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Christensen, PNNL receive technology transfer, development recognition

August 11, 2014 Share This!

  • Peter Christensen

  • Wei Wang and his PNNL colleagues developed a battery that has the potential to integrate large amounts of solar and wind energy into the electricity grid.

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RICHLAND, Wash. – The Federal Laboratory Consortium — Far West Region has named Peter Christensen as the consortium's Far West Technology Transfer Professional of the Year. Christensen is manager of Technology Commercialization at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland.

The consortium also recognized a PNNL-developed battery that can potentially accelerate integration of large amounts of renewable energy into the electricity grid as an Outstanding Technology Development for the year.

Christensen and the battery's developers will be recognized during the FLC Far West/Mid-Continent Regional Meeting, Aug. 26-27 in Denver.

Peter Christensen

Christensen leads a PNNL team that is responsible for the identification, protection and management of intellectual property created at the laboratory, and for the licensing and deployment of PNNL-created technologies.

Christensen joined PNNL in 2009 after working as a patent attorney and serving in various senior roles in the energy/electrical power sector. During his five years at the laboratory, Christensen has completed 44 technology transfer agreements with industry and other partners, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small startup firms.

These include technology license and option agreements, research licenses, Cooperative Research and Development Agreements — commonly known as CRADAs — and other intellectual property agreements designed to move high-value technologies into the marketplace. Several of these agreements included working out long-term relationships with the industry partner to fund further technology development at PNNL. Christensen has also instituted new technology transfer processes to expand the pipeline of PNNL-created intellectual property available to industry.

Locally, Christensen serves on the Mid-Columbia Energy Initiative for the Tri-City Development Council. Under his leadership, a subcommittee developed a strategy that is being used to attract energy companies to the Mid-Columbia region of Washington state.

Christensen earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law.

Iron Vanadium Redox Flow Battery

Developing a large-scale energy storage device is a priority for those hoping to smoothly integrate large amounts of renewable energy, such as wind and solar, into the current electricity grid infrastructure or future modernized versions of the grid.

First developed in the 1970s, redox flow batteries have shown the most promise for meeting this challenge. However, these batteries have been limited by their high cost and several technical challenges.

But researchers at PNNL have made significant progress in improving the performance of redox flow technologies. The PNNL-developed system utilizes vanadium electrolytes and incorporates novel approaches to overcome the limitations of previous generations of redox flow batteries. The result is a higher energy density and dramatically improved operating range for redox flow batteries.

The PNNL-developed battery is up to 40-percent less expensive than other widely deployable storage alternatives for similar applications.

Battelle, which operates PNNL for the federal government, has signed license agreements with five companies to help commercialize vanadium redox flow battery products for utilities, power generators and industry. Two of these are in the Northwest including Aartha USA of Bellingham, Wash., and UniEnergy Technologies LLC of Mukilteo, Wash. In July, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee announced UniEnergy batteries will be used in two pilot projects testing grid-scale energy storage with utilities.

The technology was developed by PNNL's Wei Wang and Zimin Nie, as well as former PNNL staff member Baowei Chen.

The FLC Far West Region Awards recognize the creativity and effectiveness of federal laboratories in using various mechanisms to help transfer laboratory-developed technology to market.

The FLC Far West Region comprises eight western states — Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. The region contains more than 100 federal laboratories and facilities including PNNL.

Tags: Energy, Awards and Honors, Technology Transfer and Commercialization, Renewable Energy, Batteries, Licensing

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of about $950 million. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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