Lewis Center, OH, United States
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Patent
NexTech Materials, Ltd. | Date: 2017-07-19

An amperometric electrochemical sensor for measuring the concentrations of two or more target gas species in a gas sample or gas stream, especially NH3 and NOX, wherein the sensor includes first and second electrochemical cells having respective first and second active electrodes, the electrochemical cells further including an electrolyte membrane and a counter electrode, wherein the first electrochemical cell exhibits an additive response with respect to a first and second ones of the target gas species and the second electrochemical cell exhibits a selective response to the first target gas species in the presence of the second target gas species such that the sensor is capable of measuring the respective concentrations of the first and second target gas species.The electrode materials are either tungstates or molybdates for the detection of NH3 and NOx.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 1.00M | Year: 2016

In this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, NexTech Materials proposes to use novel structured catalysts for steam methane reforming (SMR) to syngas. Methane is the major component of shale gas with vast quantity and is very stable. In addition to using methane as fuel, converting methane to value-added chemicals has been extensively studied in recent decades, such as steam reforming and partial oxidation to syngas, oxidative coupling to ethylene, and selective oxidation to methanol and other chemicals. Among them, SMR is the only process used today, while the other approaches are still far away from commercialization because the low product yields make them uncompetitive to the SMR. Commercial SMR catalysts are Ni/Al2O3 pellets and rings promoted with MgO and CaO. It is known that SMR is a highly endothermic reaction and the process is energy intensive. The reaction rate and syngas yield are normally controlled by the heat transfer in the process. In order to improve the syngas productivity, NexTech will develop structured catalysts for improving heat transfer and mass transfer in this project. The powder catalysts will be synthesized at NexTech to improve their intrinsic activity. After the catalyst formulation is optimized, the most active catalysts will be adapted to metallic substrates for enhancing heat and mass transfer and reducing pressure drop. It is expected that the syngas productivity will be increased significantly on the advanced catalysts when they are applied to conventional fixed-bed reactors as compared to the current state-of-the-art catalysts.


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

Abstract: In this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, NexTech Materials proposes to use novel structured catalysts for steam methane reforming (SMR) to syngas. Methane is the major component of shale gas with vast quantity and is very stable. In addition to using methane as fuel, converting methane to value-added chemicals has been extensively studied in recent decades, such as steam reforming and partial oxidation to syngas, oxidative coupling to ethylene, and selective oxidation to methanol and other chemicals. Among them, SMR is the only process used today, while the other approaches are still far away from commercialization because the low product yields make them uncompetitive to the SMR. Commercial SMR catalysts are Ni/Al2O3 pellets and rings promoted with MgO and CaO. It is known that SMR is a highly endothermic reaction and the process is energy intensive. The reaction rate and syngas yield are normally controlled by the heat transfer in the process. In order to improve the syngas productivity, NexTech will develop structured catalysts for improving heat transfer and mass transfer in this project. The powder catalysts will be synthesized at NexTech to improve their intrinsic activity. After the catalyst formulation is optimized, the most active catalysts will be adapted to metallic substrates for enhancing heat and mass transfer and reducing pressure drop. It is expected that the syngas productivity will be increased significantly on the advanced catalysts when they are applied to conventional fixed-bed reactors as compared to the current state-of-the-art catalysts. Key Words: steam reforming, SMR, natural gas, shale gas, methane, syngas, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, catalyst and nickel. Summary for Members of Congress: In this SBIR project, NexTech Materials Ltd. will develop superior catalysts to convert shale gas to carbon monoxide and hydrogen, which are further used to produce other value-added chemicals.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 841.41K | Year: 2015

