Cornell University and Lithoz to explore the use of Ceramic 3D Printing for clean energy reactors

Cornell University, alongside its start-up Dimensional Energy and Lithoz, have been awarded a grant to develop novel ceramics that could be used to 3D print parts of clean energy reactors. 

If you have a slight interest in ceramic 3D printing, then the name of Lithoz may certainly be familiar to you. Dimensional Energy ambitions to transition hard-to-decarbonize industries to carbon-neutrality through the development of sustainable fuels. The team uses energy reactors to convert carbon dioxide into chemicals that can be further processed into clean aviation fuel.

The company’s technology has already convinced a few stakeholders in the field but the company faces a few challenges in scaling it up. With the $50,000 FuzeHub grant, the technology partners will develop new advanced printable ceramics that could withstand the challenging operating environments of clean energy reactors, targeting specialized thermocatalytic reactors like those used by Dimensional Energy.

“Excellent thermal properties and corrosion resistance make ceramics attractive for these reactors, but significant design constraints limit their actual performance,” Sadaf Sobhani said. The latter is an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering who leads the $50,000 FuzeHub grant. “The freedom of design and choice of materials enabled by ceramic additive manufacturing will narrow the theory-performance gap to hit the desired milestones.”

Sobhani had previously partnered with Lithoz America to investigate how a combination of computational modeling and 3D printing could be used to create highly customized ceramic structures that can withstand the high-temperatures used in reactors and other industrial settings. In another research project, Sobhani highlighted the benefits of using 3D printing to rapidly prototype electrochemical reactors with unique shapes and designs that could optimize performance and conversion rates.

Stronger domestic production supports a more resilient economy,” said FuzeHub executive director Elena Garuc in an announcement for the funding. “During this round of Manufacturing Grants, many of the projects that were selected involved advanced materials. As awardees work to solve technical challenges, they’re also supporting the onshoring of production, which is crucial for supply chain resiliency, especially in these post-pandemic times.”

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Corporate communication and marketing expert by training at 3D Adept, Kety is currently leading the publication’s editorial and content activities. She has a unique gift for knowing how to grab an audience's attention on insights that matter – in this case, everything related to additive manufacturing. She believes that a wide range of innovations still have to be discovered about the technologies that shape the world of tomorrow and she has made it her objective at 3D ADEPT Media.