R&D 100 Awards
Since 1963, R&D Magazine has honored inventors by identifying the 100 most technologically significant products and advancements for each year and recognizing the winning innovators and their organizations. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has received 2 R&D 100 Awards in FY16, a total of 100 since we began submitting entries in 1969. You can see these winners by clicking on any of the years listed here. For more information on the Laboratory's R&D 100 Awards, contact Mary Ann Showalter.
E4D-RT: Real-time Four-Dimensional Subsurface Imaging Software – – Timothy C. Johnson
Much like medical scans, a new technology allows users to remotely look into the Earth's subsurface in real time. Contaminants in soils often provide a high-contrast medium in comparison to clean soils.
For instance, nuclear waste from weapons production is present in the groundwater and soil at certain sites across the country, posing potential threats to the environment. The contamination must not only be monitored but be better understood in order to clean it up.
PNNL researchers developed and are applying Real-time Four-Dimensional Subsurface Imaging Software to determine the extent of contamination and what's driving its migration. No other commercial subsurface modeling software constructs 3D, time-lapse images of how the subsurface environment changes over time, in real time.
"Snapshots" of subsurface conditions are collected by measurements made at the surface or by electrodes inserted in boreholes that pass an electrical current through the material being studied and record how difficult it is for that electrical current to move through the material.
E4D-RT combines supercomputers to analyze large amounts of data with real-time imaging and the ability to model buried metallic infrastructure — like tanks and pipes. E4D-RT is a cost-saving open source solution for imaging in many kinds of subsurface studies — including fluid movement in geothermal systems and hydraulic fracturing operations and even understanding volcanic activity.
E4D-RT was developed by PNNL's Tim Johnson. DOE's Office of Science and Office of Environmental Management supported the technology's development.
Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative Toolkit – Nomination submitted by National Energy Technology Laboratory, team includes PNNL's Xin Sun
Power plant carbon emissions could be captured with the help of more detailed information and with reduced technical risk thanks to a computational technology called the Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative, or CCSI, Toolset. The suite of computational tools and models supports and accelerates the development, scale-up and commercialization of various post-combustion carbon-capture technologies, including solvent- and sorbent-based capture.
It does so by supporting a more thorough vetting of options, complete understanding of how processes will operate at scale under relevant field conditions, and increased understanding of how uncertainty affects risk. By improving learning and reducing risk as carbon-capture technologies are being scaled up, the CCSI Toolset can reduce the time needed to commercialize these technologies and provide greater confidence for those investing in carbon capture.
The technology was developed through the Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative, which was sponsored by the DOE's Office of Fossil Energy and led by DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory. PNNL is one of five national laboratories involved in the initiative, along with industry and academic institutions. PNNL's Xin Sun led a team for the initiative that co-developed the CCSI Toolset. Others involved in the tool's development are current PNNL staff members Zhijie Xu, Kevin Lai, Varun Gupta, Chao Wang, Greg Whyatt, Feng Zheng and Charlie Freeman, as well as former PNNL staff members Emily Ryan, Avik Sarkar, Wei Xu and Wenxiao Pan. Photo courtesy of NETL.
Columnar Hierarchical Auto-associative Memory Processing in Ontological Networks (CHAMPION) – Shawn Hampton, Rick Berg, Katya Pomiak, Patrick Paulson (PNNL); Ryan Hohimer, Alex Gibson and Peter Neorr (Champion Technology Company, Inc.); Frank Greitzer (former PNNL)
If you're a hacker aimed at stealing credit card information from a retail company and you want to evade detection, massive amounts of network data are your ally. Analysts have the know-how to sort through this digital mess, but they often identify attacks too late. Analytical software developed at PNNL can help find these and other threats in near-real-time. That's because the software, called Columnar Hierarchical Auto-associative Memory Processing in Ontological Networks or CHAMPION, has the knowledge to sort through data like an analyst, but on a much greater scale.
Scientists designed CHAMPION to use human analysts and historical data to learn about the company it's protecting. Starting with advanced Semantic Web technologies, which translate human knowledge into something that's machine readable, CHAMPION then uses descriptive logic to reason whether activity is suspicious. For example, if a retail company's HVAC data back-up account tries to access the point-of-sale system, CHAMPION could use historical data to conclude that this is unusual. Once identified, the software alerts an analyst of the suspicious activity — in time to potentially thwart an attack.
Cybersecurity isn't CHAMPION's only trick. Change its diet of knowledge and the software can learn to analyze financial services or health care data. PNNL licensed the software to Champion Technology Company Inc. to pursue all three applications.
Hydrothermal Processing (HTP) to Convert Wet Biomass into Biofuels – Doug Elliott, Dan Anderson, Rich Hallen, Todd Hart, Andy Schmidt (PNNL); James Oyler (Genifuel Corp.)
A new chemical processing system can convert natural substances as diverse as waste treatment sludge, food scraps and algae into a variety of useful fuels.
The system is remarkably efficient, in many cases converting 99 percent of a feedstock like algae into fuels, including biocrude oil, which can then be refined into aviation fuel, gasoline, and diesel fuel. The process also produces another fuel — methane gas — as well as clean water and useful plant nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
Exotic though it sounds, the ability to make useful fuels out of biological materials like plants has long been possible. The difficulty has been doing so economically. The technology created by the PNNL team hurdles previous challenges by making it possible to skip a long, expensive, energy-intensive step that most processes require — drying out the raw material. Instead, the PNNL process works directly with the wet slurry of raw material, be it a waste stream from thousands of homes, scraps from a food-processing facility, or long strands of algae.
Alternate technologies typically recover much less energy from the raw material — often about one-third as much energy — and they typically cost much more. They also generally don't also produce other useful substances, such as clean water, burnable gas, and fertilizer.
Utah-based Genifuel Corp. has licensed the technology and built a pilot plant for its partner, Reliance Industries Ltd., to create biocrude oil from algae. The PNNL team is also working with the Water Environment Research Foundation to demonstrate the process's effectiveness with municipal wastewater.
Power Model Integrator: A System for More Accurate Energy Forecasts – Luke Gosink (PNNL); Ryan Hafen, Alex Venzin, Maria Vlachopoulou, Ning Zhou, Trenton Pulsipher (former PNNL)
Accurately forecasting future electricity needs is tricky, with sudden weather changes and other variables impacting projections minute by minute. Errors can have grave repercussions, from blackouts to higher energy costs.
The Power Model Integrator is a new forecasting tool that delivers up to a 50-percent increase in accuracy and the potential to save millions of dollars in wasted energy costs. Energy forecasters working for utilities and other power organizations currently rely on a combination of personal experience, historical data and their own preferred forecasting model. Each model tends to excel at capturing certain grid behaviors, but not necessarily the whole picture.
The Power Model Integrator simultaneously evaluates multiple models and determines how to best combine those models to make a single forecast that more accurately predicts future power needs. More accurate energy forecasts help reduce excess power generation, decrease the need to suddenly buy emergency power at a high cost and reduce the energy's carbon footprint.
Pressurized Magic Angle Spinning (PMAS) Technology for Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectroscopy – David Hoyt, Jian Zhi Hu, Jesse Sears, Eric Walter, Hardeep Mehta, Kevin Rosso (PNNL); Flaviu Turcu (former PNNL)
A PNNL team created a way to make a sophisticated scientific tool much more useful for a variety of studies, including several aimed at answering important questions about energy and the environment.
The method boosts our ability to look at complex samples under conditions that more closely mimic their real-world environments. The technology brings together the power of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, which yields a remarkable peek into molecular interactions, and the ability to re-create the extreme conditions found on the tundra, in the deep ocean, or underground — conditions relevant to some of the biggest questions that scientists at DOE laboratories such as PNNL ask.
In the past, scientists have not been able to analyze solid materials, such as soil, minerals, biomass, biological materials or other structures, using NMR spectroscopy in its most effective mode, known as "magic angle spinning," while the samples were held under the high pressures or temperatures relevant to real-world reactions. The trouble is, once the samples are removed from those conditions, their physical properties or reactions can change significantly, limiting the usefulness of the data. The new technology allows scientists to tap NMR spectroscopy to watch molecular interactions as they occur in conditions that mimic their real surroundings.
The team has already applied the technology, called pressurized magic angle spinning, to several questions:
- Exploring the chemistry and other effects that occur when carbon is stored underground in a process known as carbon sequestration — an approach designed to reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.
- Recreating the conditions found in fracking wells deep underground, where ultra-high pressures rule.
- Tracking the complex chemical reactions that occur when new biofuels made from plants are upgraded to useful fuels like gasoline or diesel fuel.
Subambient Pressure Ionization with Nanoelectrospray (SPIN) Source – Keqi Tang, Gordon Anderson Richard D. Smith, Ryan Kelly ( PNNL); Randall Pedder (Ardara Technologies); Jason Page, Ioan Marginean, and Jonathan Cox (former PNNL)
At the heart of mass spectrometry is the ability to precisely measure tiny samples of substances such as chemicals in soil and water or cancer cells in a tissue sample. Collecting the most molecules possible into the device is a key step: the more molecules, the more sure scientists can be that their findings are accurate.
The latest work builds on a previous PNNL creation of a device known as the Electrodynamic Ion Funnel. The ion funnel comprises a series of electrically charged rings that effectively funnel charged particles of interest into a small space where they can be measured and manipulated.
But collecting those particles and getting them into the ion funnel is challenging. Many of the ions simply escape before passing through the small aperture into the funnel. The new development, known as SPIN or Subambient Pressure Ionization with Nanoelectrospray, eliminates this problem by removing the aperture completely. The ion source now creates and sends particles to the funnel in a single system under the same atmospheric conditions, at just one-tenth the atmospheric pressure on top of Mt. Everest.
The net effect? Nearly 50 times as many gas-phase ions enter the mass spectrometer than without SPIN. That could mean greater sensitivity for assessing runoff of chemicals in soil, for example, or the ability to catch signs of cancer in the blood earlier than was previously possible.
Glyph™ Wearable Media Device – Bruce Bernacki (PNNL); Allan Evans, Edward Tang, Neil Welch (Avegant Corporation)
Avegant's Glyph™ is the only wearable media device that solves the problem of how to view electronics screens comfortably and clearly for long periods of time. The technology was originally envisioned for military applications, such as night-time maneuvers and piloting armored or unmanned vehicles. But the headset has many more applications, including surgery and virtual training. Instead of a screen, the Glyph™ uses a micro-mirror array and a combination of proprietary optics in a head-mounted visor to reflect an image from an existing media source such as a television or gaming console. The image then is projected directly onto the back of the eye, effectively using the viewer's retina as a screen. The resulting image is extremely sharp and vivid, and looks as if the viewer is watching an 80-inch screen from 8 feet away. Because this approach mimics natural vision, the media-agnostic device avoids both eye strain and nausea, two typical aspects of near-eyed displays.
