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Three PNNL technologies named in top 100 worldwide

July 10, 2007 Share This!

RICHLAND, Wash. – The Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has won three of R&D Magazine’s prestigious R&D 100 Awards.

PNNL is being recognized for a new material that improves detection of toxic heavy metals in water; for a device that manages heat and water in fuel processors and fuel cell systems; and for software that extracts and analyzes data in the most useful format for users.

The magazine presents the awards annually to the 100 most innovative scientific and technical breakthroughs of the past year. PNNL has won 74 R&D 100 awards since the contest began in 1963, including 67 since 1988.

This year’s award-winning technologies are:

The Functionalized Nanoporous Thin Films (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. It also increases sensitivity by more than a thousand times the previous capability. FNTF are 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 technology was developed with PANalytical, an international supplier of analytical instrumentation and software for X-ray diffraction and X-ray fluorescence spectrometry.

The Microchannel Gas-Liquid Processing Device 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.

The Universal Parsing Agent (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 counterterrorism to commercial business intelligence efforts.

"Once again, DOE's labs are at the cutting edge of innovation with new technology developments to enhance America's economic and national security," U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel W. Bodman said. "My heartiest congratulations to the DOE researchers and scientists that have won R&D Magazine’s prestigious awards this year."

R&D Magazine will honor the researchers who developed these technologies at its 45th annual awards banquet in October in Chicago.

Tags: Energy, Environment, National Security, Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy

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 more than $1 billion. 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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