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Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: SMALL BUSINESS PHASE II | Award Amount: 633.87K | Year: 2013

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project proposes to develop a novel radio-frequency (RF) sensing method to provide a real-time measurement of black carbon emissions. The feasibility of this concept was demonstrated in Phase I, and engine emissions measurements are targeted in Phase II. Accurate measurement and characterization of black carbon emissions are hampered by the lack of low-cost, portable measurement systems suitable for use in the field. This information is critical to ensure regulatory compliance, and diagnose engine malfunctions leading to inefficient operation and high soot emissions. Currently there exist two broad classes of instruments used for monitoring black carbon: (1) expensive laboratory instruments, and (2) low-cost, portable devices with limited utility. This work will bridge this gap, by utilizing radio frequencies to provide a direct, real-time measurement of black carbon. The research will investigate using inexpensive RF technologies, similar to those used in cellular phones, which are ideally-suited for use in a portable measurement system. The Phase II work will build on the results of Phase I, specifically focusing on pushing the limits of this sensing method to increase low-level sensitivity, and increase functionality by identifying other particle constituents in the black carbon.

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project, if successful, will address a currently unmet market need for the development of a black carbon emissions measurement system, which will enable further black carbon emissions reduction and provide tangible benefits to human health and the environment. Recent studies indicate a warming potential for black carbon 2,000 times greater than the equivalent amount of CO2, and have also linked the pollutant to a range of adverse health effects, including cancer. Regulators and source operators alike require tools to monitor black carbon emissions, ensure in-use compliance, and improve engine efficiency. Currently, few technologies can distinguish black carbon from other types of particulate matter. Accurate measurement systems generally range in price from $15,000 to $70,000 or more, and are ill-suited for portable use in the field. Driven by strict emissions regulations, the market for particle and black carbon measurement systems is rapidly outpacing the markets for other types of emissions analyzers. The proposed technology is well-positioned to capitalize on this growth, providing a robust, portable, and much lower-cost alternative to high-end instruments. This technology is not limited to black carbon emissions measurements, but a wide range of related applications including powder processing and nanofabrication.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2015

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will address a currently unmet market need, namely the development of a platform RF-based sensing technology for direct measurement, control, and diagnosis of catalyst performance. If successful, the technology presents a paradigm shift in emissions measurements and catalyst control. Advanced sensors and controls are required to enable emissions catalysts to meet strict regulations limiting the emissions of pollutants from combustion engines to minimize their adverse environmental and health effects. The proposed FST technology provides a single solution to address both the requirements for on-board diagnostics and improved catalyst operation. Driven by these regulations, the market for emissions sensors is rapidly outpacing the markets for other types of engine and vehicle sensors. FST?s technology is well-positioned to capitalize on this growth, providing a robust and much lower-cost alternative to the use of multiple, expensive, and specialized sensors. This technology is not limited to emissions measurements, but is applicable to a wide range of industrial and process control applications. This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will research, develop, and apply a novel radio frequency (RF) sensing method to provide direct, real-time measurements of chemical processes occurring on catalysts for vehicle applications. Strict emissions regulations have driven the development of complex emissions control systems to meet these mandates. Today's new diesel-powered vehicles contain several different types of catalysts and filters, all monitored by an extensive sensor network to achieve the required emissions reduction and diagnose system failures. The current approach utilizes multiple dedicated electrochemical sensors, each designed to measure a specific emissions component, which adds considerable cost and complexity to the system. In addition, these sensors provide only a local measurement of the exhaust gas composition, requiring the use of on-board predictive models to indirectly estimate the condition or performance of the catalyst. The proposed RF sensor overcomes these challenges by monitoring the chemical processes on the catalyst directly. This project will investigate the feasibility of applying RF sensing for control and diagnostic applications with a range of catalysts to identify the most promising applications which will be pursued in Phase II.


