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University of Colorado Technology Marketing Summaries

Here you’ll find marketing summaries for technologies available for licensing from the University of Colorado (CU). The summaries provide descriptions of the technologies including their benefits, applications and industries, and development stage.

33 Technology Marketing Summaries
CategoryTitle and AbstractLaboratoriesDate
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Improved Solar Power Plant Efficiency: Low Cost Solar Irradiance Sensor

A University of Colorado research group led by Fernando Mancilla-David has developed a low cost irradiance sensor using a network modeled on a neural network. In this approach, a trained NN algorithm uses a small number of PV cells arranged into a small sensing PV panel, as well as a temperature sensor and a low-cost microcontroller, to directly sense solar irradiance; this data can then be fed back into the MPP tracking algorithm to dynamically improve PV efficiency as conditions change.

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01/08/2014
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Sol-Char: Producing Char from Waste using Solar Energy

A recent “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge” put forth by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation called for researchers to develop sanitation solutions that are affordable and desirable to use, render fecal waste harmless within a short time-span, are self-contained without the need for flush water or electricity, and produce valuable end products. Current waterless toilets – such as dry pit latrines, ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines, and composting toilets – fall... read more

01/08/2014
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Improved Algae-based Biorefining and High-throughput Screening of Algal Photosynthetic Efficiency

Improved Algae-based Biorefining and High-throughput Screening of Algal Photosynthetic Efficiency

10/17/2013
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Improved Organic Photovoltaics

Traditionally, photosensitive optoelectronic devices such as solar cells have been constructed of a number of inorganic semiconductors. Purity and crystalline grain size are a large determinant of efficiency in these cells. The smaller the grains and the more impure the material, the lower the efficiency. The drawback to using these typical inorganic photovoltaic (PV) materials is that processing is often quite expensive and energy intensive. Pure monocrystalline silicon, currently a common... read more

10/17/2013
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Smart Solar Rooftops

Solar panels, or photovoltaic panels, use photovoltaic cells to create energy. These cells create direct current through absorption of sunlight's photons by silicon, allowing electrons to be stripped from atoms. The direct current is then inverted and either stored in a battery or immediately used for energy. The current silicon-based solar cells have a limiting efficiency of about 30% for a variety of reasons. Current cells can only absorb a portion of the light the sun produces, and... read more

10/17/2013
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Improved Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell (DSSC) for Higher Energy Conversion Efficiency

A University of Colorado research group led by Rich Noble has developed a novel approach to dye-sensitized solar cells that increases solar-to-electrical energy conversion.

10/17/2013
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Efficient, Low-cost Microchannel Heat Exchanger

A research team at the University of Colorado has developed a novel heat exchanger design and accompanying manufacturing technique for creating low-cost microchannel heat exchangers from plastics, metals, or ceramics. The prototype used laser welding (upper red lines at right). Expansion makes “chessboard” counter flow pattern (lower right). The figure below shows mass production, where sheets are added one at a time and welded with a mask and filament (left) or laser (right).... read more

10/17/2013
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Genes and Mechanisms for Improving Cellulosic Ethanol Production in E. Coli

Cellulosic biomass accounts for roughly 75% of all plant material, and can be used to produce biofuels. Sources of cellulosic biomass include agricultural plant waste, organic waste from industrial processes, and crops grown specifically for fuel production. Biological conversion makes use of enzymes and microorganisms to convert pretreated cellulosic biomass into biofuels. In particular, Escherichia coli is a well-studied micro-organism commonly used in large-scale fermentations. In... read more

10/17/2013
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Rapid Solar-Thermal Conversion of Biomass to Syngas

The invention provides processes that perform biomass gasification or pyrolysis for production of hydrogen, synthesis gas, liquid fuels, or other hydrocarbon based chemicals. The methods of the invention use solar thermal energy as the energy source for the biomass pyrolysis or gasification. This allows operation at temperatures above 950 degrees C, speeding up reaction kinetics and shifting thermodynamics to various reaction end products, thus, bypassing the formation of tars and other... read more

10/17/2013
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Solar-Thermal Fluid-Wall Reaction Processing

Currently most hydrogen is produced through a process of heating natural gas with water vapor called steam reforming. This process requires energy to heat the gasses and produces greenhouse gases such as CO2 as its byproducts. These conditions confine steam reforming to large industrial plants requiring trucks to transport the hydrogen to users, since most population centers have regulations that prohibit such high levels of CO2.

10/17/2013
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New Configuration and Materials for Scalable Bioelectrochemical System and Microbial Fuel Cells

Current wastewater treatment processes and membrane based desalination technologies are energy intensive due to the power demand for aeration, sludge treatment, and membrane operation. A research team at the University of Colorado led by Zhiyong (Jason) Ren has developed a bioelectrochemical systems (BES) that exhibits much greater energy production than previous systems and functions reliably under large-scale operating conditions.
 

