R&D Magazine Awards Recognize Innovative Research with Commercial Potential
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) researchers have won 33 of the 100 awards given out this year by R&D Magazine and received a special recognition award for the most outstanding technology developments with promising commercial potential. The annual R&D 100 Awards are given in recognition of exceptional new products or processes that were developed and introduced into the marketplace during the previous year. The awards were presented on Friday, November 17th in Orlando, Florida.
“These awards demonstrate the incredible value that our national laboratories continue to provide to our nation, and show why the Department of Energy is one of the largest supporters of technology transfer in the federal government,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “The ingenuity and innovation at our national labs helped unleash the American energy revolution, and are showing the way to a more secure and more prosperous future.”
Since 1962, when the annual competition began, DOE’s national laboratories have received more than 800 R&D 100 awards. The awards are selected by an independent panel of judges based on the technical significance, uniqueness, and usefulness of projects and technologies from across industry, government, and academia.
Many of these projects were developed in collaboration with private companies or academic institutions. The list below shows the winning national labs and their corresponding technologies.
ACE: The Ageless Aluminum Revolution. Lightweight materials such as aluminum alloys can help substantially increase the efficiency of vehicles and airplanes. ACE is a new family of aluminum alloys that exhibits better performance at high temperatures and is easier to cast than previous alloys. Manufacturers can successfully cast ACE alloys in a wide variety of structural components without energy-intensive heat treatments. Eliminating these treatments could significantly increase production output and reduce manufacturing costs in some cases by almost 60 percent. This was developed with the Critical Materials Institute, a U.S. Department of Energy Innovation Hub led by the Ames Laboratory, along with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
- The Oleo Sponge offers a new way to clean up oil spills in water. Built using low-cost materials and processing methods, Oleo Sponge absorbs up to 90 times its weight in oil. In addition, it's reusable and collects oil above and below the water's surface. It is the only mainstream technology for cleaning up sub-surface oil droplets suspended in the water column.
- The Multiple Operating system Rotation Environment Moving Target Defense (MORE-MTD) software enhances computer system security by rotating through multiple operating systems. Because attackers cannot predict the software the computer will be using, the system increases the uncertainty and cost of attacking while reducing the likelihood of an attacker locating a vulnerability.
- To reach a low-carbon future, urban centers need strategies that cut energy use and enhance resilience. The Benchmarking and Energy Saving Tool for Low-Carbon Cities (BEST Cities)provides software for urban planning that users can easily install and run. This integrated, computer-based tool helps local policymakers and planners assess their city's energy use and related emissions, compare the performance to similar cities, and develop a plan with specific policy strategies that reduce carbon and methane emissions.
- As more homes and businesses adopt solar energy, utilities and grid operators need real-time insights into how these new, highly variable resources are affecting the electrical grid. The Distributed Solar Estimation (DiSE) algorithm makes it possible for the first time to accurately estimate electricity output from customer-owned photovoltaic solar panels. DiSE can help system operators anticipate and prepare for short-term changes in power level and avoid buying too much energy. This software improves grid reliability while reducing ratepayers' costs and boosts security.
- CrunchFlow is a software package that simulates how chemical reactions occur and change as fluids travel underground. CrunchFlow includes a number of chemical and physical processes that similar products do not, such as changes in how easily water can move through rocks. With CrunchFlow's computational efficiency, scientists can achieve high spatial resolution while extending simulations far back in geologic time to better understand current and past ecological systems below the Earth's surface.
- Double Barcoded Shotgun Expression Library Sequencing (Dub-seq) is a technology for discovering the functions of genes in microbes under different environmental conditions. Because Dub-seq can process large amounts of genetic information at once, it is faster, cheaper, more flexible, and requires less work than previous genetic analysis technologies. Scientists can adapt it to a variety of biotechnologies, such as discovering new enzymes, finding new cancer drugs, gaining insight into resistance to viruses, and understanding how antibiotics act on microbes that cause disease.
The Applied Biosystems™ Axiom™ Microbiome Array enables researchers to detect all known microorganisms in a sample with a single assay. Designed in collaboration with the Thermofisher Scientific, the Axiom Microbiome Array provides species- and strainlevel detection on a scalable platform with straightforward, easy-to-use software.
