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Balerna, Switzerland

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: NMP.2011.4.0-1 | Award Amount: 10.58M | Year: 2012

Lightweight ceramics and fibre reinforced ceramic composites, such as non-oxide Ceramic Matrix Composites (CMCs) and Expanded Graphite (EG), represent very promising solutions for high temperature applications in strategic industrial sectors, such as transport and energy. In fact, these materials are one of topical priorities of the European Technology Platform EuMAT and a strategic issue of the EC Research Roadmap on Materials. Huge market opportunities are expected for CMC and EG provided to overcome the three major identified gaps: high cost, difficulty of processing and materials reliability. New and more efficient manufacturing technologies can pave the way to improve material quality, reduce processing time, converge towards near-net shape fabrication, trim energy spent and abate production costs. HELM will address these challenges by proposing innovative high-frequency electromagnetic, microwaves (MW) and radiofrequencies (RF), heating technologies for integrating and, in the long term, replacing standard thermal processing routes, i.e.: Chemical Vapour Infiltration (CVI), Liquid Silicon Infiltration (LSI), Polymer Impregnation and Pyrolysis (PIP), and Graphite Exfoliation (GE). MW/RF heating owns peculiar features (rapid selective bulk heating, reversed thermal gradients, more homogeneous heat distribution) that will enhance materials performance. It can bring 60% processing time reduction (or even higher), with subsequent trimming of production costs, and cut of energy consumption up to 50-60%. HELM RTD activities involve some of the principal European experts in the field, including research institutes, innovative SMEs, and end-users for industrial validation. A full product assessment, including energy and cost evaluations, will be performed through proper Life Cycle Assessment and thermo-economical analysis. A risk assessment and management plan is included to mitigate innovation related risks and reduce the time to market of the new solutions.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: SPA.2012.2.2-02 | Award Amount: 2.72M | Year: 2013

There are key space technologies existing at European level and during the last space calls many European projects are framed on space re-entry, but none of them dealing with radically new technologies, able to compete with technologies from other leading countries or allowing collaboration with them. The THOR project will provide knowledge in key space technologies for accessing space, through the design and development of disruptive technologies based on novel thermal management concepts which are specifically targeted to atmospheric entries of future space vehicles and hypersonic transport vehicles. This project, including the participation of several SMEs and relevant end-users, aims at the collaboration among them to strengthen the European space sector and enable international cooperation. The technical approach is focused non-local concepts for thermal management including active cooling as well as passive cooling technologies, in order to extent the capabilities of re-usable Thermal Protection Systems (TPS) towards the requirement of future space flight including hypersonic transport. To achieve this technical target radically new thermal management solutions will be implemented in a new concept of TPS together with innovative materials and unique ceramic structures, reaching a TRL 2-3 at the end of the project. The passive systems will be based on thermal equilibration establishing an efficient heat transfer from highly loaded areas to regions with less loading. New ceramic matrix composites incorporating a new generation of highly thermal conductive fibres will be applied. In addition, active cooling will be implemented by passing a fluid through a ceramic porous structure. The project includes a strong effort on design, modelling and simulation in order to fulfil the technical requirements before integrating the complete TPS. Finally the concepts will be verified by ground tests under realistic entry conditions in high enthalpy facilities.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: ENERGY.2008.8.1.1 | Award Amount: 2.79M | Year: 2009

