The Energy Innovation track at the Ceramic Leadership Summit June 21-22 in Baltimore, Md., will highlight advances and challenges facing the the future of energy creation, harvesting and storage. Nuclear energy, solid-oxide fuel cells and sodium metal halide batteries are just a sample of the topics to be covered by industry leaders.

Here are the abstracts for the planned presentations in this track –

Enabling a nuclear renaissance: ‘Better, faster, cheaper’ using advanced ceramics (John Marra, associate lab director, Savannah River National Lab)

The nuclear industry is at the eye of a perfect storm with fuel oil and natural gas prices near record highs, worldwide energy demands increasing at an alarming rate, and increased concerns about greenhouse gas emissions that have caused many to look negatively at long-term use of fossil fuels.  This convergence of factors has led to a growing interest in revitalization of the nuclear power industry within the United States and across the globe. This session will discuss the critical role that ceramic materials play throughout the entire fuel cycle and the critical role of materials advancements in the nuclear renaissance.

Next steps for fuel cells (Two presentations: Robert Rose, Robert Rose, senior advisor, US Fuel Cell Council; Claus Peter Kluge, R&S manager, CeramTec AG)

(Rose) Fuel cells are entering early markets in consumer products, generators of electricity; combined heat and power systems, industrial vehicles, and much more. Solid oxide systems are being developed for many of these markets, and the DOE envisions SOFC systems as simplifying and reducing the cost of carbon sequestration from coal. Rose will discuss the fuel cell vision, and the steps needed to make the vision a reality.

(Kluge) There was and is a fascination for converting energy only in two main portions: heat and electricity. There is no need for moving parts like pistons which will generate additional parasitic losses like friction and noise. Where we come from defines the state-of-the-art. Future technological, social and environmental aspects will define the way to go. The goal is to decrease costs and complexity in the customers’ cognition and to morph the specialty into a high volume standard product. The challenges are material development and processing to get well-defined, efficient and reliable products.

An industry perspective: Development and application of ceramic materials for efficient and clean power generation (William Treadway, group leader for ceramics and deputy department leader for the Physical Sciences Department, United Technologies Research Center; Ellen Sun, principal research scientist, UTRC)

UTRC is the central research organization for United Technologies Corporation – a world leader in the development and integration of energy efficient and clean power generation systems. The presentation will share UTRC’s experience in materials development, component testing, and system or sub-system demonstration and discuss material needs for near-term efficient and low emission power systems.

Materials for advanced sodium metal halide batteries (Mohamed Rahmane, senior engineer/project leader, GE Global Research)

The world needs large-scale energy storage devices and systems that are safe, reliable and economical. There are currently very few economically viable and technically feasible storage solutions that are dispatchable and meet the stringent cost and reliability demands. High-energy-density sodium metal halide battery technology is emerging as one of the key solutions, and GE is addressing the technology challenges and taking it to the manufacturing and commercial stages. This presentation will discuss the critical role that materials, particularly ceramics, play in the performance and life of sodium metal halide batteries.

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