Patents Assigned to Ceramatec, Inc.
  • Patent number: 10145020
    Abstract: A method for upgrading bio-mass material is provided. The method involves electrolytic reduction of the material in an electrochemical cell having a ceramic, oxygen-ion conducting membrane, where the membrane includes an electrolyte. One or more oxygenated or partially-oxygenated compounds are reduced by applying an electrical potential to the electrochemical cell. A system for upgrading bio-mass material is also disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 2, 2014
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2018
    Assignee: Ceramatec, Inc.
    Inventors: Singaravelu Elangovan, Mukund Karanjikar
  • Patent number: 9873101
    Abstract: An apparatus and method for enhancing the yield and purity of hydrogen when reforming hydrocarbons is disclosed in one embodiment of the invention as including receiving a hydrocarbon feedstock fuel (e.g., methane, vaporized methanol, natural gas, vaporized diesel, etc.) and steam at a reaction zone and reacting the hydrocarbon feedstock fuel and steam in the presence of a catalyst to produce hydrogen gas. The hydrogen gas is selectively removed from the reaction zone while the reaction is occurring by selectively diffusing the hydrogen gas through a porous ceramic membrane. The selective removal of hydrogen changes the equilibrium of the reaction and increases the amount of hydrogen that is extracted from the hydrocarbon feedstock fuel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 27, 2015
    Date of Patent: January 23, 2018
    Assignee: CERAMATEC, INC.
    Inventors: Joseph J. Hartvigsen, Balakrishnan Nair, Merrill Wilson, Akash Akash
  • Patent number: 9819036
    Abstract: A reformer is disclosed in one embodiment of the invention as including a channel to convey a preheated plurality of reactants containing both a feedstock fuel and an oxidant. A plasma generator is provided to apply an electrical potential to the reactants sufficient to ionize one or more of the reactants. These ionized reactants are then conveyed to a reaction zone where they are chemically transformed into synthesis gas containing a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. A heat transfer mechanism is used to transfer heat from an external heat source to the reformer to provide the heat of reformation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 23, 2015
    Date of Patent: November 14, 2017
    Assignee: CERAMATEC, INC.
    Inventors: Joseph J Hartvigsen, Singaravelu Elangovan, Piotr Czernichowski, Michele Hollist, Michael Boettcher
  • Patent number: 9752081
    Abstract: A method that produces coupled radical products from biomass. The method involves obtaining a lipid or carboxylic acid material from the biomass. This material may be a carboxylic acid, an ester of a carboxylic acid, a triglyceride of a carboxylic acid, or a metal salt of a carboxylic acid, or any other fatty acid derivative. This lipid material or carboxylic acid material is converted into an alkali metal salt. The alkali metal salt is then used in an anolyte as part of an electrolytic cell. The electrolytic cell may include an alkali ion conducting membrane (such as a NaSICON membrane). When the cell is operated, the alkali metal salt of the carboxylic acid decarboxylates and forms radicals. Such radicals are then bonded to other radicals, thereby producing a coupled radical product such as a hydrocarbon. The produced hydrocarbon may be, for example, saturated, unsaturated, branched, or unbranched, depending upon the starting material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 5, 2013
    Date of Patent: September 5, 2017
    Assignee: CERAMATEC, INC.
    Inventors: Mukund Karanjikar, Sai Bhavaraju, Ashok V Joshi, Pallavi Chitta, David Joel Hunt
  • Patent number: 9748544
    Abstract: A separator for an alkali metal ion rechargeable battery includes a porous ceramic alkali ion conductive membrane which is inert to liquid alkali ion solution as well as anode and cathode materials. The porous ceramic separator is structurally self-supporting and maintains its structural integrity at high temperature. The ceramic separator may have a thickness of at least 200 ?m and a porosity in the range from 20% to 70%. The separator may be in the form of a clad composite separator structure in which one or more layers of porous and inert ceramic or polymer membrane materials are clad to the alkali ion conductive membrane. The porous and inert alkali ion conductive ceramic membrane may comprise a NaSICON-type, LiSICON-type, or beta alumina material.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 12, 2014
    Date of Patent: August 29, 2017
    Assignee: CERAMATEC, INC.
