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Louisville, KY, United States

Nguyen T.Q.,University of Louisville | Nguyen T.Q.,Advanced Energy Materials, LLC | Atla V.,University of Louisville | Vendra V.K.,University of Louisville | And 4 more authors.
Chemical Engineering Science | Year: 2016

This paper reports a fast, scalable method for synthesizing tin oxide nanowire powder using cheap starting material of commercial tin oxide particles and an atmospheric microwave plasma reactor. Specifically, the synthesis concept involves plasma oxidation of tin oxide powder combined with potassium hydroxide for few seconds to a minute which is orders of magnitude lower than that using hydrothermal or vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) techniques. Even at lab scale, large-scale production of tin oxide nanowire powder as high as 10g per hour has been produced. Systematic studies reveal nucleation and growth of K2SnO3 nanowires from molten alloy involving KOH and tin oxide. A simple annealing step is used to convert K2SnO3 intermediate nanowires into pure tin oxide nanowires. The extremely short reaction time of 20s is three orders of magnitude faster than that of traditional hydrothermal method. It was shown that our tin oxide nanowire powder shows a high reversible capacity of 848mAhg-1 after 55 cycles at a current density of 100mAg-1. The scalable production technique presented here and the applicability of resulting tin oxide nanowire powders makes it as suitable for practical implementation into lithium-ion battery applications. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 743.05K | Year: 2014

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project is in removing sulfur compounds from various fuels such as diesel, gasoline and mixture of refined fuels known as transmix. It is critically important to reduce sulfur levels below 10 ppm as the emissions from transportation vehicles can cause acid rain and associated undesired effects. Sulfur removal from fuels is even more critical for implementation of fuel cell technologies due to fuel reformer catalyst poisoning at sulfur levels as low as 1 ppm or below. Finally, there is a need for sulfur-tolerant catalysts and sulfur removal processes in value added chemical production using bio-derived and fossil derived fuels. The global market for hydro-desulfurization catalysts in the transportation fuel segment is estimated at over $1B and growing fast. The company's proposed catalyst could address a market size of $150-200M/yr or more. It may find additional applications in commercial markets in ultra-low sulfur diesel, fuel reformer technology and sulfur tolerant catalysts. The development of a scalable manufacturing method for advanced materials undertaken in this project will contribute to U.S. competitiveness and strengthen Cleantech and energy sectors in the state of KY. This project addresses the development of high performance catalysts needed for the removal of sulfur from hydrocarbon fuels. However, sulfur removal at concentrations below 50 ppm is difficult due to the presence of hetero-cyclic thiophenic species. During Phase I, the company developed a catalyst product and demonstrated its performance in terms of ultra-deep hydrodesulfurization activity, reducing sulfur levels from 200 ppm to much lower than 1 ppm in a variety of fuels. Phase II studies will allow optimization of the catalysts for hydrodesulfurization activity and mechanical properties. Catalysts with bi-functional activity toward aromatics hydrogenation and hydrodesulfurization will reduce several process steps, thereby reducing the costs involved in hydroprocessing of fuels. Phase II studies will enable development of a process for scalable production of nanowires. The fundamental insight from the performance can be extended toward designing various high performance catalysts using nanowire supports. Some beneficial effects using nanowire supports include unique active metal/support interactions; single crystal surfaces for uniform morphologies for active metals and their alloys and management of active sites. Specifically, in the case of hydrodesulfurization, nanowire supports provided an easier diffusion pathway for sulfur transfer to maintain active metal sites for desulfurization activity.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2011

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project aims to develop a new method and reactor for continuous and large-scale production of titania and other related metal oxide nanowires. Inexpensive micron scale metal oxide and spherically shaped powders will be converted to nanowires using a plasma oxidation scheme. The fast reaction time (on the order of minutes) of this process will allow the development of a reactor for continuous production of nanowire powders. The broader/commercial impact of this project will be the potential to provide a process and reactor for the production of nanowire-based materials in large volume. Titania and manganese oxide nanowire powders will find commercial applications in lithium-ion batteries for transportation and large-scale storage. Ceria and titania nanowire powders may also be used in catalysis, paints, light-weight and optical composite materials etc.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SMALL BUSINESS PHASE II | Award Amount: 891.66K | Year: 2014

