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Energy

 
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Autoinduction system
  • Autoinduction
    The award winning Overnight Express Autoinduction System developed at BNL simplifies protein production in the widely used T7 gene expression system.
     
  • Decontamination
    Foam-based decontamination, developed at INL and licensed to Environmental Alternatives, Inc. provides for non-destructive removal and decontamination of radionuclides from concrete and other surfaces.
  • Motion to energy power generation system
    Motion to energy power generation system, developed at INL with its licensee M2E Power, Inc., converts the power of motion into electrical generation and battery charging.
     
  • Multiphase Flow Research Group
    The Multiphase Flow Research Group in the Office of Research and Development at NETL
     
     
  • Muon Tomography
    Muon Tomography technology developed at LANL to detect nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction will be made available to the Department of Homeland Security to scan cargo and vehicle traffic entering the U.S.
  • Phylochip
    PhyloChip, developed at LBNL, licensed to Second Genome (formerly PhyloTech), provides a rapid, accurate, comprehensive way to detect the presence, quantity, diversity of bacteria in an air, water, soil, or clinical sample.
  • Portable radiation detection
    Portable radiation detection, developed at LLNL, licensed to AMETEK's Advanced Measurement Technology ORTEC Division provides a low-cost, digital system for real-time identification of specific radiation sources used in nuclear fuels.
  • Customized Coating for Enhanced Water Sampling
    Customized Coating for Enhanced Water Sampling – Functionalized Nanoporous Thin Films (FNTF), developed by PNNL is a low-cost, highly-selective means for detecting heavy metals in aqueous environments.
     

Autoinduction system
 
 

FEATURED TECH TRANSFER SUCCESSES

The Department of Energy Labs conduct basic and applied research and development across a broad spectrum of sciences, individually and in collaboration with industry and academia, enabling the use of existing knowledge, facilities and capabilities to enhance our energy security, scientific discovery, economic competitiveness, and quality of life.


Energy Production:

Equipment Model Database

The award-winning Advanced Process Engineering Co-Simulator (APECS), developed at National Energy Technology Laboratory, is software that allows engineers to optimize advanced power generation systems. APECS is in use by numerous purchasers, including Aspen Technology which has linked APECS with modeling and other software to optimize a solid oxide fuel cell auxiliary power unit. ALSTOM Power has used APECS to develop co-simulations of a conventional coal-fired, steam plan and an advanced natural gas-fired, combined cycle plant. APECS is a winner of a 2008 R&D 100 Award.

 

 

Motion to energy power generation system

The Motion to energy power generation system, developed at Idaho National Laboratory with its licensee M2E Power, Inc., converts the power of motion into electrical generation and battery charging. It uses a micro-generator with power management circuitry that kinetically charges mobile batteries from natural motion, such as walking, eliminating the need for recharging and taking mobile devices off the electrical grid. Tests of the technology have shown that the battery life can be measured in years rather than the conventional hours or days. Originally developed for military use, it has many commercial applications in medical and electronic uses to large-scale hydro, wind, tidal and ocean wave and transportation power systems.

The award-winning Thief Process for Mercury Capture, developed at the National Energy Technology Laboratory, enables the cleaner use of coal for electricity production. The process uses partially-combusted coal from the furnace of a pulverized coal power plant as an in-situ sorbent to inexpensively remove mercury from flue gas emissions. The technology has been licensed to Nalco Mobotec, Inc., which is actively engaged in commercially developing and marketing the process. The Thief Process earned a 2009 Excellence in Technology Transfer Award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC).

The award-winning Palladium-based Sorbent Technology, developed at the National Energy Technology Laboratory, provides an efficient and economical method to remove mercury and other trace elements from the fuel gas produced in coal gasification. The technique is highly unique in that no commercial technology currently exists for removal of mercury and trace elements at the high temperature and pressure conditions within an integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) system. Johnson Matthey Co. has exclusively licensed the technology, and is developing commercial palladium sorbent beds for industrial use. This technology won an R&D 100 Award and a Federal Laboratory Consortium Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer in 2008.

AUREX® 95P is a next-generation refractory material, engineered by the National Energy Technology Laboratory, to contain effectively the very harsh conditions created by the coal gasification process, providing the gasifier operator with up to 50% longer service life versus previously used refractory materials. This development of an improved refractory for air-cooled slagging gasifiers will translate directly to increases in system productivity, and as a result, will improve the viability of gasification as a zero-emissions technology for the production of chemicals and power. Harbison Walker Refractories Co. licensed the NETL patent and is commercially marketing the refractory material under the trade name AUREX® 95P.

Multiphase Flow Research Group
The Multiphase Flow Research Group in the Office of Research and Development at NETL develops capabilities to accurately model fossil power generation technology employing dense, reacting multiphase flow.

