Energy I-Corps Cohort 5 Teams

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Information about the Energy I-Corps cohort 5 teams, their technologies, and how Energy I-Corps is helping the teams fine-tune their potential pathways to market are highlighted here.

Idaho National Laboratory – AMAFT

Team Members
Principal Investigator: Isabella van Rooyen
Entrepreneurial Lead: George Griffith
Industry Mentor: Ed Lahoda

Additive manufacturing technology provides a direct route to fabrication of dense uranium silicide using a novel hybrid laser engineered net shaping process that is applied to create a small localized melt pool from multiple powder sources to form a pellet with the required microstructure, chemistry, and properties. This hybrid process in combination of other hybrid advanced manufacturing processes provide the unique capability to use multiple raw material sources.

Idaho National Laboratory – Electroplate

Team Members
Principal Investigator: Prabhat Tripathy
Entrepreneurial Lead: Jordan Argyle
Industry Mentor: James Herring

This invention provides a corrosion protection barrier on metallic structural materials, functional metals and alloys, and rare earth based magnets. The coating is formed by the electrodeposition of metallic aluminum on the surface of the metal/alloy from an alkali metal bromide (salt) plating bath. A thick, homogenous, uniform, pore-free, and adherent aluminum layer coating is formed when the substrate is made a cathode. The process enables formation of a multi-layered surface coating.

Idaho National Laboratory – EMRLD

Team Members
Principal Investigator: Steven Prescott
Entrepreneurial Lead: Ram Sampath
Industry Mentor: Rob Sewell

Traditional Probabilistic Risk Assessment (PRA) tools provide a static assessment of a given model. This is sufficient for many applications. However, many scenarios are time-dependent or dynamic. EMRALD is a State PRA model based on three-phase discrete event simulation, which makes it ideal for dynamic time-dependent models and also makes coupling possible with other time-dependent physics based simulation models. This overall design enables easy use for new and experienced PRA model users.

Idaho National Laboratory – Re-light

Team Members
Principal Investigator: Donna Baek
Entrepreneurial Lead: Devin Imholte
Industry Mentor(s): Robert Fox and James Hedrick

Re-Light’s technology safely removes and separates mercury and rare earth elements from fluorescent lamps so as not to volatilize mercury to the environment. Phosphor powders contain rare earth elements, which are considered critical elements worldwide based on their ubiquitous application in clean energy technologies and microelectronic devices. Recovery of these metals through urban mining is much more economical and sustainable.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory - Basic

Team Members
Principal Investigator: Dave Bobela
Entrepreneurial Lead: Bart Van Zeghbroeck
Industry Mentor: Bob Goodman

Silicon Carbide (SiC) is a semiconductor that, due to its superior electronic properties, could replace silicon-based devices in the enormous market of high voltage, high speed power electronics. NREL has developed Hot-Filament Chemical Vapor Deposition technology that, when optimized, enables growth of electronic grade SiC from gas phase precursors, at lower costs than current CVD techniques used in industry.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory – Beyond Fault Detection 

Team Members
Principal Investigator: Stephen Frank
Entrepreneurial Lead: Daniel Studer
Industry Mentor: Heidi Lubin

Beyond Fault Detection (BFD) is an interactive, context-aware energy analytics and fault detection platform for commercial buildings. Using state-of-the-art predictive analytics, BFD continuously displays a building’s energy performance and, critically, whether that performance falls within an acceptable range given the building’s current operating conditions. Users understand at a glance whether the monitored building is healthy and meeting its energy performance goals.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory – CuB Fuels

Team Members
Principal Investigator: Dan Ruddy
Entrepreneurial Lead: Josh Schaidle and Jesse Hensley
Industry Mentor: Tim Eggeman and Bill Schafer

CuB Fuels is targeting the production and sale of high octane synthetic gasoline and advanced jet fuel to improve engine efficiency and performance, while leveraging domestic production of methanol from biomass, municipal waste, natural gas, and coal.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory – Glycoplastics

Team Members
Principal Investigator: Peter Ciesielski and Ruoran Zhang
Entrepreneurial Lead: David Robichaud
Industry Mentor: Kim Nelson

Polyethylene (PE) is a ubiquitous plastic for many common applications including plastic bags and packaging material. This material is non-biodegradable and is accumulating in massive quantities in the oceans, causing harm to marine ecosystems. Glycoplastics bio-derived composite films display mechanical properties similar to PE, but dissolve completely in water after a controlled period of time. These materials can serve as eco-friendly replacements for PE and other non-biodegradable plastics.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory – Microwatts

Team Members
Principal Investigator: Shriram Santhanagopalan
Entrepreneurial Lead: Aron Saxon
Industry Mentor: David King

NREL recently developed micro-calorimeters that are highly accurate and capable of measuring heat signals of the order of a few microwatts. This technology will enable the industry to measure and distinguish between multiple heat sources within the battery and accurately identify aging mechanisms within cells. The abilities of this tool will help bridge the gap between material limitations and cell level performance. Building of the prototype was funded by the Vehicle Technologies Office.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory – Nitrilica

Team Members
Principal Investigator: Eric Karp
Entrepreneurial Lead: Violeta Sanchez i Nogue and Todd Eaton

Sustainable Nitriles’ nitrilation technology enables production of cost-competitive nitriles from both biomass residues and traditional petro-based feedstocks. This de-couples nitriles' dependence on a volatile petroleum market, stabilizing price points for end users. One downstream product, carbon fiber, is highly sought in automotive applications but volatility in the petroleum market limits large scale use. Nitrilation provides a solution that is cleaner, greener, and cost competitive.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory – Windsock

Team Members
Principal Investigator: Ryan King
Entrepreneurial Lead: Jennifer Annoni and Ryan King
Industry Mentor: Andy Paliszewski

A primary challenge in lowering the cost of wind energy is uncertainty in the wind during real-time operations. Our technology facilitates high levels of wind energy penetration by making wind plants more predictable. The Wind Stochastic Optimal Control Kit (WindSOCK) combines plant-level control strategies with data-driven forecasting, energy storage, and optimization to help operators make more informed decisions when bidding into energy markets, planning maintenance, and using energy storage.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory – CO2BOL-NG

Team Members
Principal Investigator: David Heldebrant
Entrepreneurial Lead: Phillip Koech

CO2BOL’s are organic liquids that can absorb combustion products such as CO2 or SO2. In the case of CO2, this provides for carbon capture; for SO2, a reduction in the major cause of acid rain. CO2BOLs can be regenerated under mild conditions, with the captured gas being recovered for use or sequestration. The system has been dubbed as the "Swiss Army Knife" of chemical solvents because of the ability to tailor the specific chemistry to the specific gas separation application.