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PNNL recognized for commercializing aircraft safety and blackout prevention technologies

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January 25, 2007 Share This!

RICHLAND, Wash. — The Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has been recognized for transferring a technology that can detect potential aircraft safety issues in advance, and a second technology that monitors fluctuations in regional power supplies and then adjusts household appliance usage to prevent disruptions.

The Federal Laboratory Consortium announced that it is honoring PNNL with two 2007 Excellence in Technology Transfer Awards for the laboratory's development and commercialization of The Morning Report and the Grid Friendly™ Appliance Controller.

The Morning Report

The Morning Report system uses existing data collection instrumentation to record and analyze hundreds of commercial aircraft in-flight data variables, such as speed, wing angle, equipment status, and engine temperature from thousands of flights a day. It then generates a daily report that allows safety inspectors to rapidly pinpoint anomalies, share information with other decision makers and possibly prevent accidents.

The software allows airlines to track and make meaningful sense of flight data that previously was not being analyzed. PNNL collaborated with Battelle, NASA-Ames, ProWorks, Flight Safety Consultants and Safe Flight in the development of the technology, which has been licensed to SAGEM Avionics, Inc. of Grand Prairie, Texas. The technology is being adapted to identify typical patterns and atypical events in other fields.

Grid Friendly Appliance Controller

The Grid Friendly Appliance Controller is a simple computer chip that can be installed in household appliances such as washers, dryers, refrigerators, air conditioners and water heaters to monitor power grid conditions.

In times of electricity supply disruption or when demand exceeds supply, the chip automatically turns off appliances for a short time – from just a few seconds up to a few minutes – to allow the grid to stabilize and prevent imbalances that could lead to blackouts. The chip can also be programmed to stagger the restart of appliances in order to ease the transition back to full demand. The device operates transparently to the consumer, creating no noticeable disruptions in the function of the appliances.

The Grid Friendly Appliance Controller has been installed on hundreds of clothes dryers and water heaters throughout the Pacific Northwest as part of a demonstration project conducted with the U.S. Department of Energy, Whirlpool and the Bonneville Power Administration, and regional utilities Pacificorp and Portland General Electric.

Business inquiries on the award-winning technologies or other PNNL innovations can be directed to 1-888-375-PNNL or

Tags: Energy

PNNL LogoPacific Northwest National Laboratory draws on signature capabilities in chemistry, earth sciences, and data analytics to advance scientific discovery and create solutions to the nation's toughest challenges in energy resiliency and national security. Founded in 1965, PNNL is operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science. DOE's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit PNNL's News Center. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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