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Archive for Thursday, May 29, 2003

Lawrence startup receives $100,000 grant

May 29, 2003

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A Lawrence-based startup that is developing technology to create cleaner burning gasoline has received a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Energy department officials announced Wednesday that Extractica, LLC had received a Small Business Innovation Research grant to help fund research on technology that would reduce the level of sulfur in gasoline and diesel fuels.

Extractica founder and president Roger Schoonover said the grant was an important development in the young company, which has no other employees besides Schoonover and is based out of his Lawrence home.

He said the money would be used to get the technology to a point where it could be demonstrated to refineries, the ultimate buyer of the technology.

"There are new EPA regulations that are mandating the reduction in sulfur levels, so all refiners are faced with the issue," Schoonover said.

Schoonover said the current methods for reducing sulfur in motor fuels were fairly expensive to begin and also created high utility costs for companies using the technology. Schoonover said his company's technology was believed to be cheaper for companies to use.

Government regulators are interested in reducing the level of sulfur in fuels because it would be a major step in reducing air pollution associated with vehicles, Schoonover said.

Schoonover started the company about three years ago after leaving his job with the petroleum division of Wichita-based Koch Industries. He located the business in Lawrence, in part, because his daughter lived in town and also because he had previously lived in Lawrence while receiving his degree in chemical engineering from Kansas University.

He said the technology may be another two years away from hitting the market.

"The vision for the company is after the technology is developed to provide licenses for refining clients and potentially develop additional technologies," Schoonover said. "As far as size, I would consider it very successful if I could develop a 25-person company."

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