Secondary battery package for use in a harsh environment such as a satellite and a vehicle.
Secondary battery package, comprising: secondary battery cells arranged in matrix to be spaced apart from each other, and have anode at one of upper and lower end, and cathode at the other; upper tags electrically connected to electrode at upper end of battery cells; lower tags electrically connected to electrode at lower end of battery cells; upper holder board made of insulating plastic and having upper end seating groove with upper end of battery cells seated thereon, and upper end tag mounting part with upper tag inserted thereinto; lower holder board made of insulating plastic and having lower end seating groove with lower end of battery cells seated thereon, and lower tag mounting part with lower tag inserted thereinto; upper end fixing layer made of insulating plastic and fixing upper end of secondary battery cells not to vibrate below upper end seating groove; lower end fixing layer made of insulating plastic and fixing lower end of secondary battery cells not to vibrate above the lower end seating groove; cover overlapped on upper holder board; base which is overlapped under lower holder board; and fastener which fastens cover and base.
On-demand Ammonia Generator
We have developed a compact and an efficient Ammonia Electrochemical Generator (AEG) that utilizes power, water and nitrogen for ammonia production. The catalyst, electrodes and fuel cell membranes have all been specially developed to maiximize ammonia production per volume. The optimal temeperature for reaction is 50C. We have achieved a rate of 10-7 mol cm-2*s-1, higher than any reported in the literature, by improving utilization of the catalyst and by using the hydrogen byproduct to reduce the anode resistance.
The GreenBox: Ammonia and Nitrate Removal with Energy Cogeneration
Currently, wastewater treatment solutions for ammonia consume a significant amount of energy, have high operational costs, require significant capital investment, are not easily adaptable to tighter emissions regulations and are large in size. In addition, current methods do not scale-down well for non-point source pollution, which usually comes from rural areas such as livestock facilities and fertilizer run-off leading to algae bloom. For this reason, the EPA has limited the nitrate contamination level in drinking water to 10 mg/l with further reduction under consideration. Ohio University’s patented ammonia electrolysis is the only technology that allows the direct conversion of ammonia into benign pure nitrogen gas and pure fuel grade hydrogen gas. The process, also known as the “Ammonia GreenBox” is compact, consumes less energy, reduces capital and operational costs and is amenable to regulatory changes via process control. Finally, the GreenBox provides an opportunity to generate hydrogen for use within the wastewater treatment plant infrastructure. As megatrends in population growth and urbanization continue to increase, the GreenBox provides the opportunity to retrofit and improve on current remediation plants, while also aiding in the next generation of plants that can handle more waste output from municipalities.
A Renewable Hydrogen Production Technology Using Waste as Feedstock
A modular system capable of waste conversion and hydrogen production has been developed to reduce cost and increase sustainability. For microbial electrolysis cell technology to be commercial, a current density and hydrogen productivity of >20 A/m2 and >15 L-hydrogen/L-reactor/day, respectively are needed. The main technical risks and challenges to reach high productivity at large-scale are: (1) Achieving and maintaining high conversion of waste, (2) Charge transfer, (3) Reactor material costs. We have achieved promising results in the first two areas, developing a robust electro-active microbial community capable of efficiently directing a wide range of compounds present in waste into electrons. Additionally, we have optimized operating conditions and improved reactor design to develop a bioelectrochemical cell capable of reaching the target current densities and hydrogen production. Integration of these advances in preliminary testing with food waste has shown a current density even higher than the targets mentioned above, indicating potential for success in application development.
Living, renewable filters for cleaning water
Mainstream filters for water remediation discriminate between toxic and safe constituents by relying on physical and chemical features of contaminants. Unfortunately, this discrimination causes filters to be rendered inactive by large amounts of benign water species and unable to remove minute amounts of toxic species to concentrations considered safe, leading to unpredictable filter performance as changing water quality conditions affect the filter capacity used. There is a need for materials that interact solely with harmful contaminants so filters can operate more efficiently and predictably. This work uses biology to discriminate between safe and unsafe water components. Bacteria have evolved to withstand contaminated waters by creating proteins that bind with high specificity and selectivity to toxic substances. We exploited this to create a technology that binds toxic species independent of safer and higher concentration constituents. Once our microbes, termed ‘living filters’, reach their capacity, we can remove them from water using meshes or higher throughput magnetic methods. We conjugate bacteria with magnetic nanoparticles through covalent bonds and demonstrate their removal with handheld magnets. Our nanobiotechnology offers a low cost and high remediation efficiency method for cleaning water, conditions necessary in underprivileged areas around the world.
Iron-TAML/peroxide Cyanotoxin Degradation
NewTAMLs catalysts are the highest performance peroxidase enzyme mimics known. Cyanotoxin-producing cyanobacteria contaminate recreational waters and drinking water sources worldwide with adverse global environmental and human health effects. In the United States, cyanobacterial infections include a widely encountered form of gastroenteritis that is accompanied by significant damage to the liver and kidneys—the waters of Pennsylvania, Nevada and Ohio at least are contaminated. NewTAML catalysts were invented (2015, patent pending) in CMU’s Institute for Green Science (IGS). The resting catalysts are stable, safe to produce and ship, crystalline, red iron salts. When combined in water with low millimolar oxidant (usually environmentally friendly H2O2), sub-micromolar NewTAMLs create ‘fire in water’ to oxidatively degrade numerous targets. NewTAML/H2O2 catalysis effectively removes the persistent pharmaceutical propranolol from filtered (pH 7) Allegheny River Water, which contains many other anthropogenic and naturally occurring compounds that do not block the process. We expect NewTAML/H2O2 to kill cyanobacteria and degrade cyanotoxins, including hepatotoxins, neurotoxins, dermatotoxins, and endotoxins from recreational and drinking waters.
