In addition to conducting thermal R&D, Advanced Cooling Technologies, Inc. (ACT) has an advanced research effort in combustion and synfuels, including:
- Swiss Roll Combustors – An ultra-thermally efficient heat-recirculating combustor extends the flammability limits of fuels in conventional combustion devices by a factor of five or more. ACT has been developing this technology with advanced modeling tools along with new fabrication methods. This work is being done in partnership with the University of Southern California (USC). Two areas for which this technology are being applied are:
- Fuel Reforming with Swiss Roll Combustors – The excess enthalpy due to heat re-circulation in the rich fuel-air mixture promotes the partial oxidation reaction without using catalysts.
- Combustion Enhancement with Catalysts – Nanosize catalyst particles are more reactive than their bulk layered counterparts, yet sintering and restructuring of the particles results in a loss of surface area that adversely affects chemical reactivity. ACT has been evaluating the reactivity of nanosize catalysts and characterizing their performance in a flow reactor. Recent work has shown particle size dependent activity and efforts are underway to identify new ways to stabilize these catalysts.
- Solar Powered Generation of Synfuels – ACT has developed a very high-temperature refractory-metal heat pipe based reactor for thermochemical fuel production. Using heat pipes enables efficient heat transfer to the working material which is typically a low conductivity metal oxide and can further enable the thermal cycling of the material without moving parts. Alternative low temperature thermochemical cycles are also explored with the intent to identify efficient cycles that can be ideally operate at 1000ºC or below.
- Fuel-Flexible Hybrid Solar Coal Gasification Reactor – ACT designed, fabricated, and tested a gasification reactor made from an annular high temperature heat pipe with an integrated fluidized bed gasification reactor. The separated combustion zone that enables low carbon emitting fuels to be used to provide process heat. Additionally, the steam for the gasification process is generated from solar energy which further reduces energy requirements for the gasification process and its associated carbon dioxide emissions.
- Stabilized Nanofluids for Enhanced Combustion Energy have been shown to increase the enthalpy of combustion of liquid fuels by preventing agglomeration and oxidation of the aluminum particles.