Development of Low Cost Conducting Polymer for Electrostatic Precipitators

Period of Performance: 01/01/2006 - 12/31/2006

$749K

Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Applied Sciences, Inc.
141 W. Xenia Ave. Array
Cedarville, OH 45314
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Research Institution

Ohio University
108 Cutler Hl
Athens, OH 45701
Institution POC

Abstract

About half of the nation¿s 1,000 coal-burning power plants are more than 25 years old and need to be rebuilt. The cost of rebuilding an electrostatic precipitator, an important air pollution control system in these facilities, ranges between $2 million to $10 million. This project will demonstrate high-performance, electrically-conductive polymer materials that will lower the cost, increase the efficiency and extend the service life of these expensive but important pollution control devices in our nation¿s coal-fired power plants. The goal of this effort is to use carbon nanofibers and glass fibers to make an electrically conductive polymer material for electrostatic precipitator components. The benefits include high-efficiency materials that are lightweight, have lower fabrication cost, lower installation costs and last longer. The team demonstrated that it could combine carbon nanofibers, glass fibers and polymers to produce an electrically-conductive polymer composite. Material specimens were made and successfully tested for strength, conductivity and heat deflection temperature and in a laboratory-scale electrostatic precipitator. The Phase II effort is focused on using an innovative manufacturing technique and a patented composite material to maximize the efficiency and minimize the cost of the electrically-conductive polymer. The technology entails synergistically combining carbon nanofibers and glass fibers in a polymer fiber, then using long fiber thermoplastic processing technique to produce the high-performance composite. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: Electrically conductive polymers can be used in a wide range of applications, such as static dissipation in polymer truck bed liners and electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding in consumer electronics. The commercial value of one of these applications ¿ imparting electrical conductivity to automotive plastics so they can be electrostatically spray-painted - is conservatively estimated at $500 million over the next 15 years.