AguaClara Vertical Ram Pump (ACVRP)
In an AguaClara drinking water treatment plant, flow through a plant is driven solely by gravity, so treated water exits the plant at the lowest point of the plant. Thus, in order to mix chemical stock tanks with treated water at earlier stages, operators must carry buckets of water from the outlet at the lowest point of the plant to manually fill tanks. The AguaClara Vertical Ram Pump (ACVRP) solves this issue by pumping treated water from the outlet of the plant to where it is needed at higher elevations in the plant, all without using electricity. In addition, this allows the treated water to be pumped for utilization in the plant's plumbing system, which includes the plant's sinks and toilets. The ACVRP relieves some of the burden of the plant operators, which further increases their pride in their role of providing safe water to their communities.
AguaClara Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket
About 80% of all wastewater globally is directly discharged into the environment without treatment, leading to the spread of water-borne diseases and eutrophication. AguaClara Cornell’s Upflow Anaerobic Sludge Blanket Reactor (UASB) can provide rural communities in developing parts of the world access to reliable wastewater treatment. Most importantly, the UASB reactor uses smart hydraulic engineering to eliminate the need of any electrical inputs, making this technology affordable for villages and neighborhoods to invest in. Due to the anaerobic treatment provided by the UASB reactor, methane is produced as a by-product, which can be captured and used as biogas to fuel kitchen stoves or provide heating. The UASB reactor thus can ensure proper handling of domestic wastewater in distant and/or rural communities while also providing a net energy positive treatment process.
Mapping Air Quality with Kite-Based Sensors
Monitoring the concentration of environmental pollutants is critical for effective decisionmaking about how to improve air quality. The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) such as drones is attractive to provide detailed data about the spatial variation of air quality metrics; however, UAVs have flight times limited by battery life, public acceptance of UAVs is challenging, and there are increasingly stringent restrictions on the safe operating zones for UAVs. This project explores an alternative kite-based system for aerial monitoring of air quality. Kites have the potential to be lower cost than UAVs, require less energy to operate, and may have operational advantages such as flying at higher wind speeds and in areas inaccessible to UAVs. This project extends past work using kites for environmental monitoring by evaluating several potential improvements: (1) flight control multi-line kites to maneuver the kite precisely throughout the wind window and (2) suspension of a lightweight air sampling tube from the kite system to ground-based sensing equipment.
Mesoporous adsorbents for perfluorinated compounds
In this project we plan to develop porous adsorbents for cleanup of water contaminated by perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid. Most of existing technologies are expensive and insufficiently efficient. The proposed materials with high adsorption capacity (up to 6.8 mmol/g) will be used for reversible adsorption of these contaminants from drinking water or wastewater. The innovative aspect of the project is the use of bridged polysilsesquioxanes combining high structural stability with high concentration of surface amino-groups serving as adsorption sites. The project is based on the hypothesis that porous hybrid materials containing bridged amines can adsorb PFOA and PFOS from contaminated water with significantly enhanced adsorption capacity. Application of the developed adsorbent in water filters will significantly reduce the exposure of people in affected areas to PFOA and PFOS. It will improve public health by reducing the rate of related illnesses, i.e. developmental effects, cancer, immune and thyroid effects, etc.
UV-LED Photocatalytic fuel vapor emissions control
A photocatalytic process that can be incorporated into a current evaporative fuel vapor emissions control system in an automobile will be fabricated and assessed for proof of concept as a method to reduce/eliminate evaporative fuel emissions. UV-LEDs will be used as the light sources for the process, while a suitable photocatalytic film, such as TiO2, will be used as the photocatalyst. While photocatalysis for gas-phase oxidation of organic vapors has been researched extensively, the application of photocatalysis within the evaporative fuel vapor emissions control system in an automobile is a new and innovative idea! UV-LEDs are small, robust solid-state light sources that require low direct current (DC) power, which could be provided by the battery already contained within the automobile. In addition, they can be turned on and off instantaneously and have very long lifetimes, upwards of 10000 hours. Photocatalysis is a process in which light, as opposed to heat, activates a catalyst. Therefore, photocatalysis can be used to oxidize organic vapors at room temperature! In brief, light energy excites the electrons in the photocatalytic material, creating surface active sites that participate in oxidation and reduction reactions.