The award-winning Multiphase Flow with Interphase eXchange (MFIX) Software Package, developed at the National Energy Technology Laboratory, enables scientists and engineers to reduce the time and cost of advanced energy technology development by evaluating innovations in design of systems such as coal and biomass gasification that capture and sequester carbon dioxide, by means of science-based simulations.  NETL has applied the code in collaboration with Southern Company (SC) and Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) to improve designs of advanced transport gasification systems. MFIX is made available to scientists world-wide through open-source code and is being applied to other fields such as volcanology. The MFIX software won an R&D 100 Award in 2007.

The award-winning Continuum Coal Chemistry Module (C3M), developed at the National Energy Technology Laboratory, allows scientists and engineers to accurately simulate chemical reactions in science-based simulations of advanced energy processes that use coal or other solid feedstocks such as biomass. C3M can be used with NETL's MFIX code and the commercial Fluent code. C3M was used to develop transport gasification with Southern Company (SC) and Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR). Arizona Public Service (APS) is using C3M to develop the Advanced Hydrogasification Process (AHP). C3M won a 2008 Excellence in Technology Transfer Award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC). This technology was recently licensed to ConocoPhillips.

Thermoelectric Ambient Energy Harvester

The Thermoelectric Ambient Energy Harvester, developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and licensed to Perpetua Power Source Technologies, a start up formed to further develop and commercialize this technology, pulls power out of the environment at the exact location that it's needed. Using naturally occurring temperature differences to generate power from the surrounding environment means that a separate fuel source or batter is not required to run small, low-power devices such as wireless sensors and radio frequency transmitters. This is extremely useful where communication with a remote facility is necessary, such as monitoring the structural integrity of dams, buildings, bridges and pipelines, where access to sensor equipment for maintenance and repair is expensive and difficult. This technology eliminates the need for disposal of harmful chemicals present in conventional batteries, and provides for a longer lifespan as well.


Electro Optic Voltage Sensor System

The Electro Optic Voltage Sensor System, developed at the Idaho National Laboratory and licensed to OptiSense Network, can measure an electric field without actually touching it, allowing utilities to detect and locate a power failure before customers call to report it. The technology will enable utility companies to monitor feeder circuits more cost effectively, enhance system operations, optimize power flows, and provide greater grid security and reliability. Feedback from two major utilities indicates that the sensors reduce capital expenditure costs and real-time monitoring of the distribution grid by a 2% annual capital expenditure savings. Sales projections suggest that the licensee using the technology has the potential to contribute more than $80 million per year to its state economy and hopes to reach a larger audience in utilities that operate within voltages of 15 to 100 kilovolts – about 99% of utility companies.

Hydrogen:

The Fiber Optic Hydrogen Sensor, developed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and licensed to Nuclear Filter Technology, provides for early detection of hydrogen so vital to safe handling of hydrogen to support the market viability of a hydrogen-based economy. The hydrogen sensing market is a strong market with potential growth from its current size of about $800 million to an estimated $1.6 billion by 2010. The Fiber Optic Hydrogen Sensor has applications in industries that use or produce hydrogen including petrochemical, transportation, fuel cell applications, fuel production, food processing, natural gas and nuclear waste.

Batteries:

Solid Nanostructured Polymer Electrolyte for Rechargeable Lithium Batteries, developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and licensed to start-up company Seeo, Inc., is enabling development of a solid-state rechargeable lithium battery with the potential to improve the storage capability, safety and lifetime of rechargeable batteries for use in electric and hybrid vehicles, cell phones, laptops, and medical devices. In fact, batteries using this technology are expected to meet DOE's energy density goal for electric vehicles. These batteries are inherently safe because they lack the reactive and flammable materials of conventional lithium ion batteries, thus preventing thermal runaway. In addition, they resist dendrite growth, a factor that has stalled commercialization of rechargeable batteries.

Lithium Batteries, initially developed at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, were the basis for PolyPlus Battery Company, the Lab's first start-up, located in Berkeley, California and employing 27 people. PolyPlus Battery Company continues to develop innovations in high energy density lithium batteries and has built an impressive list of battery-related IP.

Geothermal:

Method for Mining Geothermal Waters, developed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and licensed to Simbol Mining, an entrepreneurial start-up formed to bring this technology to market, solves a critical problem of geothermal turbine facilities by extracting the silica that clogs pipes, filters and heat exchangers, enhancing geothermal plant efficiency. The recovered silica can then be used to supplement the short supply of silica for solar photovoltaic cells, and is also useful in other products such as paint, paper, toothpaste, tires and dehumidifiers. The technology is also useful in mining out other valuable minerals such as lithium used for electric car batteries, manganese, zinc and tungsten.

Solar:

Hybrid Solar Lighting, developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and licensed to Sunlight Direct, LLC, is a lightweight, roof-mounted collector that concentrates visible sunlight and blends the natural light with artificial light to maintain a constant level of room lighting, reducing the cost of lighting in commercial buildings and providing other benefits associated with natural lighting to the occupants of the building.