Bruce Bernacki and Allan Evans developed the initial technology for the Glyph™ at PNNL. Evans left PNNL to form Avegant where he commercialized the technology. Avegant licensed the technology from PNNL and began offering a commercial product in 2014. The technology went on to win a Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer in 2014 in addition to a number of industry honors.
SALVI: System for Analysis at the Liquid Vacuum Interface – Xiao-Ying Yu, Zihua Zhu, Bingwen Liu, Martin Iedema, Matthew Marshall (PNNL); James Cowin (former PNNL); Li Yang (Evans Analytical Group)
Many studies rely on precise knowledge of how solids and liquids interact on a molecular level, but liquids evaporate in the vacuum of certain instruments. PNNL developed the System for Analysis at the Liquid Vacuum Interface, or SALVI, that for the first time allows these instruments to image liquid samples in their natural state, at the molecular level in real-time and space.
SALVI can take a sample as small as two drops. The sample flows through a channel to a window the size of a pinhole, where an ion beam performs analysis. Surface tension keeps the liquid from escaping the window. The flow and small window reduce evaporation in a vacuum and protect the sample from beam damage, making many forms of liquid analysis possible.
SALVI enables imaging by more than one analytical instrument, and it eliminates the need for sample preparations such as freezing or drying biological cells. With SALVI, scientists can gain new insights about nanoparticles, bacteria, batteries and more. The team developed SALVI in collaboration with scientists at EMSL, the U.S. Department of Energy's Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory user facility at PNNL. SALVI was licensed to Structure Probe, Inc. in 2014.
STARS: Solar Thermochemical Advanced Reactor System – Robert Wegeng, Paul Humble, Robert Dagle, Daryl Brown, Dustin Caldwell, Richard Cameron, Feng (Richard) Zheng, Brad Fritz, Ward TeGrotenhuis (PNNL), Shankar Krishnan, Steven Leith, Dan Palo, Jair Lizarazo-Adarme (former PNNL); Richard Diver (DiverSolar LLC)
The Solar Thermochemical Advanced Reactor System (STARS) concentrates solar power to convert natural gas into synthesis gas (syngas). This syngas product enables natural gas power plants to make electricity while using 20% less fuel, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared with conventional gas-fired plants. By incorporating meso-channel reactor technology, STARS sets a world record for converting solar energy to chemical energy, with 69% efficiency.
STARS represents a quantum leap forward from all other power generation choices available for new power plants today, because of its reduced carbon emissions, competitive cost, and ability to create syngas for electricity and transportation fuels. It also generates syngas that could be used to produce other chemicals, such as methanol and hydrogen. The research was largely sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative. SolarThermoChemical LLC licensed the technology in 2014.
Combined Orthogonal Mobility & Mass Evaluation - Gordon Anderson, Erin Baker, Kevin Crowell, William Danielson III, Yehia Ibrahim, Brian LaMarche, Matthew Monroe, Ronald Moore, Randolph Norheim, Daniel Orton, Alexandre Shvartsburg, Gordon Slysz, Dick Smith, and Keqi Tang (PNNL). Contact: Erin Baker
The Combined Orthogonal Mobility & Mass Evaluation Technology (CoMet) platform addresses the triple challenge of specificity, sensitivity, and speed in analyses of complex biological and environmental samples by providing more comprehensive coverage of smaller samples with higher measurement throughput. CoMet synergistically integrates the ion mobility and mass spectrometry approaches, enabling rapid ultrasensitive analyses of extremely complex materials and allowing separation, identification, and characterization of species indistinguishable by mass spectrometry alone.
With unsurpassed analytical capabilities that include swift detection, attribution, and quantification of rare yet extraordinarily important components in enormously complex organic mixtures, such as proteomes or metabolomes in human or animal tissues, or natural samples such as petroleum or soils, CoMet will open major new avenues in biomedical research, clinical practice, and natural product management. Suitable for either global or targeted analyses, this platform will be a cost-effective universal tool for a broad range of applications in science and industry.
Graphene Nanostructures for Lithium Batteries - Wendy Bennett, Daiwon Choi, Gordon Graff, Jianzhi Hu, John Lemmon, Xiaolin Li, Jun Liu, Donghai Mei, Vijayakumar Murugesan, Zimin Nie, Kevin Rosso, Laxmikant Saraf, Birgit Schwenzer, Yongsoon Shin, Maria Sushko Chongmin Wang, Wei Wang, Jie Xiao, Wu Xu, and Jason Zhang, (PNNL); John Lettow (Vorbeck Materials); and Ihan Aksay (Princeton University). Contact: Jun Liu
Researchers at PNNL, partnering with Vorbeck Materials and Princeton University, innovated methods for applying graphene to lithium batteries to improve on current lithium ion (Li-ion) battery technology and to forge a path for next generation lithium-sulfur (Li-sulfur) batteries, and possibly down the road, lithium-air (Li-air) batteries. Using Vorbec's proprietary functionalized graphene sheet material, these new graphene-based battery electrodes offer significant advantages to lithium battery technologies. The unique properties of graphene, combined with specifically designed chemical modification of the graphene and assembly into novel structures, have advanced the limit on what is feasible for lithium battery energy storage. The new material delivers increased battery capacity, longer cycle life, and twice as much power at high charge and discharge rates, the latter of which are critical to expanding the adoption and use of electric vehicles. Using a battery with graphene-based electrodes, a cell phone could be fully recharged in less than ten minutes versus the typical two to five hours.
The technology is licensed to Vorbeck, who is co-recipient of the award with PNNL and Princeton University.
Advanced Carbon-dioxide Removal Unit - Tim Bays, Ken Buxton, Dustin Caldwell, April Carman, Glen Fryxell, Dennis Mullen, Ken Rappe, Jake Tucker, Jesse Willett, and Tom Zemanian (PNNL); Ken Eischeid (Steward Advanced Materials). Contact: April Carman
The supply and replenishment of oxygen aboard the U.S. Navy's fleet of submarines must be taken carefully into account and adapted to the unique environment, which is why shipboard air purification systems are critical. One of the major challenges for a system in this environment is effective removal and disposal of carbon dioxide, or CO2. Existing removal techniques involve legacy systems with serious and long-standing issues the Navy has been highly motivated to solve. This led to a partnership with PNNL, and a technology transfer that yielded the partners an Interagency Partnership Award—a first for PNNL—from the Federal Laboratory Consortium.
The Advanced Carbon-dioxide Removal Unit technology—or ACRU—is a versatile air purification system that employs a novel granular sorbent material, developed at PNNL, to effectively target and efficiently and effectively remove CO2 from breathing air in confined spaces, such as on submarines. It also meets the need for regeneration capability—extending the useful life of the sorbent—thus promoting effective operation of the purification system for long stretches of time. And its byproducts are nonhazardous.
Manufacturing rights for the new ACRU sorbent material—a new version of PNNL's award-winning SAMMS® technology—are licensed to Steward Advanced Materials. The first ACRU that will house the sorbent when installed in its first U.S. Navy submarine is being manufactured by The Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation.
Array Detection Technology for Mass Spectrometry - David Koppenaal, Charles Barinaga (PNNL); Bonner Denton, Roger Sperline (University of Arizona); Gary Hieftje, James Barnes, Greg Schilling, Steve Ray, Jeremy Felton (Indiana University); Eugene Atlas (iMAGERLABS); Dirk Ardelt (SPECTRO Analytical Instruments/Ametek). Contact: Dave Koppenaal.
The Array Detection Technology for Mass Spectrometry represents a breakthrough in mass spectrometry detectors, employing thousands of micro-fabricated detectors arranged in a dense array and electronically integrated into a single monolithic chip-based device to simultaneously monitor and detect wide mass ranges. This allows the entire composition of a test sample to be analyzed in a single run, which saves time, increases efficiency, and considerably simplified the analysis process. Conventional detectors have historically only been able to detect a single mass or a small range of masses at one time, meaning all other chemical information for a given analysis was lost or undetected, and multiple scans or runs were required to detect and analyze an entire chemical sample. This new technology—developed in collaboration with the University of Arizona, Indiana University, and California-based iMAGERLABS—is highly desirable for a number of analytical applications, some of which include nonproliferation monitoring, forensics, environmental monitoring, and industrial hygiene. It is licensed to SPECTRO/Ametek, who launched the first commercial implementation of the detector in a mass spectrometry instrument product in 2010.
Dynaforge—A Solid-State Dynamic Powder Compaction Process for Production of High-Performance Tools and Dies - Darrell Herling, Yuri Hovanski, Siva Pilli (PNNL); Louis Lherbier, David Novotnak (Carpenter Powder Products). Contact: Darrell Herling.
From windshields to paperclips to house keys, to toy cars, to the nuts and bolts that hold furniture together—there are thousands of items that we use in our everyday lives that are mass produced using specialized tooling and die sets. Such processes require exceptionally high temperatures to produce the items, requiring tools that can withstand the tremendous stress put on them during production; a need the industry hasn't had a solid answer for until now. Dynaforge is a new commercial process for manufacturing tools and dies that are more resistant to extremely high temperatures and stresses. Developed by Pennsylvania-based Carpenter Powder Products, and extensively tested, analyzed, and refined with the help of researchers at PNNL, the Dynaforge process improves tooling and die life by an average of five times, lowering the frequency and relative direct and indirect costs of downtime to replace broken tooling, and thus the long-term cost per part. Its principal market is in automobile manufacturing for primary hot forming processes such as die casting of metal parts for the power train, and forging for suspension and steering components.
GammaTracker™ - Carolyn Seifert, Mitch Myjak, Scott J. Morris, Les Kirihara, Michael Batdorf, Brion Burghard, Luke Erikson, Ryan Slaugh, Duane Balvage, John Rohrer, Michael Hughes (PNNL); Zhong He, Feng Zhang (University of Michigan); Douglas Lee (Kansas City Plant). Contact: Cari Seifert.
The GammaTracker is an automated, rugged, low-power handheld radioisotope detection unit with sensitivity on par with existing competing alternatives, but with better resolution and increased source identification reliability in a much smaller, self-contained package. And, for the first time ever in handheld radioisotope detection, the GammaTracker can point users to the direction of gamma-ray sources in real time using a generated visual distribution map.
The technology is the result of a key collaboration between PNNL, the Kansas City Plant, and the University of Michigan.
IncubATR™ - the Live-Cell Monitor - SK Sundaram, Brian Riley, Thomas Weber, Colette Sacksteder, R. Shane Addleman (PNNL); John Peterman (Simplex Scientific). Contact: S.K. Sundaram.
The ability to test live cells is critical to observing true cell behavior in many applications in the areas of biomaterials, nanomaterials, product evaluation for potential health hazards, drug testing, and screening for medical and pharmaceutical biomarkers. The ability to do so reliably will accelerate material, biological, and medical discovery and innovation; reduce laboratory and industry costs; and, limit the need for live-animal testing in some applications. Designed specifically for Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, scientists at PNNL invented the IncubATR-the Live-Cell Monitor (IncubATR) to provide a cost-effective rapid-screening option for achieving these goals. The technology is licensed to Middleton, Wisconsin-based Simplex Scientific, who is currently developing a commercial version of the product.
