ORNL Nanomanufacturing Technologies Wins $8.4 Million in Funding from DOE
Published on October 24, 2008 at 9:46 AM
Eight Oak Ridge National Laboratory
nanomanufacturing technologies have won $8.4 million in funding from the Department
of Energy's Industrial Technologies Program.
The awards, which will bring $6.8 million to the lab and $1.6 million to partners,
are the result of a peer-reviewed competitive bid process from a DOE nanomanufacturing
call. The awards are for the following projects:
- Nanostructured superhydrophobic coatings. The goal of this project is to
develop commercial powder-based coatings with extreme water repellent properties.
Working with industry partners Ross Technology Corp. and Stevens Institute
of Technology, ORNL's John Simpson will optimize powder properties and binders
to produce more uniform and durable coatings for a variety of substrates.
The coatings will be optimized for drag reduction and corrosion resistance.
- Self-assembled nanostructured carbon. Novel carbon materials developed
at ORNL can improve energy storage devices for a variety of renewable energy,
transportation and electrical grid technologies. These new materials, which
feature controllable nanoscale pore size, can be produced by self-assembly
using conventional manufacturing processes. They provide competitive energy
and power densities relative to commercial activated carbon materials. Working
with Honeywell Specialty Materials and Campbell Applied Physics, lead researcher
David DePaoli plans to optimize the materials for energy storage and water
treatment applications. Other goals are to lower the cost of the materials,
scale up manufacturing processes and test the materials in prototypes.
- Nanocatalysts for diesel engine emission remediation. While diesel engines
offer 30 percent better fuel economy than their gasoline counterparts, emission
regulations are limiting their widespread use. Working with John Deere Power
Systems, ORNL's Chaitanya Narula plans to develop durable zeolite nanocatalysts
able to more effectively reduce nitrogen oxide emissions. Zeolites are molecular
sieves that are the ultimate nano-catalysts for reducing diesel engine emissions.
The goal is to increase hydrothermal durability by 50 degrees Celsius and
to improve the operating temperature window.
- Wear-resistant nano-composite coatings. These iron-based nano-composite
coatings with hardness values two to seven times greater than conventional
steel can help reduce the estimated $65 billion annual cost of wear to U.S.
industry. Field trials of disc cutters in Tunnel Boring Machines have demonstrated
a 20 percent improvement in wear resistance. The goal of this project, led
by Bill Peter, is to develop low-cost scalable processes to incorporate nano-sized
boron-carbon particles into metal matrix coatings and components for a wide
range of wear-resistant applications. Carpenter Powder Products is ORNL's
partner in this project.
- Microwave and beam activation of nanostructured catalysts. A potential bottleneck
in the heavy crude oil refinery business could be eliminated with the development
of this technology, which uses selective heating and activation of catalyst
surface sites. This is expected to lower bulk process temperatures and increase
product yield. Bill Griffith of ORNL and partners Mach I and Materials Technology
Institute plan to perform a bench scale evaluation to delineate process conditions
under which microwave activation of nanostructured catalysts enhance performance
on compounds that model heavy crude oil.
- Nanoscale interpenetrating phase composites. The goal of this project is
to explore the technical and economic feasibility of producing nano-scale
interpenetrating phase composites of a useable size for testing and implementation
in real-world applications. While these materials have so far been limited
to thin films, they hold great potential for a wide range of applications,
including military vehicle and body armor, lightweight components for advanced
braking systems and lower-cost high-performance ceramic-based systems that
would result in lighter vehicles. This material's advantages include improved
mechanical, electrical and thermal properties compared to traditional refractory
materials that are subject to corrosion and mechanical degradation. Refractory
materials are those that are chemically and physically stable at high temperatures.
ORNL's James Hemrick and Michael Hu are teaming with Fireline, TCON on this
- Large-scale nanofermentation of quantum dots. Particles produced by certain
strains of thermophilic anaerobic bacteria could lead to the development of
materials useful for energy-efficient photovoltaics and an array of other
applications. Using a natural fermentation process, lead researcher Lonnie
Love can control the size and shape of nanoscale magnetite produced in industrial
size fermentors at or near room temperature.
- Transformational fabrication of nano structural material using plasma arc
lamps. This technology, which converts electrical energy from an arc-plasma
lamp into radiant energy, has tremendous potential for processing materials.
Lead researcher Adrian Sabau notes that the process can potentially significantly
increase photovoltaic collection efficiency and the electrical properties
of light-emitting diodes while increasing production rates and decreasing
production costs. This project will develop a computer model based on first
principles and validate the process models based on comparisons between measured
and computer data for zinc-oxide as a solid-state lighting application.