NextCAT’s Technology Could Cut Biodiesel Costs

John Davis

A Detroit-based technology company is looking to help make biodiesel more competitive in the marketplace.

Xconomy/Detroit says NextCAT wants to make a catalyst that will help convert some of the cheaper feedstocks, such as algae and recycled cooking oil, into biodiesel and hopes to get some funding to get the project going:

NextCAT, which is located at the TechTown business incubator in Detroit, signed an option agreement to produce technology developed at the National Biofuels Energy Laboratory at Wayne State University in Detroit. The company also recently received $50,000 from the Michigan Microloan Fund and another $50,000 from the First Step Fund, newly created by the New Economy Initiative, a Detroit-based philanthropic partnership.

That $100,000 will take the company a long way—far enough to conduct its first pilot plant test sometime in the next 90 days. Leppek is a technology commercialization fellow at Wayne State on loan full-time to NextCAT. The university pays his salary. Founder Charles Salley and other executives are working without compensation.

Leppek says the company has “also received indications” that it will receive a Small Business Innovation Rearch Grant from the National Science Foundation as early as July.

NextCAT believes U.S. biodiesel plants can be retrofitted with the company’s new process and catalyst and can produce biodiesel cheaper.