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FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FUNDING OPPORTUNITY ANNOUNCEMENT Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR

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Agency: Department of Energy
Program/Year: Both / 2014
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0000969
Release Date: August 12, 2013
Open Date: August 12, 2013
Close Date: October 15, 2013
Description: Separation technologies recover, isolate, and purify products in virtually every industrial process. Using membranes rather than conventional energy intensive technologies for separations could dramatically reduce energy use and costs in key industrial processes [1]. Separation processes represent 40 to 70 percent of both capital and operating costs in industry. They also account for 45 percent of all the process energy used by the chemical and petroleum refining industries every year. In response the Department of Energy supports the development of high-risk, innovative membrane separation technologies and related materials. Many challenges must be overcome before membrane technology becomes more widely adopted. Technical barriers include fouling, instability, low flux, low separation factors, and poor durability. Advancements are needed that will lead to new generations of organic, inorganic, and ceramic membranes. These membranes require greater thermal and chemical stability, greater reliability, improved fouling and corrosion resistance, and higher selectivity leading to better performance in existing industrial applications, as well as opportunities for new applications. Materials for energy efficiency include both organic and inorganic types. Their applications can be for supporting structures, such as durable sealing materials to increase reliability of hydrogen storage or for electronics substrates. They also include materials that are the active part of the technology such as electronic organic materials used in organic light emitting diodes.
b: Innovative Durable Materials for Extreme Use Conditions
Description: Hydrogen is used in a broad range of applications such as petroleum refining, NH3 and biofuels production, hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), as well as for energy storage through injection into natural gas pipelines. Use of hydrogen results in the need for innovative durable sealing materials for extreme use conditions that exhibit low hydrogen permeability and high durability in dynamic sealing. In particular, proposals investigating materials at high pressure (>875 bar) and extreme temperatures (>475K and < 33K) and polymeric materials for use as seals in extreme environmental conditions including high pressure (up to 130 MPa) and variable temperatures (-50 < T >200 oC) are needed for hydrogen applications. Applications include dynamic compressors seals, valve seats and fiber reinforced polymer pipeline and tank liners. In particular the seals currently used in hydrogen compressors have a lifetime of 2,000-8,000 hours. The range in the durability of the seals is largely due to the duty cycle and operating temperature of the compressors. Additionally some seal materials have been found to be susceptible to hydrogen permeation while under high pressure and subsequent blistering on depressurization. This failure mode is not the same as the rupture seen during explosive decompression. Materials development is needed for dynamic compressor seals which can contain hydrogen at pressures of 1,320 bar (1.5x the application working pressure of 875 bar) while operating for >18,000 hours under cyclic pressure loading at 200C [1]. Materials developed would also be applicable to other balance of plant components such as the dispenser hoses, valve seals, and high pressure storage tank liners. Phase I must include identification and preliminary testing of polymers with potential suitability for 18,000 hours of use in hydrogen at temperatures of 200C and pressures of 1,320 bar (1.5x the application working pressure of 875 bar) in dynamic sealing applications. Results of phase I should include a report summarizing the findings and suggesting modifications to the polymers to improve their performance. Phase II would include the development and in-depth characterization of the selected or modified polymers. Research should include a scientific exploration of the mechanisms of failure in cyclic high pressure and high temperature hydrogen environments of the application. Characterization should also include the hydrogen permeation, hydrogen uptake, creep, and other degradation mechanisms needed to provide a better understanding of the durability, mechanical stability, and service life of a material used in severe or extreme service.
c: Electronic Organic Materials Research for Solid State Lighting
Description: Advancements in Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) have produced remarkable improvements in performance and stability since the initial introduction of white phosphorescent devices two decades ago. Like many other electronic organic materials systems that are of interest today, a number of technical hurdles remain and are the subject of the following basic research and commercialization suggestions 1) Development of novel materials and structures that will lead to the production and commercialization of a highly efficient, stable white OLED device. Color stability and consistency, long lifetime and high efficiency even at high brightness are desirable attributes. Viable approaches that are also believed to possess significant IP opportunities include the development of highly efficient, blue emitter materials and hosts or may comprise a device architecture leading to longer lifetime. 2) Novel methods of manufacturing either OLED pixels or panels or devices are also of interest and could depend upon alternative architectures or substrates. Novel system level integration solutions are also sought that would accelerate OLED devices into niche markets creating increased demand for commercial products. Integrating advanced electronics or thin film technologies into OLED structures that might serve power supply, control and networking or some form of information processing tasks are of special interest under this subtopic.
d: Other
Description: In addition to the subtopics listed above, the Department solicits applications in other areas that fall within the specific scope of the topic description above.