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project is in removing sulfur compounds from various fuels such as diesel, gasoline and mixture of refined fuels known as transmix. It is critically important to reduce sulfur levels below 10 ppm as the emissions from transportation vehicles can cause acid rain and associated undesired effects. Sulfur removal from fuels is even more critical for implementation of fuel cell technologies due to fuel reformer catalyst poisoning at sulfur levels as low as 1 ppm or below. Finally, there is a need for sulfur-tolerant catalysts and sulfur removal processes in value added chemical production using bio-derived and fossil derived fuels. The global market for hydro-desulfurization catalysts in the transportation fuel segment is estimated at over $1B and growing fast. The companys proposed catalyst could address a market size of $150-200M/yr or more. It may find additional applications in commercial markets in ultra-low sulfur diesel, fuel reformer technology and sulfur tolerant catalysts. The development of a scalable manufacturing method for advanced materials undertaken in this project will contribute to U.S. competitiveness and strengthen Cleantech and energy sectors in the state of KY.



This project addresses the development of high performance catalysts needed for the removal of sulfur from hydrocarbon fuels. However, sulfur removal at concentrations below 50 ppm is difficult due to the presence of hetero-cyclic thiophenic species. During Phase I, the company developed a catalyst product and demonstrated its performance in terms of ultra-deep hydrodesulfurization activity, reducing sulfur levels from 200 ppm to much lower than 1 ppm in a variety of fuels. Phase II studies will allow optimization of the catalysts for hydrodesulfurization activity and mechanical properties. Catalysts with bi-functional activity toward aromatics hydrogenation and hydrodesulfurization will reduce several process steps, thereby reducing the costs involved in hydroprocessing of fuels. Phase II studies will enable development of a process for scalable production of nanowires. The fundamental insight from the performance can be extended toward designing various high performance catalysts using nanowire supports. Some beneficial effects using nanowire supports include unique active metal/support interactions; single crystal surfaces for uniform morphologies for active metals and their alloys and management of active sites. Specifically, in the case of hydrodesulfurization, nanowire supports provided an easier diffusion pathway for sulfur transfer to maintain active metal sites for desulfurization activity.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 180.00K | Year: 2013

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project proposes to demonstrate the feasibility of a new type of advanced hydrodesulfurization (HDS) catalyst for deep desulfurization purposes. Specifically, metal nanoparticles supported on zinc oxide nanowires are proposed for creating higher performance, reactive adsorbent type HDS catalysts. HDS is a process used for the removal of sulfur from hydrocarbon fuels. In this process, fuels are treated with hydrogen gas in the presence of a catalyst. The environmental regulations are continuously pushing down the sulfur levels allowed in transportation fuels and will continue to lower the limits much below 10 ppm in future. Also, low sulfur concentrations are desirable for various fuel cell and refinery technologies where presence of small amounts of sulfur can poison the catalysts. The current, traditional HDS catalysts are efficient in removing the sulfur to levels down to around 20 ppm and leaves behind difficult-to-remove thiophenic sulfur compounds. In this project, an advanced catalyst and a scalable and cost-effective manufacturing is proposed that can accomplish deep desulfurization for lowering sulfur levels down well below 5 ppm.

The broader/ commercial potential of this project will be improved air quality and energy/cost savings for the nation from improved durability of fuel cell and several refining technologies. The projects other outcome will also include new manufacturing technologies for advanced catalyst materials which is crucial for both the nation and the state of Kentucky to be globally competitive in terms of energy technologies. The catalyst materials using ZnO nanowire supports will also find applications beyond deep hydro-desulfurization such as C1-C4 alcohol production using syngas, and steam reforming of methanol. The market size for the proposed catalysts is estimated to exceed $1B considering the number of application areas.

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