Ion Mobility Spectrometer on a Microchip - Alexandre Shvartsburg, Keqi Tang, Dick Smith (PNNL); Paul (Billy) Boyle, Andrew Koehl, David Ruiz-Alonso, Danielle Toutoungi (Owlstone Ltd). Contact: Alex Shvartsburg.
The Ion Mobility Spectrometer on a Microchip is a new, miniaturized device that accelerates the speed of analyses using ion mobility separations by over 100 times, enabling capabilities for rapid and confident monitoring of a broad range of chemicals at very low concentrations. Capitalizing on the leading-edge nanofabrication techniques of partner Owlstone Nanotech and the latest developments in Field Asymmetric waveform Ion Mobility Spectrometry (FAIMS) at PNNL, the dime-sized device employs a scalable multichannel architecture for high-speed separations of ions in the gas phase. It can easily be integrated with an air sampler, ionization source, and detector to yield a powerful gas analyzer and a chemical monitor in a portable, self-contained unit. Current primary applications for this technology include explosive and chemical warfare agent detection and, when integrated with mass spectrometry, complex proteomic and metabolomic sample analysis.
Propylene Glycol from Renewable Sources - Alan Zacher, John Frye (PNNL); Todd Werpy (Archer Daniels Midland Company); James F. White (3RiversCatalysis LLC). Contact: Alan Zacher.
Propylene glycol, used to make the chemicals needed to produce everyday industrial and consumer products, has historically only been produced from petroleum–about 2-to-2.5 billion pounds of it per year to meet U.S. demand alone–to the detriment of the natural environment. The Propylene Glycol from Renewable Sources (PGRS) process offers an environmentally friendly, cost-competitive and commercially viable alternative by converting plant-based, seed-oil-derived glycerol, sugars, or sugar alcohols to propylene glycol. The PGRS process is licensed to Archer Daniels Midland Company, which has recently completed construction on a full-scale production facility for the purpose of mass-manufacturing and commercializing the renewable chemical product.
Micro Power Source - Mark Gross, Gordon Graff, Jiguang (Jason) Zhang, Wendy Bennett, Charles Bonham (PNNL); David Stein, Carlos Sanchez, Darlene Udoni, Rob Jarecki, Randy Shul, Doug Greth, Christine Ford, Todd Bauer (Sandia National Laboratories); Simon Nieh (Front Edge Technology, Inc); Jenn-Ming Yang, Yuhuan Xu (UCLA Henry Samuel School of Engineering and Applied Science). Contact: Mark Gross.
A joint effort with Sandia National Laboratories, Front Edge Technology Inc, and the UCLA Henry Samuel School of Engineering and Applied Science, Micro Power Source combines five innovations, including an ultra-thin sealing material developed at PNNL, into an ultra-small form factor, self-charging power source encapsulated in a polymer coating. It functions by integrating a lithium-ion based solid-state battery with a thin photovoltaic collector, resulting in an environmentally friendly power source with likely applications including self-power smart cards, environmental sensors, and tags for material tracking. The new technology has been licensed to Front Edge.
Perpetua Power Puck™ - John DeSteese, Larry Olsen (PNNL); Paul McClelland, Jon Hofmeister (Perpetua Power Source Technologies).
Electricity can be created by processing heat associated with naturally occurring temperature differences in the environment. This essentially inexhaustible source of heat can be converted into electrical power sufficient to run compact, low-power devices like wireless sensors for decades. The Perpetua Power Puck™ harvests energy from its surrounding environment with the capability for replacing outright conventional chemical batteries.
The Power Puck is a renewable energy source that has no moving parts, which makes it more efficient and cost-effective than other technologies. The technology can save time and money in situations where information needs to be collected and power sources need to be maintained at remote sites, such as dams, bridges and pipelines. These energy harvesters are expected to last as long as the sensors and transmitters they power.
The Perpetua Power Puck is being marketed for industrial automation, military, energy efficient buildings and other applications. It is based on technology developed at PNNL called the Thermoelectric Ambient Energy Harvester [PNNL news release] and licensed to Perpetua Power Source Technologies, based in Corvallis, Ore. PNNL received the R&D 100 award in partnership with Perpetua.
Ultrasensitive Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry Source & Interface - Richard Smith, Ryan Kelly, Jason Page, and Keqi Tang.
Scientists at PNNL have achieved a 40-fold increase in the sensitivity of mass spectrometry instrumentation that will benefit applications in human health, the environment, and pharmaceutical and petrochemical industries. The Ultrasensitive ESI-MS Source & Interface integrates four technologies to provide greater sensitivity and precise measurements while requiring smaller samples.
Mass spectrometry instrumentation enables the analysis and identification of broad types of samples and ranges of chemical compounds. It's commonly used for environmental and health analyses, as well as by industry for pharmaceutical and petrochemical product development. The most broadly useful methods for chemical and biochemical samples use electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (ESI-MS).
PNNL's improved ESI-MS instrumentation can measure amounts of compounds in a sample very precisely, even when very little material is available - which is especially important when sample sizes are limited, such as from microbiopsies of human tissue.
PNNL scientists are using the improved sensitivity in studies to develop biomarkers for early disease diagnosis, drug target discovery and basic biological research. The laboratory is also engaged in a collaboration with a major vendor of mass spectrometry instruments to further explore the benefits of the new ESI-MS system.
Grid Friendly™ Appliance Controller - Robert Pratt, David Chassin, Jeffery Dagle, Donald Hammerstrom, Larry Reid, Michael Kintner-Meyer, Paul Boyd. Contact: Robert Pratt.
The GFA Controller is a small circuit board built into household appliances that reduces stress on the power grid by continually monitoring fluctuations in available power. During times of high demand, appliances equipped with the controller automatically shut down for a short period of time, resulting in a cumulative reduction that can maintain stability on the grid. The GFA Controller received a Federal Laboratory Consortium award for Excellence in Technology Transfer in 2007.
Multi-Scale Materials Integrated Processing Method - S.K. Sundaram, Mike Schweiger, Brad Johnson, Brian Riley (PNNL); Brett MacIsaac (Battelle); Juliana Olmstead (former grad student). Contact: S.K. Sundaram.
This technology is the only integrated, single-step process materials fabrication method that generates nano- to macro-sized materials with identical chemistry characteristics for use in materials science research and development applications. The ability to create these materials from one process reduces the risk of impurities in these materials and improves consistency. The result is higher-quality products that can be used for advanced materials, components, devices, and their integration by materials scientists, engineers, designers and users for broad range of applications.
Battelle-RDF: Environmentally Benign and Reduced Corrosion Runway Deicing Fluid - Satya Chauhan, Nick Conkle, Melissa Roshon (Battelle); Bill Samuels (PNNL). Contact: Satya Chauhan or Bill Samuels.
The D3 is a family of non-toxic biodegradable fluids used to remove and prevent the formation of snow and ice on aircraft, airport runways, roads, and pavement. It can also prevent snow from sticking to deiced surfaces, providing additional protection.
Removing ice and snow from these types of surfaces is a high priority to ensure transportation safety worldwide, but the high toxicity levels of previous deicing products posed environmental threats. D3 was developed to be more environmentally friendly and is manufactured primarily from bio-based materials. The material substantially reduces toxicity levels and potential environmental damage while providing the same performance and benefits of other commercial deicing products.
Velocys-FT: Fischer Tropsch Fuels Using Velocys Microchannel Technology - Jeff McDaniel, Terry Manzanec, Anna Lee Tonkovich, Laura Silva, Frank Daly, Kai Jarosch, Tim Sullivan, Sean Fitzgerald, Maddalena Fanelli, Rachid Tacha, Bob Litt, Wayne Simmons, Jenn Marco, Mike Lamont, Jeff Marco, Eric Daymo, Harley Freeman, Luke Schrader, Ravi Arora, Dongming Qiu, Paul Neagle, Mike Marchiando, Tom Yuschak, Steve Perry, Bin Yang, Soumitra Deshmukh, Bob Luzenski, Dave Kilanowski, Jan Lerou (Velocys, Inc.); Yong Wang, Dean Matson (PNNL); Satya Chauhan, Brad Chadwell, Christopher Brandon (Battelle). Contact: Jeff McDaniel.
Velocys-FT is an advanced reactor technology that greatly reduces the size and cost of second-generation biofuel facilities. First-generation biofuels, including corn ethanol and biodiesel, are prevalent today but are an interim solution because they use food crops for raw material. Next-generation biofuels, ones that use non-food biomass, are a more sustainable choice. Velocys-FT can help next-generation biofuels be produced more inexpensively at smaller-scale facilities. Primary benefits include favorable economics at smaller scales, more easily deployed and modular units and improved heat transfer. Velocys led its development with contributions from Battelle and PNNL.
Functionalized Nanoporous Thin Films (FNTF) - R. Shane Addleman, Glen Fryxell, Richard Skaggs, Xiaohong Shari Li. Contact: Shane Addleman or Rick Skaggs.
FNTF is used to coat sampling discs that can then be used to easily capture and concentrate heavy metal contaminants in water sources. The FNTF sampling discs can then be quickly analyzed with X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy to detect the presence of toxic metals. The FNTF technology significantly expands and enhances sampling and testing capabilities, resulting in the ability to test water for virtually every heavy metal with potential to negatively affect human health and the environment. The technology also increases sensitivity by more than a thousand times the previous capability. The technology was developed with PANalytical, an international supplier of analytical instrumentation and software for X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry.
PNNL's FNTF technology was also recognized in the September 2007 issue of R&D Magazine as one of the top 25 micro- and nanotechnologies of the year.
Microchannel Gas-Liquid Processing Device - Ward TeGrotenhuis, V. Susie Stenkamp, Feng (Richard) Zheng. Contact: Ward TeGrotenhuis.
This technology manages heat and recovers water to balance consumption in fuel cell systems and fuel processors. Its compact size and ability to operate in a wide range of conditions make it ideal for use in portable or mobile fuel cell applications including vehicles, auxiliary power supplies, and electronics systems. The device is also useful for distilling diesel fuel to aid in removing sulfur so that it can be converted to hydrogen. It was developed with funding from NASA and DOE's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy office.
Universal Parsing Agent (UPA) - Alex Gibson, Mark Whiting, James Brown, Wendy Cowley, Nick Cramer, Patricia Medvick, Dennis McQuerry, Anne Schur, Ryan Scott, Marie Whyatt. Contact: Alex Gibson.
The UPA is a document analysis and transformation software program that accepts multiple information streams or datasets, finds and extracts the information needed, and delivers results in the format that will be most useful. It is flexible and adaptable to individual user needs, and can be used to identify and extract very specific or very broad ranges of information. UPA was developed for a variety of U.S. government clients. Most recently a version was deployed at the Environmental Protection Agency to support a large web content management system. UPA may be used anywhere people fight battles with information overload. Applications currently range from supporting our government's Global War on Terror to commercial business intelligence efforts.