Fuel cells have emerged as a promising new technology for meeting the Nations energy needs. Of the various types, solid oxide fuel cells offer environmentally clean, quiet and highly efficient electricity and heat generation from natural gas and other hydrocarbon fuels. In solid oxide fuel cell systems, cost remains the most significant barrier to widespread commercialization and to achieve the aggressive cost targets requires the use of common stainless steels whenever possible. However, without protective coatings, air-facing steel surfaces oxidize and volatilize chromium that poison the fuel cell stack. Similarly, air/exhaust heat exchangers must be designed to prevent high temperature corrosion and chromium volatilization. The fuel facing metal surfaces also must be protected from catastrophic failure mechanisms related to oxidation (due to high steam content gas streams), and coking. In Phases 1 and 2, an aluminization coating tailored for the solid oxide fuel cell market was developed. The coating demonstrates excellent resistance to oxidation, chromium volatilization, and coking on a range of common stainless steels. Based on its demonstrated low cost and scalability, this coating technology could provide a cost break-through for solid oxide fuel cell developers, allowing them substitute conventional austenitic and ferritic stainless steel for nickel-based superalloys in applications where high temperature corrosion dominates material selection. In this Phase 2A project, barriers to customer acceptance of the coating technology will be removed through validation of coating lifetime performance in fuel cell stack and balance-of-plant demonstrations. The project will also continue to refine the down selected coating formulation to further improve coating stability for high temperature, highly aggressive environment applications. Outside of fuel cells the coating technology has broad applicability in other high-temperature industries such as power generation, coal gasification, natural gas processing, industrial biomass combustion], and chemical processing plants. Materials requirements are severe for these applications; components must be tolerant to long-term, high temperature exposure in harsh, corrosive environments. Cost-effective corrosion protection, such as this coating technology would, therefore, be highly attractive, enabling the use of common steels.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2016

Nexceris proposes to develop novel structured catalysts for mixed CO2-steam reforming (CSR) and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis (FTS) to convert biogas to wax, diesel, jet fuel and gasoline. As a renewable energy, biogas is produced from wet waste in the absence of oxygen and contains mainly CH4 and CO2. With concerns about global warming and ways of disposing of CO2, upgrading of biogas to liquid fuels via CSR and FTS is a promising approach to utilize two greenhouse gases CO2 and CH4 without expensive MEA CO2-CH4 separation process. CSR can generate the syngas with a H2/CO ratio of 2:1, which is further transformed to liquid fuels through FTS process. Nexceris proposed structured catalysts can improve heat and mass transfer, reduce pressure drop and increase catalyst robustness. Also, through a unique material synthesis approach, Nexceris will produce catalysts with excellent characteristics to improve intrinsic activities and stabilities. By tailoring the substrate/catalyst interface with a coating technology, we will seek to increase catalyst loading and adhesion on the substrates. Together, we anticipate catalyst activities will be increased significantly on Nexceris’ advanced catalysts when they are applied to fixed-bed reactors as compared to conventional CSR and FTS catalysts, improving liquid fuels productivity and shrinking reactor size. Apparently this will reduce capital cost and energy inputs. In the Phase I effort, powder catalysts will be synthesized, characterized, washcoated on small substrates, and tested for the CSR and FTS reactions. Correlations between catalyst properties and activities will be established. In the Phase II project, the most promising catalysts will be scaled up and washcoated on large substrates for demonstration. Key Words: dry reforming, CO2 reforming, steam reforming, Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, biogas, natural gas, methane, syngas, liquid fuels, diesel, gasoline and catalyst. Summary for Members of Congress: In this SBIR project, Nexceris, LLC will develop superior catalysts to convert renewable biogas (methane and CO2) to high quality transportation fuels through reforming and Fischer-Tropsch synthesis.


Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 150.00K | Year: 2016

In this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project, Nexceris, LLC proposes to develop new engineered catalysts for steam reforming (STR) and water gas shift (WGS) to convert still gases to hydrogen for refineries. Deep desulfurization for ultra-low-sulfur fuels in refineries has led to more need in hydrogen supply. Meanwhile, refineries produce still gases by distillation, cracking, reforming and other processes. The main components of the still gases are methane and ethane. Although some still gases contain hydrogen and small amounts of ethylene and C3+ hydrocarbons, they are valuable components and can be recovered economically with minimal treatment. The still gases are typically consumed as refinery fuel or used as petrochemical feedstock. In order to increase H2 supply and minimize natural gas delivery cost, Nexceris proposes to convert the still gases to hydrogen on novel structured catalysts. The structured catalysts can improve heat and mass transfer, reduce pressure drop and increase catalyst robustness. Also, through unique material synthesis approaches, Nexceris will produce catalysts with excellent characteristics to improve intrinsic activities and stabilities. By tailoring the substrate/catalyst interface with a coating technology, we will seek to increase catalyst loading and adhesion on the substrates. Together, we anticipate catalyst activities will be increased significantly on Nexceris’ advanced catalysts when they are applied to fixed-bed reactors as compared to conventional STR and WGS catalysts, improving H2 productivity and shrinking reactor size. Apparently this will reduce capital cost and energy inputs for hydrogen production from still gases. In the Phase I effort, powder catalysts will be synthesized, characterized, washcoated on small substrates, and tested for the STR and WGS reactions. Correlations between catalyst properties and activities will be established. In the Phase II project, the most promising catalysts will be scaled up and washcoated on large substrates for demonstration. Key Words: steam reforming, water gas shift, still gases, refinery gases, natural gas, methane, ethane, syngas, carbon monoxide, hydrogen and catalyst.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 125.00K | Year: 2016

