Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.99K | Year: 2016
Efficient, cost effective methods for converting relatively inexpensive natural gas, available through existing pipelines, to Hydrogen rich syngas are needed. The reformed gas can then be converted into higher value products or cleaned and used with in fuel cell and other applications. The proposed plasma fuel reformer is a non-catalytic approach that avoids expensive catalysts that are susceptible to deactivation through sintering, coking or poisoning. Statement of how this problem is being addressed: A novel non thermal plasma reactor design is being developed with a focus on maximizing syngas yield with minimal electrical power. Modeling work is done to optimize the design and guide the experimental development and testing of a prototype reformer. ACT has also established partnerships with industrial partners to help commercialize the technology. What was done in Phase I? ACT developed a new plasma fuel reformer and performed experiments to characterize the effect of heat recirculation on syngas yields and reactor efficiency. Our results were shared with industrial partners involved in largescale hydrogen and syngas production, hydrogen fueling stations and fuel cells. Partnerships for Phase II and a plan that addresses commercial needs have been established. What is planned for the Phase II project? Design improvements to increase hydrogen rich syngas yield and overall efficiency are proposed through advanced modeling and experimental testing. Substantial attention will be given to commercialize the technology with support from our industry partners. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: Fuel reformers that efficiently convert natural gas into hydrogen rich syngas in a cost effective way are needed for applications that include: (1) hydrogen fueling stations (needed to accommodate increasing numbers of fuel cell electric vehicles), (2) fuel cells used for portable and stationary power, and (3) synthesis of higher value chemicals and liquid fuels (e.g., FischerTropsch fuels). Key Words. Fuel reforming, non-thermal plasma, hydrogen rich syngas Summary for Members of Congress. This SBIR Phase II proposal will develop and demonstrate an efficient non catalytic plasma based fuel reformer for converting inexpensive natural gas to hydrogen rich syngas. Partners include Drexel Plasma Institute, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. Gas Technology Institute and Fuel Cell Energy.
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.99K | Year: 2015
During a NASA Phase I SBIR program, ACT addressed the need for light-weight, non-venting PCM heat storage devices by successfully demonstrating proof-of-concept of a vapor chamber with a PCM-based wick structure. The principal objective of the Phase II program is to design, fabricate, and test a full-scale PCM vapor chamber. Goals of the Phase II program include establishing thermal and structural design requirements. ACT will also develop a thermal storage model for integration into the heat transport model developed in Phase I. A custom microPCM will be developed and screened with the assistance of subcontractor SwRI to obtain optimum properties for thermal performance. ACT will also design, fabricate and test a sub-scale PCM vapor chamber with relevant form factor and a fraction of the full-scale heat load. Upon successful demonstration of the sub-scale unit, two full-scale PCM vapor chambers will be fabricated and tested. Both full-scale units will undergo extensive thermal performance testing. At the end of the Phase II project, one of the full-scale PCM vapor chambers will be delivered to NASA for further testing, and the other will remain at ACT for extended life testing.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Army | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2016
Partial oxidation has been considered as the simplest fuel reforming method that does not require water management. However, the higher hydrocarbons and sulfur compounds in military fuel create significantly challenging for catalyst based reformer. An innovative non-catalytic thermal partial oxidation (TPOX) reformer has been developed at Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT). The proposed Swiss-roll reformer effectively recuperates the exothermic heat from the thermal partial oxidation reaction and enables super-adiabatic reaction temperature that promotes the reforming reaction without using a catalyst. The organosulfur compounds in the fuel can be converted into hydrogen sulfide that is easily removed by sorbent. With effective heat recirculation, high chemical enthalpy remains in the reformate (high reforming efficiency). The proposed reforming technology is very simple, compact, light weight, and minimized parasitic power consumption, and therefore it is well-suited for the applications such as portable fuel cell power generation.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 374.99K | Year: 2016
In this SBIR program, Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT) is developing a PCM-based ocean thermal energy harvesting system to provide reliable, renewable, on-board electrical power generation for autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV). This scalable system harvests energy from the natural temperature gradients that exist in the ocean. ACTs novel design efficiently extracts heat from the surrounding water at warmer depths, and rejects waste heat into the surrounding water at colder depths. The extracted thermal energy is stored in volumes of phase change material (PCM) and made available to an on-board thermal-to-electric power conversion cycle for continuous power generation regardless of depth. This novel design is flexible and adaptable in the design of the power conversion cycle, enabling scalability of the system from sub-watt for small underwater vehicles, to modular systems of up to 2 kW output. This technology could substantially increase the operational lifetime of underwater gliders and floats used for scientific measurements and surveillance capability. Larger ocean energy harvesting system can serve as underwater charging stations for autonomous vehicles, or provide power for other naval applications. This Phase II SBIR program will develop and test breadboard prototype systems for both small AUVs and larger power station applications.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.99K | Year: 2015
