Institute of Energy Technology

Zürich, Switzerland

Institute of Energy Technology

Zürich, Switzerland
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News Article | December 21, 2016

RESTON, Va., Dec. 21, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lightbridge Corporation (NASDAQ:LTBR), a U.S. nuclear fuel technology company, today announced that the U.S. government has approved renewal of a 123 Agreement between the United States and Norway, which enables commercial nuclear energy deals and clears the way for Lightbridge-designed fuel samples manufactured using US-origin enriched uranium material to use Norway’s 20-megawatt Halden research reactor. Following votes by Congress, President Obama signed the U.S.-Norway 123 Agreement legislation on Dec. 16. Proactive Congressional approval of the 123 Agreement is unusual and marks significant bipartisan support for this cooperation – normally such accords are automatically sanctioned after 90 legislative days unless a resolution of disapproval is adopted by Congress during that time period. Over the past year, Lightbridge has been collaborating with the Institute of Energy Technology in preparation for testing of its metallic nuclear fuel, which promises improved economics and safety margins for nuclear power plants, in the Halden research reactor in Norway. When the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority approved the Lightbridge fuel for testing in January 2016 it noted the safety and performance advantages of the design. Seth Grae, President & Chief Executive Officer of Lightbridge Corporation, commented, “The approval of the 123 Agreement with Norway is good news for the U.S. nuclear energy sector, especially for Lightbridge which will be using the Halden research reactor to test our next-generation nuclear fuel. Halden’s state-of-the-art facility can help us ensure that Lightbridge’s innovative fuel technology achieves its high expectations for delivering significantly improved economic and safety performance for nuclear power plants around the world.” In early 2016, Lightbridge and leading nuclear fuel manufacturer AREVA announced a joint venture for the development, manufacturing and commercialization of Lightbridge fuel. The companies agreed to key terms in November and expect to finalize the joint venture in the coming months. Lightbridge (NASDAQ:LTBR) is a nuclear fuel technology company based in Reston, Virginia, USA. The Company develops proprietary next generation nuclear fuel technologies for current and future reactors. The technology significantly enhances the economics and safety of nuclear power, operating about 1000° C cooler than standard fuel. Lightbridge invented, patented and has independently validated the technology, including successful demonstration of the fuel in a research reactor with near-term plans to demonstrate the fuel under commercial reactor conditions. The Company has assembled a world class development team including veterans of leading global fuel manufacturers. Four large electric utilities that generate about half the nuclear power in the US already advise Lightbridge on fuel development and deployment. The Company operates under a licensing and royalty model, independently validated and based on the increased power generated by Lightbridge-designed fuel and high ROI for operators of existing and new reactors. The economic benefits are further enhanced by anticipated carbon credits available under the Clean Power Plan. Lightbridge also provides comprehensive advisory services for established and emerging nuclear programs based on a philosophy of transparency, non-proliferation, safety and operational excellence. For more information please visit: To receive Lightbridge Corporation updates via e-mail, subscribe at Lightbridge is on Twitter. Sign up to follow @LightbridgeCorp at With the exception of historical matters, the matters discussed in this news release are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding the Company's competitive position, the timing of demonstration testing and commercial production, the Company's entry into agreements with nuclear fuel manufacturers and the timing thereof, the potential impact of the U.S. Clean Power Plan and similar regulations, the Company's anticipated financial resources and position, the Company's product and service offerings, the expected market for the Company's product and service offerings.  These statements are based on current expectations on the date of this news release and involve a number of risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ significantly from such estimates. The risks include, but are not limited to, the degree of market adoption of the Company's product and service offerings; market competition; dependence on strategic partners; demand for fuel for nuclear reactors; the Company's ability to manage its business effectively in a rapidly evolving market; as well as other factors described in Lightbridge's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Lightbridge does not assume any obligation to update or revise any such forward-looking statements, whether as the result of new developments or otherwise.  Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

Santis-Alvarez A.J.,Institute of Energy Technology | Buchel R.,ETH Zurich | Hild N.,Applied Materials | Stark W.J.,Applied Materials | Poulikakos D.,Institute of Energy Technology
Applied Catalysis A: General | Year: 2014

Catalytic partial oxidation of methane (CPOM) was investigated for rhodium supported on Al2O3 or on Ce0.5Zr 0.5O2. The catalysts were synthesized by flame spray pyrolysis and characterized by nitrogen adsorption, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, temperature-programmed reduction (TPR) and diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform spectroscopy (DRIFTS). The Rh/Al2O3 catalysts exhibited an enhanced and stable CPOM activity compared to Rh/Ce0.5Zr0.5O2. Syngas formation was promoted for 0.5 wt% Rh on Al2O3 close to the calculated thermodynamic equilibrium, outperforming 1 wt% Rh/Ce 0.5Zr0.5O2 in the temperature range 525-750 C. A proposed mechanism of the effect of support on Rh activity is discussed in terms of oxygen transport capacity of the support materials. Further, high oxygen concentrations showed that Al2O3 is a better support compared to Ce0.5Zr0.5O2. This could be attributed to the fact that the Al2O3 support inhibits Rh oxidation and therefore allows the presence of Rh in its metallic state, which is preferable for high syngas formation. After thermal treatment of the catalysts, the catalytic effectiveness of Rh was more than 5 times higher for Al2O3 than for Ce0.5Zr0.5O 2 supports. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Galliker P.,Institute of Energy Technology | Schneider J.,Institute of Energy Technology | Eghlidi H.,Institute of Energy Technology | Eghlidi H.,ETH Zurich | And 4 more authors.
Nature Communications | Year: 2012

