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Public–Private Partnership Awarded $150,000 NSF Grant For Energy Research


Research Summary
MTECH Laboratories, an upstate engineering and design firm recently received a $150,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to conduct collaborative research with the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering’s Energy and Environmental Technology Applications Center (E2TAC) at the University at Albany. The focus is on high-efficiency energy distribution, using solar cells, fuel cells and batteries as a source of power that can be converted in cutting-edge, innovative ways. MTECH’s novel design is aimed at large commercial buildings in need of newer, more efficient sources of energy. Potential locations include hospitals, large data centers, and semiconductor manufacturing facilities, all of which have large power demands and a need for constant cooling.

Current Research
E2TAC is a research center at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering that uses nanotechnology innovations to improve the design and performance of clean energy technologies in an effort to accelerate the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Its collaboration with MTECH will utilize the SBIR grant to develop ultra-efficient power converters. Their design takes energy absorbed through DC sources, such as solar and fuel cells, and converts it to conventional 60-Hz AC power for use in a variety of buildings with heightened energy demand and usage.
Because this research focuses on designs for power conversion that operate at very low temperatures and are compatible with superconductors operating at high temperatures, the team expects their use to be ideal for cryogenic infrastructures already in place in facilities that have previously used them. When coupled with superconducting cables, the power converters can work in demanding settings and still be ultra-efficient.

Future Developments
The research team is working toward commercialization of the efficient energy designs, and all parties are expecting the demand for cryogenic cooling systems in computing applications to increase as the limits of silicon processing are reached. Commonly used in the past, before silicon designs became the mainstay, cryogenic power distribution systems have the potential to be re-applied to demanding super-computer platforms. MTECH’s cryogenic power distribution system and design has the potential to be a partner for data centers with enhanced cooling demands, and the collaborative effort with E2TAC is aimed at commercializing MTECH’s existing designs with their technological assistance.

The SBIR grant is going to provide funding for a collaborative effort between MTECH, E2TAC and EYP/Energy, a division of EYP Architecture and Engineering. Dr. Pradeep Haldar from the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering heads E2TAC’s team. MTECH’s President, Dr. Michael J. Hennessy, is overseeing his company’s contribution.

Pradeep Haldar
Acting Vice President for Clean Energy Programs
Director, E2TAC
Professor and Head, NanoEngineering Constellation
College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering
257 Fuller Road
NanoFab East
Albany, NY 12203
Phone: (518) 437.8686
E-mail: phaldar@uamail.albany.edu

MTECH Laboratories
831 State Route 67
Building 45C
Ballston Spa, NY 12020
Phone: (518) 885-6436