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Federal laboratory consortium honors PNL technology transfer

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May 31, 1993 Share This!

RICHLAND, Wash. — Several staff members at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest Laboratory have been recognized for excellence in technology transfer by the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer. The awards, only 30 of which are presented each year, honor federal laboratory employees nationwide for creativity and innovation in developing products and processes and transferring new technologies to private industry. This year's four winning PNL technologies encompass a diverse mix of research with promising commercial applications.

Researchers James A. Droppo Jr., Karl J. Castleton, Gene Whelan and Bonnie L. Hoopes were honored for development of the Multimedia Environmental Pollutant Assessment System software which enables users to better deal with such vexing questions as "How risky is this hazardous waste site?" and "What is the low-risk cleanup solution?" The software program provides physics- based modeling codes and quickly integrates results from various models of contaminant behavior in different media, thus reducing a task that could take weeks to one that takes only a few hours.

The program, which produces results in terms of potential impacts on human health, was developed through a unique partnership between PNL, DOE, MESA State College in Colorado and American Telephone & Telegraph. PNL has granted MESA State College a license to use the software in training and software development and is now seeking commercial partners for potential licensing agreements.

The ReOpt‘ software program developed by PNL researchers Michael K. White, Janet L. Bryant and Gregory M. Holter provides a fast and efficient way to select appropriate and available technologies for the cleanup of contaminated waste sites. Users of the new software product can specify up to three parameters to guide their search:


  • the medium that is contaminated,
  • the characteristics of the contaminants and
  • the general method the user wants to use to clean up the site.


ReOpt then searches its database and provides the user with detailed information about available cleanup technologies that fall within the prescribed parameters. Because of its potential for assisting other government agencies and private businesses, ReOpt has been licensed for commercial development to Sierra Geophysics Incorporated of Kirkland, Washington.

Another technology transfer success is a waste acid recovery system that significantly reduces the cost of waste acid treatment, a problem plaguing more than 15,000 large and small companies that generate eight billion pounds of acid waste each year.

The PNL system, called waste acid detoxification and reclamation, was developed and tested through the pilot plant stage by Evan O. Jones, L. John Sealock Jr. and Wayne Wilcox. Savings possible with the PNL system range from $1 to $5 per gallon of treated acid. The system is modular and can be adapted to a wide range of continuous or batch processing applications. PNL has entered into a license agreement with Viatech Recovery System, Richland, Washington, to commercialize this technology.

The glycine-nitrate process for creating ceramic powders was developed by PNL researchers Larry A. Chick, Larry R. Pederson, Gregory J. Exarhos, J. Lambert Bates and Gary D. Maupin. The production of solid oxide fuel cells, chemical sensors and many other valuable ceramic products depends upon the availability of very fine, uniform, ceramic particles that are of high purity. This technology was licensed to Seattle Specialty Company (SSC), Seattle, Washington. The glycine-nitrate process produces such powders at lower temperatures and of such exceptional uniformity that they require little milling. These factors combine to represent a potentially significant cost savings to many industries that manufacture ceramic-based products.

Tags: Energy, Fuel Cells

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