Nanotechnology, with its broad impact on societally relevant applications, relies heavily on the availability of accessible nanofabrication methods. Even though a host of such techniques exists, the flexible, inexpensive, on-demand and scalable fabrication of functional nanostructures remains largely elusive. Here we present a method involving nanoscale electrohydrodynamic ink-jet printing that may significantly contribute in this direction. A combination of nanoscopic placement precision, soft-landing fluid dynamics, rapid solvent vapourization, and subsequent self-assembly of the ink colloidal content leads to the formation of scaffolds with base diameters equal to that of a single ejected nanodroplet. The virtually material-independent growth of nanostructures into the third dimension is then governed by an autofocussing phenomenon caused by local electrostatic field enhancement, resulting in large aspect ratio. We demonstrate the capabilities of our electrohydrodynamic printing technique with several examples, including the fabrication of plasmonic nanoantennas with features sizes down to 50 nm. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Lu G.,Institute of Energy Technology | Third J.R.,Institute of Energy Technology | Muller C.R.,Institute of Energy Technology
Particuology | Year: 2014

Discrete-element-method (DEM) simulations have been performed to investigate the cross-sectional flow of non-spherical particles in horizontal rotating cylinders with and without wall rougheners. The non-spherical particles were modeled using the three-dimensional super-quadric equation. The influence of wall rougheners on flow behavior of grains was studied for increasing particle blockiness. Moreover, for approximately cubic particles (squareness parameters [5 5 5]), the rotational speed, gravitational acceleration and particle size were altered to investigate the effect of wall rougheners under a range of operating conditions. For spherical and near-spherical particles (approximately up to the squareness parameters [3 4 4]), wall rougheners are necessary to prevent slippage of the bed against the cylinder wall. For highly cubic particle geometries (squareness parameters larger than [3 4 4]), wall rougheners resulted in a counter-intuitive decrease in the angle of repose of the bed. In addition, wall rougheners employed in this study were demonstrated to have a higher impact on bed dynamics at higher rotational speeds and lower gravitational accelerations. Nevertheless, using wall rougheners had a comparatively small influence on particle-flow characteristics for a bed composed of finer grains. © 2013 Chinese Society of Particuology and Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Tagliabue G.,Institute of Energy Technology | Eghlidi H.,Institute of Energy Technology | Poulikakos D.,Institute of Energy Technology
Nanoscale | Year: 2013

Plasmonic absorbers have recently become important for a broad spectrum of sunlight-harvesting applications exploiting either heat generation, such as in thermal photovoltaics and solar thermoelectrics, or hot-electron generation, such as in photochemical and solid state devices. So far, despite impressive progress, combining the needed high performance with fabrication simplicity and scalability remains a serious challenge. Here, we report on a novel solar absorber concept, where we demonstrate and exploit simultaneously a host of absorption phenomena in tapered triangle arrays integrated in a metal-insulator-metal configuration to achieve ultrabroadband (88% average absorption in the range of 380-980 nm), wide-angle and polarization-insensitive absorption. Furthermore, this absorber is subwavelength in thickness (260 nm) and its fabrication is based on a facile, low-cost and potentially scalable method. In addition, the geometry of our design makes it compatible for both heat and hot electron generation. © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2013.

Santis-Alvarez A.J.,Institute of Energy Technology | Nabavi M.,Institute of Energy Technology | Hild N.,Applied Materials | Poulikakos D.,Institute of Energy Technology | Stark W.J.,Applied Materials
Energy and Environmental Science | Year: 2011

This work aims at the investigation and optimization of a hybrid start-up process for a self-sustained reactor for n-butane to syngas conversion in intermediate temperature, micro-solid oxide fuel cell (micro-SOFC) power plants. The catalytic reaction is carried out in the presence of Rh-doped Ce 0.5Zr 0.5O 2 nanoparticles in a disk-shaped reactor. For the start-up, a resistance heater is embedded inside the catalytic bed and is activated until the exothermic oxidative reaction is initiated. The self-sustained temperature and reforming performance are demonstrated to be highly dependent on the fuel to oxygen (C/O) ratio and the catalytic activity at different space times. It is shown that a C/O ratio of 0.8 is a very good choice in terms of achieved steady-state temperature, syngas selectivity and start-up time. At a reactor inlet temperature of 809 °C for a C/O ratio of 0.8 and a space time as low as 8 ms, a syngas selectivity of 69.6% and a temperature of 529 °C at the simulated micro-SOFC membrane are demonstrated. After only 15 s from ignition, a temperature of 600 °C at the reactor inlet is reached. The hybrid start-up process is optimized with respect to a specific setup as an example, but is of general nature and utility to similar systems. © 2011 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

Weinmueller C.,Institute of Energy Technology | Tautschnig G.,Institute of Energy Technology | Hotz N.,Institute of Energy Technology | Poulikakos D.,Institute of Energy Technology
Journal of Power Sources | Year: 2010

This paper presents and investigates a concept for a flexible direct methanol micro-fuel cell (FDMMFC) based on the microstructuring of a Cr/Au metalized, thin polymer film of photosensitive SU-8. The inscribed microchannels in the electrodes are 200 μm × 200 μm in crosssection and spanning an active fuel cell area of 10 mm × 10 mm with a Pt-black catalyst on the cathode side of the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) and a Pt-Ru alloy catalyst on the anode side. Subsequently, the paper focuses on a thorough electrical characterization of the FDMMFC, under the employment of a variable resistor simulating an electrical load as well as a classical galvanostatical measurement technique. The fuel cell is also tested while operating in a bent, non-flat configuration. An extensive parameter study revealed an optimal and long-term stable operating condition for the fuel cell employing for both electrodes a serpentine flow field and a volume flow rate of 0.14 ml min-1 of a 1 M methanol solution at the anode side with a gas volume flow rate of 8 ml min-1 of humidified O2 at the cathode side yielding a power density of 19.0 mW cm2 at 75 mA cm2 at a temperature of 60 °C. Furthermore, a flow-visualization of the two-phase flow occurring at the anode side has been performed by utilizing fluorescence microscopy. The strong influence of the two-phase flow on the performance of a fuel cell at high current densities becomes apparent in correlating the observed flow patterns with the corresponding current density of the polarization curve. The paper also investigates the functionality of the present FDMMFC under different bent conditions. The tests showed an insignificant drop of the electrical performance under bending due to an inhomogeneous contact resistance. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Yazdanie M.,Institute of Energy Technology | Noembrini F.,Institute of Energy Technology | Dossetto L.,Institute of Energy Technology | Boulouchos K.,Institute of Energy Technology
Journal of Power Sources | Year: 2014

This study provides a comprehensive analysis of well-to-wheel (WTW) primary energy demand and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the operation of conventional and alternative passenger vehicle drivetrains. Results are determined based on a reference vehicle, drivetrain/production process efficiencies, and lifecycle inventory data specific to Switzerland. WTW performance is compared to a gasoline internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV). Both industrialized and novel hydrogen and electricity production pathways are evaluated. A strong case is presented for pluggable electric vehicles (PEVs) due to their high drivetrain efficiency. However, WTW performance strongly depends on the electricity source. A critical electricity mix can be identified which divides optimal drivetrain performance between the EV, ICEV, and plug-in hybrid vehicle. Alternative drivetrain and energy carrier production pathways are also compared by natural resource. Fuel cell vehicle (FCV) performance proves to be on par with PEVs for energy carrier (EC) production via biomass and natural gas resources. However, PEVs outperform FCVs via solar energy EC production pathways. ICE drivetrains using alternative fuels, particularly biogas and CNG, yield remarkable WTW energy and emission reductions as well, indicating that alternative fuels, and not only alternative drivetrains, play an important role in the transition towards low-emission vehicles in Switzerland.© 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

A method of estimating chordal holdup values of gas, oil, and water (_(G), _(O), _(W)) for tomographic imaging of a three-phase flow through a volume, including:

Sotiriou G.A.,Institute of Process Engineering | Franco D.,Institute of Energy Technology | Poulikakos D.,Institute of Energy Technology | Ferrari A.,Institute of Energy Technology
ACS Nano | Year: 2012

Nanophosphors are light-emitting materials with stable optical properties that represent promising tools for bioimaging. The synthesis of nanophosphors, and thus the control of their surface properties, is, however, challenging. Here, flame aerosol technology is exploited to generate Tbactivated Y 2O 3 nanophosphors (∼25 nm) encapsulated in situ by a nanothin amorphous inert SiO 2 film. The nanocrystalline core exhibits a bright green luminescence following the Tb 3+ ion transitions, while the hermetic SiO 2-coating prevents any unspecific interference with cellular activities. The SiO 2-coated nanophosphors display minimal photobleaching upon imaging and can be easily functionalized through surface absorption of biological molecules. Therefore, they can be used as bionanoprobes for cell detection and for long-term monitoring of cellular activities. As an example, we report on the interaction between epidermal growth factor (EGF)-functionalized nanophosphors and mouse melanoma cells. The cellular uptake of the nanophosphors is visualized with confocal microscopy, and the specific activation of EGF receptors is revealed with biochemical techniques. Altogether, our results establish SiO 2-coated Tb-activated Y 2O 3 nanophosphors as superior imaging tools for biological applications. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

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