ORNL Wins Eight R&D 100 Awards

July 11, 2014

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., July 11 — Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have received eight R&D 100 awards, presented by R&D Magazine in recognition of the year’s top technological innovations.

“These awards recognize the tremendous value of our National Labs,” said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. “Research and development at the National Labs continues to help our nation address its energy challenges and pursue the scientific and technological innovations necessary to remain globally competitive.” 

The eight awards bring ORNL’s total of R&D 100 awards to 187 since their inception in 1963. This year, ORNL scientists and engineers received awards for the following technologies:

Continuously Variable Series Reactor, or CVSR, was developed by ORNL, SPX Transformer Solutions Inc. and the University of Tennessee. ORNL inventors were Aleksandar Dimitrovski and Burak Ozpineci.

The CVSR is a high power magnetic amplifier that controls power flow in power systems. In operation of power systems, where conditions constantly change, a single CVSR will provide smoothly variable alternating current circuit impedance, while a number of coordinated CVSR’s installed throughout the power system can provide full power system control. CVSR’s unique design helps to ensure full use of power system assets, increased reliability and efficiency and effective use of renewable resources.

The research was funded by DOE’s Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy under the Green Electricity Network Integration program.

Diagnosis Using the Chaos of Computing Systems, or DUCCS, was developed at ORNL by Nageswara Rao.

DUCCS ultra-lightweight software quickly and nonintrusively detects a variety of hardware faults in processing units, accelerators, memory elements and interconnects of large-scale high-performance computing systems such as supercomputers, clusters and server farms. The software combines chaotic map theory with advanced CPUs and CPU systems to detect component faults in systems that handle large computational problems such as scientific computations, weather predictions and web data processing. DUCCS software provides critical diagnosis information that contributes to the resilience of computing systems in terms of error-free computations and sustained capacity.

The research was funded by the DOE’s Mathematics of Complex, Distributed, Interconnected Systems Project, Applied Mathematics Program, Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.

High Performance Silicon Carbide based Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Battery Charger was jointly developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Arkansas Power Electronics International, the University of Arkansas and Toyota. The ORNL team was Laura Marlino, Nance Ericson, Shane Frank and Chuck Britton.

This on-board battery charger technology for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles incorporates silicon carbide devices to provide 10 times the power density of current commercial charging systems, while delivering more efficient, higher power throughput for faster charging times. In addition, the charger significantly increases the vehicle’s range and the battery pack can be charged from any available single-phase AC power outlet, allowing for cheaper off-peak hour charging while promoting a decreased dependence on expensive fossil-based fuels.

The project was funded through an ARPA-E award.

Ionic Liquid Anti-wear Additives for Fuel-efficient Engine Lubricants was developed by ORNL, General Motors Research and Development Center, Shell Global Solutions and Lubrizol Corp. ORNL principal investigators were Jun Qu, Huimin Luo, Sheng Dai, Peter Blau, Todd Toops, Brian West and Bruce Bunting.

The technology employs a group of ionic liquids that can be mixed with common lubricating oils to form a nanostructured protective film on bearing surfaces that effectively reduces friction and wear. This ionic lubricant technology has the potential to save the United States millions of barrels of oil each year.

The research was sponsored by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Vehicle Technologies Office.

iSPM: Intelligent Software for Personalized Modeling of Expert Opinions, Decisions and Errors in Visual Examination Tasks was developed by Georgia Tourassi, Songhua Xu, Hong-Jun Yoon and Sophie Voisin of the Computational Sciences and Engineering Division at ORNL.

By combining innovative visual diagrams and pioneering analytic rule sets, iSPM helps analysts perform visual tasks such as making medical diagnoses. The software uses eye-tracking hardware, user-interaction and advanced analysis to predict a person’s perceptual behavior, cognitive response and risk of error for complex decision tasks. This technology could improve patients’ health outcomes and lower medical errors, while providers could pay lower malpractice costs. In addition, the software can be used in fields such as education and homeland security where experts also perform risk-sensitive visual tasks.

Funding for the research was provided by ORNL’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program.

Portable Aluminum Deposition System, or PADS, was developed by ORNL, the University of Mississippi and United Technologies Research Center. ORNL researchers were Sheng Dai, Xiao-Guang Sun and Youxing Fan.

The aluminum plating advancement is expected to replace hazardous coatings such as cadmium, thereby potentially strengthening the competiveness of United States manufacturing companies worldwide and cutting the cost of aluminum plating by a factor of 50 to 100. By using newly developed ionic liquid electrolytes and a novel electrolyte dispensing mechanism to deposit aluminum, PADS allows manufacturers to safely conduct aluminum deposition in open atmosphere for the first time.

Funding for this project was provided by the Department of Defense Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program.

The RF-DPF Diesel Particulate Filter Sensor was developed by Filter Sensing Technologies Inc., in collaboration with ORNL and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  The ORNL team consisted of James Parks II, Vitaly Prikhodko, and John Storey.

The RF-DPF is a radio frequency-based sensor and control system used to measure the amount, type, and distribution of contaminants on filters. This technology provides rapid real-time assessment of soot on diesel particulate filters, which allows greater precision in filter control, thereby reducing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The RF-DPF can be used with light- and heavy-duty diesel vehicles and may enable longer filter life and overall system cost savings.

The project was funded by Filter Sensing Technologies Inc., and the DOE Vehicle Technologies Office.

Super-hydro-tunable HiPAS Membranes were developed by ORNL. Inventors were Michael Hu, Matthew Sturgeon, Ramesh Bhave, Brian Bischoff, Tolga Aytug and Tim Theiss. 

This new class of membrane products can selectively separate molecules in the vapor/gas phase and perform liquid-phase separations, which could be especially useful in reducing the price of bio-ethanol, ethanol-gasoline blend fuels and drop-in fuels from bio-oil processing. The membrane acts as an energy-efficient alternative to the distillation process by using a superhydrophobic or superhydrophillic surface to separate molecules. The membrane’s larger pore sizes and architecture advantages drive never-before-achieved flow rates across membranes, sustaining characteristics key to repetitive or continuous operation under high pressures and temperatures. In addition to its potential in biofuel-based economies, these membranes could have a broad impact in chemical, pharmaceutical, petrochemical and gas separation industries.

This project was supported by ORNL’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program and by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Bioenergy Technologies Office.

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit http://science.energy.gov/.

Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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