SBIR Phase I: Novel Catalysts Based on Doped Carbon Nano-Fibers

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
PH Matter, LLC
1275 Kinnear Rd., Columbus, OH, 43212-1155
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Paul Matter
(614) 657-4683
Business Contact:
Paul Matter
(614) 657-4683
Research Institution:

This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project is focused on development of an economical process for production of nano-structured non-precious metal electrodes. Currently, many electrode applications use precious metals that make the technologies prohibitively expensive for wide-scale adoption. The materials being developed on this project have unique properties compared to conventional materials used in electrodes, and can be incorporated into a number of important applications. The materials are based on carbon nano-fibers, a similar material to carbon nano-tubes. The unique properties of these materials can be optimized by tuning particular features at the nanometer scale. In this project, a scalable process (up to tonnage quantities) using low cost starting materials will be developed for the production of these advanced materials with high performance for target electrode applications. The production process will be based on a unique patent-pending manufacturing route that allows the nano-structured carbon to be produced more economically than conventional routes. The process conditions will also be optimized to produce materials with the preferred properties for target electrode applications. The project will result in demonstration of a material with better performance than conventional electrodes that can be manufactured at a fraction of the cost. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project will be related to more efficient forms of energy storage and usage. The strongest value proposition is for replacement of precious metals for use in air electrodes used in applications ranging from fuel cells and batteries, to industrial electrolysis. These applications are of particular interest since an inexpensive and stable electrode material could allow significant efficiency improvements to some of the largest sources of electricity consumption in the U.S., including energy storage for transportation, and chemical production. For example, because of their superior energy density (an order of magnitude higher), metal air batteries could potentially replace lithium ion batteries for use in electronic devices and electric vehicles. Additionally, with stable low cost air electrodes, the electrochemical production of chlorine (which consumes approximately 2% of electricity in the U.S.) would be 30% more efficient. The materials developed in this project will cost significantly less and last longer than current state-of-the-art materials, enabling their wide-scale adoption. The less expensive electrode materials will consequently reduce the cost of battery, fuel cell, and electrolysis technologies, ultimately enabling the adoption of more efficient and higher performing means of energy storage and use.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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