Earth System Grid Federation (ESGF) offers an immense, computerized climate database that standardizes and organizes observational and simulation data from 21 countries, allowing scientists to compare models against actual observations and reanalysis.
Radiation Field Training Simulator (RaFTS) - The prototyped systems enable first responders to be trained for radiological and nuclear incidents using real instrumentation in realistic scenarios.
- Researchers are developing Clean-Energy Electrocatalysts Without Precious Metals as an alternative to the prohibitively expensive platinum and platinum-group metal (PGM) catalysts currently used in fuel cell electrodes to make the next-generation of fuel cells cost effective.
- Discrete Fracture Network Modeling Suite (dfnWorks) is a parallelized computational suite that generates three-dimensional discrete fracture networks (DFN) and simulates flow and transport through fractured rock. The affordable dfnworks simulation suite allows researchers to perform numerical experiments of flow and transport through fractured porous media which were previously deemed unfeasible.
- EDGE Bioinformatics allows scientists to perform a number of tailored Next Generation Sequencing analyses for exploring genomes and metagenomes using cutting-edge tools with a user friendly interface.
- High-Temperature Electric Submersible Pump Motor (HT-ESP) offers improved thermal performance compared with conventional submersible pumps used in deep underground and extremely hot environments.
- Space Hazards Induced near Earth by Large Dynamic Storms (SHIELDS) Space Weather Platform predicting hazards that result from solar storms using state-of-the-art models, computational facilities, and data from national security payloads.
- WikiEpiCast framework combines mathematical models with clinical surveillance data and readership traffic from Wikipedia to forecast the spread and severity of diseases around the world. Successfully demonstrated on forecasting influenza in the United States, WikiEpiCast’s framework can be applied to any communicable disease, from Ebola and tuberculosis to Zika virus.
- Zirconia Electrochemical Hydrogen Safety Sensor is a low-cost, reliable hydrogen safety sensor for vehicle and infrastructure applications to protect the new-energy economy.
Deep underground geologic formations offer promising places to safely and effectively store large volumes of carbon dioxide generated from burning coal, oil, and natural gas. The National Risk Assessment Partnership Toolset (NRAP) is the first complete suite of computer software that models possible environmental risks from potential storage sites, such as fluid leakage and earthquakes. The toolset draws on the expertise of five DOE national laboratories and is being used by over 250 stakeholders from academia, regulatory agencies, and industry.
- Common commercial alloys soften rapidly at high temperatures, limiting how manufacturers can use them in vehicles. Affordable and lightweight ACMZ cast aluminum alloys withstand temperatures of almost 100 degrees Celsius, more than current commercial alloys, while providing equivalent mechanical performance. Lightweight, high-temperature aluminum alloys will play a vital part in improving automotive fuel efficiency in the future.
- 3-D Printed Additively Printed High Performance Magnets made using Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) method have superior magnetic performance and tensile strength compared to bonded magnets produced by other methods. In contrast to more common sintered magnets that require manufacturers to apply very high pressure to chemically reactive materials, bonded magnets are less expensive and less resource-intensive to produce and can be fabricated into intricate shapes with no size limitations.
- Innovative filler materials minimize the residual stresses and distortions caused by the heating and melting processes of welding and 3D printing. The filler material is designed to counterbalance thermal shrinkage and control residual stresses and distortions without heat treatments. This technology can be used revitalize aging infrastructure and financial impacts of massive structural failures.
- The liquid electrolyte in typical automotive lithium-ion batteries poses a fire risk in high-speed collisions. Current plug-in electric vehicles use heavy shielding that reduces their range and efficiency. The Safe Impact Resistant Electrolyte (SAFIRE) eliminates this risk by using an additive that transforms the liquid electrolyte to a solid upon impact. By blocking contact between electrodes, it prevents short circuiting and a potential fire.