The Cesium-131 Brachytherapy Seed - Larry Greenwood, Mark Murphy, Darrell Fisher, Deborah Coffey, Chuck Soderquist, Roman Piper (PNNL), David Swanberg, Donald Segna, Lane Bray, Garrett Brown, Matthew Bales, Clay O’Laughlin, (IsoRay Medical), Christopher Smith (Intellegration); James Madsen (Columbia Basin Consulting Group), Leroy Korb (Cancer Care Center, Warren, PA). Contact: Larry Greenwood or David Swanberg.
This powerful new prostate cancer treatment developed jointly by IsoRay and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has been acclaimed by doctors as the most significant advance in seed implant therapy in more than 15 years. The ground-breaking IsoRay cesium-131 brachytherapy seed has been FDA-cleared to deliver a precisely measured radiation dose to malignant tumors of the prostate as well as other major organs. The seed’s innovative design delivers its therapeutic radiation faster and more evenly than other radioisotopes and its short half-life minimizes and provides faster resolution of side effects associated with radiation therapy.
e-RESS: revolutionary nanoparticulate coating process - John Fulton, George Deverman, Clement Yonker, (PNNL), James McClain, Charles Douglas Taylor, James DeYoung (Micell Technologies). Contact: John Fulton.
The e-RESS (Electro-State Rapid Expansion of Supercritical fluids) process is a new method to deposit nanoparticulate coatings in a few simple processing steps, and is expected to give cardio-implant patients the comfort of better drug delivery and longer implant integrity. The e-RESS technology provides a method for inhibiting the rate of tissue re-growth over medical implants, such as vascular stents, which should result in longer-lived stents and reduce the need for replacement surgeries. The e-RESS process also provides a method for combining coating elements to improve control over time-release properties of therapeutic agents.
Surface-Induced Mineralization Technique for Calcium-Phosphate Coatings Incorporating Therepeutic Agents (SIM) - Allison Campbell, Peter Rieke, Xiahong Shari Li, Barbara Tarasevich, (PNNL), Lin Song, Marisol Avila. Contact: Allison Campbell.
SIM is a novel water-based technique that allows a biocompatible calcium-phosphate coating enhanced with a therapeutic agent to be deposited on orthopedic implants and other medical devices, such as catheters and stents. The coatings can reduce or eliminate bacteria growth that causes post-surgical infection. The water-based deposition process combined with therapeutic agents also allows for enhanced bone bonding of artificial joints by providing an advanced method for applying pure calcium-phosphate coatings, which are a natural component of bone.
Ti MIM: a new technique for Titanium Metal Injection Molding - Eric Nyberg, Kevin Simmons, K. Scott Weil, (PNNL). Contact: Eric Nyberg.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has developed a process that speeds up production time and could dramatically reduce costs for forming high-quality titanium parts, without generating toxic waste that requires disposal. The Ti MIM process incorporates a proprietary binder for injection molding of titanium that reduces or eliminate impurities in the metal, as well as reducing the time and cost of producing strong, lightweight, corrosion-resistant titanium parts for use in the biomedical, automotive and aerospace industries.
MilliWave Thermal Analyzer - SK Sundaram, (PNNL), Paul Woskov, (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) William Daniel, Jr., (Savannah River National Laboratory). Contact: SK Sundaram.
The MilliWave Thermal Analyzer, developed jointly by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Savannah River National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, is a thermal analysis instrument that uses millimeter-wave electromagnetic radiation to measure the temperature, amount of energy emitted, and physical change of materials, processes, and systems. This technology can function under extreme environments (such as very high temperatures) because contact is not required between the instrumentation and the materials; therefore, sampling of the materials is not required and the measurements can be made in real-time.
The Morning Report: Advanced Proactive Safety and System Monitoring Tool - Thomas A. Ferryman (PNNL), Brett G. Amidan (PNNL), Irving C. Statler (NASA Ames), Thomas R. Chidester (NASA Ames), Loren J. Rosenthal (BMI), Robert E. Lynch (Flight Safety Consultants), Gary L. Prothero (ProWorks Corp) and Robert E. Lawrence (Safe Flight). Contact: Tom Ferryman.
*R&D Magazine's 2005 Editors' Choice Award for "Product with the Greatest Impact on Safety"
The Morning Report is a computational tool used to analyze large datasets of aviation information collected by onboard aircraft instruments. The software and algorithms can be extended to other domain applications to monitor massive amounts of data and identify typical patterns and atypical events thus enabling domain experts to monitor complex systems.
Continuous analysis of flight data can be used by aviation safety experts and airline policy makers to determine subtle but potentially serious safety issues. Every day The Morning Report analyzes gigabytes of the day's flight information and presents data the next morning in tabular or graphical reports. The reports allow aviation safety experts to rapidly pinpoint anomalies, share information with other decision makers and possibly prevent accidents. While the technology utilizes complex mathematical and statistical algorithms it is easy to operate via a simple desk-top application.
This is the first technology developed that can use a new paradigm in data-intensive computing to distill “insight” from massive amounts of data covering numerous nuances, including un-envisioned nuances, of thousands of flights to make aviation safer. Before The Morning Report, there was no way for all of these data to be boiled down into a form that would be useful to aviation safety experts or airline policy makers. The mathematics of The Morning Report reveal events and conditions that could be prerequisite to situations that flight safety experts had not perceived as problematic or even knew were occurring during routine flights. Once recognized, the airlines have the insight to rectify these practices before they become a safety problem—and before lives are lost.
The Morning Report award is shared with co-developers: NASA Ames Research Center, Battelle, Flight Safety Consultants, ProWorks Corporation and Safe Flight.
More information about this technology, including a 5-minute movie, can be found at PNNL's Statistical Sciences website.
BSP3 Polymer - Jay W. Grate (PNNL), Steven N. Kaganove
(Michigan Molecular Institute), David A. Nelson (PNNL) Contact: Jay
A novel carbosiloxane polymer has been developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) that can be used in chemical detector systems to detect airborne chemical agents such as nerve agents that might be used in a terrorist attack. The patented polymer (“BSP3”) has been licensed to BAE Systems, which is developing the ChemSentryTM 150C chemical vapor detector system. The polymer coats the surface of a sensor chip in the chemical detector and absorbs vapor molecules from the air so the sensor can detect them. Chemical detectors can be used as counter terrorism devices to monitor the safety of air in buildings and subways and to protect first responders at terrorist incidents or chemical accidents. Compared it to its predecessor polymer, fluoropolyol, BSP3 made sensors four times more sensitive to nerve agents. In surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensor array systems using a preconcentrator, the BSP3 polymer enabled faster detection to lower concentrations than was previously possible.
Polymers applied to the surfaces of SAW sensors determine their sensitivity and selectivity by collecting and concentrating vapor molecules from the gas phase onto the sensor surface by reversible sorption. The BSP3 polymer has been designed and synthesized especially for sensors in array-based chemical detectors. Each sensor in a sensor array system has a different coating, so the collective responses of the array provide a characteristic pattern, or “fingerprint” to a given analyte vapor. When chemical vapors are detected, the pattern of responses from the array is used to recognize and distinguish one chemical compound from another. Compared to other sensing polymers, BSP3 has an exceptionally strong capability to absorb toxic organophosphorus compounds such as nerve agents, leading to high sensitivity and distinctive array patterns. BSP3 is superior for use in nerve agent sensing because it has both the necessary chemical interaction properties and the desired physical properties to provide rapid and sensitive chemical sensor responses. When used in arrays designed for other applications such as environmental monitoring, industrial hygiene, and process control, BSP3 increases the chemical diversity of coatings and thereby improves the sensor’s capability to distinguish one compound from another.
D3: Degradable by Design Deicer™ (Joint entry with Battelle Memorial Institute)—Satya Chauhan (Battelle Memorial Institute), H. Nick Conkle (Battelle Memorial Institute), William Samuels (PNNL), Sara Fauss Kuczek (Battelle Memorial Institute), Marisol Avila (PNNL), John Frye (PNNL), Kevin Simmons (PNNL)
Contact: Satya Chauhan
The D3: Degradable by Design Deicer™ is composed of a family of non-toxic, biodegradable fluids used to remove and prevent the formation of ice on military and commercial aircrafts, military and commercial runways, and roadways or pavement. The D3 is made from biobased materials and has less environmental impact on receiving waters, is much less corrosive and is less toxic than existing fluid and solid deicers.
Intellifit System—Douglas L. McMakin, Dale Collins, James M. Prince, Thomas E. Hall, David M. Sheen, Wayne M. Lechelt, Paul E. Keller, Ronald H. Severtsen (all PNNL)
Contact: Doug McMakin
*R&D Magazine's Editors' Choice Award for "Most Promising New Technology of 2004"
The Intellifit System is a first-of-its kind cylindrical holographic imaging technology that can perform a 360-degree whole body scan in less than 10 seconds. The Intellifit scanner uses a millimeter wave array/transceiver technology which bounces off the body reflecting more than 200,000 points in space. The array/transceiver illuminates the human body standing within the cylinder with extremely low-powered millimeter waves—a class of non-ionizing radiation not harmful to humans—that penetrates clothing and reflects off the body. The reflected signals are collected by the array/transceiver and sent to a high-speed image processing computer where the Intellifit software converts that “point-cloud” into dozens of precise body measurements forming a high-resolution 3D image of the body.
The Intellifit System, a commercialization of PNNL’s millimeter wave
holographic scanner, provides significant, credible technology that will inexpensively solve a large part of the product markdown/return problem for apparel retailers and manufacturers, and the consumers who are buying and returning their clothing. The Intellifit System adds value to every participant in the clothing buying cycle—from the designer, to the manufacturer, to the retailer, to the customer. Intellifit allows designers to understand who their customers are and how, in the real world, they are sized, shaped, and proportioned. Intellifit Specifications and Patterns help manufacturers, anywhere in the world, create garments that fit real people in their targeted demographic.
Parallel commercialization of another embodiment of this technology is taking place on the security front. This application of the technology is called D3P, Dual Panel Planar Portal, and could minimize the extra delays of searches with hand-held metal detectors and the indignity of physical searches to resolve ambiguous alarms. The D3P can harmlessly and quickly scan a person and generate an image with such clarity that all the items inside the clothing and shoes of that person are recognizable, regardless of the materials from which they are made.
