomical. With a cost savings of at least $1 per gallon, the NextCat solution greatly changes the economics of a biodiesel plant.

“We have a technology that has been proven in the lab by the science team at Wayne State University’s National Biofuels Energy Lab,” said Charles Salley, CEO of NextCat Inc. “This seed funding from Automation Alley allows us to begin to design, build and install a reactor in an idle biodiesel plant in Michigan. This investment of $250,000 in NextCat from Automation Alley brings the total amount of investment funding to date to $600,000. Additionally, we have been awarded $205,000 in grant funding.”

The science team on the project includes Steven Salley, associate professor of chemical engineering at Wayne State’s College of Engineering; Simon Ng, CTO at NextCat, interim associate dean for research in Wayne State’s College of Engineering, and Shuli Yan, research director at NextCat.

NextCat is based at TechTown, the Wayne State University research and technology park in Detroit. More at http://nextcatinc.com/.

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