10/17/2013
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Novel Class of Nanohybrids for Construction of Light Harvesting Systems

Semiconducting single wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) have unique electronic and optical properties for diverse optoelectronic applications, including photovoltaics, photodetectors and photoswitches. SWCNT-porphyrin molecular complexes are promising candidates for light harvesting applications, due to their long-lived charge separated states and efficient charge-transport behavior of SWCNTs. In the natural light-harvesting complexes, the electron transfer from the porphyrin pigment to the... read more

10/17/2013
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Fast, Efficient Isothermal Redox to Split Water or Carbon Dioxide using Solar Energy

A University of Colorado research team led by Alan Weimer has developed a technique for a substantially isothermal hercynite cycle, in which the entire reaction cycle is performed isothermally at 1200-1400°C (though the cycle can be performed at temperatures as low as 940°C). Because no significant heating or cooling is required between the respective cycles, the hercynite cycle allows faster, more efficient cycling and less wear on the equipment and materials used for the process.... read more

10/14/2013
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Economical Pyrite-Based Solar Cells

The first generation of solar cells, used in 90% of today's cells, have a focus of high efficiency. These cells use a single p-n junction to extract energy from photons, and are manufactured from silicon semiconductors. This allows for about 30% efficiency, but resulted in a price too high to compete with fossil fuels (payback time of about 5-7 years). The second generation of solar cells focuses on low production costs using thin film cells, which resulted in much lower efficiency rates.... read more

11/09/2012
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Lithium Salt-doped, Gelled Polymer Electrolyte with a Nanoporous, Bicontinuous Cubic Architecture and High Room-temparature Ion Conductivity
Li ion batteries have high energy density, high power delivery, and the ability to be recharged over a large number of cycles. One component that needs to be improved to make them suitable for high performance applications is the electrolyte material . High Li ion mobility/conductivity in electrolyte material is required for larger energy applications, and efficient discharge and recharge with a minimum of power loss to resistive heating. However, these electrolytes can leak from the battery,... read more
06/01/2012
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Ceramic-zeolite Composite Membranes and Use for Separation of Vapor-gas Mixtures
Having both high selectivity and high permeability, the zeolite membranes have great potential for highly selective separation of vapor/gas and gas/gas mixtures and for catalytic membrane reactor applications. However, it is very difficult to prepare the membranes with pore diameter smaller than 1 nm, to meet the needs for highly selective separation of gases.

A research team at the University of Colorado at Boulder led by Richard Noble had devloped a method of creating membranes with a uniform... read more
06/01/2012
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New process to convert lipids and cellulosic biomass to renewable diesel
A research team at the University of Colorado Denver led by Arunprakash Karunanithi has developed a decarboxylation process that will provide pathways to convert two different renewable feedstocks (lipids and waste biomass) directly to renewable diesel without the use of hydrogen.
06/01/2012
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Nanohybrid Solar Cells Consisting of Self-Assembled Semiconducting Single-Wall Carbon Nanotube and Covalent Organic Polyhedrom (COP)-Fullerene Core-Shell
A research team at the University of Colorado at Boulder led by Wei Zhang has developed a novel method to engineer a new class of self-assembling materials for photovoltaic applications.
06/01/2012
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Microbial Capacitive Desalination Cell

A research team led by Dr. Jason Ren of the University of Colorado has developed novel microbial capacitive desalination cell (MCDC) technology for sustainable desalination, renewable energy production, and wastewater treatment solution.

06/01/2012
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Nucleation of Ultrathin, Continuous, Conformal Metal Films Using Atomic Layer Deposition and Applications as Fuel Cell Catalysts
A research team at the University of Colorado at Boulder led by Steven George has developed a method to prepare a conformal thin film of platinum or one of its alloys onto a substrate, and more particularly to reduce the cost associated with depositing platinum as a catalyst in a fuel cell.
05/23/2012
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Lightweight Superconducting Cables for use with High-Field Magnets and Military Applications
The development of YBCO coated conductors has resulted in high critical current densities, but have been limited by the upper critical field of the superconductor. Achieving higher fields would require the use of high-temperature super conductors, but would require a novel form of cabling to achieve.

A research team at the University of Colorado at Boulder led by Daniel van der Laan has developed a novel method of stranding YBCO coated conductors to make cables for use in low ac-loss and... read more
05/23/2012
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Solid-state Inorganic Lithium-Ion Conductors
A research team at the University of Colorado Boulder led by Se-Hee Lee has developed an advanced single step, high energy ball milling system for preparation of electrodes for use in a solid state lithium-ion battery.
05/23/2012
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Lipid Extraction from Wet-Algae for Biofuel Production
There is a growing interest in algal biofuels; however, current methods of a thermal separation process for solvent mixtures involve concomitant issues and increased energy consumption. A research team at the University of Colorado at Boulder led by John Pellegrino has developed a two-step membrane process which allows a solvent mixture to be used without the problems of concomitants and high energy expenditure that are usually inherent in a thermal separation process.
05/23/2012
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Novel Method of Ethanol/Water Separation with Nanoporous Polymer Membranes

