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Oxygen Separation with Dual Phase Nano-Composite Membrane

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0013186
Agency Tracking Number: 0000254267
Amount: $1,150,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 14a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0002156
Solicitation Year: 2020
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-08-27
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-08-26
Small Business Information
539 Industrial Mile Drive
Columbus, OH 43228-2412
United States
DUNS: 050264949
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Donovan Karnes
 (772) 205-5059
Business Contact
Phone: (614) 481-8050
Research Institution

This Phase IIC proposal is in response to the DOE Topic 14a, a request for breakthrough membrane technology that reduces the energy required to separate gases; in this Phase II C, we build on previous Phase I, Phase II and Phase IIA addressing O2 separation from air. In this application, there is a need for lower capital and energy consumption costs for high purity oxygen. That is true for all users including for steel production, chemical processing and medical. Sequestering higher purity CO2 in exhausts from coal fired plants is done more economically. Our efforts continue to be two-fold: First, producing porous inorganic supports having less than 25 nm surface roughness on inner surfaces of cast tubes. Second, the economical deposition of membranes 50-200 nm thick. Competitor’s membranes are 30-50 micron thick cast on micron level surface roughness of extruded inorganic supports. In Phase IIA, we perfected the processes and developed equipment for consistently forming 50-200 nm thick membranes that operate at 300-500oC verses 800oC on competitor’s membranes. Membrane thickness reduced to <200 nm, and the support’s surface roughness reduced to <25 nm while improving the yield. Our data show the selectively separating O2 at 250-500oC. Our laboratory scale production of optimized tube-and-nano-membrane permitted development of conceptual designs of an automated facility projected to produce 500,000 tubes per year. Implementing this technology brings about a minimum cost reductions of 40% in O2 separation energy and 50% in capital cost compared to cryogenic distillation separation. We will reach two major milestones in our effort to commercialize this breakthrough technology: First, we will improve quality of the tubular supports and membranes while increasing their production rate. Next, we will model and build a multi-tube breadboard system capable of 5 L/min, >99% O2 output followed by prototype module construction that allow parallel-scaling to large commercial systems. Long term testing conducted to establish performance parameters demanded by all customers. Under separate investor funding, we will automate three key manufacturing processes. Nano ceramic membranes can separate oxygen from air at a lower cost than cryogenic distillation and produce it at higher purity than for present polymer based oxygen membrane technology. Oxygen can be used for steel making, more efficient burning of coal, other industrial chemical applications and medical.

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

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