Development of Reactive Nanobubble Systems for Efficient and Scalable Harmful Algae and Cyanotoxin Removal
Nanobubbles (NBs) are bubbles with a diameter of < 1 μm (also known as ultrafine bubbles), which exhibit many intriguing properties such as long residence time, high mass transfer efficiency, and large specific surface area. The high specific surface also facilitates physical adsorption and chemical reactions in the gas liquid interface. The collapse of NBs creates shock waves, which in turn, promotes the formation of hydroxyl radicals (•OH), a highly reactive oxidant that nonspecifically reacts with and decomposes organic matters. Therefore, NBs have proven useful in many industrial and engineering applications, ranging from emulsion technology for chemical processing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, detergent-free cleaning, water aeration, ultra-sound imaging and intracellular drug delivery, and mineral processing, micro-boiling behaviors, mineral flotation, water purification, to wastewater treatment. Our prior research explored the use of diverse reactive NBs, such as oxygen and air NBs, to remove harmful algal biomass in natural waters, degrade organic water pollutants (e.g., cyanotoxins), and abate aquatic hypoxia problems. We also designed a unique method (Patent filed) to generate NBs in water with various gases by using tubular ceramic nanofiltration membrane.
Reactive Electrochemical Membrane (REM) Filtration for Water Treatment
EPA launched its drinking water guidelines for Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in response to rising concerns of these chemicals toward drinking water security. Many conventional water or wastewater treatment processes are ineffective at removing perfluorochemicals due to their strong resistance to hydrolysis, photolysis, and chemical or microbial degradation. This proposal will perform a holistic evaluation of removal of PFASs via reactive electrochemical membrane (REM) filtration, which combines ultrafiltration and electrochemical oxidation. REM acts as a filter and anode that reacts with PFASs and blocks chemical pollutants. Our goals are to demonstrate that REM has high potential and unparalleled performance in the removal of PFASs for drinking water supply. Particularly, we will investigate the degradation and removal mechanisms of two model PFASs: PFOA and PFOS. Moreover, we will assess the stability of REM filters to chemical degradation and resistance to surface fouling as well as the impacts on filtration performances (e.g., permeate flux decline). This project will deliver new insight into the development of novel and sustainable water treatment technologies to support POU applications in residential and small community water purification for improved water quality and human health protection.
Microplastics, Macro Problem: A Novel Technique to Remove Microplastics From Water Using a Modified Electrostatic Filter
Microplastics are an increasingly problematic aspect of plastic pollution. Estimated to contaminate 83% of tap water supplies worldwide, microplastics are sponges for toxic and carcinogenic chemicals that pose a health threat to humans and marine life. Currently, there are no feasible options to remove microplastics from water that are both effective and economical. By applying principles used in electrostatic smoke precipitators to remove particulate matter from air, this technology uses electromagnets and electrostatic charges to ionize and attract microplastics, and then effectively filter them from water. By varying the strength of the electromagnets, the filter shows trends of increasing microplastic filtration with greater charges of the electromagnets. Results of testing shows that the filter with the highest electromagnet charge successfully filtered an average of 24.5% of large sized (2.5mm) microplastics and 14.88% of small sized (1.05mm) microplastics. This trend differentiates this filter because it does not rely on mesh/membrane size to remove the microplastics. Given that a 9V battery is the power supply used, it is logical that a stronger power source would remove more microplastics. This research shows potential in both commercial and industrial levels, with applications in a variety of settings, ranging from household laundry to wastewater treatment.
PFASs removal by photocatalysis for water reuse
Zero-valent iron nanoparticles (Fe0 NPs) are utilized for per- and poly fluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) removal through both degradation and adsorption pathways. The technology is superior than other technologies in its cost-effective and environment-friendly nature. PFASs are not only absorbed but also degraded and mineralized. Besides, the added material, Fe0 NPs, will be separated from the finished water by magnetic property, and the NPs will not bring extra toxicity to the water. The research will bring broad benefits. First, best practices in removing PFASs will be informed to enable the reuse of wastewater effluents (WEs) for agriculture; thus, the research will potentially provide direct benefits to U.S. communities and regions (and beyond) where freshwater supply is limited. Next, the efforts will bring broad environmental impacts, e.g. by reducing contamination of soil, groundwater and surface water, and protecting soil and aqueous ecosystems, from exposing to reduced PFASs contaminants through reclaimed water irrigation, agricultural runoff, and infiltration, and by restoring groundwater and surface water resources for access by future generations or for other uses. Last, the research should better enable the safe use of WEs, thereby lowering the costs for agriculture without sacrificing nutrients or the health of neighboring populations.
Sustainable Pollinator Garden
Gardens need lots of water besides soil, compost, fertilizers and pesticides. We decided to build sustainable native pollinator gardens that use much less water and fertilizers and no pesticides. To reduce water usage, we incorporate expanded shale-compost mix in the soil, which retains water and release it slowly to plant roots when needed. We propose that landscaping around businesses and in private gardens use expanded shale to reduce cost of water usage and runoff (waste), and provide sustainable apealing habitat for pollinators.
Model of Straight Pipe Prevalence in Rural Alabama
Although technically illegal, site inspections in three Alabama counties indicate that straight pipes (raw sewage discharges from homes) are common. These conditions in Alabama have attracted the attention of UN Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights to Water and Sanitation and Extreme Poverty. Additionally, recent articles in major media outlets, including Newsweek and The New York Times, have covered wastewater in Alabama. Despite the international attention and the troubling evidence of adverse health effects, no one knows how common these untreated wastewater discharges are in rural Alabama. We are using data gathered through past onsite inspections, soil data and parcel value in three Alabama counties to build a model that provides the first ever estimate of the number and location of these household raw sewage discharges in rural Alabama. The innovative aspects of this project include: (1) building the first model to quantify straight pipe discharges in the US, (2) integrating multidisciplinary data and expert knowledge in modeling local wastewater issues, and (3) generating maps estimating the magnitude of raw sewage discharge in rural watersheds. We propose that our GIS based computer model will be able to reliably predict regions most in need of support for rural wastewater.
