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Pacific Northwest staff garner technology transfer awards

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May 15, 1996 Share This!

RICHLAND, Wash. — Pure science does fascinate, but it is the application that most people recognize. At the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, nine scientists have made fascinating applications. The Federal Laboratory Consortium recently recognized their contributions with the FLC Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer.

Each year, FLC presents 30 federal laboratory employees with awards for developing innovative processes and products, then bringing the technology to the private or public sector. This year, tool manufacturing, energy-efficiency in architecture and electronics will benefit directly from these award-winning technologies. Vacuum process for manufacturing lithium polymer batteries

Researchers John Affinito and Mark Gross developed a vacuum process that deposits and bonds thin polymer films to be used in the fabrication of batteries. Team member Laura Silva negotiated the maze of licensing, patent and contract agreements between Pacific Northwest, industry and the U.S. government. The results will be significantly improved batteries sold at lower prices.

Compared to today's nickel cadmium batteries, a lithium polymer battery will be lighter weight, hold the charge longer, be better-suited to long-term recharging and cost less to manufacture. From flashlights to smoke alarms to computers, the impact of this technology is far-reaching.

Moltech Corporation in Tucson, Ariz., has exclusive worldwide patent and technical rights for lithium polymer batteries for use in cellular phones, portable computers, pagers, two-way radios, portable audio and video equipment and portable tools and appliances. Automated tool profile grinding machine

Pacific Northwest researchers Don Rasmussen, Les Kirihara and Gerry Morgen used automated control systems to create a new tool grinding capability. Freeborn Tool Company in Spokane, Wash., expressed interest and, with the technology transfer, gained an edge over their competition.

Shaper tools are part of the machine tool industry. Conventional manufacturing of wood shaper tools utilizes a manual, pattern-based process. These tools produce patterns on wood products such as furniture, cabinets and doors. Traditionally, tips on tools were brazed to the tool body. The new automated machine, however, produces shaper tools with precise tips that easily are replaced. With a new product line of replaceable tips, the reduction of manual labor and improved quality, the U.S. machine tool industry looks to become more competitive with foreign manufacturers. Softdesk Energy software

Energy-efficient design software, technically accurate and user-friendly, is the result of research performed by Mike Brambley, Dave Chassin and Rich Quadrel. The team partnered with industry and provided software development, buildings and energy-efficiency expertise, and project leadership to make Softdesk Energy a commercial product.

Integrating Softdesk Energy into existing software contributes to its successful use. Architects, building designers and energy analysts will be able to examine easily and inexpensively energy considerations during building design. Ultimately, building owners/occupants, utility companies and utility rate payers will benefit. Energy-efficient buildings will cost less to operate, have workspace with more comfortable lighting and temperatures, and keep utility costs reasonable.

This software was copyrighted in 1993.

Tags: Energy, Batteries

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