The Materials Technology Development Company (MTDC) provides distribution of technology and technology based products to markets where innovation is required for success.
MTDC provides commercialization for advanced technologiesin areas such Energy Storage, Advanced Ceramics, Nanotechnology, Gas generation and purification, Refrigeration and Sensors. Client/Inventors contract with MTDC to find licensees or develop new companies to prototype and manufacture products based on candidate technologies.
With more than 30 years combined experience in materials based advanced technologies, MTDC invites innovators to investigate its component manufacturing and technology and product commercialization services.
1. Solid-State Honeycomb Oxygen Generator. This generator is a ceramic honeycomb and electrochemically separates 100% pure oxygen from air under an applied dc voltage (demonstrated multiple times). The device operates at temperatures less than 650 C where glass seals can be used and inexpensive stainless steels can be used for the heat exchanger. The generator has one moving part, a draft fan, and the power requirements are less than those of other air-separation devices.
2. . Honeycomb Solid Oxide Fuel Cell. The development here has concentrated on the anode and cathode electrodes for operating this honeycomb fuel cell with natural gas, and these electrodes have been demonstrated. Internal reforming of natural gas has also been demonstrated. It has also been demonstrated that the glass seals used in the oxygen generator and nitrogen purifier are stable in natural gas at elevated temperatures and so can be used in this fuel cell. Using experimental data and vendor quotes it is projected that the power cost for this honeycomb fuel cell will be about $70/kW, and this is to be compared with the SECA target of $400/kW. SECA is the Solid-State Energy Conversion Alliance of U.S. industries, universities, and other research organizations created to accelerate the development and commercialization of low-cost solid oxide fuel cells.
3. Solid-State Honeycomb Nitrogen Purifier. There are large applications in the processing industries and in the oil and gas industry which require nitrogen gas that is nearly oxygen-free, but existing membrane technologies are limited to levels of about 97% purity or less. The honeycomb-based technology in 2. above can also extract oxygen from nitrogen to produce nitrogen purity levels of several 9’s, and this has been demonstrated multiple times. The design and operation of this purifier is, however, substantially different from the oxygen generator, but the basic principle is the same. An interesting feature of this honeycomb nitrogen purifier is that increasingly smaller amounts of power are required to produce increasingly purer nitrogen.
4. Miniature, Inexpensive Amperometric Oxygen Sensor. The most important diagnostic of combustion efficiency with fossil fuels is the oxygen partial pressure in the flue gas, but existing oxygen sensors are large, expensive, and require air as a reference gas. The CeramPhysics’ oxygen sensor is a small, MLC device that does not require a reference gas and has a large amperometric signal (~ 50 – 100 mA) in the combustion range. The oxygen sensor MLC body is fully developed and can be packaged in several configurations.
5. Miniature, Inexpensive, Amperometric NOx Sensor. NOx emissions are coming under increasing environmental scrutiny, but existing NOx sensors are unsatisfactory for many applications. Large expensive systems involving infrared cells are available, and NGK markets a solid-state NOx sensor which is expensive and has a very small output signal (~ nA). The CeramPhysics’ NOx sensor is a small, MLC device that does not require a reference gas and operates via the catalysis of NOx on the MLC electrodes. The output signal is large (~ mA), and the companion oxygen sensor from 5. above is also needed to measure and separate out the low oxygen content in the NOx gas.
6. Cryogenic Capacitive Energy Storage. Storing energy in capacitors at room temperature is well known and is limited by the dielectric breakdown strength. CeramPhysics pioneered the concept of storing energy in MLC’s immersed in liquid nitrogen to avoid the breakdown mechanisms active at room temperature and to take advantage of the low cost and availability of liquid nitrogen. A unique, inexpensive ceramic composition was developed which has a large dielectric constant and a very large intrinsic breakdown strength in liquid nitrogen. MLC’s made from this composition can be charged/discharged in less than a millisecond, and the hysteretic heating effects on charge/discharge are immeasurably small. No thermal shock failures have ever been observed with these MLC’s, and initial energy storage densities of 15 J/cc have been demonstrated. Breakdown strengths are limited by MLC processing rather than the ceramic, and stored energy densities up to 50 J/cc are projected.
7. Solid-State Proportioning Valve (SSPV). This valve was developed for use with natural gas and has two functions: a) Trim control of gas flow to burners for maximum combustion efficiency and reduced fuel consumption; and (b) Control of oscillating combustion of natural gas in burners to reduce NOx emissions. Both of these functions have been demonstrated multiple times under closed-loop feedback conditions, and the latter function has been certified by the California South Coast Air Quality Management District. The SSPV is easily and inexpensively manufactured, and commercialization efforts have been underway with a Columbus-based company with the intention of licensing.
8. Dielectric Insulations for Superconductive Wires and Cables Superconductors for electric power transmission and electro-magnets have unique problems with respect to thermal stabilization near their critical operating conditions. Insulations have been developed by the owner/inventors for all commercial and prospective superconductor materials including the ceramics YBCO and BSCCO and metals NbTi and Nb3Sn. These materials are also available as stand-offs and other components. Commercial lengths of superconductor wire have been coated for applications within the Department of Defense. The technology ids protected by one US patent and considerable know-how and show-how by the inventor/owners.