Develop a lightweight, electrical wire-and-cable system that can reduce fuel costs and improve energy efficiency in numerous applications including aerospace.
Sponsor: NanoRidge Materials Inc.2315 Schlumberger St
Houston, TX 77059
A joint venture team comprised of NanoRidge Materials and The Boeing Company (Huntington Beach, Calif.) proposes to develop technology to produce NanoCable, a lightweight, highly conductive electrical wire and cable that could bring significant gains in fuel savings, energy efficiency, and operating costs to industrial and consumer users. Industries that would benefit most dramatically from the technology include aerospace, shipbuilding, power distributors and generation companies, and consumer electronics. Commercial aircraft, satellites, ships, generators, and personal computers are among the many products that could be made lighter and therefore more energy efficient using NanoCable. The technology is based on carbon nanotubes which conduct greater amounts of electric current than copper while having only one-sixth the weight. The cable would be composed of electrically conductive carbon nanotubes embedded in a polymer. The overall cable is estimated to be just half the weight of aluminum cable. A key technical challenge will be to design processing steps that would connect individual nanotubes in an optimal fashion, so as to maintain high levels of electrical conductivity. This is a high-risk project, involving an emerging technology company, and it holds the promise of bringing significant cost-saving gains to commercial enterprises and consumers while introducing a multi-use, industry-shifting product. By 2010, the market for conductive polymer cable is expected to be 465 million lbs per year, worth $1.4 billion annually.