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Laboratory wins awards for commercializing technology

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March 10, 2000 Share This!

RICHLAND, Wash. — The Federal Laboratory Consortium has honored researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for their efforts in moving three technologies from the laboratory into the marketplace. The technologies are among 25 honored this year by the FLC.

Each year, the FLC gives up to 30 "excellence in technology transfer" awards to government laboratory teams that move developments successfully to the private sector. Pacific Northwest leads all federal laboratories in the number of FLC awards for technology transfer with 44 since 1984.

Plasma Enhanced Melter

Commercialization of the Plasma Enhanced Melter has made conversion of waste into useful products a viable business proposition for Integrated Environmental Technologies in Richland, Wash. The PEM combines a plasma arc and glass melter to create a machine that accepts a wide variety of wastes and turns them into something useful - iron, glass or a clean-burning, hydrogen-rich gas. The PEM maximizes the potential for recycling because it can accept many kinds of waste simultaneously. The high temperature of plasmas and their ability to treat waste without the adverse environmental effects of incineration makes PEM an attractive alternative for municipal waste treatment as well as cleanup of government waste sites.

Superplastic Forming

Another Pacific Northwest team transferred an optimized superplastic forming process, or SPF, for aluminum alloys to General Motors Corp., MARC Analysis and Kaiser Aluminum. Applying the improved SPF technology to automotive component manufacturing is helping develop lightweight, fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles by providing a cost-effective technology for forming aluminum sheet materials. Pacific Northwest developed accurate models that have reduced dramatically the time needed to form a complex part, making SPF practical for higher volume manufacturing.

Molecular Science Software Suite

The Molecular Science Software Suite is the first general-purpose software that provides chemists with access to high-performance, massively parallel computers for a wide range of applications. Pacific Northwest's MS3 now is used by nearly 40 universities and supercomputing centers, 14 national laboratories or federal agencies and 15 industries. The software can enable the scientific community to quickly and cost-effectively solve complex environmental problems in the atmosphere, aquatic systems and subterranean environment. In addition, MS3 will be used to search for new pharmaceuticals, improve agricultural productivity and provide insights into how organisms work at the molecular level.

A formal award ceremony honoring technology transfer winners will be held during the 2000 FLC national meeting, May 8-12, in Charleston, S.C. Business inquiries on the award-winning technologies can be directed to 1-888-375-PNNL or

Tags: Environment

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