Heat recovery at a high temperature level is essential in industrial thermal processing. The use of ceramic materials yields higher temperatures and subsequently a higher efficiency. The present project aims to develop a new generation of ceramic heat exchangers for high temperature heat recovery with the target of significantly reducing the size and weight as well as also the price of such components by simplifying the manufacturing process and allowing a higher flexibility in the heat exchanger geometry. The use of precursors/template materials taken from the textile industries and a subsequent ceramic conversion is proposed as the main technological path for reaching the above objectives. Although this principal option is not new, there are no development efforts known, to utilize such a technological approach for industrial high temperature heat exchangers. The proposed route will lead to an increase in freedom of the geometric design at low costs for shaping. The development/refinement of the conversion process for such materials into a thermal-shock resistant gas-tight ceramic (e.g. silicon infiltrated silicon carbide) and the multi-objective optimization in terms of size, geometry, material and production costs is the major challenge of the proposed project. A complete ceramic heat exchanger component shaped by textile technologies is targeted. The combination/junction of existing robust ceramic components already applied in industrial furnaces, like silicon infiltrated SiC tubes, with compatible ceramic heat enhancement elements, built through the textile technology based manufacturing process, allows a robust construction in terms of application safety as an intermediate technology development step. At the same time a significant size reduction or increase of the heat recovery level can be achieved due to the higher heat transfer by the fine shaped and geometrically flexible heat enhancement elements.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: JTI-CP-FCH | Phase: SP1-JTI-FCH.2012.2.5 | Award Amount: 3.70M | Year: 2013

The FCH JU strategy has identified hydrogen production by water decomposition pathways powered by renewables such as solar energy to be a major component for sustainable and carbon-free hydrogen supply. Solar-powered thermo-chemical cycles are capable to directly transfer concentrated sunlight into chemical energy by a series of chemical and electrochemical reactions, and of these cycles, hybrid-sulphur (HyS) cycle was identified as the most promising one. The challenges in HyS remain mostly in dealing with materials (electrolyser, concentrator, acid decomposer/cracker and plant components) and with the whole process flowsheet optimization, tailored to specific solar input and plant site location. With recent technology level at large-scale hydrogen production concepts hydrogen costs are unlikely to go below 3.0-3.5 /kg. For smaller scale plant, the costs of hydrogen might be substantially higher. The present proposal focuses on applied, bottle-necks solving, materials research and development and demonstration of the relevant-scale key components of the solar-powered, CO2-free hybrid water splitting cycles, complemented by their advanced modeling and process simulation including conditions and site-specific technical-economical assessment optimization, quantification and benchmarking. For the short-term integration of solar-power sources with new Outotec Open Cycle will be performed. Simplified structure, extra revenues from acid sales and highly efficient co-use of the existing plants may drop hydrogen costs by about 50-75% vs. traditional process designs. Besides providing key materials and process solutions, for the first time the whole production chain and flowsheet will be connected with multi-objective design and optimization algorithms ultimately leading to hydrogen plants and technology green concepts commercialization. The consortium consists of key materials suppliers and process development SME and industry, RTD performers and a university.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP | Phase: SPA.2010.2.2-01 | Award Amount: 2.69M | Year: 2011

The aim of this proposal is the development of ceramic composites structures which are needed for applications in aggressive environments, where (oxidative) and temperatures are required, such as hot parts of space vehicles for orbital re-entry (reusable launcher vehicles, RLVs). The solution will be focused on re-usable systems. As expressed by the European Commission a non-dependent access to the critical space technology is required at European level. Therefore the strategy is to focus on materials systems able to be in a medium term independent from the technologies that already exist outside Europe (mainly in USA, China and Russia). The technical approach is focused on the development of multilayer concept based on high temperature ceramics (HTCs) and ultrahigh temperature ceramics (UHTCs) with multiple tailored properties. Their joining processes to conventional structural ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) or novel porous sandwich structures, and the final attachment to metallic structures. The MULTIFUNCTIONAL COMPONENT can be broken down at three levels: 1st Level: This will be composed of multilayers. 2nd Level: This will be composed of qualified CMCs or novel CMC-SiC foam sandwich structures. 3thLevel: This will be composed of the metallic structural frames. A TPS technology sample design will be provided and will be aided by materials modelling and simulation via conventional methods and computed tomography will be used to obtain a real FEM model. The output will be to determine critical parameters such as thicknesses and geometries. The technology sample will be ground tested for simulation of the re-entry conditions and will determine the fundamental performance and the degradation mechanisms. The results will be reviewed in comparison with the outputs of TPS requirements and environment specifications. This will result in the completion of the validation of the TPS performance and the assessment of achievement of a TRL 4-5.

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