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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: For the foreseeable future, the energy needed to sustain economic growth will continue to come largely from hydrocarbon fuels. In supplying this energy need, however, the Nation must address growing global and regional environmental concerns, supply issues, and energy prices. Maintaining low-cost energy in the face of growing demand, diminishing supply, and increasing environmental pressure requires new technologies and diversified energy supplies. These technologies must allow the Nation to use its indigenous fossil energy resources more wisely, cleanly, and efficiently. This topic addresses grant applications for the development of innovative, cost-effective technologies for improving the efficiency and environmental performance of advanced large scale industrial and utility fossil energy power generation and natural gas recovery systems. Small scale applications, such as residential, commercial and transportation will not be considered. The topic serves as a bridge between basic science and the fabrication and testing of new technologies.
b: Cost-Effective Interconnect Coating Process Development
Description: Grant applications are sought to identify and develop cost-effective processes for the application of high-quality yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) coatings to SOFC interconnects in a mass production scenario. High temperature (650C to 850C) planar SOFC stacks are comprised of alternating fuel and air chambers, which are sealed from each other by the SOFC cell and interconnect plates - typically ferritic stainless steel sheet (e.g., Allegheny Technologys SS441) stamped to form flow channels for the cathode-side air and anode-side fuel. Cell-to-interconnect and interconnect-to-interconnect seals are required for near-hermitic sealing glass-based seals are a common approach. Recent research within the SECA has focused on compliant glasses that remain vitreous over time in the SOFC stack operating environment, and are able to tolerate relative motion between the surfaces being sealed without the development of permanent leaks. Certain glasses (e.g., SEM-COM Companys SCN-1, various compositions under investigation by Alfred University and Mo-Sci Corp., etc.) considered for this sealing application have broadly desirable properties (Tg, CTE, etc.), but have been found to chemically react with both bare stainless steel and alumina coatings applied to the stainless steel as a barrier layer, consequently forming phases that adversely affect the integrity of the seal. It has been shown that these glasses do not undergo similar reactions with YSZ thus its attractiveness as a barrier layer between the stainless steel substrate and the sealing glass. Applicants to this topic shall focus on the cost-effective application of thin, dense, adherent zirconia coatings on select portions (e.g., the perimeter) of ferritic stainless steel or alumina-coated stainless steel SOFC interconnects. The Phase 1 work should emphasize proof-of-concept demonstration and production cost assessment. A prospective Phase II shall emphasize application to commercial scale interconnects along with rigorous verification of coating quality and adherence to the substrate.
c: Development of Enhanced Durability High-Temperature Coatings for Utility-Scale Gas Turbine Hot Gas Path Components
Description: Grant applications are sought for the research and development of new chemistries and architectures for coating systems (Bond Coats (BC) and Thermal Barrier Coatings (TBCs)) with enhanced durability. These coatings should have suitable thermal expansion properties such that they can be used to coat metallic super-alloy components operating within advanced gas turbines with turbine inlet temperatures of 2650 and beyond. Proposed BC-TBC architectures must possess: a combination of high temperature phase stability, sintering resistance, low thermal conductivity and oxygen barrier qualities; hot-corrosion, erosion, and particulate infiltration resistance; long fatigue life; resistance to adverse coating-substrate interaction; adhesion capacity; and high-temperature mechanical performance. In order to define a novel BC-TBC architecture to solve this critical materials issue for the development of advanced gas turbines, approaches of interest should (1) involve a combined study of both metallic and ceramic components; (2) optimize coating system durability without sacrificing the balance of properties relative to the state of the art; and (3) demonstrate ability to deposit the coating system onto material relevant specimens.
d: Advanced, High Efficiency Heat Transfer Technologies for Industrial or Utility Applications
Description: Despite their higher cost and larger system size, dry cooling systems are currently the only alternative for industrial or utility power plants unable to obtain permits for cooling water. Because of this, lower cost highly efficient advanced large scale heat transfer technologies that eliminate the need for cooling water would find a market with industrial and utility plants in areas with competing demands on water from agriculture and development. Promising heat transfer technologies in other analogous industries increase the effective surface area and thus the transfer efficiency. They include nano-textured surfaces, micro-grooved surfaces, ablation, coatings, self-similar geometric modifications, fractal fins, fluidic interface treatments, micro-structural modifications to cooling surfaces, or chemical compositions. Validated simulation or mathematical modeling must show reliable operation above 1.8 GWt and at temperatures and pressures associated with an ultra supercritical steam plant. Proposals must show at least a twenty-five percent cost advantage using annualized levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) per megawatt*hour relative to any commercially available dry cooling baseline. Selection criteria will be cost of implementation, effectiveness as determined by water loss avoidance relative to evaporative baseline, heat dissipation, and uptime.
e: Other
Description: In addition to the specific subtopics listed above, the Department invites grant applications in other areas that fall within the scope of the topic description above.