SBIR Phase II: Energy Saving Solenoid Valve

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1330950
Agency Tracking Number: 1330950
Amount: $450,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2013
Solicitation Year: 2013
Solicitation Topic Code: NM
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
1005 North Warson Rd, Suite 201, Saint Louis, MO, 63132-2900
DUNS: 078293357
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Ellen Mell
 (314) 812-8002
Business Contact
 Ellen Mell
Phone: (314) 812-8002
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project applies a novel design to pneumatic solenoid valves that allows 20-25% of compressed air to be recycled. Given compressed air is one of the most expensive forms of stored energy, this energy-efficient design provides manufacturers with a cost effective solution for pneumatic systems using directional control valves. The basic technology has been proven to reduce compressed air use. Research objectives for this project are designed to prove the breadth of applicability and address current design factors in selecting valves. These objectives include: 1) design, production, and laboratory testing of prototypes across a spectrum of design platforms selected from commercially available valves; 2) production of durable (metal) prototypes for life-cycle testing; 3) research on safety enhancements to the original prototype design, to further ensure commercial adoption; and 4) a full-scale field test of the technology in a manufacturing environment. These objectives provide a clear path for the delivery of an energy saving valve technology that is reliable, cost-competitive, and can replace a significant portion of the multibillion-dollar worldwide solenoid valve market. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is introducing a game-changing technology into a stagnant, mature industry - pneumatic valves. The U.S. and European pneumatic valve market is $2.1 billion. The United States comprises 27% (approximately $500 million) of this total with over 70% of all manufacturing facilities employing compressed air systems. These systems utilize pneumatic solenoid valves to control air flow to actuator devices. Existing pneumatic systems are regarded as highly inefficient. The research to date has proven that this innovation will deliver a cost-competitive energy saving valve technology with the potential to apply to approximately 60% of the multi-billion dollar directional control valve market. A 20% reduction in compressed air can save U.S. manufacturers significant energy costs each year, with a national potential for $400 to 500 million in total savings. U.S. business leaders recognize the critical need for innovation in order to stay competitive. According to the 2011 Next Generation Manufacturing Study, sustainability was identified as an important area of focus. This includes designing and implementing waste and energy-use reduction to deliver superior cost performance. The proposed energy saving technology can help U.S. manufacturers stay competitive by achieving sustainability goals and reducing costs.

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

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