OPM Selected to Join Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to Advance Carbon Capture Technologies

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OPM’s Patented Anti-Corrosive OXPEKK®-SC Nanocoating Technology to be part of joint effort with UT-Battelle/Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), RTI International and Volunteer Aerospace to Improve Energy Efficiency and Cost of Industrial Carbon Capture Systems

OPM’s OXPEKK®-SC product provides a sub-micron coating that is highly suitable for carbon capture technologies, able to survive aggressive chemical and thermal environments without inhibiting thermal conduction or fouling chemical reactions necessary for efficient carbon capture.

Oxford Performance Materials, Inc. (OPM), a materials science company and industry leader in advanced polymers and high-performance additive manufacturing (HPAM®), announced today it has been entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with ORNL UT-Battelle, Volunteer Aerospace, and RTI International to dramatically improve the energy efficiency of two-phase exchange industrial chemical processes, with a focus on CO2 capturing systems.

“We are extremely excited to be part of this team effort, originally organized by Oak Ridge, to develop technology solutions aimed at mitigating the effects of global climate change,” said OPM Founder & CEO Scott DeFelice. “The goals of this endeavor – to both improve carbon capture system efficiency and reduce capital costs – are essential for broad commercial adoption of these industrial systems, and we are pleased that OPM’s advanced anti-corrosive coating technology is recognized by these industry leaders as part of this solution.”

OPM’s PEKK polymer is highly suitable for carbon capture technologies as it can survive the aggressive chemical and thermal environments typical in such process. In particular, OPM’s OXPEKK®-SC coating product is an aqueous solution that results in a sub-micron coating that protects the metal substrate without inhibiting thermal conduction or fouling chemical reactions necessary for efficient carbon capture. OXPEKK®-SC materials and OPM’s additive process know-how will be applied to protect additively manufactured metallic heat exchangers embedded in the plant-scale process equipment for the purpose of improving thermal efficiency, system reliability, and reduction of operating costs. These capture systems are typically arranged with a packed column within which gases and fluids counterflow in a controlled manner to affect the fluid ‘scrubbing’ the gas to remove a desired fraction. In this case, that captured fraction is CO2 which is prevented from contributing to climate change.

Columns filled with packing materials have traditionally been used to control and facilitate the contact between two phases and thus enhance mass transfer and reaction rates in packed columns used to perform chemical separations such as absorption, liquid extraction, and distillation. Such packing materials must be resistant to the environment in the column. In the case of CO2 capture, which is a self-heating reaction, this is chemically aggressive and warm enough to both corrode lesser alloys and cause degradation of the liquids used in process.

The use of a 3D printed heat exchanger embedded within the packing materials has been demonstrated to aid the management of thermal conditions in the packed column, however this type exchanger is susceptible to corrosion in the environment. The use of OXPEKK®-SC ultrathin coatings both protects these 3D printed metallics from corrosion and, by virtue of coating thickness under 1 micron, allows heat exchangers constructed of alloys with high thermal conduction but low chemical resistance to function properly for long periods without maintenance.

Chemical separations are very common in industrial plants and account for 10–15% of the world's energy consumption. Distillation, for example, is the most commonly employed separation process; however, it is also energy intensive. Therefore, any improvement in the separation/reaction efficiency of a given process has a potentially significant impact on the energy efficiency and economics of the plant.

While several separation and reaction processes including chemical absorption, distillation, and catalytic reactions require or produce heat as a result of an endothermic or exothermic reaction, none of the packings currently available are designed to facilitate heat transfer. In such processes, it is essential that heat transfer is facilitated, and the temperature profile along the column is controlled to optimize the chemical conversion and mass transfer characteristics of the unit operation. Introducing a water-cooled heat exchanger into the column is a straightforward method to manage the heat buildup in an exothermic process. Such an exchanger must be fabricated using thermally conductive materials to effectively conduct heat into the cooling fluid. Typically, alloys are not both highly thermally conductive and highly corrosion resistant. Whereas additives are often used to slow corrosion, this is not an option in these systems, as additives would foul the absorption reaction. Another form of protection is clearly required.

OPM’s OXPEKK®-SC aqueous PEKK coating technology is highly suitable for the targeted energy intensive industrial process that enables thermal transfer while reducing process fouling and corrosion from metallic components. In addition to coating of 3D printed metallic packing, OXPEKK®-SC can coat a wide variety of other metallic components such as valves, pipes and cylinders.

About Oxford Performance Materials

Oxford Performance Materials is a materials science company founded in 2000 to exploit and commercialize the world’s highest performing thermoplastic, PEKK (poly-ether-ketone-ketone). OPM’s Materials business has developed a range of proprietary, patented technologies for the synthesis and modification of a range of PAEK polymers that are sold under its OXPEKK® brand for biomedical and industrial applications. The Company is a pioneer in 3D printing. OPM Biomedical’s OsteoFab® technology is in commercial production in numerous orthopedic implant applications, including cranial, facial, spinal, and sports medicine devices. OPM is the first and only company to receive FDA 510(k) clearance to manufacture 3D printed, patient-specific polymeric implants of any type, and the company has six 510(k) clearances in its portfolio. OPM Industrial produces 3D printed OXFAB® production parts for highly demanding applications in the energy, transportation, and semiconductor markets. OXFAB® structures offer significant weight, cost, and time-to-market reductions that are defined in a set of specified performance attributes in the exhaustive OPM B-Basis database, developed in conjunction with NASA. For more information, please visit: http://www.oxfordpm.com 

Company Contact:
Tony DeCarmine
Oxford Performance Materials 
+1 860 977 1710

About Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and UT-Battelle

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a multiprogram research laboratory managed by UT-Battelle, LLC, for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Most of DOE's national laboratories are operated under contract by private companies such as UT-Battelle. Oak Ridge National Laboratory is the largest US Department of Energy science and energy laboratory, conducting basic and applied research to deliver transformative solutions to compelling problems in energy and security. The laboratory is located on the Oak Ridge Reservation, a 30,000-acre tract of land in East Tennessee. ORNL’s diverse capabilities span a broad range of scientific and engineering disciplines, enabling the Laboratory to explore fundamental science challenges and to carry out the research needed to accelerate the delivery of solutions to the marketplace.

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Bernie Plishtin
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