MTTC Assists Small Business With Revolutionary Clean Air
(6/1/99) MTTC has been working with True Molecular Sieve, LLC (TMS)
on a new gas separation technology that has the potential to revolutionize they way
industry deals with clean air regulations. This new technology (patent pending) can
separate gases in a steady-state flow and, unlike conventional "molecular
sieves" or membranes, can handle the gas flow rates required by industry. A
primary application for this technology is in the separation of oxygen from
nitrogen. For example, the major causes of "smog" are oxides of nitrogen,
or NOx. These gases are formed when nitrogen, which is the major (80%) constituent
of air, is introduced into a combustion process. Now picture this situation:
suppose you could separate nitrogen from air before the combustion process, so that only
oxygen entered the combustion chamber. The result would be no nitrogen, no NOx, and
This technology is especially significant for Kentucky, where
coal-fired power plants provide most of the electricity, because the EPA has demanded
tough new standards for NOx in these plants starting in the year 2003. Coal is the
least expensive fuel used to generate electricity, yet these new regulations could cost
utility companies up to half a billion dollars per plant for compliance using current
technology! This will make coal-fired power plants nearly as expensive to operate as
plants using competing fuels, reducing the cost advantage of Kentucky-bases utilities in
deregulated industry. And, of course, it will increase the electric bills for all
consumers. However, the TMS technology promises to do a better job of eliminating
NOx than current scrubber systems, and will do the job at a much reduced cost.
Beyond power plants, consider the automobile. A lot of money
has been spent developing alternatives to the internal combustion engine, because of the
pollutants, especially NOx, this powerplant produces. Think of all the
pollution-control devises on today's autos, right up through and including the catalytic
converter. Now suppose that nothing but oxygen was entering the engine's cylinders.
Not only would NOx never be produced, eliminating the need for all current smog
equipment, but the engine could burn fuel far more efficiently, thereby improving both
performance and mileage.
The TMS technology is in the early development stage, and MTTC's
role has included identification of improved fabrication approaches; coordination with
federal laboratories; providing business development, intellectual property, and
scientific/engineering support; and developing and presenting technology an business plans
to user and investors. MTTC's early support efforts were so successful that TMS has
placed MTTC under contract for further assistance. Time is of the essence in helping
utility companies meet the EPA 2003 requirement, so stay tuned for further
developments in this exciting technology.
Have you got an invention that would, in some way, have a major
impact on life on this planet, but you need some help in "getting it off the
ground"? Maybe MTTC can help you!
Next Meeting of the Technical Advisory Board (TAB)
(6/1/99) As announced at the April Board, the next TAB meeting will
be held October 13, 1999 at MTTC. Time and location to be announced.
Lynx Motor Update
(6/1/99) While U.S. Navy and Naval contractors are still expressing
strong interest in using the Lynx Motor in a variety of applications, no contracts have
yet been issued. Lynx has continued its expansion in the commercial arena. They recently
signed contracts with NASA and Boeing to produce a prototype motor that may eventually
replace the hydrazine auxiliary power unit on the space shuttle. They have completed
production of the first 10-inch diameter motor that is associated with their Department of
Energy SBIR contracts. Lynx is conducting negotiations with a large number of potential
users ranging from transportation to home appliances.
MTTC Fleet Maintenance Projects
(6/1/99) The Project Status is as follows:
S086501: Superbolt. Testing is complete. NAVSEA issued a letter on
May 17, 1999 authorizing fleet-wide use. This project is closed.
S086502. Portable Chlorinator. Suitcase unit is designed and under
construction. COMNAVSURFLANT has identified the USS CARR as the test ship. Shipchecks have
been conducted and modifications will be installed during an upcoming drydocking. A 6-12
month test period is envisioned.
S086503.Lynx Motor. The Lynx Motor shock test will probably be
delayed until later in 1999 when a steel-cased motor becomes available.
S086504. Watertight Door Hinge Replacement. Approved at the January
13, 1999 meeting of the Office of Naval Research Working Group. Contract discussions are
ongoing with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock. NAVSEA has estimated that this
new hinge pin set will save $10M annually in maintenance costs. The new pin sets will be
subjected to accelerated cycle testing to verify performance before introduction into
52,000 fleet doors. This is a Secretary of the Navy high interest item. Contract is
S086505. Heat Exchanger Descaler. Approved on January 13, 1999. This
commercially- available system will be tested and approved for shipboard use. This will
permit emergent maintenance and eliminate the need for costly removal/reinstallation of
heat exchangers in order to deliver them ashore. An estimated $4M/year cost avoidance is
forecast. Contract is imminent.
S086506. "EURONAVY" Bilge Paint Qualification. Approved on
January 13, 1999. MTTC will be teaming with NAVSEA and the Fleet Commands to qualify this
new epoxy paint for use in ship bilges. This is a Secretary of the Navy high interest item
and should be complete by September 1999. A savings of $6 million per year has been
projected. Contract is imminent.
S086507. Topside Connector Corrosion Protection. Approved on January
13, 1999. MTTC will qualify several re-enterable connector covers for shipboard use. The
use of these materials will minimize connector corrosion and result in greater electronic
system reliability and reduced maintenance. NAVSEA and Raychem, Inc. are currently
developing a test plan.
New Project. Fast Track. K-Flex E Co. MTTC will evaluate a
test section of this new material on USS Rushmore. BBN, Inc. will conduct a baseline
assessment prior to ship depoyment in June 1999. When the Rushmore returns, the
installation will be re-evaluated. If approved, larger savings in production costs
will be realized.
New Project. Fast Track. DDG Louver Coating.
Contract has been issued to Automatic Coating Ltd., Toronto, Canada. Coat two DDG-5
class louvers for at-sea testing.