ABSTRACT:This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project proposes to develop and demonstrate a test apparatus for determining the minimum hot surface ignition (HSI) temperature of flammable liquids in aircraft operating conditions. Flammable liquids leaking onto hot surfaces, such as those in an aircraft engine bay, present fire hazards and risks to personnel and equipment. To properly assess and mitigate these hazards, an in depth knowledge of the HSI process is required. However, due to non-standardized testing and non-uniform surface temperatures, there have been larger variations in published HSI data. Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT), in collaboration with SURVICE Fire Works and Dr. Vytenis Babrauskas, propose to develop a turnkey hot surface ignition test apparatus with a highly isothermal surface which can be used across multiple research groups to standardize HSI testing and provide accurate results of the minimum HSI temperature of flammable liquids. This custom designed turnkey system will have the capability of controlling the complex variables involved in HSI, such as surface temperature, equivalence ratio, air flow currents, air pressure, and test fluid temperature.BENEFIT:ACT has developed turnkey test apparati for many customers and develops isothermal products for the temperature calibration industry. To commercialize the technology, ACT will manufacture the turnkey HSI test apparatus and market the product toward research institutes, colleges and universities, and companies interested in analyzing HSI risks. The addition of this technology will expand ACT?s product line in the turnkey test apparatus and temperature calibration markets.
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2015
ABSTRACT:The proposed SBIR Phase II program will develop a thermally enhanced, separable thermal mechanical interface (STMI) that significantly enhances heat transfer by providing a direct thermal path from the high power density components to the heat sink. In the current commercial off-the-shelf STMI multiple interfaces significantly increase the thermal resistance resulting in marginal heat transfer. The need for improved thermal performance is required as power densities of electronics increase. The Phase I program modeled and developed a functional prototype STMI demonstrating the feasibility and potential thermal performance improvements compared to current state-of-the-art solutions. The thermal performance of the STMI was enhanced by: (i) increasing the bulk thermal conductance of current state-of-the-art STMI, (ii) reducing the contact resistance by optimizing the clamp design, and (iii) integrating an innovative card lock mechanism to increase the contact area. A reduction in thermal resistance as compared to a COTS retainer of 57% was experimentally illustrated. In Phase II, ACT will further improve the design of the Phase I prototype to achieve an overall reduction in thermal resistance of 90% as compared to current retainer solutions. This will be accomplished through mechanical and thermal optimization of the STMI component and thorough testing of prototype devices. A design for manufacturability study will also be performed and a technology transition plan will be developed. BENEFIT:At the end of the Phase II program, ACT will have designed, fabricated, and demonstrated a STMI that is thermally and mechanically superior to the current state of the art. This thermally enhanced STMI will increase the conduction cooling capacity of current, as well as future, electronics systems used in the aerospace, defense, and commercial sectors. ACT has a strong grasp of the customer base due to the synergy between this technology and current product offerings. The proposed STMI solution is a direct replacement for current cardlock solutions and is well-suited for space and avionics systems as well as terrestrial applications. The ubiquitous usage of STMIs in military and commercial applications makes the proposed concept a widely versatile solution to a long-lasting problem in electronic system thermal management. ACT will protect any further developments or combinations by patents.
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1000.00K | Year: 2015
With the increase of energy consumption and water stress, power plant cooling, which accounts for 40% of fresh water withdrawal, has been received more and more attention. Dry cooling technology is currently the most feasible solution to reduce this water consumption. However, the cost of the dry cooling system can be more than 5 times of the typical wet cooling system. Increase the dry cooling efficiency and reduce the cost will help the adaption of this type of technology and therefore reduce the cooling water consumption of power plants. The proposed coating technology, Self-Assembled Monolayer (SAM), is able to promote the dropwise condensation, a more efficient condensation mode, to increase the dry cooling efficiency and consequent reduce the capital and operational cost of the dry cooling system. Compared to many other existing hydrophobic coating technologies, the SAM coating has thickness 1 ~ 3 nm that is able to minimizes additional thermal resistance contributed from coating itself, which results much higher heat transfer improvement. Phase I has successfully demonstrated the improvement of condensation heat transfer (six-fold compared to typical filmewise condensation) with the proposed coating technology in the bench top test loop. Phase II plans to further demonstrate the proposed coating technology in the actual components as well as subscale system. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: In addition to the dry cooling system, the proposed surface treatment can also be used for other industrial cooling and condensation applications.
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2015
An innovative, non-catalytic high destruction efficiency, and low fuel consumption VOC incinerator is proposed to reduce VOCs from condensate tanks and other low heat value waste gas streams. The proposed technology will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. The proposed technology can completely eliminate undesirable VOC emissions. It uses effective heat recirculation from the hot reacted stream to extend the flammability of the reactants containing the VOCs. There are no moving parts or catalysts involved. As such, the capital and operational costs are low. The feasibility of using a Swiss-roll combustor as a VOCs incinerator was successfully demonstrated. Ultra high destruction efficiency, reaction stability, and low fuel consumption were experimentally shown. The proposed technology has attracted interest from the VOC industry. In Phase II, Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT) will continue to improve the Swiss-roll incinerator design and fabrication process. ACT will work with University of Southern California to develop a numerical model to help guide the incinerator design. ACT will further increase the technical readiness level of the technology through system level demonstration. Waste heat extraction and utilization from the incinerator using ACTs heat pipe technology will also be explored. The proposed technology can be applied to several waste gas incineration applications including those from landfill gas, chemical plants, hospitals, etc. Its low fuel consumption, high destruction efficiency, and low capital and operational cost are the key benefits associated with the technology and give it a competitive edge over alternative VOC removal systems.
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.95K | Year: 2016
A spray vacuum freezing desalination process is proposed to meet the required seawater desalination cost, with water subcooling suppression at freezing. The cost of the proposed desalination method is low, with low energy requirement and minimum carbon emission. General statement of how this problem is being addressed: Nucleating agents will be used to suppress subcooling of freezing the sprayed seawater droplets, so that the energy requirement of the vapor compression process can be minimized. The main energy-consuming process, i.e. the vapor-compression, will be satisfied with low-quality thermal energy such as solar thermal energy. What is to be done in Phase I? The Phase I work will focus on demonstrating the feasibility of the proposed concept. One or two proper nucleating agents will be selected, and a bench scale vacuum freezing chamber will be designed, fabricated, and tested. In addition, collaboration with interested partners will be built up. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The proposed technology could be applied to seawater desalination and wastewater treatment. Subcooling suppression techniques developed in this Phase I work could also be applied in the application of phase change materials. The low energy requirement and low operation cost are the competitive edges of this technology. Key Words: desalination, freezing, subcooling, nucleating agent, ejector
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Office of the Secretary of Defense | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.76K | Year: 2015
Military Environmental Control Units (ECUs) represent one of the dominant energy users in forward operating environments, and significant effort is being made to improving overall ECU efficiency . Reducing overall Size, Weight and Power (SWaP) of military ECUs is complicated by the transient, yet predictable, nature of the thermal demand profile over the course of a typical daily usage cycle, where cooling capacity must currently be set to match the daily peak load. This need for cooling unit exess-capacity creates trickle-down effects of increasing installed power generation requirements and logistic transport burdens. ECU capacity right-sizing can help meet Operational Energy Strategy requirements for improved net energy efficiency, but will demand significant changes to ECU design. Thermal Energy Storage (TES) has been shown to be effective in load-leveling the daily cooling profile for fixed facilities, providing reductions in net energy consumption in some cases due to free cooling , as well as reduced compressor cycling, more steady cooling, and reduced peak power requirements [3,4]. However, because of the compositional variability in cooled facilities in forward operating environments, implementing TES would require directly integrating the technology within mobile ECUs, a task which has received only cursory attention in the literature and would require optimization of overall size and weight in addition to reducing energy usage. Solid-liquid Phase Change Materials (PCMs) present one high-density TES option for cooling systems and environmental control [5,6], yet challenges remain in material selection, heat exchanger topology and integration strategy to maximize operational benefit. This SBIR program seeks to develop a PCM-based solution to enhance the performance of an existing ECU in the 9-18k BTUH range, addressing concerns of system energy density, material compatibility, and failure modes due to repeated thermal cycling. Offeror is expected to propose a phase change TES component that can be integrated into an existing ECU for the purpose of off-peak load leveling or demand reduction, with a target energy usage reduction of 5-10% over an average daily cycle, assuming no more than an 25F diurnal temperature variation. Unit should still be able to provide rated cooling capacity under worse case conditions in a deployed environment (design condition 125F ambient, 90F indoor dry bulb, 75F indoor wet bulb) for a period of at least 2 hours during daily peak demand period. Specification of PCM type, integration point (on refrigerant or air-side flow paths), storage temperature, and storage heat exchanger design are left up to the offeror, however those decisions and the associated impact on overall system size, weight and performance should be justified through thermodynamic analysis and system/component modeling.