Two-Phase Ammonia Scrubber
The Two-Phase Ammonia Scrubber removes harmful atmospheric ammonia emissions, while also converting unwanted biomass into a high-value biochar product. In phase 1, concentrated ammonia gas is collected from point sources and an absorption column converts gaseous ammonia to aqueous ammonium. Because ammonia has high solubility in water, no acids are used to improve absorption. This reduces the use of chemicals and prevents corrosive salt formation. In phase 2, the aqueous ammonium is pumped through a biochar filter where ammonium adsorbs to the biochar. Since ammonium is removed from the aqueous effluent, water can be recycled and reused. When the biochar becomes saturated, it can be removed and used as a soil amendment. The Two-Phase Biochar Ammonia Scrubber revolutionizes the agricultural technology industry by removing air pollution emissions with lower water use, and providing a novel method of re-purposing biomass waste that has the potential to improve crop yields. This technology can be used for a number of agricultural point sources to improve human health and mitigate environmental consequences. Our technology differs from existing technologies by maximizing economic and environmental gains, specifically reducing the extensive use of water and need for waste disposal; this demonstrates the Full Circle Engineering design principles.
Inexpensive automated wood burning stove
This project uses multiple sensors to monitor and control an automated wood-stove in order to make it more efficient, non-polluting and inexpensive. The wood stove has two chambers - one for the main combustion and another for drying the wood prior to combustion. The combustion chamber employs primary air for the main combustion and pre-heated secondary air to assist in secondary combustion of the particulate matter. The drying chamber uses waste heat from the flue gases to drive out moisture in the wood in order to reduce the energy loss from evaporating the moisture. This will allow the wood stove to operate at higher flame temperatures and will lead more complete combustion of the fuel with attendant reduction in carbon monoxide and particulate matter. The amount of excess air and the path of air is controlled to increase residence time to complete combustion and to extract as much energy as possible from the flue gases. The drying chamber coupled with the sensors sets this stove apart from what is on the market. This should allow for a reduction in PM levels, and an increased burning efficiency ultimately leading to better health for the community and the environment.
OSMOsis-Driven ReclAmation of Water (OSMODRAW)
Polyelectrolyte multilayer films (PMFs) will be deposited on forward osmosis (FO) membranes through a layer-by-layer deposition of polyacrylic acid (PAA)/polyallyamine hydrochloride (PAH) followed by functionalization with nano zero valent iron (nZVI) within the PMF layers. It is hypothesized that the rich functional groups on membrane surface and polymeric matrix will render the membrane more hydrophilic and reduce membrane fouling because of enhanced electrostatic repulsion by the modified membrane surface. The integration of nZVI within the PMFs will contribute to nutrient removal by promoting denitrification as well as heavy metal remediation via sorption and reduction. Synthetic stormwater and membrane concentrate will serve as the feed solution (FS) and draw solution (DS), respectively. While the diluted DS can be processed for potable or nonpotable reuse, a portion of the DS can be recovered and augment the supply of DS; however, these investigations are not within the scope of the proposed study. A portion of the concentrated urban runoff will be recycled back to the FO to further reduce its volume and help approach zero liquid discharge (ZLD). The remaining small volume can be cost-effectively treated via simple methods such as lime precipitation and finally landfilled.
Sanitary Green Space
Our solution uses an elegant combination of passive technologies that are fully gravity-powered and require no moving parts or energy. Household urine is first collected with urine-diverting toilets and combined with household greywater. The liquid waste stream flows through a compact grease trap that removes oils and solid waste and then passes through a biosand filter that eliminates pathogens (such as E. coli) and removes fine-grain sediments. Once cleaned, the water is used to irrigate gardens and public green space. When urine is omitted from the system, greywater can be recycled back into the home for non-potable uses through a separate filter. Inspired by natural hydrological and nutrient cycles, our integrated system uses principles of biomimicry to create a “circular economy” whereby water and nutrient resources are endlessly recycled in a closed-loop system. Our product requires minimal maintenance. It does not use specialized parts that would break or need to be replaced and only needs to be cleaned approximately once every three months. By transforming human waste to create public green space, this product has the potential to revolutionize global development, green space creation, and sanitation.
Soil amendments for enhanced phosphorus retention: Implications for green infrastructure design
Neither of the technology has been studied extensively in the context of green stormwater infrastructure for nutrient removal. Both WTR and coir are waste substrates and have the potential to be re-used on land in a sustainable manner for different purposes. Many studies have shown promising ability of Al and Fe-based WTR in reducing phosphorus leaching from agricultural landscapes. This study is unique wherein we investigated the ability of Ca-WTR to reduce nutrient leaching in experimental bioretention mesocosm treated with various compost additions for urban stormwater applications. Coir has mostly been studied for its potential use as soilless substrate for plants. Benefits from coir such as increased water holding capacity and flowering, and reduced evapotranspiration has been observed. Here, we also study coir for nutrient retention in a laboratory column study. Results can be used by water managers and practitioners to promote sustainable reuse of waste materials as filter substrates in urban green infrastructure applications for improved stormwater quality. WTR is cheaper alternative to the expensive engineered proprietary filter media substrates used in stormwater infrastructures and can be acquired freely from municipal drinking water plants. Coir is a tropical plant and thus its availability and cost may be regionally dependent.
