Applied Nanotech Holdings has been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant, worth $999,990, from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop ultra lightweight hydrogen fuel tanks using carbon nanotube (CNT) reinforcement.
CNT is an allotrope of carbon with a cylindrical nanostructure and Applied Nanotech has developed CNT reinforced polymers for fiber composites for a wide range of applications.
Dr. Zvi Yaniv, CEO of Applied Nanotech, said that with the capabilities of the company’s Austin plant to produce 10-12 tons of carbon nanotube reinforced epoxy resin annually, the successful completion of this SBIR Phase II program could result in a product that can be immediately introduced to market.
The grant has been awarded for a 24-month program, which aims to significantly improve the mechanical properties of the carbon fiber/epoxy material used to construct hydrogen fuel tanks with CNT reinforcement.
Company officials said that the goal is to reduce the weight of the tanks by 20 percent or more as weight reduction of this magnitude is expected to not only lower the hydrogen fuel tank costs but also increase the vehicle's fuel efficiency. Moreover, this technology can be also be used in compressed natural gas tanks.
Applied Nanotech is a research and commercialization organization focused on solving problems at the molecular level. “Nanocomposite materials are a very important part of our business. We are “aiming to accelerate the commercialization of our technology in several industries including sports and recreation,” Yaniv said.
Currently, the company is working with a variety of organizations across several industries tailoring the composite materials to improve the underlying products of our potential customers, and we continue to receive numerous contracts for nanocomposite research from the government, according to Dr. Dongsheng Mao, vice president of engineering at Applied Nanotech.
Yonex Corp. uses Applied Nanotech technology in its ultra lightweight badminton racquets and golf club shafts. Additionally, the company also recently launched CNTstixTM, a family of ultra-strong structural epoxy adhesives.
Earlier in July, the United States Army awarded a contract for $275, 642 to Applied Nanotech Holdings to develop a line of glass fiber-reinforced composite panels to protect buildings from damage on a variety of fronts.
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli