Projects

Dielectric materials for high density capacitive energy storage

Electrical energy storage density in capacitors is a limiting factor for size, cost, and stability over a range of factors (e.g., temperature extremes) for electric vehicles and many other applications of importance to energy efficiency and security. Capacitor technology has been slow to evolve as it is limited by advancements in solid dielectrics with fundamental limitations for the operating electric field. The proposed technology leverages recent advancements in films with porosity at the nanoscale to enable vacuum/gas to operate at extremely high electric fields, enabling higher energy density and stability with respect to temperature, operating voltage, and frequency.

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Direct optical lithography of functional inorganic nanomaterials

NanoPattern Technologies has developed a unique (and patented) inorganic ligand chemistry that enables virtually any nanomaterial (Quantum Dots, metals, dielectrics, catalysts, magnetic materials) to be converted into a photo-patternable ink that can be patterned at sub-micron resolutions. This unique photo-sensitive inorganic ligand results in a final patterned film that is over 99 vol% functional nanoparticles. This is significant in the quantum dot display industry because it enables electroluminescent quantum dot displays made using manufacturing equipment that already exists and is
commonly used (405 nm photolithography).

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Freeze-dried biosensors for water quality and the energy-water nexus

Stemloop has developed over a dozen cell-free, biological sensors that can be modularly configured and programmed to create “smart” sensors that can integrate multiple inputs and compute a single output. The team has invented several defensible technologies to improve the speed, reliability, and overall performance of cell-free sensors, and have proprietary formulations for freeze-drying the biosensors with little-to-no impact on sensor performance. The technology will benefit society by enabling water security, which begins by identifying sustainable water sources for drinking, bathing, irrigation, and other core human and industrial activities. Industrial, consumer, and other public applications of the technology will empower people and their organizations to effectively monitor, legislate, and regulate water use. In allowing for the judicious use of water, it in turn promotes both food and energy security.

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Nanocomposites for elevated temperature hydrogen technologies

We need to make hydrogen fuel cells and water electrolyzers perform better if we want to replace fossil fuels with hydrogen fuel. The simplest way to do so is to operate these devices above room temperature somewhere between 100 and 300°C. At these temperatures, the environment is hot enough to enable faster mass transfer kinetics, higher catalytic rates, and reduced susceptibility to catalyst poisoning, yet cool enough that the devices can be built with minor modifications to existing system components. The approach builds on a phenomenon called intermediate temperature proton conduction on nanostructured metal oxide surfaces. Our innovation is to use a composite approach, leveraging these nanostructured ceramic materials, to achieve a multiple order of magnitude increase in conductivity to relevant levels for membranes used in fuel cells and electrolyzers.

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Water treatment sorbents

One of the grand challenges in science and technology today relates to mitigating the environmental impact of human activity. For industrial users, NUMiX Materials presents the opportunity to recover contaminant heavy metals from wastewater processes. Using a patented sorbent, contaminants are extracted and solidified in a matter of minutes using only a fraction of the material needed for incumbent processes. Not only does it reduce material throughput and subsequent landfilling in typical processes, the sorbent can be heat treated to recover the starting material and valuable captured metals.

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Drivetrains for small wind power

Accelerate Wind is to working to revolutionize rooftop wind energy in the commercial and industrial space and drastically lower the cost of small wind turbine technology. The company is developing small-scale wind power systems that can be integrated as part of a sustainable energy platform to power buildings. The edge on design features efficiently capture and translate high-velocity wind currents into energy.

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Organic materials for energy storage

Jolt Energy Storage Technologies is using molecular design principles to create organic compounds that could revolutionize the field of energy storage. Jolt is developing a small molecule that enables the production of a novel flow cell battery for energy storage. The structural flexibility of the molecule depends on its redox state, which translates into electrolyte solutions that can function with simple barrier separation as opposed to ion-selective membranes found in the state-of-the-art flow batteries.

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Integrated hybrid silicon lasers

The team aims to harness emerging materials for applications in silicon photonics for energy-efficient computing and data centers. The team is developing technology that reduces optical interface footprint and provides a highly efficient manufacturing technology for hybrid silicon based lasers.

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Aerodynamic Control Systems for Heavy Vehicles

Aeromutable is developing flow control technologies that dynamically modify the aerodynamic behavior of heavy vehicles. The innovative device allows a vehicle to sense its surroundings and actively change its perceived shape to reduce fuel consumption and improve its maneuverability and safety.

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Graphene-enhanced electrodes

This graphene-based technology takes advantage of the unique properties of graphene to enable the preparation of nanoscale composites to serve as advanced electrodes in lithium-ion batteries (LIBs). Our technology offers a technical route to accelerate the adoption rate of LIBs by minimizing their weight and maximizing their stability and charging rate.

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Carbon material synthesis through sustainable bio-manufacturing methods

Emergy has developed a versatile bio-manufacturing process to make low cost advanced porous carbon materials for energy storage and filtration applications. Emergy’s platform technology utilizes the efficient biomechanics of filamentous organisms to produce tunable material properties through a bottom-up approach. The use of a robust biological system also allows for the utilization of waste carbon sources such as industrial wastewater as a renewable feedstock. Ultimately, this process facilitates low cost and sustainable manufacturing of porous carbon materials with select characteristics directed towards specific applications. For example, Emergy can produce low cost, high surface area, pure carbon electrodes for supercapacitors from the treatment of brewery wastewater.

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Development of a soot-free engine for heavy-duty applications

A sootless drop-in diesel engine replacement with the potential to disrupt heavy-duty transportation by simultaneously achieving higher efficiency, enhanced performance, simplified after treatment, and cost savings for the customer while using low carbon, renewable liquid fuels. The engine technology accomplishes these goals by using clean-burning alcohol fuels in a highly efficient manner.

ClearFlame engines outperform current diesel-fueled technologies while achieving the emission levels and fuel flexibility of natural gas-fueled engines.

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Plasma-assisted combustion for jet engines and gas turbines

This technology seeks to enable new applications for electrochemical devices by eliminating the need for electrolytes to act as electronic insulators. These new applications could include batteries, fuel cells, electrolyzers, and chemical production. This would lower costs, increase efficiency, and improve robustness without the need for excessive balancing of plant and control systems.

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A novel radioisotope battery made from nuclear waste

The Atlas Energy Systems technology is significant in that it provides a way to turn high-level radioactive decay products from spent nuclear fuel into a usable energy source via radioisotope plasma generation. This material is usually considered nuclear waste to be stored and buried, but it still contains large amounts of residual energy. With the growing demands for energy from all sorts of sources, spent nuclear fuel should be further utilized as an energy source rather than buried and thrown away.

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