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PNNL scientists receive four R&D 100 awards

July 08, 2008 Share This!

  • New technologies are helping find and correct potential problems on the electrical grid to help prevent blackouts. The Grid Friendly Appliance Controller is a sensor installed in an appliance that can detect when the electricity grid is under stress and then turn the appliance off.

  • The integrated processing method for the generation of multi-scaled materials, or Multi-Scale Processing, is a simple material-fabrication method whose products fit into a range of sizes and geometric shapes, including nanowires, micro- and nano-droplets, and continuous film. Multi-Scale Processing is the only such materials fabrication method and it not only assures a resulting set of material with precisely similar chemical makeup, it simplifie

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RICHLAND, Wash. – Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have won four of R&D Magazine’s prestigious “R&D 100 Awards” for their contributions to developing a smart power grid, enhancing the quality of research materials, reducing environmental impacts of deicing activities, and improving the economics of biofuel production.

“Our scientists are driven to make a difference, and these awards are evidence of their impact,” said Doug Ray, PNNL’s deputy director for science and technology. “I’m proud of their ability to deliver advanced solutions for the challenges we face in energy consumption, environmental sustainability and advancing materials science.”

The R&D 100 awards are presented annually to the 100 most innovative scientific and technical breakthroughs of the year. PNNL won two awards for technologies developed at the Laboratory and was a co-nominee on two other entries submitted by partners.

Interdisciplinary teams developed these technologies for clients ranging from the Department of Energy to industry.

“This is yet the latest example of how the Department of Energy and our national laboratories are continuing to demonstrate world-class leadership in innovation, as we enhance our energy security, national security and economic competiveness,” said Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman. “On behalf of the Department, I would like to congratulate all of our employees who have earned R&D 100 awards and in particular this year's winners.”

The technologies for which PNNL was lead nominee are:

• The Grid FriendlyTM Appliance 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.

• The Multi-Scale Materials Integrated Processing Method 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.

The technologies to which PNNL contributed are:

• The D3: Degradable by Design Deicer 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 the “deiced” surfaces, providing additional protection. The lead organization for this award is Battelle.

• Velocys-FT: Fischer Tropsch Fuels Using Velocys Microchannel Technology 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.

The four awards bring PNNL’s total to 78 since the contest began in 1969, including 71 since 1988. PNNL staff members involved in developing these technologies will be honored at the R&D 100 Awards ceremony in Chicago in October.

Tags: Energy, Fundamental Science, National Security, Operations, Biomass, Biofuel, Chemistry, Facilities

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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