Bioethanol is an economical and environmentally friendly biofuel that has emerged as a sustainable fuel source. Fermentation is an attractive process for producing bioethanol, but requires costly product separation due to the low concentration of the fermentative products. Nanoporous polymer membranes have recently been explored not only in separating water from dissolved solutes in fermentation systems such as this, but also in liquid water purification and desalination. However, attempts at... read more

03/29/2012
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Third-Generation Solar Cells Using Optical Rectenna

Solar panels are designed as a photovoltaic module. The energy producing aspect of the photovoltaic module has two primary steps. The first is a semiconducting material such as silicon that can absorb the photons from sunlight, knocking electrons from atoms to produce a flow of electricity. The next step is conversion of the electricity into direct current through an array of solar cells.

The first generation of solar cells, used in 90% of today’s cells, have a focus of high efficiency.... read more

03/28/2012
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Grid-Interactive Electric Vehicle DC-Link Photovoltaic Charging System

The transportation sector currently accounts for 70% of petroleum consumption and more than a third of green house gas emissions in the US. Studies have shown that  major reductions in GHG emissions can be accomplished by transitioning to battery powered automobiles. However, the large battery systems required could be problematic due to high cost in combination with limited specific energy, safety issues, as well as limited cycle and calendar life. 

A DC-to-DC converter takes a direct... read more

03/28/2012
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Highly Efficient, Scalable Microbial Fuel Cell

With present day environmental and energy concerns rising, the development of environmentally friendly energy sources is quickly becoming a top priority. One group of alternative energy sources that show great potential to meet future energy demands are bioelectrochemical systems (BES) or microbial fuel cells (MFC), which can be used to both treat waste water and produce energy. Current wastewater treatment processes are energy-intensive due to the power demand for aeration, sludge... read more

03/28/2012
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Fault Detection and Isolation in Low-Voltage DC Distribution System

Small-scale low-voltage distribution systems, such as a microgrid, have many advantages to traditional AC distribution systems. Although AC-bus based systems can readily use the existing AC power grid technologies, grid issues including synchronization, reactive power control, and bus stability are inherited as well. DC-bus based systems can be a feasible solution because they are small, localized systems that cause the transmission loss to be negligible. Moreover, it does not need to... read more

03/20/2012
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“Green” Replacement for Industrial Applications of Polar Organic Solvents

Polar organic solvents are commonly used in cleaning, reactions, and processing in many industries. Today these solvents are known to be volatile, hazardous to health, toxic in the environment, and flammable, with no comparable alternatives. These toxic attributes make polar organic  solvents very hard to work with, and the harmful effects of these volatile compounds require that expensive procedures, equipment and environmental, health, and safety controls be in place at all times to... read more

03/20/2012
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Heterogeneous Catalyst for Improved Selectivity of Biomass-Derived Molecules

In today’s industrial processes, heterogeneous catalysts are widely used because of their stability and ease of separation from the reactant phase compared to their homogenous counterparts. A continual challenge in the advancement of heterogeneous catalysts is in the improvement of selectivity, which can significantly reduce costs of product purification and waste. Historically, homogenous catalysts offer high selectivity utilizing specific interactions, while heterogeneous catalysts... read more

03/20/2012
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Low-cost, Modular, Building-integrated Photovoltaic-Thermal Collector

Buildings consume approximately 40% of the energy, and nearly 70% of the electricity used in the United States. Building surfaces are well suited to renewable energy production. The surface area of a typical residence is large enough to produce the electricity required to operate the building. However, in order to achieve net-zero energy use, solar thermal collectors are often required to produce hot water for domestic and space heating needs or pre-heated ventilation air.
Current problems... read more

12/16/2011
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Lyotropic Liquid Crystal (LLC) Nanofiltration Membranes
University of Colorado research groups led by Douglas Gin and Richard Noble have developed a novel type of filtration membrane based on the polymerization of lyotropic liquid crystals (LLCs) that contains ordered, densely packed, size-tunable pores of uniform size. These new LLC membranes have pore sizes on the order of 0.5-2 nm. The resulting size-selectivity of these membranes enables high, predictable rejection of dissolved ions (salts, in particular) from water as well as a number of... read more
12/06/2010
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Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) Preparation of Noble Metal Catalysts
Organic pollutants in wastewater streams and volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere have been increasing over the recent decades. Currently, semiconductor photocatalysts such as Titanium Oxide (TiO2), are used to minimize the effects of environmental pollution by detoxifying harmful organic materials. These photocatalysts are activated by UV light and break bonds in the contaminant to make it non-toxic. TiO2 provides many benefits in use, as it is low cost, non-toxic, and has the ability... read more
12/06/2010