Fast Track Award

Prof. Peter Pfeifer received a 2015 FastTrack award, under which the UM Office of Research and Economic Development funds “development, testing, prototype construction, or specific market research” to move university inventions further down the commercial pipeline,  The $50,000 award is for an upgrade of the adsorbed natural gas tank for low-pressure storage on next-generation clean vehicles, which Peter’s team built and put into service in 2014 under a $1.3M California Energy Commission contract.  The core of the tank is monolithic carbon, originally made from corncob, with world-record storage capacity.  Two patents have been issued for the production of such carbon, “High surface area carbon and process for its production” (#8,691,177 (2014); #8,926,932 (2015)), and have generated two licenses. The licenses are for on-board, low-pressure storage of natural gas as engine fuel on vehicles (Adsorbed Natural Gas Products, Inc., and for large-scale transport of natural gas in virtual pipelines, respectively.  The FastTrack award funds an upgrade of the 2014 tank to a test rig for measurements of heat transfer, adsorbent durability, fueling rates, etc.  It will support current and future licensees (aerospace, maritime shipping of natural gas, portable power sources) in 1st-to-market commercial products.

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