2003 Smart, high-performance polyphenylenesulfide coating system Northeast

Award Year 

The development and transfer of thepolyphenylenesulfide (PPS) coating systemrepresents a giant step forward in thetechnology ofcoating steelsurfaces for usein hostilecorrosiveenvironments.The PPS coatingsystem protectssurfaces fromcorrosion,oxidation andfouling, and hasa high thermalconductivity thatcan also repairitself. Thistechnology can be used in a wide range ofapplications and is more durable, abrasion-resistant, and less costly than competitivecoatings.To transfer this technology, the team of Dr.Keith Gawlik of the National RenewableEnergy Laboratory and Dr. Toshifumi Sugamaof Brookhaven National Laboratory (more) used noformally defined procedures. Rather, theyrelied on their knowledge of the technologyand the market, and their professionalrelationships to quickly move the PPS coatingsystem from the laboratory to production. BobCurran & Sons, a Texas-based company,needed a coating system to replace the phenolic coating base it was using. Drs. Gawlik andSugama worked with the company to developand test a commercial version of thetechnology.Within ninemonths, thecompany madethe PPS coatingsystem itsprimary product,gaining manynew customersfrom thepetrochemicalprocessingindustry. Inaddition, thistechnologytransfer effortwas recognizedwith a 2002 R&D 100 Award.The primary beneficiaries of this technologywill be geothermal power plants and thechemical/petrochemical processing industry.The PPS coating system will cut costs, decreasedowntime, and increase productivity andoutput. Considering the enormous marketsrepresented by power plants and the chemicalprocessing industry, the technology’s rippleeffects on the economy could run into billionsof dollars per year. (less)