Single-Chain Antibody Library—Michael J. Feldhaus (PNNL), K. Dane Wittrup (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Lee K. Opresko (PNNL), Robert W. Siegel (PNNL), H. Steven Wiley (PNNL)
Developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Single-Chain Antibody Library provides researchers with an easy-to-grow library of more than one billion artificial antibodies. These antibodies—produced by genetically engineered brewer’s yeast—offer an inexpensive method for creating and producing antibodies for research. Antibodies play an increasingly important role in the biomedical and pharmaceutical industries as effective tools for recognizing specific molecules. For example, in medical treatments, antibodies are injected into the body to seek out specific proteins on cancerous cells, and target treatment to those cells. Biowarfare sensors can also use antibodies to detect proteins associated with harmful agents. Antibodies also are expected to play a major role in helping scientists to more fully understand various biological processes by identifying which proteins are present in a given functional state and if they interact with other specific proteins in the cell.
Nanomolar-affinity scFvs (single chain Fragment variables) are routinely obtained by magnetic bead screening and flow cytometric sorting. This yields clones of yeast cells that contain the gene encoding the scFv. The biochemical and biophysical properties of the scFv clones can be evaluated directly on the yeast cell surface by immunofluorescent labeling and flow cytometry, eliminating the separate subcloning, expression, and purification steps typically necessary to find and extract unique antibodies. Using multiple antigens to screen the library simultaneously saves the researcher an enormous amount of time – days as compared to weeks or months with other current technologies. The ability to use multiplex library screening allows this approach to be used for high-throughput antibody isolation necessary for proteomics applications.
PNNL’s Single-Chain Antibody Library could replace the need to produce antibodies using animals and presents new possibilities for rapidly designing medical treatments more compatible with the human immune system. It provides greater benefit over similar but older technologies by: using a novel identification process that allows researchers to screen and identify needed antibodies, in days rather than months; saving research dollars by reducing time and labor cost; enabling the rapid reproduction of selected antibodies; and controlling the expression of antibodies to allow library expansion while maintaining diversity.
FT-MS Proteome Express— , Harold R. Udseth, Gordon A. Anderson (PNNL), Mark A. Wingerd, and
Mikhail E. Belov (former PNNL staff). Contact: Richard
This breakthrough technology not only significantly accelerates proteome analysis but also provides accuracy and depth never previously reached in proteomic studies. It is the first-ever high-throughput Fourier-transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer (FT-MS) with an unprecedented ability to characterize and identify proteins, especially those that exist in small quantities. It provides quantitative analyses of “proteomes,” the collection of proteins that make up a cell or organism under a specific set of conditions at a specific time.
This capability enables application of the FT-MS Proteome Express to understanding the role proteins play in diseases, such as cancer, and provides a basis for developing treatment drugs. The FT-MS Proteome Express will revolutionize the scientific community’s ability to understand biological systems and to develop biotechnological solutions for the nation’s most pressing energy and environmental problems.
Product Acoustic Signature System (PASS)—Aaron Diaz, William C. Cliff, Richard A. Pappas, Brion J. Burghard, James R. Skorpik, Larry D. Reid, Juan D. Valencia, Brian J. Tucker, Kayte M. Judd, Joe C. Harris, Todd J. Samuel, O. Dennis Mullen. Contact: Aaron Diaz
PASS is an acoustic inspection device that uses ultrasonic pulse echo technology to non-intrusively interrogate and identify the contents of sealed containers. With PASS in hand, Customs inspectors can tell if the tanker truck or barrel in front of them contains crude oil, vegetable oil, or chemical weapons agents. PASS can also detect hidden packages and compartments and determine the container’s fill level - all without having to open lids and conduct time-consuming, potentially hazardous physical sampling and searches.
PASS was developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and is licensed to Mehl, Griffin, & Bartek, Ltd. which is manufacturing and marketing the device. It gives Customs officials a valuable tool in their efforts to identify weapons of mass destruction, stop smuggling, enforce tariffs, and deter illicit drug trafficking. PASS also provides one of the safest, simplest means available for inspecting chemical weapons and for uncovering weapons smugglers at international borders. While it helps keep commerce moving, PASS provides that ounce of prevention critical to homeland security and can play an integral role in the verification activities needed to help maintain world stability.
The Starlight Information Visualization System—John S. Risch, John D. Pinto, Scott T. Dowson, Michelle L. Hart, Wes L. Hatley, Brian D. Moon, Bruce Rex (PNNL); Edward R. (Randy) Woodson III (Battelle Alexandria Operations (BCO)), Edwin C. “Chuck” Knutson (Object Sciences Corp.), Richard Leenstra, Lance Otis, and Tom Bougan (Applied Technical Systems, Inc.), Anne Kao, Steve Poteet, Jason Wu, William Ferng, Ole Larsen, Shan Luh, Dan Pierce, and Andrew Booker (Boeing Phantom Works). Contact: John S. Risch
Starlight launches a new generation in visualization technology by uncovering key relationships hidden in large, complex, dynamic information collections. Unlike other technologies, Starlight integrates structured, unstructured, spatial, and multimedia data, offering comparisons of information at multiple levels of abstraction – simultaneously and in near real-time.
Starlight is unlike any other information analysis tool. It is designed to capture and graphically depict complex relationships in data from multiple information sources. By making such relationships simultaneously visible Starlight enables exciting, rapid, and powerful new forms of concurrent information exploitation. The result is an unprecedented approach to information management and sense-making.
OmniViz™ enables the integrated analysis of large amounts of disparate scientific data and literature through the use of a variety of visual formats and query tools. It is a computer-based system developed to meet the challenges posed by advances in life and chemical science research. It analyzes multiple complex data sets, freely mixing both numeric and text data, and displays the results in a variety of visual formats. Relationships and patterns are discerned without prior definition, allowing the data to "speak for itself."
OmniViz™ represents an innovative breakthrough in retrieving and analyzing information from large, disparate numerical databases and text collections, with an unprecedented breadth of coverage, speed, and output options. Quite simply, OmniViz™ makes scientific research easier
OmniViz, Inc., of Maynard, Massachusetts, is the Battelle subsidiary commercializing the products resulting from this development.
Catalyst Materials for Plasma-Catalysis Engine Exhaust Treatment—;
Catalyst materials for a plasma-catalysis engine exhaust treatment make it possible to convert harmful oxides of nitrogen (NOx) in vehicle exhaust into components of clean air. When combined with a non-thermal plasma, these PNNL-developed specialized catalyst materials enable the plasma-catalysis technology that is perhaps the most promising option for removing NOx in exhaust from next-generation energy-efficient vehicles. NOx emissions contribute to the formation of acid rain and are precursors to ozone, the major component of smog. They pose a serious environmental and health risk.
The nation's three major automobile manufacturers have participated in an R&D program with PNNL to develop this technology and explore its use in actual vehicles.
Decision Support for Operations and Maintenance™ (DSOM)—;
The cost of operations and maintenance can make or break a business–especially with rising capital equipment and energy costs. Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have attacked this problem by developing a suite of analysis procedures, software and hardware that has proven to reduce life-cycle operations and maintenance (O&M) cost by as much as 25 to 50 percent. The product is called DSOMTM, short for Decision Support for Operations and MaintenanceTM. Dramatic savings are achievable because DSOM 1) improves process efficiency, 2) cuts maintenance costs, 3) extends equipment life, and 4) reduces energy consumption and associated harmful emissions.
Based on the concept of condition-based management, DSOM focuses on finding the balance between high-production rates, machine stress, and failure. DSOM allows online condition monitoring of equipment and provides early warning signs of degraded performance. DSOM's diagnostic capabilities empower the operations staff to become the first line of maintenance. Moreover a customized, integrated database, and intuitive access system provides the information staff need to make informed decisions necessary to for optimum plant operation.
This is how it works. An initial assessment of a facility's physical condition, performance levels and the organization's O&M infrastructure provides baseline data that is used to identify and prioritize improvement opportunities. Some problems can be addressed easily with the DSOM software. Others may require recommended changes in organization and infrastructure. PNNL then creates a customized database and interface matrix that is tailored to the specific needs of each user group. Through this holistic approach, DSOM links the entire plant in an enterprise-wide system that makes it possible to achieve the highest level of effectiveness and the greatest economic impacts.
Long-Range Semi-Passive Radio Frequency Identification System—;
The long-range semi-passive radio frequency identification (RFID) system was developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and commercialized and marketed by the newly formed Wave ID company. These unique semi-passive RF tags can identify, locate, and even determine the condition of any item to which it is attached. In an inventory application, this system significantly reduces the time to count, locate, monitor, and control distribution of resources ranging from commercial commodities (such as clothing, blood plasma, and perishable foods) to military equipment and personnel in the field. Inventories of items in large warehouses or stores can be completed in minutes instead of days, and the location of specific items can be found within the warehouse in a moment's notice.
The MilliWave Viscometer is a high-temperature viscosity measurement technology for process monitoring of hot molten materials such as in glass manufacture and metals refining. Viscosity is a measure of how well a liquid flows within stationary boundaries such as a pipe or pour spout, in response to a given force. It is a key parameter of molten materials that can indicate the chemistry and quality of a glass or metal product. The MilliWave Viscometer fills a need for a high-temperature on-line viscosity sensor that makes possible real-time process control in the manufacture of glass, metals, and other melter-produced materials.
It is the only viscosity measurement technology that uses millimeter-wave electromagnetic radiation to probe the movement of liquids. The viscometer makes use of a hollow ceramic waveguide that can withstand the hot and chemical environment inside a melter. One end of the waveguide is immersed in the molten material, and the other end is sealed outside the melter with a window. The waveguide guides a coherent millimeter-wave probe signal to the molten fluid and the reflection back to the receiver electronics. It also is pressurized to induce a fluid flow in the waveguide. The motion of the fluid-reflecting surface in the waveguide is determined from the changes in the coherent interference between the probe and reflected signals. The viscosity is determined from the rate of fluid flow in response to a waveguide pressure change.
Multi-Blade Knife Failure Detector (KFD) for Food Processing—;
The KFD is a wireless acoustic emission system for food processing lines that immediately identifies knife failures. It was developed by engineers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the Lamb-Weston Technical Research Center to ensure high quality while reducing costs associated with labor, product loss, and environmentally compliant waste disposal.
Blade failure in advanced cutting mechanisms causes irregular cuts, generating truckloads of strips that the plant must frequently pay to have removed for animal feed. Organic nitrogen in the remaining slush adds to the plant'swaste-processing burden.
Human inspectors can't catch knife breaks quickly; typically an hour's worth or more of product was affected before a break was spotted. Available technologies did not solve the problem. The wet environment made direct wiring to the sensor undesirable, and plant noise overwhelmed the snap of a blade break. The Knife Failure Detector (KFD) overcomes those problems and instantly detects part failure and triggers redirection of product flow.
The entire process of detection, alarm, and knife replacement now takes less than a second. The low incidence of irregular cuts and false-calls further demonstrates the effectiveness of the system. Several food processing plants have installed the KFD, significantly reducing annual cutting losses.
The technology has applications beyond food processing, such as for detecting leaks in piping and containment vessels, and in other industrial equipment operations where access prevents the use of cabling, including the monitoring of rotating machinery for failure, misalignments, loose parts, and process stream properties.
