Low Cost and Scalable Nano-Silicon Production

Period of Performance: 08/21/2012 - 02/21/2013

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Systems and Materials Research Corporation
11525 Stonehollow Drive Suite A120
Austin, TX 78758
Principal Investigator

Abstract

The U.S. Army has a need for cheap, high quality nanosilicon powder. With similar energy density and better aging effects than nanoaluminum, silicon is an excellent candidate for use a metal nanofuel. Systems and Materials Research Corporation (SMRC) will demonstrate a scalable method for production of nanosized silicon via a mechano-chemical solid-liquid reaction. Using commodity feed stocks and scalable commercial equipment, it will be possible to have production rates >1000kg/day within 5 years. By the end of Phase I, we will have demonstrated a 5kg/day production rate at a cost of $185/kg. By the end of Phase II, we will have a path to large scale production at a cost nearing $50/kg. We will first commercialize nano-silicon as metal fuels and green energetics with the help of our scale-up partners ATK and Esterline. As the purity of these materials increases with process and feed stock controls, we will explore uses such as ink-jetable nanosilicon suspensions for low cost, disposable electronics. There is also an additional market as electrode materials for lithium ion batteries and a smaller but direct to the manufacturer market will be activated catalysts.