Molecular tools to predict cyanobacteria toxin production
This work will provide valuable insight into the mechanistic interaction of toxin production in cyanobacteria with different environmental factors, and provide fundamental physiological and transcriptional information to further explore and predict the behavior and impacts of cyanobacterial blooms in freshwater systems. The results of this study will offer an opportunity to develop approaches for the prediction and monitoring of HABs as well provide insight to the molecular level approaches for mitigation of HABs. While the scope of the proposed project is limited to few environmental factors, we must consider that different environmental conditions are expected to occur with many other nutrients present in any given water system. Consequently, future studies will benefit from examining HABs in freshwaters using a more holistic approach employing a combination of emerging (gene transcription) and conventional (growth rate) technologies.
Vermicompost from waste algae
This project aims to develop, evaluate, and demonstrate the efficacy and feasibility of harvesting algae from stormwater systems for use as a vermicompost amendment as a cost effective means of reducing nutrients and heavy metals in stormwater systems and turning a waste product into a useable sustainable product.
Transforming Organic Waste into Renewable Energy Solutions
ITility’s renewable energy technology is based on Anaerobic Digestion (AD), which uses processes where microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. When integrated into a waste management system, AD reduces operational carbon footprint and the emission of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere normally associated with decaying organic waste. Two outputs from this process are nutrient rich digestate usable as fertilizer and methane rich gas, commonly known as biogas. More than half of biogas is methane (natural gas) which is usable as a renewable energy source. The digestate can be land applied, composted and used as a soil amendment, or processed into fertilizer types. Biogas can be combusted in an engine to power a generator for creating electricity. In addition to the electricity, a large amount of heat energy is also produced which can support system processes or diverted to other onsite power functions. While AD technology is not new, ITility’s processes that create efficiencies, scalability and flexibility for the warfighter are transformational in the renewable energy domain. The impact of ITility’s renewable technology processes make it both economically viable as green energy and operationally advantageous in expeditionary environments to extract energy from organic waste.
Photochromic Film a.k.a. Chameleon film(tentative name), auto-tinting films
Through the cooperated works with companies in developing new chromogenic materials that can be deposited below 150oC, we successfully demonstrate the flexible photochromic film that can reversibly tune its transmittance in response to sun light. While it has an average transmittance of 70% at 600 ~ 700nm at its original state, it turns to greenish blue with 20% transmittance at 600 ~ 700nm upon exposure to sunlight. As the previously fabricated photochromic glass, photo-switching time of this photochromic films are not affected by their dimension. Switching time for coloring and bleaching is not the same. While the former is about 5min, the latter takes much longer time, about 5 hours. Now we focus on optimizing switching time for bleaching under dark condition by carefully tuning material’s composition. Our photochromic film does not need external power to operate that can greatly reduce expenditure of installation and maintenance.
FCDI(Flow-electrode Capacitive Deionization), Flow Electrodes (a.k.a)
The FCDI is a kind of CDI technology with a new cell architectures. The CDI uses an electric field to remove cations and anions from water flowing past two oppositely placed electrodes with high energy efficiency and low cost. It could turn the sea water into a drinkable fresh water. In the FCDI concept, flow electrodes is a key technology, and may enable large-scale sea water desalination. Not only is this approach more energy efficient – it does not require a discharge step like conventional capacitive deionization – but it can also be easily scaled-up simply by increasing the number of flow electrodes in the system. Recently, a novel three-dimensional desalination system utilizing honeycomb-shaped lattice structures for flow-electrode capacitive deionization has been also developed. A highly compact and scalable three-dimensional desalination cell was realized by utilizing honeycomb-shaped porous lattice scaffolds. It did not require a free-standing ion exchange membrane and a thick current collector. Furthermore, the porous structure can act as a structural scaffold. Therefore, it can be readily scaled-up in three dimensions allowing enhanced salt removal capacity. This provides great potential for scale-up and commercialization of desalination using the capacitive deionization technology.
Recyclable fabrics for passive personal thermoregulation
Humans worked on improving wearable technologies since the dawn of the civilization. Yet, warm clothes are still typically bulky and reduce mobility, while cooling is hard to achieve without the use of active devices with embedded wiring and batteries. Sweat-wicking fabrics enhance cooling via convection, but are mostly suitable for athletic apparel as this cooling mechanism only gets activated after perspiration occurs. In contrast to other commercial technologies, wearable fabrics with engineered broadband photonic response developed at MIT provide local thermoregulation with zero carbon footprint via passive control of thermal radiation from the skin (ASC Photonics, 2(6) 769, 2015; US patent No. 9951446). This control makes possible both cooling without breaking a sweat and heating without adding uncomfortable metal layers to the wearables. Human body is an almost perfect emitter of thermal radiation, but conventional fabrics strongly absorb body heat. Polyethylene, however, exhibits a unique property of low infrared absorptance. By controlling the thickness of individual fibers, passively-cooling polyethylene fabrics can be optically engineered to either allow the body heat to escape via radiation or to be reflected back to the skin. In both cases, the fabrics remain visibly opaque, and can reflect solar radiation.
