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ATP Announces New Projects In Electronics, Biotechnology, Energy and Polymer Recycling

The Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology today announced eight new research projects, cost-shared with U.S. industry under the Advanced Technology Program, to resolve challenging issues in key technologies that could underlie economically important new capabilities in electronics, biotechnology, energy and polymer recycling.

The projects were chosen from the ATP 1996 General Competition. If carried through to completion, the eight projects will be valued at $36.9 million, with approximately $17.6 million in funding from private industry and $19.3 million in ATP funding. The awards are contingent on the signing of formal agreements between NIST and the project proposers.

Examples of the technical hurdles to be attacked include:

  • taking advantage of a newly discovered class of highly selective industrial catalysts by developing technology to directly oxidize natural gas to methanol. Schemes to directly convert methane to methanol have been attempted many times, but the resulting process has always been too inefficient for practical use. Success in this project would make possible much more economical use of the nation's vast reserves of natural gas.
  • developing new designs and fabrication techniques to significantly enhance the performance of a newly developed tunable color filter for digital displays. The technology is novel, and if the work is successful, it could enable a wholly new class of small, very-high-resolution, full-color displays which should find ready application in the rapidly growing markets for tiny, lightweight displays for virtual reality gear or hand-held computers.

The Advanced Technology Program provides cost-shared funding to industry for high-risk R&D; projects with the potential to spark important, broad-based economic benefits for the United States. While the program does not fund product-development projects, the ATP accelerates, or in many cases enables, potentially important R&D; projects that industry otherwise would not undertake, or would not devote significant resources to, because of the significant technical risks involved.

ATP general competitions are open to proposals from any area of technology. The awards are made on the basis of a rigorous peer-reviewed competition that considers the scientific and technical merit of each project and its potential benefits to the U.S. economy. Applicants must include a detailed business plan for bringing the new technology to market with their own funds once technical milestones have been achieved under ATP support.

A list of the selected projects is below.

As a non-regulatory agency of the Commerce Department's Technology Administration, NIST promotes U.S. economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.


Advanced Technology Program General Competition – 1996

Announced 3/97

Direct Oxidation of Natural Gas to Methanol and Transportation Fuels Catalytica, Inc.

Mountain View, CA

Develop a process, based on new catalysts, for the efficient, direct conversion of methane to methanol, enabling better use of U.S. natural gas reserves and reducing the nation's reliance on crude oil imports.

Requested ATP funds: $2,000 K

Est. project budget: $4,104 K

Enabling Large-Scale Recovery of Plastics from Durable Goods MBA Polymers

Richmond, CA

Develop significantly improved process technology for sorting and separating high-value engineering plastics (used in durable goods) from the waste stream as an enabling technology for recycling.

Requested ATP funds: $687 K

Est. project budget: $1,330 K

Programmable Nanoscale Engines for Molecular Separation CuraGen Corporation

Branford, CT

Develop a practical nanoscale molecular pump capable of transporting molecules and efficiently separating them by mass, as part of an integrated, miniaturized system for DNA analysis.

Requested ATP funds: $2,000 K

Est. project budget: $3,431 K

A Portable Genetic Analysis System Nanogen, Inc.

San Diego, CA

Develop a portable genetic analysis system that can rapidly and accurately profile a genetic sequence for applications including forensic analysis, battlefield casualty identification, trauma victim identification, diagnostics, and environmental and health monitoring.

Requested ATP funds: $2,000 K

Est. project budget: $3,935 K

Cost-Effective Planar Solid Oxide Fuel Cells for Distributed Power Generation The Babcock & Wilcox Company, Alliance, OH SOFCo, L.P. (Salt Lake City, UT) Intertec Southwest LLC (Tucson, AZ)

Develop high-temperature ceramic and manufacturing technologies for future cost-effective planar solid oxide fuel cells that generate efficient and environmentally sound electric power from natural gas.

Requested ATP funds: $2,915 K

Est. project budget: $5,950 K

High Performance Sensor Arrays for Digital X-Ray and Visible Light Imaging Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, Palo Alto, CA Thermotrex Corporation (San Diego, CA) TPL, Inc. (Albuquerque, NM)

Develop the next generation of large-area digital image sensors, based on thin-film silicon technology, with higher spatial resolution, higher sensitivity and lower electronic noise for applications in medical imaging, non-destructive evaluation and document scanning.

Requested ATP funds: $5,959 K

Est. project budget: $13,186 K

Color Sequential Imaging ColorLink, Inc.

Boulder, CO Develop technology necessary to produce lightweight, high-resolution color display and imaging devices based on color sequential imaging using a solid-state electro-optic tunable filter.

Requested ATP funds: $1,800 K

Est. project budget: $2,386 K

Development of Novel DNA Binding Proteins as Antiviral Therapeutics Sangamo BioSciences, Inc.

Aurora, CO

Develop key methodologies to design and produce sequence specific DNA binding proteins that target and repress any clinically relevant gene in human or viral DNA, leading to novel therapies for infectious viruses such as HIV and HBV.

Requested ATP funds: $2,000 K

Est. project budget: $2,680 K 

Released March 6, 1997, Updated November 27, 2017