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Stable High-Temperature Molten Salt Reference Electrodes

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0020579
Agency Tracking Number: 249736
Amount: $206,500.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 22c
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0002145
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-02-18
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-11-17
Small Business Information
421 Wakara Way Suite 210
Salt Lake City, UT 84108-3549
United States
DUNS: 828133939
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Jim Steppan
 (801) 750-4928
Business Contact
 Balakrishnan Nair
Phone: (801) 897-1221
Research Institution

Thermodynamic, high-temperature reference electrodes HTRE) with lifetimes of up to 6 months are necessary for monitoring the redox potential of nuclear- relevant, molten salts at elevated temperatures for corrosion control. Unfortunately, robust thermodynamic HTRE for this challenging application are not commercially available which inhibits the development and deployment of next-generation, fluoride-salt-cooled, high-temperature nuclear reactors. The HiFunda/INL team is proposing to leverage HiFunda’s electrochemical sensor and materials development and INL’s molten salt reactor MSR) experiences to develop and demonstrate new robust HTRE designs that meet the thermal, chemical, mechanical, electrical, manufacturability, cost, and reliability requirements for this demanding high-temperature molten salt application. The HiFunda/INL team will design, develop, and demonstrate a HTRE that utilizes a near-net shape fluoride ion transport membrane ITM) membrane or a controlled porosity membrane with seals engineered for this application. The HTRE and seal designs will be robust, chemically compatible, able to withstand thermal cycling, cost effective, and manufacturable designed for manufacturing and assembly, DFMA). The voltage stability performance of the HTRE will be demonstrated in fluoride salts at elevated temperatures. The proposed approach will help to enable next-generation nuclear power generation which will have a significant positive effect on power generation and CO2 emissions in the US and worldwide. Reducing the reliance on fossil fuels and increasing the supply of energy produced from nuclear fuels will have an enormous impact on US energy security and US energy demand with abundant emission-free electricity. In addition, the HTRE developed for this application can be used to corrosion monitoring and control in other molten salt systems such as concentrated solar power CSP).

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

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