Rationally Designed, Nanoarchitectured Catalyst
Metalmark Innovations offers a new type of 3D catalyst which can be formed with nanoscale precision over structural and compositional features using scalable wet chemistry fabrication. Such levels of control are not currently provided by any other manufacturing method. Our approach is based on the co-assembly of preformed hybrid colloidal particles that simultaneously structure the matrix and arrange catalytic nanoparticles (NPs) at the pores’ interfaces. Consequently, the NPs are optimally exposed to the interior of the pore and are also partially embedded in the walls of the matrix, rendering them substantially more stable against sintering and mechanical disruption than is possible with current manufacturing methods. The initial powder-based prototypes demonstrated high activity for complete and selective oxidations, unprecedented mechanical and thermal robustness, and versatility in terms of catalyst composition and structural features. Moreover, the resulting architectures facilitate diffusion of reactants and products toward and from the catalytic centers as well as enable efficient heat dissipation within the system. The unique aspects of the catalyst design and performance have been described in recent academic publications and patent applications.
Micro-porous metal sheet membrane for high throughput filtering
Thinness and uniform small pore sizes are the salient features of MoleculeWorks@TM metal sheet membrane products, compared to other porous metal or metal foam materials. The uniform small pore size provides high filtering efficiency, while thinness of the membrane sheet enables filtering to be conducted at high throughput and renders membrane cleaning by simple back flushing. The surface pore size can be tailored over the range of 10 to 1000nm to meet different application needs. Complete filtering of micro-algae at micrometer sizes from water, colloidal particles of about 50nm from water, and aerosol particulates of 30 to 300nm from air are demonstrated. The novel membrane can be used to build compact high throughput filters for a range of applications, including i) treatment of seawater and grey water, ii) air purification, iii) cleanup of black smog or soot particulates from combustion exhaust, and iv) versatile laboratory filtration.
Efficient resource recovery and treatment of landfill leachate
This is a modular system designed to be compact and mobile, with multiple integrated treatment units that can remove and recover metals, organics, and ammonia. The metals are recovered as high grade powder, the organics are combustible, and the ammonia can be used as fertilizer. The system can be adjusted in real time to accommodate variations in the leachate content, achieving primary treatment standards to the point where the water can be discharged to tertiary treatment.
Aqueous zinc metal battery
This technology is a battery architecture designed to take advantage of zinc's low cost, relative abundance, high storage capacity, and inherent compatibility and stability in the presence of water. The design enables highly reversible electrochemical plating of the zinc metal, overcoming some challenges of low Coulombic efficiency observed in other zinc batteries.
Innovative Engine Systems
Various non-ICE (internal combustion engine), non-nuclear and emission free systems are configured to effectively manage working medium in cyclic system directing mass flow of medium as (potential) energy to drive, or propel, a custom turbine (kinetic) machine to produce torque motor horsepower in demand, whereby, appropriate transmission delivers revs/rpm as specified for generator, wheels, propellers, impellers and other mechanical application.
Advanced Ozone Based Water Purification
Roving Blue, Inc. manufactures and distributes ozone based water purification components and systems. Ozone is a form of oxygen. It is a highly effective germicidal agent and is a powerful oxidizer; it is, in fact, stronger than chlorine, and is used worldwide in water purification, water and wastewater recycling, and food production. To make ozone, you need oxygen. This is typically obtained by using a method called “corona arc”, which uses the oxygen in the air or bottled oxygen gas. Roving Blue’s ozone technology is electrolytic; we make ozone out of the oxygen in water itself - the “O” in H2O.
Twistact technology comprises a pure-rolling-contact device that transmits electrical current between a stationary and rotating frame (or two rotating assemblies having different speeds and/or direction of rotation) along an ultra-low resistance path (e.g. 1 milliohm). Twistact devices accomplish this pure-rolling-contact galvanic connection using a flexible, electrically conductive belt and a matching set of epicyclic sheaves. Laboratory testing has proven that a single Twistact device will be capable of operating over the full 30-year service life of a multi-megawatt direct-drive wind turbine without maintenance or replacement. A technoeconomic analysis undertaken by NREL on behalf of DOE determined that the substitution of rare-earth magnets with a wire-wound rotor and Twistact module in a 10 MW direct-drive wind turbine eliminates the need for rare earth magnets without incurring any penalties in power generation efficiency or levelized cost of energy (LCOE).
