What do you do after teaching in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign for 32 years, publishing numerous articles, papers and books, and receiving 18 patents – with multiple patents pending? Oh, and you already founded 2 successful companies?
You start another company, of course.
Rich Masel, CEO and Founder of Dioxide Materials, is one of those really smart, highy driven people overflowing with ideas. His newest venture, which we showcased at our Tech Cocktail Champaign mixer last week, develops materials for carbon dioxide sensing and remediation. Sounds kinda boring, but it’s not – it has multiple, highly useful environmental applications. They are currently developing carbon dioxide sensors that allow a building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to use less energy – saving money and lowering the building’s carbon footprint.
This new technology will have a major impact on the efficiency of buildings. Megan Atchley, a Business Development Specialist at Dioxide Materials, said, “The high cost of current CO2 sensors ($200-$400) limits adoption of Demand Control Ventilation (DCV) in buildings. [Our] CO2 sensors will be less expensive ($20-$80), and use less power. This price point enables DCV retrofits and residential market adoption.”
Next, they will work on perfecting a process that converts carbon dioxide into fuel, creating a viable source of renewable fuels and a new energy storage method for wind farms. Their technology is the first energy efficient (89% energy efficiency – previous best was 28%) process for converting CO2 into fuel.
Turns out that there are no limits to how the fuel can be used, which will greatly impact our dependence on oil – foreign or domestic. “Our electrolyzers will convert the CO2 into syngas, which can be used as a feedstock for biofuels and chemical processes, or be sent to existing … plants to produce gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.”