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20.B - Copper-Encapsulated Carbon Nanotubes to Enhance Copper Transmission Cable Properties

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0021835
Agency Tracking Number: 0000259488
Amount: $199,618.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 20b
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2021
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2021-06-28
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-06-27
Small Business Information
200 Yellow Place
Rockledge, FL 32955-5327
United States
DUNS: 175302579
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Gregory Chester
 (321) 631-3550
Business Contact
 Benjamin Blach
Phone: (321) 631-3550
Research Institution

As the global push toward renewable energy increases, off-shore power generation represents a minimally space invasive pathway toward these goals. Off-shore power sources, though, require major investments in undersea power transfer cabling. These complex cables can be extremely difficult and costly to repair and maintain, thus necessitating a method to improve the strength, conductivity, and current carrying capacity. Many methods to improve cable strength and durability do so at the expense of its electrical properties to the point where the resulting cables can be impractical for power transfer applications. However integrating a strong, conductive nanomaterial into the metal can improve the strength, conductivity, and current carrying capacity of the cable. However, simple mixing of the nanomaterial, such as carbon nanotubes (CNT), into the cable often leads to particle aggregation and poor interfacial bonding, which hinders the potential improvements in mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties. By improving CNT loading, distribution and the interface between the CNTs and copper cable, it is possible to realize maximize property improvements and to create a metal matrix composite (MMC) wire that will extend the lifespan and reduce the maintenance and repair costs associated with undersea cabling. Mainstream proposes to develop a CNT-based, copper metal matrix composite wire. Mainstream’s patent pending CNT treatment process is a low-cost, scalable method to improve the mechanical and electrical properties of a composite wire beyond those of the pure metal. In Phase I we will demonstrate the production and scalability of Cu-coated CNTs. We will fabricate MMC wires and test them for mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties and compare those to both wires without CNTs and wires with untreated CNTs. We will optimize the MMC loading for cost and performance, then perform a techno-economic analysis of the potential property improvements from using the MMC. Undersea and underground power transfer cables with improved lifespan and ampacity to reduce long term costs of repair and maintenance.

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

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