    Inventor: Ashok V. Joshi
  • Patent number: 9689078
    Abstract: A NaSICON cell is used to convert carbon dioxide into a usable, valuable product. In general, this reaction occurs at the cathode where electrons are used to reduce the carbon dioxide, in the presence of water and/or hydrogen gas, to form formate, methane, ethylene, other hydrocarbons and/or other chemicals. The particular chemical that is formed depends upon the reaction conditions, the voltage applied, etc.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 5, 2014
    Date of Patent: June 27, 2017
    Assignee: CERAMATEC, INC.
    Inventors: Sai Bhavaraju, James Mosby
  • Patent number: 9677182
    Abstract: Hydrocarbons may be formed from six carbon sugars. This process involves obtaining a quantity of a hexose sugar. The hexose sugar may be derived from biomass. The hexose sugar is reacted to form an alkali metal levulinate, an alkali metal valerate, an alkali metal 5-hydroxy pentanoate, or an alkali metal 5-alkoxy pentanoate. An anolyte is then prepared for use in a electrolytic cell. The anolyte contains the alkali metal levulinate, the alkali metal valerate, the alkali metal 5-hydroxy pentanoate, or the alkali metal 5-alkoxy pentanoate. The anolyte is then decarboxylated. This decarboxylating operates to decarboxylate the alkali metal levulinate, the alkali metal valerate, the alkali metal 5-hydroxy pentanoate, or the alkali metal 5-alkoxy pentanoate to form radicals, wherein the radicals react to form a hydrocarbon fuel compound.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 27, 2014
    Date of Patent: June 13, 2017
    Assignee: CERAMATEC, INC.
    Inventors: Sai Bhavaraju, Mukund Karanjikar
  • Patent number: 9666871
    Abstract: A solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) for use in generating electricity while tolerating sulfur content in a fuel input stream. The solid oxide fuel cell includes an electrolyte, a cathode, and a sulfur tolerant anode. The cathode is disposed on a first side of the electrolyte. The sulfur tolerant anode is disposed on a second side of the electrolyte opposite the cathode. The sulfur tolerant anode includes a composition of nickel, copper, and ceria to exhibit a substantially stable operating voltage at a constant current density in the presence of the sulfur content within the fuel input stream. The solid oxide fuel cell is useful within a SOFC stack to generate electricity from reformate which includes synthesis gas (syngas) and sulfur content. The solid oxide fuel cell is also useful within a SOFC stack to generate electricity from unreformed hydrocarbon fuel.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 29, 2008
    Date of Patent: May 30, 2017
    Assignee: CERAMATEC, INC.
    Inventors: Singaravelu Elangovan, Joseph J. Hartvigsen
  • Patent number: 9631285
    Abstract: A process is provided for synthesizing synthesis gas from carbon dioxide obtained from atmospheric air or other available carbon dioxide source and water using a sodium-conducting electrochemical cell. Synthesis gas is also produced by the coelectrolysis of carbon dioxide and steam in a solid oxide fuel cell or solid oxide electrolytic cell. The synthesis gas produced may then be further processed and eventually converted into a liquid fuel suitable for transportation or other applications.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 1, 2011
    Date of Patent: April 25, 2017
    Assignee: CERAMATEC, INC.
    Inventors: Joseph J. Hartvigsen, Ashok V. Joshi, S. Elangovan, Shekar Balagopal, John Howard Gordon, Michele Hollist
  • Patent number: 9611555
    Abstract: An electrochemical cell having a cation-conductive ceramic membrane and an acidic anolyte. Generally, the cell includes an anolyte compartment and a catholyte compartment that are separated by a cation-conductive membrane. A diffusion barrier is disposed in the anolyte compartment between the membrane and an anode. In some cases, a catholyte is channeled into a space between the barrier and the membrane. In other cases, a chemical that maintains an acceptably high pH adjacent the membrane is channeled between the barrier and the membrane. In still other cases, some of the catholyte is channeled between the barrier and the membrane while another portion of the catholyte is channeled between the barrier and the anode. In each case, the barrier and the chemicals channeled between the barrier and the membrane help maintain the pH of the liquid contacting the anolyte side of the membrane at an acceptably high level.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 5, 2011
    Date of Patent: April 4, 2017
    Assignee: CERAMATEC, INC.