The revolutionary Sunna Dosimeter™ will help decrease the incidence of foodborne illnesses such as E. coli by assuring the quality and safety of the food products before they reach the public. The Sunna Dosimeter™ is a significant breakthrough in dosimetry technologies because it is low cost, versatile, and extremely precise. These qualities
make the dosimeter an ideal quality assurance tool not only for the food irradiation industry but for other industries requiring accurate measurement—;in a variety of difficult environments—;of radiation levels used in their processes.This includes medical equipment sterilization, medical imaging, agriculture, telecommunications, and the radiation processing industry (e.g., curing of environmentally friendly inks and paints that require no solvents.)
The Sunna Dosimeter™ uses light instead of heat to read the amount of radiation measured by a dosimeter. It is a composite made of lithium fluoride and a plastic that is transparent to the photon emission of the dosimeter material. The dosimeter traps and stores energy from exposure to ionizing radiation fields. The amount of exposure can be determined by shining a blue light on the dosimeter and measuring the intensity of the green or red light emitted. This allows instantaneous, repeatable reading. The readout is performed using a fluorimeter that quantifies the fluorescence signal emitted from the dosimeter.
The Sunna Dosimeter™ measures radiation dose over a dynamic range greater than three decades (<0.1 to 100 kGy). It provides quick, accurate, simple, and cost-effective dose readings; is water and humidity-resistant; and has a multiyear shelf life. The product is based on scientific discoveries made during research into the Cooled Optically Stimulated Luminescence (COSL) technology, which won an R&D 100 Award in 1992. COSL measures radiation in dosimeters and other thermoluminescent materials using light at or below room temperature. Dosimeters can be re-read, and a variety of packaging is possible.
Following their success with the COSL for personnel dosimetry, the researchers began looking into other uses for the technology, including medical equipment sterilization and food irradiation. They formed a new company, Sunna Systems Corporation, to market the new technology. Sunna Systems Corporation has an exclusive, worldwide license from Battelle Memorial Institute to commercialize the OSL technology in high dose and other fields of use.
Ultra Barrier Coatings for Flat Panel Displays—;
From televisions to laptop computers, cell phones to digital watches, today's electronic displays are manufactured on glass. As industry strives to improve existing display technologies and develop a new generation of displays, manufacturers are exploring the use of plastic. Plastic offers increased ruggedness and flexibility and reduced thickness and weight. The fact that oxygen and water vapor can pass through plastic, however, has been a major roadblock in its use. Two ultra barrier coating products developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Flexible Glass™ engineered substrates and the Barix™ coating, offer extremely high levels of barrier protection that can remove this obstacle and play significant roles in the
display industry. For more information, see the flat panel display article
in the spring 2000 issue of Breakthroughs
Centrate Ammonia Recovery Process—;
Centrate Ammonia Recovery (CAR) is a reversible chemisorption process that controls the spread of ammonia (and subsequently nitrates) to waterways and drinking water. Incorporating a newly designed adsorption resin and regeneration solution, the CAR process extracts ammonia out of sewage treatment liquid (centrate) and livestock waste and converts it into standard, commercial-grade, ammonium sulfate fertilizer, a dry, odorless product.
Facilities such as sewage treatment plants and feedlots can use the CAR technology to help avoid fines and potential shutdowns resulting from existing and proposed regulations. Until the CAR technology, no other process cost effectively removed ammonia from water at low concentrations. At lower costs per gallon treated than other ammonia removal methods (air and water stripping and biological nitrogen removal), the CAR process recovers more ammonia, requires less space, and adds no chemicals to the discharge effluent. And, the ammonia removed is converted to a marketable commodity—;standard, dry, ammonium sulfate fertilizer.
The technology evolved from laboratory-scale ammonia recovery developments by Battelle and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, who collaborated with ThermoEnergy Corporation and Foster Wheeler Environmental Corporation to demonstrate a pilot-scale process on a wastewater effluent at the Oakwood Beach Water Pollution Control Plant, Staten Island, New York. The technology consistently removed greater than 90% of the ammonia before the effluent was discharged and converted that ammonia to ammonium sulfate crystals.
Compact Microchannel Fuel Vaporizer—;
The Compact Microchannel Fuel Vaporizer contains integrated microcombustors and micro-channel heat exchangers. The unit catalytically oxidizes waste hydrogen from a fuel cell, providing energy necessary to vaporize liquid hydrocarbon fuel used by a fuel processing system. The technology enables manufacture of compact fuel processor units for portable applications. Until now, existing fuel processing technology could not be scaled down to a small enough size for auto-motive applications—;the fuel vaporization component was one of the roadblocks to downsizing. The CMFV removes this roadblock and brings the fuel cell-powered automobile a significant step closer to reality.
This new and innovative fuel processing technology is small, efficient, modular, lightweight, and potentially inexpensive, making it ideal for automotive or portable applications. The CMFV is the size of a soda pop can and weighs 4 lb. A unit this size can vaporize 260 mL/min of gasoline, enough to feed a fuel processor that can support a 50-kW fuel cell. The CMFV's size and weight are dramatically reduced compared with conventional heat exchangers, which when operating at this capacity are more than an order of magnitude larger.
Electrodynamic Ion Funnel—;
The Electrodynamic Ion Funnel focuses ions in gases, greatly improving the sensitivity of analytical devices such as mass spectrometers that depend on ion formation and transfer in the presence of gases. The funnel uses a series of ring electrodes of increasingly smaller internal diameters to which radio frequency (RF) and direct current (DC) electric potentials are co-applied. The combination of collisions with neutral gas and the combined RF and DC electric fields cause the ions to be more effectively focused and transmitted (i.e., as a tightly focused ion beam), significantly enhancing the sensitivity of the mass spectrometer. Applying the RF electric fields to the ring electrodes creates an effective repulsive field near the surface of the ion funnel that prevents ions from penetrating or being lost to the walls of the funnel. The co-applied DC electric field serves to push ions "down the throat" of the Electrodynamic Ion Funnel. The combination of electric fields results in highly efficient focusing.
Now, for the first time, using the Electrodynamic Ion Funnel, large currents of ions can be focused in gases, allowing close to 100% ion efficiency in the transmission of ions to the mass analyzer. This results in an enormous gain in the sensitivity of the analyzer. Forty- to eighty-fold gains in sensitivity for ESI are routinely relived for conventional mass spectrometers
retro-fitted with an Electrodynamic Ion Funnel. See the news release.
The MicroHeater is a microscale combustion system (the palm-size combustion unit weighs less than 0.2 kg [5 oz]) that can provide heat for portable personal heating/cooling devices, indoor heating devices such as baseboard heaters, in-line water heaters, and fuel cell systems. The MicroHeater can produce 30 W of thermal energy per square centimeter of external combustor area. One module can power a personal, portable heater for 8 hours on little fuel or provide instantaneous in-line water heating; an array of modules will heat a house efficiently and reduce ducting and zoning thermal energy losses by 45%.
This technology is the first application of enhanced microscale heat and energy mass-transfer to a combustion process. MicroHeater's thin, stacked metal sheets form tiny channels through which hot water passes, heating the entire unit. The stacked sheets provide a large surface area in a very small space, and the microchannels minimize the amount of circulating water—;and thus, the amount of fuel—;needed to operate the MicroHeater. The design ensures MicroHeater has high combustion efficiency and low emissions. Innovative fabrication techniques resolve technical problems related to mass-producing small units with microchannel elements, and permit cost-effective microchannel manufacture. It is the first device of its kind, and offers unique and much-needed opportunities for miniaturizing heating and heat pump-based devices.
Molecular Sciences Software Suite (MS3)—;
The Molecular Science Software Suite (MS3) is
a unique, comprehensive, integrated suite of software that enables computational
chemists to focus their advanced techniques on finding solutions to complex
issues involving chemical systems. It is the first general-purpose software
that provides access to high-performance, massively parallel computers for
a broad range of chemists on a broad range of applications. MS3
lets chemists easily couple the power of advanced computational chemistry
techniques with existing and rapidly evolving high-performance, massively
parallel computing systems. A multidisciplinary team of scientists and computer
experts at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Environmental Molecular
Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) developed MS3.
By providing access to high-performance, massively parallel computers for
a broad range of applications, MS3 can be used to address environmental
problems. It can also be applied to the computational "Grand Challenge"
problems in computational chemistry as addressed by the chemical industry's
Vision 2020 subcommittee on computational chemistry. In addition, it will
provide unique insights into the molecular-level understanding of our world.
Note: MS3 also received an FLC
award. Contact Dave Dixon for more information.
PUMA Fiber Optic Neutron and Gamma Ray Sensor—;
PUMA is a revolutionary radiation monitoring system that
uses glass fibers to detect the presence of radionuclides such as plutonium.
This flexible, lightweight, low-power detection system can be used to monitor
an inventory of nuclear materials and has significant potential in countering
the threat of nuclear terrorism and contributing to international nonproliferation
The innovative use of glass fibers is a breakthrough in the field of radiation
detectors. Glass fibers offer substantial flexibility over conventional
neutron sensor technologies, most of which use rigid helium-filled tubes.
PUMA's glass fibers contain lithium-6 atoms and cerium ions that detect
the presence of radionuclides such as plutonium. The neutrons react with
the lithium isotope to leave an ionization trail through the glass matrix,
which results in light emission from the cerium. The fiber is coated with
a low refractive index silicone polymer, which maximizes the amount of light
captured in the glass fiber. The trapped light travels down the fiber and
is detected at the ends using photomultiplier tubes. Each fiber can detect
from one to millions of neutrons and gamma rays per second. The researchers
have developed glass compositions specifically for fiber drawing and manufacturing
processes that enable fiber to be produced in useful lengths of more than
200 cm (2 meters).
The technology also won an FLC
Award in 1999.
In Situ Redox Manipulation (ISRM)—;
This groundwater remediation technique safely, permanently
and cost-effectively destroys or immobilizes toxic and carcinogenic contaminants
within an aquifer. ISRM involves injecting a non-toxic chemical solution into
the aquifer through a groundwater well, effectively creating an in situ treatment
zone within the contaminant plume. The treatment destroys or immobilizes chemically
reducible metallic and organic contaminants under natural flow conditions.
Battelle and Schlumberger Ltd. are teaming to market and develop the technology.
Also see the news release.
For products, processes, and services, this software package
characterizes the lifetime energy and environmental implications, including
consideration of raw material extraction, processing, transportation, end-use,
waste management and recycling impacts. It helps product designers, process
engineers and policymakers with emerging environmental challenges, such as
designing recyclable products, selecting environmentally friendly raw materials,
developing zero-waste technologies, formulating competitive environmental
business strategies and developing environmental policies. Battelle sponsored
Radionuclide Aerosol Sampler/Analyzer (RASA)—;
Originally designed to give the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty eyes
and ears, the Radionuclide Aerosol Sampler/Analyzer (RASA) is a completely
automated radionuclide monitoring system that detects airborne radioactive
particles. The device can measure debris from nuclear weapons testing, no
matter where or when a nuclear weapon was detonated. RASA merges a fully automated
mechanical system that traps airborne particulate on filters and moves the
filter past a gamma-ray detector with an operating system that continually
verifies its operations and communicates data about the particulate to a central
data center. RASA's detection component can be tailored to meet a wide variety
of monitoring needs—;nuclear as well as non-nuclear. Users could range
from environmental quality groups to manufacturing plant managers who must
monitor and document plant emissions. Pacific Northwest has a license agreement
pending with DME Corporation of Orlando, Fla., who manufactures RASA units.
