Applied Nanotech has announced that it has been awarded a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant, for the amount of $999,990, from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop ultra lightweight hydrogen fuel tanks using carbon nanotube (CNT) reinforcement.
This grant was awarded for a 24-month program with the overall objective to significantly improve the mechanical properties of the carbon fiber/epoxy material used to construct hydrogen fuel tanks with CNT reinforcement. The goal is to reduce the weight of the tanks by 20 percent or more. A weight reduction of this magnitude will not only significantly lower the hydrogen fuel tank costs but also increase the vehicle’s fuel efficiency.
In addition to hydrogen storage vessels, this technology can also be used in compressed natural gas tanks. The International Association of Natural Gas Vehicles reported that sales of composite pressure vessels are expected to reach $250 million by 2013, and upwards of $560 million by the end of the decade.
“We are currently working with a variety of organizations across several industries tailoring our composite materials to improve the underlying products of our potential customers, and we continue to receive numerous contracts for nanocomposite research from the government,” said Dr. Dongsheng Mao, Vice President of Engineering of Applied Nanotech, Inc.
“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, for products such as fishing rods, bicycles and snowboards, as well as body and vehicle protection such as helmets, body armor, vehicle and helicopter ballistic armor, and other applications,” said Dr. Zvi Yaniv, CEO of Applied Nanotech, Inc. “With the capabilities of our 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.”