NASA has a defined need for energy dense and highly efficient energy storage and power delivery systems for future space missions. Compared to other fuel cell technologies, solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) based systems are better suited to meeting NASA's efficiency targets while operating directly on methane and oxygen reactants. SOFC power systems for lunar landers and other exploration vehicles are an ideal application for this technology, as well as for power generation on the moon or on Mars. Nexceris has established SOFC technology that offers high power density and high single-pass fuel utilization, making it uniquely suited for achieving NASA's performance and efficiency requirements. In this project, NexTech will establish a process model for an externally reformed SOFC system that operates with oxygen and methane reactants, design a reformer and a stack for the system, refine the reformer and stack designs via modeling and analysis, validate the design and performance predictions via catalyst and stack testing.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Office of the Secretary of Defense | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 996.11K | Year: 2015

Small unmanned aerial systems (S-UAS), unmanned ground systems (UGS), vehicle auxiliary power units (APU), and mobile power generation units require high efficiency power systems capable of operating on logistically available fuels (JP-8, diesel) to enable long endurance operation. In particular, S-UASs in the Group 2 (21 55 lbs)/Group 3 ( 150 cm2 active area) in the Phase I and then to the stack level (500W 3 kW) in the Phase II in order to determine the feasibility for integration into a complete SOFC power system. There is a particular interest in potential stack technologies which prove to be flexible to fuel reformate composition and tolerant to fuel impurities, such as sulfur content.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 750.00K | Year: 2015

NASA has a defined need for energy dense and highly efficient energy storage and power delivery systems for future space missions. Compared to other fuel cell technologies, solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) based systems are better suited to meeting NASA's efficiency targets while operating directly on methane and oxygen reactants. SOFC power systems for lunar landers and other exploration vehicles are an ideal application for this technology, as well as for power generation on the moon or on Mars. NexTech Materials has established SOFC technology that offers high power density with direct internal fuel reforming and high single-pass fuel utilization, making it uniquely suited for achieving NASA's performance and efficiency requirements. In Phase I of this project, NexTech designed a methane/oxygen SOFC system and established a process model, designed the stack and hot box for this system, and completed testing to validate that the target efficiency of 70 percent was achievable. In Phase II of this project, NexTech will specify and source all system components, build a three-dimensional CAD model of the methane/oxygen SOFC system, build and test 1-kW scale stacks of the Phase I design, demonstrate 70 percent electrical efficiency in a stack with only methane and oxygen reactant feeds, and evaluate long term durability and thermal cycling capability of the stack.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Navy | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 760.00K | Year: 2015

Availability of robust and reliable sensors for battery health monitoring is essential to the safe implementation and use of rechargeable batteries in military applications. Lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, silver-zinc, and lithium ion batteries, for example, are critical to a number of existing and emerging power systems in naval vehicles. When over-charged, degraded or damaged, each of these batteries emits hazardous gases that can cause explosions if left unchecked. In its Phase I SBIR project, NexTech Materials, Ltd. leveraged its ceramic gas sensor technology platform to develop sensor devices aimed at battery health monitoring for Navy applications. Sensor formulations were identified and demonstrated for quantifying ppm-level hydrogen concentrations emitted from degraded hydrogen-emitting batteries (i.e. lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, and silver-zinc). Other formulations were established for detecting the VOC electrolytes emitted from degraded lithium ion batteries. In Phase II, the lithium ion battery off-gas sensing technology will be further developed to meet the wide range of requirements of military installations. The project will culminate with relevant field testing of military hardened prototype devices in the Phase II Option.

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