Grant
Agency: National Science Foundation | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 489.90K | Year: 2013

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project proposes to develop a novel radio-frequency (RF) sensing method to provide a real-time measurement of black carbon emissions. The feasibility of this concept was demonstrated in Phase I, and engine emissions measurements are targeted in Phase II. Accurate measurement and characterization of black carbon emissions are hampered by the lack of low-cost, portable measurement systems suitable for use in the field. This information is critical to ensure regulatory compliance, and diagnose engine malfunctions leading to inefficient operation and high soot emissions. Currently there exist two broad classes of instruments used for monitoring black carbon: (1) expensive laboratory instruments, and (2) low-cost, portable devices with limited utility. This work will bridge this gap, by utilizing radio frequencies to provide a direct, real-time measurement of black carbon. The research will investigate using inexpensive RF technologies, similar to those used in cellular phones, which are ideally-suited for use in a portable measurement system. The Phase II work will build on the results of Phase I, specifically focusing on pushing the limits of this sensing method to increase low-level sensitivity, and increase functionality by identifying other particle constituents in the black carbon. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project, if successful, will address a currently unmet market need for the development of a black carbon emissions measurement system, which will enable further black carbon emissions reduction and provide tangible benefits to human health and the environment. Recent studies indicate a warming potential for black carbon 2,000 times greater than the equivalent amount of CO2, and have also linked the pollutant to a range of adverse health effects, including cancer. Regulators and source operators alike require tools to monitor black carbon emissions, ensure in-use compliance, and improve engine efficiency. Currently, few technologies can distinguish black carbon from other types of particulate matter. Accurate measurement systems generally range in price from $15,000 to $70,000 or more, and are ill-suited for portable use in the field. Driven by strict emissions regulations, the market for particle and black carbon measurement systems is rapidly outpacing the markets for other types of emissions analyzers. The proposed technology is well-positioned to capitalize on this growth, providing a robust, portable, and much lower-cost alternative to high-end instruments. This technology is not limited to black carbon emissions measurements, but a wide range of related applications including powder processing and nanofabrication.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2015

The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will address a currently unmet market need, namely the development of a platform RF-based sensing technology for direct measurement, control, and diagnosis of catalyst performance. If successful, the technology presents a paradigm shift in emissions measurements and catalyst control. Advanced sensors and controls are required to enable emissions catalysts to meet strict regulations limiting the emissions of pollutants from combustion engines to minimize their adverse environmental and health effects. The proposed FST technology provides a single solution to address both the requirements for on-board diagnostics and improved catalyst operation. Driven by these regulations, the market for emissions sensors is rapidly outpacing the markets for other types of engine and vehicle sensors. FST?s technology is well-positioned to capitalize on this growth, providing a robust and much lower-cost alternative to the use of multiple, expensive, and specialized sensors. This technology is not limited to emissions measurements, but is applicable to a wide range of industrial and process control applications.

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will research, develop, and apply a novel radio frequency (RF) sensing method to provide direct, real-time measurements of chemical processes occurring on catalysts for vehicle applications. Strict emissions regulations have driven the development of complex emissions control systems to meet these mandates. Todays new diesel-powered vehicles contain several different types of catalysts and filters, all monitored by an extensive sensor network to achieve the required emissions reduction and diagnose system failures. The current approach utilizes multiple dedicated electrochemical sensors, each designed to measure a specific emissions component, which adds considerable cost and complexity to the system. In addition, these sensors provide only a local measurement of the exhaust gas composition, requiring the use of on-board predictive models to indirectly estimate the condition or performance of the catalyst. The proposed RF sensor overcomes these challenges by monitoring the chemical processes on the catalyst directly. This project will investigate the feasibility of applying RF sensing for control and diagnostic applications with a range of catalysts to identify the most promising applications which will be pursued in Phase II.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2015