Cost efficient solar tracking for PV and CSP by means of a ganged heliostat - "G-Helio"
Skysun, LLC an Ohio registered for-profit business, is pioneering disruptive cost-saving technology for solar power installations. Specifically, Skysun is developing a low cost ganged heliostat with applications in CSP, CPV and PV. Skysun’s mission is to commercialize heliostat technology which bests the Department of Energy’s SunShot program goal of ~$70/m2, or less, cost of collecting field installed. Unlike typical heliostats, wherein each heliostat requires dual axis tracking actuators, post and a base or foundation, Skysun’s patented and patent-pending technology gangs together many heliostats which share actuation and support structure. This sharing greatly reduces system infrastructure and installation costs. Prior funding from an Innovation Fund grant has enabled Skysun to develop our technology and progress to functioning prototypes. Additionally, collaboration with NASA GRC has helped prove design durability. More recently, Skysun was awarded with a Small Business Voucher (SBV) to collaborate with the National Solar Thermal Testing Facility (NSTTF) at Sandia National Laboratories. The SBV raised us to TRL4 and report findings demonstrate our method has the durability and accuracy industry demands. Full Sandia report (Sandia 2017-7101) available at Skysun website https://www.skysunsolar.com/
Tensile-based Ganged Heliostats/G-Helio
Skysun, LLC’s ganged heliostat concept utilizes a tensile based support and actuation structure. Earlier research, circa 2009-2010, promised that a cost-effective concave concentrator could be tensile-based, but substantial optical aberrations, namely astigmatism, would need to be addressed. Tensile methods to eliminate astigmatism are embodied in Skysun’s issued parent patents 8,609,979 (Feb. 22, 2011) and 9,279,600 (March 8, 2016). Research with the prototype demonstrated that 24 reflectors, controlled by six actuators, could be focused to a fixed receiver while eliminating astigmatism. A method to eliminate the need for expensive vertical actuation was developed resulting in the filing of three provisional patent applications and a subsequent utility Patent Cooperation Treaty (International) application filed on January 27, 2016. Collaboration with NASA GRC demonstrated survivability given extreme exterior conditions (2015). Collaboration with Sandia National Laboratories and the National Solar Thermal Testing Facility has shown that accuracy, performance and survivability should scale to commercial and utility levels (2016 to present). This hybrid style of ganged heliostat implies substantial cost reduction when compared to the current art of heliostats and will exceed the SunShot goal of $75/m2 of collecting field installed cost.
Surface coating for reduction of aerodynamic noise and vibrations
The coating is composed of specially designed and manufactured micro-fibrillar structures.The inventors discovered that the micro-scale fibrillar coating significantly reduced flow separation by reducing the size of the separation bubble and pushing the separation point further downstream. The inventors accomplished this without increasing the turbulent kinetic energy (by-product of texturizing a surface). These results starkly oppose the notion that rough surfaces facilitate flow separation.
Self-formed Haze Film for Optoelectronic Devices
This technology provides a very simple approach to enhancing the performance of optoelectronic devices. Unlike existing anti-reflection coating or light scattering structures, the fabrication process requires no template or photolithography. Thus, the manufacturing cost is low, and the scalability is very high. In addition, the fabricated haze film serves as a detachable accessory for the optoelectronic devices, so no change has to be made on existing fabrication process of the optoelectronic devices. This technology is promising for replacing the existing lithography process for anti-reflection coating, and thus lowering the overall manufacturing cost for optoelectronic devices. In the long term, it may reduce the price of electricity generated by photovoltaic, and may lower the price of photodetectors, LED displays and etc.
Flexible wire-shaped lithium ion batteries
Prof. Skorobogatiy's laboratory has conceived a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that comes in the form of a flexible wire. The battery is composed of a steel-filled polyester conductive thread (SPCT) anode coated with Li4Ti5O12 and a SPCT cathode coated with LiFePO4 twisted together. A polyethylene oxide electrolyte surrounds the anode and the cathode. The fabrication of this battery is simple and inexpensive since: i) the materials used are standard and widely available and ii) the “dip&dry” manufacturing process is simple and scalable. All components are solid, including electrolytes. As a result, there is no risk of fluid leakage and a much lower risk of explosion and exposure to harmful chemicals. The proposed battery is therefore a very safe technology, thus opening the door to body-worn applications. Indeed, with a diameter of less than a millimeter, the battery can be integrated easily into the textile with a standard weaving machine. Furthermore, testing has shown that the proposed battery can sustain repetitive bending and recharging while maintaining its excellent electrical performances.
Symmetric Redox Flow Batteries for Economically-Viable Grid-Scale Energy Storage
This technology is a novel manganese nitride phthalocyanine motif, which is based on an inexpensive phthalocyanine ligand and behaves as a multi-electron symmetric charge carrier and can access a wide range of charged states which remain chemically inert. The key advantage of the charge carrier is that it removes the issue of membrane crossover, which solves a common problem with existing RFBs, and allows for a simple porous separator to be used in lieu of a costly ion-exchange membrane. The complex has excellent physical and chemical properties for flow battery applications and a tunable aromatic periphery providing a handle to modulate solubility and impart additional chemical/physical properties without affecting the core electronic properties. The complex is applicable to renewable energy and grid-level energy storage systems. Its unique advantages have great potential in developing energy storage systems and Redox Flow Batteries (RFBs) at a lower cost, which makes it well suited for widespread commercialization.
Process to Improve Lithium Ion Battery Life and Capacity
This new self-optimization process addresses a key problem in lithium ion batteries associated with retaining full charge capacity through multiple charges – reduction of electrode volume change during charging and discharging of the battery. By reducing volume change of anode materials from 400% to less than 1%, with full charge and discharge cycles, long-term cyclability is achieved. To enable this technology, a cost-effective process can be integrated into production lines for mass production. It is a self-optimization process for preparing ion battery electrodes that significantly reduces the volume change of silicon (Si) anode materials during full charging and discharging cycles. The self-optimization process and coating can be applied to any anode and cathode active materials showing high volume change during charging and discharging.