    Inventor: Sai Bhavaraju
  • Patent number: 9553337
    Abstract: Provided is a sodium secondary battery capable of operating at a low temperature. More particularly, the sodium secondary battery according to the present invention includes: an anode containing sodium; a cathode containing a transition metal and an alkali metal halide; and a sodium ion conductive solid electrolyte provided between the anode and the cathode, wherein the cathode is impregnated in a molten salt electrolyte containing a sodium.metal halogen salt including at least two kinds of halogens.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 28, 2014
    Date of Patent: January 24, 2017
    Assignees: SK Innovation Co., Ltd., Ceramatec, Inc.
    Inventors: Je Hyun Chae, Won Sang Koh, Seung Ok Lee, Dai In Park, Jeong Soo Kim, Sai Bhavaraju, Mathew Richard Robins, Alexis L. Eccleston, Ashok V. Joshi
  • Patent number: 9537179
    Abstract: An intermediate temperature molten sodium-metal halide rechargeable battery utilizes a molten eutectic mixture of sodium haloaluminate salts having a relatively low melting point that enables the battery to operate at substantially lower temperature compared to the traditional ZEBRA battery system and utilize a highly conductive NaSICON solid electrolyte membrane. The positive electrode comprises a mixture of NaX and MX, where X is a halogen selected from Cl, Br and I and M is a metal selected Ni, Fe, and Zn. The positive electrode is disposed in a mixed molten salt positive electrolyte comprising at least two salts that can be represented by the formula NaAlX?4-?X??, where 0<?<4, wherein X? and X? are different halogens selected from Cl, Br and I. The positive electrode may include additional NaX added in a molar ratio ranging from 1:1 to 3:1 of NaX:NaAlX?4-?X??.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 25, 2014
    Date of Patent: January 3, 2017
    Assignee: CERAMATEC, INC.
    Inventors: Sai Bhavaraju, Ashok V. Joshi, Mathew Robins, Alexis Eccleston
  • Patent number: 9493882
    Abstract: Methods, equipment, and reagents for preparing organic compounds using custom electrolytes based on different ionic liquids in electrolytic decarboxylation reactions are disclosed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 12, 2014
    Date of Patent: November 15, 2016
    Assignee: CERAMATEC, INC.
    Inventors: Sai Bhavaraju, James Mosby, Patrick McGuire, Mukund Karanjikar, Daniel Taggart, Jacob Staley
  • Patent number: 9475998
    Abstract: Alkali metals and sulfur may be recovered from alkali monosulfide and polysulfides in an electrolytic process that utilizes an electrolytic cell having an alkali ion conductive membrane. An anolyte solution includes an alkali monosulfide, an alkali polysulfide, or a mixture thereof and a solvent that dissolves elemental sulfur. A catholyte includes molten alkali metal. Applying an electric current oxidizes sulfide and polysulfide in the anolyte compartment, causes alkali metal ions to pass through the alkali ion conductive membrane to the catholyte compartment, and reduces the alkali metal ions in the catholyte compartment. Liquid sulfur separates from the anolyte solution and may be recovered. The electrolytic cell is operated at a temperature where the formed alkali metal and sulfur are molten.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 14, 2014
    Date of Patent: October 25, 2016
    Assignee: CERAMATEC, INC.
    Inventors: John Howard Gordon, Javier Alvare
  • Patent number: 9431681
    Abstract: A molten sodium secondary cell charges at a high temperature and discharges at a relatively lower temperature. The cell includes a sodium anode and a cathode. A sodium ion conductive solid membrane separates the cathode from the sodium anode and selectively transports sodium ions. A solar energy source includes a photovoltaic system to provide an electric charging potential to the sodium anode and the cathode and a solar thermal concentrator to provide heat to the cathode and catholyte composition to cause the molten sodium secondary cell to charge at a temperature in the range from about 300 to 800° C. The cell has a charge temperature and a charge voltage and a discharge temperature and a discharge voltage. The charge temperature is substantially higher than the discharge temperature, and the charge voltage is lower than the discharge voltage.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 5, 2014
    Date of Patent: August 30, 2016
    Assignee: CERAMATEC, INC.