There is a clear and growing need to more efficiently utilize conventional petroleum- based fuels in internal combustion engines. Significant improvements in engine efficiency are possible through the use of fuel-derivatives, exhibiting desirable properties, such as high octane or improved evaporative cooling capacity, among others. Production of different fuel streams off-line is impractical, costly, and unsupported by existing infrastructure. This DOE SBIR Phase I project aims to evaluate the feasibility of on- vehicle generation of fuel-derivatives to supply high-quality fuel components with desirable combustion characteristics to the engine on-demand for improved efficiency. The specific project objectives are to: Design a system for low-cost, small form factor, on-board separation of ethanol and ethanol derivatives from petroleum fuels, and complete a systems analysis and select the most promising approach to supply high-quality fuel derivatives to the engine on-demand, for testing and evaluation in Phase II If successful, the results will form the basis for developing a demonstration system capable of meeting DoE targets of 10% fuel economy improvement at a production cost of less than $200/unit to undergo engine evaluations together with commercial partners in Phase II. This project will leverage recent advances in fuel separation and reforming technologies currently being developed by FST and MIT. This development has resulted in several patents and patent applications covering both novel in-cylinder reforming methods, non-membrane based fuel separation techniques, as well as methods for reforming separated fuel components. Phase I will focus on a feasibility analysis and proof of principle for onboard fuel separation technologies, supported by bench and engine experiments. The approach is focused on reducing technology risk and addressing the key technical barriers early in the Phase I program. The commercial applications span the range of light-duty to heavy-duty vehicle applications, as well as industrial engines and processes. The primary societal and environmental benefits include reduced petroleum consumption and associated greenhouse gas emissions, as well as enhanced energy security. Commercial benefits include cost-competitive and highly-capable on-demand fuel delivery systems, providing significant fuel savings, in an inexpensive and robust system, suitable for a wide range of transportation applications. Aside from fuel savings, the technology may further allow for the use of less refined petroleum feedstocks in vehicles, by delivering the same high combustion efficiency through on-board fuel processing in future applications.


Patent
Filter Sensing Technologies, Inc. | Date: 2015-10-20

A filter retentate analysis system and method is disclosed, which provides information to diagnose the current and historical state of a system generating the retentate or through which the retentate has passed. The disclosure describes the analysis of retentate characteristics which may include the composition, amount, distribution, and physical or chemical properties of the retentate useful to monitor or diagnose the state, health, or operating history of a system or sub-system. The analysis is broadly applicable to wide range of systems and process ranging from engines and exhaust systems to production plants and equipment.


Patent
Filter Sensing Technologies, Inc. | Date: 2015-05-01

A cleaning system and method of cleaning filters that removes the ash in the plugged regions is disclosed. The filter is subjected to vibrations, which serve to loosen trapped and packed retentate from the filter. The loosened retentate is then captured by a collection bin. The cleaning system can be integral with the intended application, such as within an automobile. In another embodiment, the cleaning system is a separate cleaning station, where the filter is removing from its intended application, cleaned, and then reinstalled.


Patent
Filter Sensing Technologies, Inc. | Date: 2014-11-07

A radio-frequency probe system with a transmitting or receiving element integrated into a cable assembly is disclosed. In some embodiments a preferred configuration may contain one or more sensing elements integrated into the transmitting or receiving element. In another embodiment, the radio frequency probe comprises an antenna body fixed to a coaxial cable, in which the center conductor of the coaxial cable serves as the transmitting or receiving element. A method for monitoring, transmitting, or detecting one or more parameters using a single radio frequency probe is also disclosed.


Patent
Filter Sensing Technologies, Inc. | Date: 2015-06-08

A measurement system and method of conducting cavity resonance and waveguide measurements is disclosed. The cavity or waveguide may be used to monitor the amount, composition, or distribution of a material or sample contained in the cavity or waveguide or passing through the cavity or waveguide. Improved means for operating the measurement system to reduce measurement variability, improve measurement accuracy, and decrease measurement response times are described. The inventions broad applications range from measurements of filters, catalysts, pipe, and ducts where the material collected in or passing through the cavity or waveguide exhibits dielectric properties different from the material which it displaces.


Patent
Filter Sensing Technologies, Inc. | Date: 2015-06-08

A sensing and control system and method is disclosed, which utilizes cavity resonance and waveguide measurements to directly monitor process state variables or detect changes in the state of a system and provide direct in situ feedback control top optimize the process. The same system may be used to monitor a number of different process parameters including the composition, amount, distribution, and physical or chemical properties of a material, or to monitor the state or health of a system or sub-system. The system is broadly applicable to wide range of systems and process including ranging from engines and exhaust systems to production plants.

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