Remediating Phosphate and Herbicide Contaminants in Water
A new absorbent technology simultaneously sorbs phosphate and phosphate-containing herbicides and pesticides (organophosphates, such as glyphosate-based herbicides) present in low concentrations typically found in agricultural runoff water and industrial wastewater such as cooling water. The technology is formed through hydrothermal carbonization of agricultural residues (e.g., corn stover), which results in a biomass-based hydrochar that simultaneously sorbs phosphate and glyphosate from water in a single, simultaneous and non-competitive step. BENEFITS AND FEATURES: - Simultaneously sorbs phosphate and phosphate-containing herbicides and pesticide - Effective on organophosphates, such as glyphosate containing herbicides - Absorbs low concentrations (e.g., as typically found in agricultural runoff water) - Economical manufacturing process: hydrothermal carbonization of agricultural residues results in a hydrochar - Potential to remediate algal blooms in agricultural run-off - Potential to remediate toxicity associated with exposure to low levels of herbicides and pesticides APPLICATIONS: - Filter medium for agricultural run-off water - Environmental applications (i.e., preventing algal blooms in agricultural run-off) - Public health applications (i.e., preventing toxicity associated with exposure to even low levels of pesticides)
Efficient and Cost-Effective Hydrogen Storage and Release
The proposed LOHC system is based on an inexpensive and readily available group of compounds (piperidines) that can generate hydrogen gas during its conversion to a second group of compounds (pyridines), using a heterogeneous catalyst. The uptake and release of hydrogen is performed under mild conditions and using a single catalyst, and can be repeated with 100% yield. A hydrogen storage capacity of 5.3 wt% has been demonstrated and can reach 6.06 wt% with further adjustments. An example of a promising LOHC system is based on the N-ethylcarbazole molecule that exhibits a hydrogen storage capacity of 5.8 wt%. However, the disadvantages of that system include high pressure and temperature requirements, resulting in the degradation of the carrier, and the fact that the carrier is solid and expensive. Another disadvantage is the use of two different catalysts for the hydrogen uptake and release steps. Liquid to liquid LOHC systems based on inexpensive compounds with high hydrogen storage capacity using only one heterogeneous catalyst under relatively mild loading/unloading conditions that are compatible with existing infrastructure as presented here are not known to date.
Catalytic Formation of Syngas from Biomass
To date, the most common biomass refining process involves the transformation of cellulose to glucose and then to ethanol, which is ultimately used as a biofuel. However, this biological approach of hydrolysis followed by fermentation has the disadvantages of (1) requiring costly enzymes, which suffer from short shelf life, and (2) most of the starting material ends up as unusable waste. The proposed novel technology produces syngas by reaction of a carbohydrate with a polyoxometalate catalyst in the presence of concentrated acid, under anaerobic conditions. As a result, carbon monoxide is generated, followed by the electrochemical release of hydrogen. This two-step process ensures complete digestion of biomass into its basic components that can be further processed to produce fuels and organic materials, resulting in a potential reduction in global petroleum dependency. In addition, it allows for easy separation and storage of the desired products.
Cost-Effective Desulfurization System to Eliminate SO2 Emissions from Fossil-Fuel Fired Plants
Despite an increase in alternative energy sources, coal remains the most prominent energy source accounting for about one-third of the world’s energy consumption, with a stable long term growth. According to a 2017 report by the USA EIA, coal remains the largest electricity generation source in the US and a prominent energy source in the APAC region. Existing technologies for SO2 capture from coal-fired plants have not changed in nearly 40 years, consequently, thousands of metric tons of gypsum contaminated with multiple compounds are produced for every year from each single FGD unit. The presented technology aims at converting SO2 from a fossil-fuel flue-gas emission into useful output, via a reduction chamber, which utilizes a carbonate eutectic melt as the reaction medium. The novel system selectively recycles SO2 into useful sulfur-based compounds. This procedure can also be applied to generate elemental sulfur, an inert and non-toxic compound which can be stored long-term until required for further use. The technology presented here promises to be significantly more efficient and environmentally sustainable as it may provide the versatility to choose the final product – either sulfuric acid or elemental sulfur rather than creating waste streams typical to existing FGD systems.
Recycling of Platinum Group Metals and Gold Via an Efficient Process With No Toxic Byproducts
Current methods for recycling of gold and platinum group metals (PGM) from electronic waste and spent industrial and automotive catalysts include hydrometallurgical extraction, which generates massive quantities of hazardous waste, and pyrometallurgical techniques, which are inefficient as stand-alone processes - typically done within metal smelters. An additional extremely hazardous method is volatilization recovery, which employs toxic chlorine gas at high temperatures (typically 1,200 C). A safe method for the recovery of PGM and gold with low environmental impact, high selectivity, and requiring mild conditions, is thus extremely attractive. The proposed method is based on a reaction with chlorine-containing salts rather than pure chlorine gas, at relatively low temperatures. This safe, economically viable and environmentally friendly technology can have a high impact on many adjacent markets, as it allows for the recovery of PGM and gold from waste streams that, so far, have not been exploited for metal recovery due to numerous drawbacks of existing recycling technologies. This method has the potential to be easily industrialized at different scales and locations provides high recovered metal yields.