    Inventors: Ashok V. Joshi, Sai Bhavaraju
  • Patent number: 9431682
    Abstract: The present invention provides an electrochemical cell having an negative electrode compartment and a positive electrode compartment. A solid alkali ion conductive electrolyte membrane is positioned between the negative electrode compartment and the positive electrode compartment. A catholyte solution in the positive electrode compartment includes a halide ion or pseudohalide ion concentration greater than 3M, which provides degradation protection to the alkali ion conductive electrolyte membrane. The halide ion or pseudohalide ion is selected from chloride, bromide, iodide, azide, thiocyanate, and cyanide. In some embodiments, the electrochemical cell is a molten sodium rechargeable cell which functions at an operating temperature between about 100° C. and about 150° C.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 5, 2013
    Date of Patent: August 30, 2016
    Assignee: CERAMATEC, INC.
    Inventors: Sai Bhavaraju, Mathew Robins, Chett Boxley
  • Patent number: 9431656
    Abstract: A hybrid battery with a sodium anode is designed for use at a range of temperatures where the sodium is solid and where the sodium is molten. When the battery is at colder temperatures or when the vehicle is idle and needs to be “started,” the anode will be solid sodium metal. At the same time, the battery is designed such that, once the electric vehicle has been “started” and operated for a short period of time, heat is directed to the battery to melt the solid sodium anode into a molten form. In other words, the hybrid battery operates under temperature conditions where the sodium is solid and under temperature conditions where the sodium is molten.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 30, 2014
    Date of Patent: August 30, 2016
    Assignee: CERAMATEC, INC.
    Inventor: Sai Bhavaraju
  • Patent number: 9413036
    Abstract: A sodium-halogen secondary cell that includes a negative electrode compartment housing a negative, sodium-based electrode and a positive electrode compartment housing a current collector disposed in a liquid positive electrode solution. The liquid positive electrode solution includes a halogen and/or a halide. The cell includes a sodium ion conductive electrolyte membrane that separates the negative electrode from the liquid positive electrode solution. Although in some cases, the negative sodium-based electrode is molten during cell operation, in other cases, the negative electrode includes a sodium electrode or a sodium intercalation carbon electrode that is solid during operation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 6, 2013
    Date of Patent: August 9, 2016
    Assignee: CERAMATEC, Inc.
    Inventors: Sai Bhavaraju, Mathew Robins, Alexis Eccelston
  • Patent number: 9297084
    Abstract: Electrochemical systems and methods for producing hydrogen. Generally, the systems and methods involve providing an electrochemical cell that includes an anolyte compartment holding an anode in contact with an anolyte, wherein the anolyte includes an oxidizable substance having a higher standard oxidation potential than water. The cell further comprises a catholyte compartment holding a cathode in contact with a catholyte that includes a substance that reduces to form hydrogen. Additionally, the cell includes an alkali cation conductive membrane that separates the anolyte compartment from the catholyte compartment. As an electrical potential passes between the anode and cathode, the reducible substance reduces to form hydrogen and the oxidizable substance oxidizes to form an oxidized product.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 12, 2012
    Date of Patent: March 29, 2016
    Assignee: CERAMATEC, INC.
    Inventors: Ashok V. Joshi, Sai Bhavaraju
  • Patent number: 9263770
    Abstract: The present invention provides a method for providing electrical potential from a solid-state sodium-based secondary cell (or rechargeable battery). A secondary cell is provided that includes a solid sodium metal negative electrode that is disposed in a non-aqueous negative electrolyte solution that includes an ionic liquid. Additionally, the cell comprises a positive electrode that is disposed in a positive electrolyte solution. In order to separate the negative electrode and the negative electrolyte solution from the positive electrolyte solution, the cell includes a sodium ion conductive electrolyte membrane. The cell is maintained and operated at a temperature below the melting point of the negative electrode and is connected to an external circuit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 27, 2014
    Date of Patent: February 16, 2016
    Assignee: CERAMATEC, INC.
    Inventors: Chett Boxley, W Grover Coors, John Joseph Watkins