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Producing Multifunctional Automotive Composites with Sustainable Plant Based Graphene

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0023834
Agency Tracking Number: 0000274665
Amount: $199,999.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: C56-12c
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0002903
Solicitation Year: 2023
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-07-10
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-07-09
Small Business Information
340 S Lemon Ave UNIT 2148
Walnut, CA 91789
United States
DUNS: 118060048
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Daniel Mulqueen
 (720) 345-4140
Business Contact
 Daniel Mulqueen
Phone: (720) 345-4140
Research Institution

C56-12c-274665Caron nanomaterials offer substantial potential to improve composite structures by improving strength or adding functionality, but availability is low and carbon impacts of nanomaterial production are substantial. Graphene addition can increase electrical and thermal conductivity for EV battery enclosures but require breakthroughs to be cost effective. Agricultural wastes such as corn stover and rice straw are both a significant source of greenhouse emissions and a cost to farmers of $24/acre and represent an untapped source of carbon materials. Climate Robotics, Inc, has an innovative, mobile pyrolysis technology for in-field conversion of agricultural wastes into carbon products as well as a method for producing graphitic carbon nanoplatelets from lignocellulosic feedstock. Nanoplatelets will be applied with a robotic spray system to the exterior composite surface and interlaminar regions to improve strength and add multifunctionality. The use of upcycled, renewable nanomaterials significantly reduce the embodied energy of composite components, as well as the carbon footprint of traditional graphene manufacturing. The graphitization process will be optimized for agricultural waste materials and the resulting nanoplatelets will be processed into a sprayable suspension. Thermosetting and thermoplastic composite parts will be made using surface and interlaminar graphene, applied using robotic spray. The manufacturing processes suitable for high-rate manufacturing will be considered, including sheet forming, compression molding, liquid composite molding. Graphene enhanced composite parts will be tested for mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties. Plant based graphene will be used to produce multifunctional automotive composites. Graphene treated composites with improved electrical conductivity and temperature resistance allow for composite usage in a wider range of parts which crates new opportunities for lightweighting and reducing vehicle carbon emissions. The renewable, inexpensive method for producing graphene nanoplatelets is expected to have a wide variety of applications for both existing composite materials and in expanding the usability of composite materials into new applications. The new use for agricultural wastes will serve as a revenue source for farmers and a pathway to avoiding greenhouse emissions such as soot and methane.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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