Biological samples naturally contain high concentrations
of salts and other compounds, which can create problems during analysis. The
Rapid Microdialyzer quickly—;in four minutes or less—;removes the
salts and cleanses biological and other liquid mixture samples, including
microsamples that otherwise might not be usable. The Rapid Microdialyzer is
expected to expand significantly medical, clinical and analytical applications
of mass spectrometry. Several companies are seeking to license the Rapid Microdialyzer
for commercial production. Contact Bruce Harrer for more information.
Self-Assembled Monolayers on Mesoporous Supports
SAMMS is a new class of materials that can remove metals
and radionuclides from aqueous and organic liquids and gaseous streams. SAMMS
integrates mesoporous ceramics technology first created by Mobil Oil Corporation
with an innovative method for attaching "monolayers"—;single layers of
densely packed molecules—;to the pore surfaces throughout the tiny grains
of ceramic material. The molecules are custom designed to seek out mercury,
lead, chromium and other metals. Available in powder or bead forms, SAMMS
has potential applications in soil and water cleanup at sites where mercury
contamination is prevalent, as well as industrial waste water treatment and
metal recovery. Contact Nick Lombardo for more information.
Cleaning Systems—;John L. Fulton, Max
R. Phelps, Richard D. Smith (joint entry with Joseph M. DeSimone, James McClain,
Timothy Romack, Gina Stewart of MiCELL Technologies)
This industrial cleaning process uses special detergents
created from polymer-based formulations to increase significantly the scrubbing
power of liquid carbon dioxide. Used to clean garments or metal parts, the
system provides industry and consumers a recyclable, environmentally safe,
yet equally effective alternative to ozone-depleting or hazardous cleaning
compounds. Through an agreement with Battelle, MiCELL Technologies is commercializing
the system. Contact Nick Lombardo
for more information.
The technology also won an FLC
Award in 1999.
R-TiC Metals Emission Monitor—;David A. Lamar (joint entry with Paul P. Woskov, Paul Thomas, and Kamal Hadidi
of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
The R-TiC Metals Emission Monitor provides continuous monitoring
of hazardous metal emissions from incinerators, plasma furnaces and thermal
processes used in manufacturing and fossil fuel electric power plants. The
monitor utilizes a microwave plasma sustained by a source for atomic-emission-spectroscopy,
and can be installed directly on an emissions stack. The monitor is accurate,
sensitive and provides information rapidly. It can be used to monitor compliance
with environmental regulations and identify problems in thermal processes
that could result in metals air pollution.
RubberCycle™—;A Bioprocess for Waste
Tire Recycling—;Harley D. Freeman, Gary G.
Neuenschwander, Robert A. Romine, Margaret F. Romine, Lesley J. Snowden-Swan
The RubberCycle™ technology is a technically sound,
cost-effective method for solving the waste tire disposal problem and cleaning
up a major environmental hazard while reducing costs to businesses and consumer.
The RubberCycle™ technology is based on a bioprocess that uses thiophillic,
or sulfur-loving, microorganisms that create chemically reactive sites on
the surface of finely ground tire rubber particles derived from waste tires.
This mixed recycled and virgin vulcanized rubber exhibits better performance
than all-virgin rubber. The RubberCycle™ system can be integrated with
existing recycling operations. It doesn't require hazardous chemicals and
has no significant waste effluent. It uses standard bioprocessing equipment
that is low cost and low maintenance. Rouse Rubber Industries, Inc., is a
joint winner with Pacific Northwest.
Production of Chemicals from Biologically Derived
Succinic Acid (BDSA)—;Sarah D. Burton,
John G. Frye, Yong Wang, Todd Werpy (joint entry with Brian H. Davison, Nhuan
P. Nghiem, and Bruce E. Suttle of Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Mark Donnelly,
Cynthia S. Millard, Shih-Perng Tsai, May Wu of Argonne National Laboratory,
Ron Landucci of National Renewable Energy Laboratory)
The Production of Chemicals from Biologically Derived Succinic
Acid (BDSA) process converts corn into a cost-efficient, environmentally friendly
source of the chemicals used to make polymers, clothing fibers, paints, inks,
food additives, automobile bumpers, and an array of other industrial and consumer
products. The process produces succinic acid by fermenting glucose sugar from
corn. After separation and purification, the succinic acid is used as a chemical
intermediate that is converted into chemical feedstocks used to make a wide
assortment of products. Currently, more than 90% of the basic feedstocks used
to make these products originate from crude oil and natural gas, and the BDSA
process will compete with these production routes by providing a lower-cost
means of obtaining commodity chemicals from renewable resources.
Refractory Corrosion Monitor—;David
A. Lamar (joint entry with Paul P. Woskov of the Massachusetts Institute of
The Refractory Corrosion Monitor uses frequency-tunable
microwave radiation transmitted into the furnace insulation from outside the
furnace to provide accurate real-time monitoring of refractory insulation
thickness while a furnace is in operation. High-temperature furnaces are used
to manufacture materials such as glass and steel, in waste remediation, and
for power production. A key feature of these furnaces is the refractory insulation
that contains the high-temperature region inside a furnace. This refractory
is subject to harsh conditions that cause its deterioration and impact the
furnace's lifetime. The ability to monitor the refractory condition during
furnace operation will improve the productivity and lifetime of furnace components
and minimize downtime for refractory inspections.
Plasma Source Quistor (PSQ ) Mass Spectrometer—;Charles
J. Barinaga, Gregory C. Eiden, David W. Koppenaal (joint entry with Charles
B. Douthitt of Finnigan Corp)
PSQ is a unique mass spectrometer for elemental and isotopic
analysis. The PSQ offers an attractive alternative to conventional atomic
mass spectrometry at a lower cost, smaller size, and with unmatched analytical
features and performance. Its innovative technology enables scientists to
select, capture, and chemically manipulate atomic ions for superior detection
The technology also won an FLC
Award in 1996.
Liquid Multilayer/Polymer Multilayer Processes for
Vacuum Deposition of Polymer Films—;John
D. Affinito, Mark E. Gross (joint entry with Terje Skotheim, Moltech Corporation)
These processes enable vacuum deposition of smooth, continuous
polymer layers on flexible surfaces. The layers can be as thin as 100 Angstroms
or as thick as a few hundred microns. Commercialization of the LML/PML processes
means easier manufacture and higher quality for many products, including high-energy-density,
lightweight, rechargeable lithium polymer batteries used in electronic devices
such as cellular phones and laptop computers. Moltech Corporation, manufacturer
of the batteries, is a joint winner with Pacific Northwest.
SPIRE: Spatial Paradigm for Information Retrieval
and Exploration Software—;Kevin J. Adams,
Shawn J. Bohn, Vernon L. Crow, David B. Lantrip, Kelly Pennock, Marc C. Pottier,
Anne Schur, James J. Thomas, James A. Wise, Jeremy York
SPIRE fundamentally transforms the tasks and processes
of information retrieval and analysis. In an era of rapidly expanding access
to information, SPIRE provides a suite of information access, analysis, and
visualization tools that enable the user to visually analyze the information
needed to make decisions and solve problems. SPIRE accepts large volumes of
text in almost any format, determines the relationships within the text, and
presents these relationships in a visual format. This approach allows users
to rapidly discover known and hidden information relationships, and then read
only the pertinent documents rather than wading through large volumes of text.
The technology also won an FLC
Award in 1998.
Catalyzed Electrochemical Oxidation (CEO)—;Mark
F. Buehler, Wesley E. Lawrence, Jeffrey E. Surma ( joint entry with Norville
Nelson, EOSystems, Inc.)
CEO is a low-temperature, ambient-pressure process that
can replace incineration as a hazardous waste treatment. It is 25%-50%
cheaper than incineration and safer, because aqueous components are not vaporized.
Using the oxidation power of cerium, CEO can destroy hazardous pesticides,
chemical weapons, solvents, laboratory, mixed organic and biological wastes.
With its flow-through ultrasonic mixer, it can dispose of immiscible liquids
like petroleum wastes. The CEO process is easily scalable, and the equipment
is highly portable, making it a good choice for universities and small private
labs, shipboard wastes, as well as large manufacturing facilities. CEO earned
an FLC Award in
Autonomous Environmental Sentinel (AES)—;John
Downing (joint entry with Brad DeRoos and Patt Hoffman of Battelle Columbus
AES is a multi sensor probe that collects data in aquatic
environments at depths up to 300m. The system takes water samples on a time-series
or event-triggered mode, and is controlled by an on-board microprocessor.
The AES is the only multi parameter probe that measures gamma radiation. It
can monitor water systems near sewage treatment plants, hazardous waste sites,
as well as characterize coastal environments before military operations and
gather research data. If it detects undesired chemicals or radioactivity,
it broadcasts a warning. After surfacing, information can be downloaded by
satellite telemetry, spread-spectrum RF transmission, or manual recovery and
download. This probe is a joint entry with Battelle Memorial Institute and
Electrical Remediation at Contaminated Environments
(ERACE)—;Theresa M. Bergsman, Phillip
A. Gauglitz, William O. Heath, Michael C. Miller, Janet S. Roberts
ERACE uses electrodes in situ to heat natural moisture
in the soil. The steam which is produced removes contaminants from the soil.
This technique does not require excavation or soil pretreatment. Soils that
would otherwise require years to clean using simple venting methods can be
cleaned in weeks with this technology.
Real Time Ultrasonic Imaging System (RTUIS)—;Byron
B. Brenden Larry L. Kopf, Gerald P. Morgen
This ultrasonic camera can be used to detect, image, measure
and evaluate flaws in composite materials. It currently is used to verify
the integrity of components in high-performance aircraft. Material inspections
can be done up to 10 times faster than other methods. The new technology likely
will lead to lower aircraft production costs and increased safety for users.
Pacific Northwest's Byron Brenden developed the technology with André
Durruty of Dassault Aviation, a French Company.
Microwave Plasma Continuous Emissions Monitor—;Jeffrey
E. Surma (joint entry with Paul Woskov, David Rhee, Dan Cohn of the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology, Charles Titus of T&R Associates in Wayne, Pennsylvania)
This device monitors potentially hazardous emissions from
incinerators and other waste treatment systems. It can identify heavy metals
and other contaminants at the part-per-billion level on a continuous basis.
It is extremely sensitive, yet tough enough to withstand adverse conditions
found in high temperature systems.
