SBIR Phase I: LNG Compatible Aerogels for use in LNG Tanker Insulation Systems

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0839485
Agency Tracking Number: 0839485
Amount: $100,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2009
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: BC
Solicitation Number: NSF 08-548
Small Business Information
DUNS: 012924069
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Redouane Begag
 (508) 466-3124
Business Contact
 Redouane Begag
Title: PhD
Phone: (508) 466-3124
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will demonstrate the feasibility of fabricating cost-effective, LNG-compatible, fiber-reinforced aerogel insulation that is mechanically strong while retaining the unique highly insulating properties of aerogels . Perlite and PUF have a number of desirable characteristics that make them useful as insulation products. However, these two insulation products lack good moisture resistance and have high flammability, decreasing the quality and performance of the insulation. Aerogel materials are 2 to 3 times better insulators than Perlite and PUF materials. This research will involve two areas of focus. First, the structure and physical properties of the novel aerogel will be intensively investigated to maximize the LNG compatibility and minimize the thermal conductivity of the aerogel. Second, a cost effective method to manufacture this novel material to a production scale will be developed. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is to reduce the costs associated with transporting LNG by improving the insulation products for tankers. The insulation may have applications in other fields as well . The growing scarcity and increasing cost of oil is expected to drive up demand for natural gas in the future. Natural gas burns more cleanly than other hydrocarbons which will bolster market demand if carbon taxes are enacted. Markets that are geographically separated from production sites rely on pipeline and container shipping delivery to meet demand. In recent years, cost reductions in LNG transportation technology have outpaced those of pipeline delivery. Liquid natural gas has a volume approximately 600 times less than the gas phase, making the liquid more economical to store and transport. Liquefaction also provides the opportunity to store natural gas for use during high demand periods. Current LNG tanker technology uses insulations such as PUR foam and expanded perlite to reduce boil off losses in transit. Replacing these materials with a more effective aerogel-based insulation material would increase storage capacity at the same level of thermal efficiency and enhance the reliability and cost effectiveness of LNG sea transportation.

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

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