- The dropletProbe system is a completely new means of surface sampling for mass spectrometry, a major scientific technique for measuring the masses of chemicals in a sample. The dropletProbe system provides rapid, simple chemical extraction and analysis method for sampling complex analytical surfaces, such as biological tissue samples. By reducing cost and improving accuracy, this tool should help increase the pace of scientific discovery.
PNNL has incorporated a proprietary nanomaterial into a new cooling system, which uses heat to drive the cooling process instead of electricity. Traditional adsorption coolers are too large, heavy, and expensive to use in most situations. Multibed Adsorption Recuperative Cooling (MARCool) is part of a new class of solid-state cooling technology which operates on wasted heat from power sources such as generators could lead to significant energy and cost savings in homes, buildings, cars, trucks, and industrial processes. MARCool is half of the size and twice as efficient as standard adsorption chiller systems with many of the components commercially available.
Active-shooter detection systems are generally designed for outdoor, urban environments.Researchers have created the Acoustic Gunshot Detector specifically for indoor environments such as schools and public buildings. The small, inexpensive device is battery-powered, connects wirelessly to existing security systems, and distinguishes between gunshots and other sounds. Once a shot is detected, the system can activate a building lockdown and notify authorities.
U.S. automakers are incorporating lightweight materials into new vehicles but have challenges joining dissimilar materials without sacrificing strength, durability or safety.The Friction Stir Scribe Process joins materials with dissimilar materials in a continuous, linear, or curved manner without needing additional adhesives, bolts, and rivets. Manufacturers can now incorporate new and different materials into a variety of strong, lightweight parts, from sub-frames for the engine chassis, without sacrificing strength or durability.
Most cybersecurity tools and methods are highly sophisticated, designed to protect critical data from attackers around the globe.But some older industrial control systems, such as those that manage the operation of transportation systems and the delivery of water and electricity, cannot interact with today’s cyber security tools.SerialTap is an inexpensive, non-intrusive palm-sized device add-on that can monitor and verify the activity in older serial communication systems.
- Medical researchers need to be able to quickly distinguish and measure different molecules in biological samples such as blood. But standard analytical technologies are slow, cumbersome, expensive, and often ineffective.Structures for Lossless Ion Manipulations (SLIM) technology is 1,000 times faster than current methods and can identify trace differences between molecules with similar masses but different structures as small as a single cell. The goal is to create a compact version doctors could use to provide biomarker-based disease results to patients.
High-fidelity Adaptive Deception & Emulation System (HADES) Platform radically changes the way cybersecurity defenders protect their networks and gain insight on adversaries. The platform emulates a realistic environment of as many as 10,000 machines, creating a far richer deception than honeypots and other techniques. It encourages adversaries to stay long enough to reveal their intent, tools, and tactics. HADES then automatically sends information on adversaries to defenders.
The Microgrid Design Toolkit decision support software provides practitioners with the information they need to create preliminary microgrid designs that optimize performance, reliability, and cost. The toolkit, which is available as free download from the U.S. Department of Energy, is a significant advance over other available tools. It helps designers create microgrids that can provide power effectively during times of emergency and emergency recovery.
The SolidSense “Gas Analyzer on a Chip” is a robust sensor platform that measures all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-regulated emissions. SolidSense provides exhaust chemistry feedback for engines, turbines, power plants, and other applications improving combustion and fuel efficiency and reducing harmful emissions. The sensor is the first of its kind to operate in hostile high-temperature environments without the need for cooling or filtration. It can be mass produced at low cost.
Ultra-Wide Bandgap Power Electronic Devices would replace transformers with transistor based electronics, enabling next-generation power electronics by providing switching speeds 10 times faster than the current state-of-the-art passive components. Ultra-wide bandgap power electronic devices are also smaller, more efficient, and less expensive, and would enable other components in electronic devices to be smaller as well. These devices can also function at higher operating temperatures and in high radiation environments such as space.
Electric power grids operate well below transmission capacity to avoid widespread outages due to inter-area oscillations. The Control System for Active Damping of Inter-Area Oscillationsimproves electric power grid reliability by continuously damping inter-area oscillations, allowing greater power transfer. This control system is the first successful grid demonstration of feedback control, making it a game changer in efforts to transform the existing grid into the future smart grid.