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Houston Startup's Coating Protects Wood Pellets

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

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In response to the growing global demand for energy and the increased used of wood pellets as a greener solution, nanotechnology company Integricote, based at the University of Houston’s Technology Bridge, created a nanotech coating that can protect the pellets from disintegration without impacting how they burn or energy production.

Countries in both Europe and Asia are using wood pellets to fuel power-generating stations to cut fossil fuel emissions. The pellets disintegrate easily if exposed to water or even high humidity, however, which raises the cost of both storage and transportation. Using solid wood pellets is an option, but a much more expensive one.

Wood Pellet Coating

Seamus “Shay” Curran, a physicist at UH and CEO of Integricote, which launched in 2013 and offers products to seal and stain wood, masonry and concrete, developed a water- and stain-repellant coating that can be applied to the pellets to protect and preserve them. Integricote’s products work by penetrating the surface of the material and forming a protective barrier below.

Wood pellets don’t burn as hot as coal, so more have to be used to produce the same amount of energy. Curran noted that this is a greener energy options because the pellets produce fewer emissions than coal or larger chunks of wood, and can be produced from wood waste.

The material is produced in the U.S. and Canada, making it a domestic energy solution.

Integricote’s sealers and stains are available on the East Coast through a distributor, while also being sold through the website. This pellet coating is Integricote's first industrial product, and the company is currently looking for a partner to produce the treated material.

“I got into this thinking I could solve a problem,” Curran said. “We don’t have to shut down every coal plant to be thinking green.”

   

Tagged categories: Coating Materials; Colleges and Universities; Green coatings; Research and development

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