Kainos Energy Corporation, a developer of nanotechnology to reduce cost and improve performance of fuel cells, announced today that it was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The Phase I award supports a project entitled "Innovative Laser-Based Process for Commercially Viable Nanostructured Solid Oxide Fuel Cells."
"The process technologies used by Kainos Energy are unique in their high throughput and ability to directly synthesize and deposit complex material compositions with precise control of formulation and physical morphology," noted Dr. Craig R. Horne, Kainos Energy's founder and senior vice president. "The result is an unprecedented ability to engineer materials and fabricate fuel cell components with an efficient, low energy and scaleable process that will lower the cost and improve the performance of solid oxide fuel cells. These advances will overcome key hurdles inhibiting solid oxide fuel cell commercialization. The mass commercialization of solid oxide fuel cell generators will lead to significant emission reductions while simultaneously helping to achieve our nation's energy independence and homeland security goals."
Kainos Energy's process significantly reduces solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) fabrication costs by eliminating 75% of the steps associated with conventional processes, by using high deposition speeds, and reducing energy consumption and process emissions. The process uses low cost chemical precursors to nucleate and directly deposit nanoparticles of materials such as yttria-stabilized zirconia, doped lanthanum manganite or doped lanthanum chromite to form cell, interconnect and sealing layers. These processing methods reduce variation and provide superior control of particle size, particle size distribution, composition, porosity, and grain size from nanoscale to microscale levels. In addition, the nanocrystalline-based layers boast a high degree of compositional and thickness uniformity as well as purity. This will provide advantages such as reduced stress levels in stacks and increased electrolyte conductivity and strength. The nano-based attributes provided by Kainos Energy's technology enable lower temperature operation, thereby increasing reliability and durability, without compromising power density.
Kainos Energy's technology is ideally suited to fabricating high fuel utilization cells for environmentally friendly distributed power generation, as well as rapid start-up stacks for applications such as fuel-saving auxiliary power units (APUs) for trucks and large vehicles, and for clean, efficient and quiet portable power generators. "Significant cost and performance barriers continue to hinder fuel cell commercialization.
Our technology will overcome these barriers, lead to advanced cell and stack designs, and enable mass commercialization of a variety of powerful fuel cell applications," noted Sami Mardini, vice president of business development at Kainos Energy.
The value created by Kainos Energy's technology can also be realized in other fuel cell systems such as proton-exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC), direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC), and molten carbonate fuel cells (MCFC) used in automotive, portable and stationary systems for consumer, commercial and military applications.
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