Ultrasonic Microstructural Analyzer—;Morris
S. Good, James R. Skorpik, George J. Schuster (joint entry with Saginaw Division,
General Motors Corporation - Dennis D. Rogers)
The Ultrasonic Microstructural Analyzer (UMA) uses high
frequency ultrasound to nondestructively analyze the subsurface microstructure
of a component to measure hardness depth of heat-treated steel components
or particle distribution uniformity of metal matrix composites.
The technology also won an FLC
Award in 1995.
High-Energy Corona (HEC) Reactor (Gas-Phase Corona
Reactor for Destruction of Organics in Gas Streams)—;Steve
Goheen, Bill Heath, Dick Richardson, Jud Virden
The HEC reactor is a simple, inexpensive, energy-efficient
technology that destroys hazardous organic contaminants in waste streams (such
as chlorinated or other hazardous organics in air) and converts them to non-toxic
compounds such as carbon dioxide and water. The HEC reactor can reduce the
amount of hazardous organic materials released by chemical and manufacturing
plants, research laboratories, and hospitals. Researchers are now trying to
design an HEC reactor that can reduce hazardous materials emitted in automobile
Ultrafine Powder Formation by Continuous Hydrothermal
Synthesis (Rapid Thermal Decomposition of Precursors in Solutions Process)—;
Roger Bean, John Fulton, John Linehan, Mark Buehler, Gary Neuenschwander,
Max Phelps, Dean Matson
The Rapid Thermal Decomposition of Precursors in Solutions
(RTDS) process uses high pressure (3000 to 8000 psi) and high temperature
(100 to 400°C) to transform a solution of low-cost metal salts into tiny,
uniform particles for materials manufacturing and catalytic applications.
The process can produce one to five pounds of powder per day at bench scale.
The ultrafine powders created by the process can be pressurized and heat-treated
to produce materials used to manufacture ceramic ball bearings, gears, and
knife blades that are stronger and more durable than existing products.
The powders also can be used as paint and ink pigments, paints, and surface-area
catalysts. When combined with other materials, the powders can be used to
make magnetic tape. Someday the process also may be used to treat hazardous
waste, nitrates and organics.
Base-Catalyzed Destruction Process—;Michael
D. Brown, Andrew J. Schmidt, Harley D. Freeman (Pacific Northwest) (joint
entry with Battelle Memorial Institute)—;Robert F. Olfenbuttel, B.C. Kim,
Ted Tewksbury; Naval Civil Engineering Laboratory: Dih Bin Chan; U.S. EPA-Risk
Reduction Engineering Laboratory: Charles Rogers, Alfred Kornel, Harold Sparks)
The process was co-developed with the Environmental Protection
Agency and has the potential to treat millions of tons of contaminated while
meeting strict environmental regulations. An inexpensive base is used in a
chemical dehalogenation process that can detoxify polychlorinated biphenyls
(PCBs), dioxins, pesticides, and other hazardous organic materials in soils
or other substrates without creating additional contaminants or arousing public
antipathy. When PCB-contaminated soils are treated by this process, chlorine
and other halogen molecules are replaced by hydrogen, producing small amounts
of sodium chloride and nonhazardous biphenyl. Ultimately, PCBs are detoxified
at significantly less cost and with much greater public acceptance than incineration.
Cooled, Optically Stimulated Luminescence (COSL)
(Passive, Highly Sensitive Radiation Detectors)—;Steven
D. Miller, Joseph C. McDonald, Fred N. Eichner
This technology uses light at or below room temperature
to obtain radiation dose information. Previously, such measurements could
be obtained only at high temperatures. The optical luminescence technology
represents a significant advance in dosimetry because it is rapid, efficient,
less costly, more sensitive and accurate than other dosimetry technologies.
The technology is being developed to better protect workers in offices, hospitals,
factories, and at nuclear waste sites.
The technology also won an FLC
Award in 1995.
Glycine-Nitrate Process for Producing Ultrafine Metal
Oxide Powders—;Larry A. Chick, Research
Team: Larry R. Pederson, Gary D. Maupin, Gregory J. Exarhos, J. Lambert Bates
The GNP technology produces very fine particles of multi-component
ceramic oxides that are of uniform size and chemical composition. These very
pure particles can be used to produce solid oxide fuel cells, ceramic engine
parts, and many other sophisticated products.
The technology also won an FLC
Award in 1995.
Planar Waveguide Spectrometer(joint
entry with University of Washington)—;Norman
C. Anheier, Don S. Goldman, Patricia L. White, Lloyd W. Burgess (UW), Michael
This spectrometer is an integrated optical device that
Quantitative Luminescence Imaging System (QLIS) (joint
entry with USAF)—;Charles R. Batishko
and Kurt A. Stahl with Pacific Northwest; David N. Erwin, Johnathan L. Kiel
with the U.S. Air Force
QLIS is an instrument and method that can be used to help
diagnose important biomedical effects such as biological cell damage caused
by chemical or physical stresses.
Electro-Optic Liquid Sensor—;John
W. Cary, Glendon W. Gee, Randy R. Kirkham, John F. McBride, Carver S. Simmons
This small, inexpensive device can be a water content meter
or a leak detector for fuel oil, gasoline, solvents, or other organic liquids
in soil, sand, cement, and other porous materials. An industrial firm has
received a nonexclusive license to use the sensor to detect oil spills and
leaks. The sensor also could be used to optimize crop irrigation.
The technology also won an FLC
Award in 1992.
Conversion of Fermentable Carbohydrates to Acrylate
Esters–Lactic Acid and Lower Alkyl Acrylates Production—;David
E. Eakin, Richard T. Hallen, Charles A. Rohrmann, Paul C. Walkup
This cost-efficient technology combines fermentation and
catalytic processes to produce lactic acid from blackstrap molasses, cheese
whey, and grain and potato processing residues. The lactic acid then can be
used to produce acrylates such as sealants, coatings, textiles, and biodegradable
The technology also won an FLC Award in 1990.
Petroleum Sludge Treatment Process(joint
entry with Onsite*Offsite)—;L. John Sealock,
Jr., Eddie G. Baker, Douglas C. Elliott, Gary G. Neuenschwander (Norman G.
Banns with Onsite*Offsite)
This process reduces toxic petroleum wastes by more that
85 percent and disposal costs to between 10% and 20% of the cost of
traditional methods.The process was developed to help crude oil refiners treat
thousands of ton of emulsified petroleum sludge. Between 10% and 40%
of the sludge can be recovered as oil.
Waste Acid Detoxification and Reclamation (WADR)
System—;Evan O. Jones, Terri L. Stewart,
Wayne A. Wilcox
A unique process that recovers and recycles metals and
acids from industrial waste streams. Industries can use the WADR technology
to treat metal-bearing spent acids generated during many commercial operations.
A spin-off company has been created to commercialize the technology.
The technology won an FLC
Award in 1993 and today it is a technology transfer Success
Pyroflux Glass Melting Process—;Alex
G. Fassbender, Lyle K. Mudge, Paul C. Walkup
The process shortens melting and refining times, therefore
small furnaces can be used and refining times; can be cut in half. Pyroflux
also recovers all usable heat from the exhaust gas so pollutants can easily
be removed before the exhaust is released.
E. Frazier (O. Baca, University of New Mexico; L.P. Mallavia, Washington State
The Q-Endoscreen test helps physicians and veterinarians
identify Q fever, a highly infectious disease that previously had been nearly
impossible for doctors to diagnose. This rapid, inexpensive, and effective
method detects the bacterium Coxiella burnetii and differentiates between
strains that cause the frequently fatal endocarditis and the strains that
cause acute but treatable Q fever.
Thermochemical Environmental Energy System®
(TEES)—;E. G. (Ed) Baker, R. Scott Butner,
Douglas C. Elliott, L. John Sealock, Jr., Norm Banns (Onsite*Offsite, Inc.)
Food processing byproducts, agricultural residues, and
other large amounts of wet, organic waste are clarified and treated for use
or disposal using this process. Using TEES, food processing wastes can be
converted into methane fuel that can be used to power production processes.
The system can function as a stand-alone portable unit or be integrated into
a larger plant to help industries cost-effectively meet stringent environmental
The technology also won an FLC Award in 1989.
Hydrogen Gas Recovery—;Dave Nelson, Mike Lilga
This technique economically converts hydrogen sulfide, a poisonous gas found in natural gas, into a usable form of hydrogen for use in chemical production or as a burnable fuel.
Sludge-to-Oil Reactor System—;Alex Fassbender, Pete Molton
This process converts sewage sludge and agricultural wastes to useful petroleum products.
The technology also won an FLC Award in 1988.
Rapid Expansion of Supercritical Fluid Solutions—;Dean Matson, Richard D. Smith
This process produces thin films, fibers and small particles of uniform size for use in the paint manufacturing, pharmaceutical, electronic and ceramic industries.
Electrospray Ionization Interface—;Harold Udseth, Richard D. Smith
This process is used to analyze chemicals and biological samples at previously nonmeasurable levels and provided the first effective means of allowing mass spectral analyses of analytes separated by capillary zone electrophoresis.
Computer Aided Genetic Engineering/Genetic Engineering
Machine (CAGE/GEM)—;Richard J. Douthart,
James J. Thomas
CAGE/GEM is a software toolkit that can help researchers
design genetic structures before performing expensive laboratory experiments.
By using the system, scientists can analyze sequences from both a broad and
specific viewpoint with integration of expert knowledge. They can isolate
a genetic element in DNA sequence, then graphically manipulate the element
to create and explore new genetic constructs.
The technology also won an FLC
Award in 1989.
Noble Metals Recovery—;Charlie
Rohrmann, Oz Wick
This process recovers noble or rare metals created in nuclear
power reactors during the fission process.
Supercritical Fluid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometer—;Richard
The spectrometer helps chemists analyze many nonvolatile,
Portable Blood Irradiator—;Roy
Bunnell, Frank Hungate, Bill Riemath
Pacific Northwest began developing a fully portable blood
irradiator in the early 1970s when there were no mechanisms to treat blood
diseases and to help suppress rejection of transplanted organs or tissues.
The technology was transferred to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
in 1991. Manufacture and delivery of the irradiators and the development of
safer, more effective protocols for their use is occurring through Pacific
Northwest's first CRADA.
The technology also won an FLC
Award in 1992.
Optical Digital Recording—;James
This information and retrieval system enables information
to be stored as a track of dots about one micron in diameter. The technique
now is used by major manufacturers of compact disk technology.
In 1994, the technology was nominated for a Computerworld Smithsonian Award,
which "honors the creativity and inspiration of those who use modern information
technology to improve the course of our lives." This nomination was a finalist
in the Science category.
Void Metal Composite—;Manuel
Karagianes, Ken Sump, Ken Wheeler
This unique porous material permits the formation of a
"living union" between bone tissue and prosthetic devices.
Acoustic Emission Tester—;Don
The tester detects flaws in welds during production.
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