Wayne State University

Detroit-based NextCAT Inc. secures $250,000 to commercialize biodiesel technology developed at Wayne State University

DETROIT—January 26, 2011. NextCAT Inc., a Detroit-based company, announced that it has received $250,000 in seed funding from Automation Alley in Troy, Mich. NextCAT is commercializing biodiesel catalyst technology developed at the National Biofuels Energy Lab at Wayne State University that will allow biodiesel producers to use 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 of Dr. Steven Salley, associate professor of chemical engineering, College of Engineering, Dr. Shuli Yan, research director at NextCAT, and I are excited to see our technology progressing toward usage by the biodiesel producers, and we look forward to a successful production demonstration later this year,” said Simon Ng, Ph.D., chief technology officer at NextCAT, interim associate dean for research in Wayne State’s College of Engineering and the technology’s co-inventor.

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NextCAT is a startup company located at TechTown, the Wayne State University research and technology park in Detroit. It was founded in 2009 by inventors Dr. Simon Ng, Dr. Steven Salley, Dr, Shuli Yan and CEO Charles Salley. NextCAT offers a class of heterogeneous catalysts for biodiesel production that allow biodiesel producers to use less refined and less expensive feedstock in their production process. For more information, visit http://nextcatinc.com/.

Wayne State University is one of the nation’s pre-eminent public research universities in an urban setting. Through its multidisciplinary approach to research and education, and its ongoing collaboration with government, industry and other institutions, the university seeks to enhance economic growth and improve the quality of life in the city of Detroit, state of Michigan and throughout the world. For more information about research at Wayne State University, visit http://www.research.wayne.edu.

Media Contacts:
Julie O’Connor, Wayne State University, ag2712@wayne.edu or (313) 577-8845
Lisa Stief, NextCAT Inc., media@nextcatinc.com or (248) 797-2617