32 Innovative Projects Awarded Grants Under Advanced Technology Program

The U.S. Commerce Department’s Advanced Technology Program today announced 32 new cost-sharing awards for research on highly innovative industrial technologies. A total of 43 companies, including seven joint ventures, are involved in the new projects, which were chosen on the basis of difficulty, technical innovation and the potential for significant benefits to the nation's economy. The ATP is managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

The 32 new ATP projects span a broad range of key technology areas. Among the areas targeted are: new energy technologies for oil exploration and for fuel cells, new medical diagnostic and therapeutic technologies, improvements in electronics and automobile manufacturing and an improved computer interface for the severely disabled. The new awards represent a total of up to $80.1 million in ATP funding and an industry share of up to $56.9 million, if all projects are carried through to completion.

The ATP supports projects that industry cannot fully fund on its own because of significant technical risks. ATP awards are made on the basis of rigorous, competitive peer review considering scientific and technical merit of each proposal. In addition, awards are based on the potential for broad-based economic benefits, the need for ATP funding, and evidence of a clear commercialisation pathway and broad diffusion.

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Technology Administration, NIST develops and promotes measurement, standards and technology to enhance productivity, facilitate trade and improve the quality of life.

Some of the projects to be funded include:

  • NexTech Materials, Ltd. (Lewis Center, Ohio)
    High-Power-Density Solid Oxide Fuel Cells for Aerospace Applications Develop a lightweight solid oxide fuel cell that offers five times the power density of the current state of the art, as well as greater durability and flexibility of operation, for use in auxiliary power units for aircraft.
  • Carbon Nanotechnologies, Inc. (Houston, Texas)
    "Free Standing" Single-Wall Carbon-Nanotube Fuel Cell Electrode Develop a novel, free-standing single-wall carbon nanotube electrode assembly containing an immobilized noble-metal catalyst to enable compact proton exchange membrane fuel cells with superior performance and longer lifetimes while simplifying manufacturing.
  • Scalable Planar Solid-Oxide Fuel Cell Technology for Beyond 200kW
    Develop a thin, large area planar solid oxide fuel cell based on innovative ceramics, device design, and array architecture, for enterprise-level primary and cogeneration distributed power that can cycle repeatedly and be more easily fabricated into 200kW power units.
  • Cree, Inc. (Durham, N.C.)
    Low Cost, High Efficiency Chip Scale LED Lamp Demonstrate a white light-emitting diode (LED) lamp package with an integrated chip approach that would more than quadruple the brightness and double the efficiency of existing LED systems and significantly reduce the cost per lumen.
  • Crystal IS, Inc. (Latham, N.Y.)
    Processes for Growing Large, Single-Crystal Aluminum Nitride Develop cost-effective, high-quality, and commercially important, single-crystal aluminum nitride (AlN) substrates, which are needed for diverse and important power electronics and optoelectronics applications, by using an approach that incorporates new techniques of crystal seed growth, coupled with advanced thermal gradient control, and new crucible designs, to grow large high-quality, AlN crystal boules.
  • Quantum Dot Corporation (Hayward, Calif.)
    Quantum Dots for Biomedical and Consumer Applications Develop quantum dots without the use of cadmium or other elements with extreme regulatory burdens for use in imaging-based medical diagnosis and treatment, and develop an industrial-scale flow-based process for quantum dot production at significantly increased output and reduced cost.
  • SemiSouth Laboratories, Inc. (Starksville, Miss.)
    Silicon Carbide Smart Power Chip Develop and integrate advanced silicon carbide (SiC) power transistors and power control circuitry within a compact prototype SiC power module for potential use in commercially available hybrid electric vehicles and future low-emission electric vehicles.
  • STAR Cryoelectronics, LLC (Santa Fe, N.M.)
    Next-Generation Energy Dispersive Spectrometer for X-Ray Microanalysis Develop a next-generation energy-dispersive microcalorimeter spectrometer to meet critical needs for high-resolution X-ray microanalysis in the semiconductor industry and materials research.
  • wTe Corporation (Bedford, Mass.)
    Optoelectronic Sensing of Liquid Metal Composition Develop a novel process for determining, in situ and in real time, the chemical composition of molten pools of metals and alloys, enabling immediate adjustments to composition during melting and significantly improving the efficiency of smelting, foundry and casting operations.

For more information on fuel cells, click here.

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