The Award-winning Nanocrystal Solar Cell, developed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is an ultrathin film solar technology using nanocrystal semiconductors; it is the only photovoltaic technology that is sufficiently long-lasting and inexpensive to compete with electricity from the grid. It is licensed by Solexant, a start-up based in San Jose, California. The cell is a winner of a 2009 R&D 100 award.
Story link: Sunny Future for Nanocrystal Solar Cells

Advanced Optical Furnace

Advanced Optical Furnace technology for manufacturing thin-film silicon solar cells, developed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, has been recognized by Applied Optical Systems for its great potential in developing such solar cells with up to 15 to 18% higher efficiencies than presently available. This technology, which can be used to manufacture any type of solar cell, including diffusion, metallization and oxidation, will also make it possible to process a thin-film solar cell in only a few minutes, which reduces manufacturing costs. Under a cooperative research and development agreement, the Laboratory and Applied Optical Systems have developed an optical furnace system prototype.

The Award-winning Inverted Metamorphic Multijunction (IMM) Solar Cell, developed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and licensed to Emcore Corp., established a solar cell efficiency of 37.9% under concentrated light equal to 10 suns in 2005, and in 2008, a modified version of the IMM design set a new record of 40.8% 200iciency under 326 suns. Under a cooperative research and development agreement the Laboratory and Emcore Corp are developing a commercial version aimed at the space satellite market and for use on Earth in concentrated photovoltaic arrays, which use lenses or mirrors to focus sunlight onto the solar cells. The cell is a winner of a 2008 R&D 100 award.
Story link: Photovoltaics Innovations Win 2 R&D 100 Awards

ENABLE technology, developed at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and licensed to Rose Street Labs Energy, Inc., is an energetic neutral atom beam used to synthesize high quality thin films critical to the development of full spectrum photovoltaics. The Laboratory and Rose Street Labs are collaborating to further the technology's excellent control of material composition, combined with high deposition rates, to improve performance and lower costs of full spectrum, multi-junction solar cell technology. ENABLE was a winner of a 2006 R&D 100 Award.

Energy-efficient Building Systems:

EnergyPlus, developed at and distributed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is a building energy simulation software program that evaluates HVAC, lighting and window systems as well as natural ventilation in building plans to identify energy-saving design changes. When applied to the design of a new federal building in San Francisco, EnergyPlus saved $1.5 million in construction costs and is expected to save nearly $9 million in energy costs over 20 years. As of September 2007, the Lab had issued over 27 commercial distribution licenses for EnergyPlus and over 55,000 architects, engineers and students had downloaded the software.
Product link: A New-Generation Building Energy Simulation Program
Story link: EnergyPlus Saves Federal Building $9 Million in Energy Costs

Windows with Low-E (low-emissivity) Coatings are energy-efficient windows developed by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in response to the energy crisis of the late 1970s. They now represent more than half of all windows sold in the U.S. each year, and most new homes have them. The windows' glazing lets in visible light and minimizes the radiation load from sunlight, which reduces the energy demand for air conditioning.
Story link: Seeing Windows Through

Integrated Heat Pump Water Heater technology led by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tiax and ECR International serves as the basis for the ENERGY STAR heat pump water heater criteria at the heart of these devices that are much like a refrigerator working in reverse, using liquid refrigerant to take the heat from surrounding air and transfer it to water in an enclosed tank. It is one of five water heating technologies that are eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR label which is expected to save U.S. consumers $823 million in utility costs, avoid 4.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions and achieve cumulative energy savings of more than 3.9 billion kilowatt-hours and 270 million therms of natural gas — enough energy to power more than 375,000 homes for a year.

Duct Sealing, developed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been shown to save up to 30% in annual utility bills by sealing air leaks in heating and cooling ducts in residential and commercial buildings. Carrier Corporation acquired a Berkeley Lab start-up in 2003 to increase the offering of this energy-saving product throughout the United States. Story links: Aerosol-Based Duct Sealing Technology and Aerosol Duct Sealing.

Cool Color Roofs, developed at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory with 16 industrial partners who have introduced or plan to introduce the products or components, is a toolkit for developing heat-reflective roofing products in any color using pigments that have a high ability to reflect solar radiation. This allows for making energy-saving roofing more widely available, potentially achieving a net energy savings in the U.S. worth over $400 million per year.

Cool Roofs
Left to right: American Rooftile Coatings, Custom-Bilt Metals, GAF/Elk, and MCA Clay Tile.
Story link: Cool World: A Modest Proposal to Cool the Planet by Cooling the Neighborhood

Fossil fuel:

The Chevron/Los Alamos Alliance for Advanced Energy Solutions has nearly 20 diverse projects that include long-term, high-value, cutting-edge technologies in oil shale extraction, down-hole communications, subsea technologies, refining separations, and imaging and modeling.  Three projects—Inficomm, a downhole wireless communications technology being commercialized through a startup business; an acoustic separation technology; and a process to reduce pressures in an annulus in deepwater—are in the final commercialization stage.