SBIR Phase II: Interface for connecting high temperature solar collectors to legacy thermal systems

SBIR Phase II: Interface for connecting high temperature solar collectors to legacy thermal systems

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1853220
Agency Tracking Number: 1853220
Amount: $750,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2019
Solicitation Year: 2017
Solicitation Topic Code: MN
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
2203 Kirby St, Dallas, TX, 75204
DUNS: 078699742
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Arun Gupta
 (734) 262-5227
 agupta@skyventechnologies.com
Business Contact
 Arun Gupta
Phone: (734) 262-5227
Email: agupta@skyventechnologies.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
Fuel burned for industrial process heat accounts for 20%-30% of all carbon emissions on the face of the earth. Yet no emissions-free solutions for process heat are commonly available today. Thermal energy requires burning fuel. Beyond the impact to local air quality and climate change, the need for fuel creates energy poverty both domestically and abroad. When fuel supplies are threatened, it can endanger the livelihoods of those that depend on the fuel. The impact of Skyven?s solution is to turn the sun into a viable, practical source of high temperature thermal energy. It has the potential to dramatically reduce CO2 emissions, improve local air quality, reduce energy poverty, and diversify America?s energy supply. Just a single Skyven project of 500 collectors will offset 29,900 gallons of diesel fuel, equivalent to planning 4,400 trees. Skyven envisions doing thousands of projects across the USA and tens of thousands across the globe. One day IMA technology may even enable rural areas and developing nations to leapfrog natural gas distribution infrastructure in the same way that cellphones have leapfrogged landlines. This project is an opportunity for the United States to take a leadership role in technology to enable these societal changes. This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will address a key barrier to solar thermal deployment in the industrial sector: lack of an effective interface to connect high temperature solar thermal system with legacy fuel-fired thermal systems. Existing interfaces are limited to low temperatures (below 100?C) and utilize costly plumbing schemes that are prone to failure. They suffer from poor reliability and create severe maintenance headaches, rendering them unusable in the industrial sector. These systems also typically require the host facility to be take offline during installation ? an costly sacrifice in the industrial sector. The temperature limitations are particularly problematic, as many industrial facilities operate high temperatures condensate return systems that rarely drop below 100?C. Skyven?s system-level innovations solve these challenges, making its high temperature solar thermal collectors a practical and financially-attractive option for industries such as food processing. Phase II research will implement two innovations in particular: (1) solar steam injection into a traditional fuel-fired boiler; and (2) wireless control with automated optical calibration/commissioning algorithms and failsafe stagnation/overheat protection. In addition, the project will prove out high temperature operation up to 200C, both in outdoor laboratory-scale testbed and later in a real-world industrial facility. It will also utilize advanced reliability engineering concepts to show long-term (20 year) reliability without requiring unlimited test time and testing resources. The project will also advance knowledge in the space of industrial controls engineering, showing that new industrial systems can be integrated with existing controls through innovative controls interfacing, without require rework of the existing control systems. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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

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