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Project Grant


Grant Description
A multimodal thermophysical sensor for molten salts.
Place of Performance
Dayton, Ohio 45430-1062 United States
Geographic Scope
Single Zip Code
Spectral Energies was awarded Project Grant DESC0023901 worth $199,564 from the Office of Science in July 2023 with work to be completed primarily in Dayton Ohio United States. The grant has a duration of 1 year and was awarded through assistance program 81.049 Office of Science Financial Assistance Program. The Project Grant was awarded through grant opportunity FY 2023 Phase I Release 2.

SBIR Details

Research Type
SBIR Phase I
A Multimodal Thermophysical Sensor for Molten Salts
Advanced energy applications may use molten salt for nuclear reactors. Molten Salt Reactors operate under extreme environmental conditions that require equally extreme methods for salt characterization and monitoring. Unfortunately, current sensor technology is not well suited to the high-temperature, corrosive, and irradiated environment of a Molten Salt Reactor.To address the issues, a laser-based technique that combines spatial domain thermo-emission with a photothermal membrane resonator will be developed that can measure density, viscosity, heat capacity, and thermal conductivity. These are critical values that must be known for future Molten Salt Reactors. The sensor will serve as a new diagnostic to better understand the nature of molten salts, guide future molten salt reactor designs, and respond to the needs of the burgeoning MSR industry.During Phase I, a prototype sensor will be developed and tested in a molten salt environment to demonstrate the feasibility of the sensor. This will include first building and calibrating the sensor. The sensor will then finally be demonstrated in a molten salt environment.Efforts to develop and commercialize advanced nuclear reactors and Molten Salt Reactor technology has grown substantially in the past decade, with stakeholders represented in private industry and commitments made through public policy (e.g., the DOE). The potential benefits of high temperature Molten Salt Reactors include greater thermal-to-electric efficiency, greater consumption of nuclear material/waste (i.e., closing the fuel cycle), better economics through passive safety, and a re-branding of nuclear energy that can generate newfound support from US citizens. Additionally, the high temperature operation of Molten Salt Reactors opens the door to the other 2/3 of the energy market including desalination, synthetic fuel and hydrogen production, and high temperature process heat. Other benefits of Molten Salt Reactor deployment include reliable carbon-free power generation with a compact environmental footprint that consumes substantially fewer material resources than many other power sources. The proposed sensor is enabling technology for the Molten Salt Reactors.
Topic Code
Solicitation Number


Last Modified 8/28/23

Period of Performance
Start Date
End Date
62.0% Complete

Funding Split
Federal Obligation
Non-Federal Obligation
Total Obligated
100.0% Federal Funding
0.0% Non-Federal Funding

Activity Timeline

Interactive chart of timeline of amendments to DESC0023901

Additional Detail

SAI Number
Award ID URI
Awardee Classifications
Small Business
Awarding Office
Funding Office
892401 SCIENCE
Awardee UEI
Awardee CAGE
Performance District
Sherrod Brown
J.D. (James) Vance

Budget Funding

Federal Account Budget Subfunction Object Class Total Percentage
Science, Energy Programs, Energy (089-0222) General science and basic research Grants, subsidies, and contributions (41.0) $199,564 100%
Modified: 8/28/23