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SBIR Phase II: Using Metal-Organic Framework Materials to Increase Sustainability of Indoor Farming


The broader impact/commercial potential of this This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project is the ability to sustainably produce more food with fewer water and energy resources. Indoor agriculture has the potential to transform the way we grow and source our food, enabling locally-sourced crops at higher yields. Food crops can be grown sustainably year-round near all major urban centers, if greenhouse energy and water consumption can be reduced. This research will lead to the creation of a new class of energy- and water-efficient indoor climate systems, thereby making indoor agriculture environmentally sustainable and economically viable. <br/><br/>This Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will advance the development of a novel metal organic framework (MOF) material enabling a new class of compact, energy-efficient cooling and dehumidification systems for commercial and residential air conditioning applications. This project will advance a novel MOF material with unprecedented water adsorption capacity. Moreover, the MOF material may be quickly synthesized from low-cost, bulk commodity chemicals using a flow synthesis process. A dehumidifier operating with this material can harvest waste heat to provide optimal humidity conditions in applications such as controlled environment agriculture or residential comfort cooling. The goal of the proposed R&D is scale the manufacturing of this novel material, develop composite structures that embed this material, and integrate these structures into air conditioning devices for commercial and residential applications.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Sorin Grama
Transaera, Inc.
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