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Clean Energy from Air-Sea Temperature Differences

Award Information
Agency: Department of Commerce
Branch: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Contract: 1305M218CNRMW0032
Agency Tracking Number: 18-1-021
Amount: $119,930.96
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.2.11
Solicitation Number: NOAA-2018-1
Solicitation Year: 2018
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-07-17
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2019-01-16
Small Business Information
911 S Primrose Ave Suite J
Monrovia, CA 91016
United States
DUNS: 078572774
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Yes
Principal Investigator
 David Fratantoni
 Chief Science Officer
 (508) 826-8662
Business Contact
 Yi Chao
Title: CEO
Phone: (626) 602-6186
Research Institution

We will demonstrate the feasibility and commercial applicability of a novel energy harvesting system that converts thermal energy from air-sea temperature differences into electricity. This capability will extend the endurance and capability of NOAA observing platforms, reduce lithium battery waste, increase human and environmental safety, and support efforts to detect and monitor critical trends particularly in remote, high-latitude regions. Air-sea temperature contrasts can be exploited using an Organic Rankine Cycle, a thermodynamic process commonly used for industrial waste heat recovery. The proposed thermal engine will be optimized for the small temperature differentials encountered in the maritime environment and scaled for the unique needs and constraints of NOAA observational platforms. The system is compact, low-maintenance and capable of long-term deployment on a fixed platform, buoy, or ice floe -- or on a mobile platform such as a drifting buoy or autonomous surface vehicle.Potential markets include governmental organizations tasked with environmental stewardship (e.g. NOAA, EPA, USGS, NASA), transportation safety and natural resource management (e.g. USCG, FAA, BOEM) and national security (DOD, DHS). Improved observing system capabilities facilitated by this development will also be of interest to the private sector in the oil and gas, defense, and telecommunications industries.SUMMARY OF ANTICIPATED RESULTS:
This effort will result in proof-of-concept validation of a novel clean energy source that could fundamentally alter the logistics and economics of NOAA observing system operations. We will demonstrate, via numerical simulation and laboratory experimentation, the ability of the proposed system to generate electricity from air-sea temperature differences. We will define leading use cases and evaluate the public- and private-sector market potential.

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

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