Ceralink's Microwave Technology Center

The DOE is giving a total of $13 million to 48 industrial energy-efficiency R&D projects, many of which will have either a direct bearing on ceramic and cementitious materials development and manufacturing including several new opportunities for high-temperature materials applications. An additional $5 million in matching grants is being ponied up by the private sector.

The awards, part of DOE’s Industrial Technologies Program, are targeted for the “development of transformational industrial processes and technologies that can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” The ITP awards come in four  topic areas:

Next Generation Manufacturing Concepts – These manufacturing concepts address the goal of reducing the energy intensity or greenhouse gas emissions of industrial systems by a minimum of 25 percent.

Energy Intensive Processes – These projects address specific technology areas that are expected to generate large energy-saving benefits across a variety of industries and transform the way major manufacturing processes use energy. The following specific technology areas are included: Reactions and Separations; High-Temperature Processing; Waste Heat Minimization and Recovery; and Sustainable Manufacturing.

Advanced Materials – These projects focus on Thermal and Degradation Resistant Materials and Materials for Energy Systems.

Industrial Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction – These projects address transformational technologies that offer not only carbon intensity reductions, but also absolute carbon reductions.

The list of awards is long, but here are a few highlights:

3M is getting nearly $800,000 to develop of new high-temperature low-cost ceramic media/catalyst support for use in natural gas surface combustion burners with lower NOx emissions.

Alcoa is getting $397,00 to develop a novel membrane purification cell to produce pure aluminum from recycled scrap.

Aspen Aerogels is getting $375,000 to develop a new nanoporous silica-based  high-temperature aerogel  for high-temperature steam and process pipes (450–650°C) to make a durable product with improved water repellency and decreased dusting).

CCS Materials Inc. is getting $382,000 to develop hydrate-free, non-Portland cement concrete for building facades. The aim, first, is to create a CO2-negative inorganic binding phase and, second, develop a method to reduce the energy required to make concrete by 60% and CO2 emissions by more than 90%. These objectives will be accomplished using a patent-pending process called low-temperature solidification.

Ceralink is getting $1.21 million for three RF and microwave-related projects. The first is to establish the manufacturing potential of RF glass lamination process (a low-energy alternative to autoclaving) for auto and solar panel glass. The other two projects involve microwave-enhanced direct cracking of hydrocarbon feedstock and energy-efficient microwave calcination of limestone.

Eaton Corp. is getting $373,000 to develop nanocoatings technology for high-contact stress environments
using new compositions (al-mag-borides) and coating methods.

Hi-Z Technology is getting $500,000 to develop and commercialize thermoelectric devices based on Si/SiGe quantum well materials as ultra-thin films that, for example, could increase the efficiency to 40% of the conversion of thermal energy in hot waste gas to electric energy.

Rive Technology Inc. is getting $762,000 for advanced nanostructured molecular sieves (mesoporous zeolite containing adsorbents) for energy-efficient industrial separation of propane from propylene.

Structured Materials Industries Inc. is getting $315,000 low cost production of InGaN for next-generation photovoltaic devices and LEDs.

UES Inc. is getting $300,000 to develop and commercialize next-generation super-hard, nano-crystalline and multilayered multifunctional coatings, with at least double service life. The coating materials include nitrides and borides and the processes include magnetron sputtering ion plating and large area filtered arc deposition.

Univ. of California, Santa Cruz is getting $348,000 to develop a transformational print-based manufacturing process for fabricating photovoltaics and solid state lighting on thin plastic substrates.

Univ. of the Pacific is getting $367,000 to research and develop a new silica-alumina based cementitious material (i.e., non-limestone) largely using coal refuse as a constituent that will be ideal for mine backfill, mine sealing and waste disposal stabilization.