Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Catalyst Testbed Control and Operation Software

Technology #7200

Catalysts are substances that increase the rate of a chemical reaction or reduce energy required to carry out the reaction. Their widest application is for catalytic converters in automobiles, which reduce the toxicity of the gas emitted from the vehicle. They had additional applications in fuel cells, biofuels, chemical production, and polymer production. The overall catalyst market was estimated at $23B in 2013 [1], and a major portion of catalyst product’s final price is derived from research and development costs. For example, once a catalytic process is designed, the process generally requires significant proof-of-concept testing and calibration in a lab before being used in full-scale production. A software for automating a catalyst testing device has been developed to improve the development process.

Flexible Software for Automation of Catalyst Testing

The software allows control of the major experiment operation and measurement infrastructure. It provides security checks to enhance lab safety, and provides automated data acquisition. Furthermore, a flexible architecture allows it to incorporate a number of sensor arrays for a variety of functions. A prototype version of the software has been developed and is currently in use. The technology will impact the automotive, fuel cell, synthetic fuel, biofuel, oil and gas refining, and chemical production sectors.

Applications

  • Automotive
  • Fuel cells
  • Synthetic fuels and biofuels
  • Oil and gas refining
  • Chemical production

Advantages

  • Automated experiment operation
  • Implements safety features and checks
  • Automated data acquisition
  • Flexible architecture

[1] Global Markets for Catalysts: Focus on Catalyst Regeneration. CHM046C. BCC Research. 2015.