Researchers at Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, Calif., along with four other collaborators, have devised a solution with the EPRI UT Nuclear Fuel Cleaning Technology. This patented process removes corrosion products deposited on irradiated nuclear fuel pins in nuclear power plants, using ultrasonic technology. With this technology, 80-90% of crud deposits are removed with no damage to the integrity of fuel.
GrafTech, Inc., Parma, Ohio, developed the Apollo Electrode System and Zeus Electrode System. Whereas traditional graphite electrodes are fused together with a conventional pin-socket joint design, both the Apollo and Zeus systems are designed to be pin-less. Eliminating the pin in these electrodes reduces the risk of hot spots and thermal stresses, which have historically led to these failures.
There can be little doubt that as America moves forward, energy consumption and demand will continue to rise. This scenario will place a significant toll on the nation’s electrical power grid, reinforcing the need for solutions to adequately deliver the electricity needed. Heeding that call, has been a team of researchers from American Superconductor, Westborough, Mass., and the Tennessee Valley Authority, Chattanooga. Their SuperVAR Dynamic Synchronous Condenser is designed to stabilize grid voltages, increase service reliability and maximize transmission capacity.
Converting waste products into reusable materials is the framework behind the WastAway Municipal Solid Waste Recycling System. The system, created by Bouldin, Corp., McMinnville, Tenn., and Battelle, Columbus, Ohio, recycles unsorted Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) into safe useable products, decreasing cities’ dependence on landfills.
The Intermediate Temperature Hydrogen Transport Membranes, developed by researchers at Eltron Research, Boulder, Colo., are dense hydrogen membranes that operate between 350° and 450° C and possess permeability one order of magnitude higher than for palladium, under experimental conditions.
Researchers at MTI MicroFuel Cells, Inc., Albany, NY, and Intermec Technologies Corp., Everett, Wash., have released a RFID handheld device with a fuel cell option, called the Intermec IP3 Radio Frequency Identification handheld device, allowing for the next generation of portable handheld RFID readers.
Gas turbine engines are the most common forms of propulsion for civilian and military aircraft. Turbine and compressor disks used in advanced gas turbine engines, however, repeatedly suffer and degrade over time in the harsh environmental conditions of an engine. Engineers at GE Aircraft Engines and NASA Glenn Research Center have developed the ME3-Advanced Turbine Disk Alloy that will help, not only prolong the life of these parts, but withstand even higher combustion temperatures improving engine efficiency.
Researchers at the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL), Idaho Falls, have found a way to measure the amounts of contamination inside waste areas without harm to the surface or to equipment. The INEEL Geologic and Environmental Probe System (GEOPS) allows direct characterization and monitoring within or below hazardous waste sites.
Booming energy costs and stricter regulatory policies have incited a movement toward environmentally friendly building designs, even stirring the creation of programs solely devoted to the subject matter such as the U.S. Green Building Council Leadership Awards. Heeding the call for smarter and more versatile window coatings, developers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif., have formulated a unique type of Transition Metal Switchable Mirror (TMSM) using a magnesium alloy and a mixture of transition metals (Ni, Mn, etc.).
Developers at Micropyretics Heaters Intl., Cincinnati, Ohio, have developed a unique heating strategy, the One Atmosphere Plasma Airtorch. This innovation is a sustained one atmosphere, mid-temperature plasma generation device, which works by converting air into a predominantly nitrogen plasma maintained at one atmosphere.
A new cooling process, developed by Idalex Technologies, has now emerged, which uses a small amount of the most abundant fuel known to manwater. The process is embodied in the Coolerado Cooler, an air conditioner that delivers cold, dry air without a compressor or chemical refrigerants and uses 82% less power than a standard vapor compression system.
In a joint effort, researchers from Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, and Battelle, Columbus, Ohio, have developed a low-cost, high-temperature polymer membrane dubbed Battellion for use in Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) fuel cells.
Campers, soldiers, and homeowners are the benefactors of the lightweight, flexible, thin-film Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide (CIGS) photovoltaic (PV) modules, developed by researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colo., and Global Solar Energy, Tucson, Ariz. The modules’ flexible stainless steel backing and CIGS formulation supports a 40% gain in conversion efficiency, nearly twice the power-to-weight ratio, and three times the power-to-volume ratio found in amorphous silicon-based cells.
SAGE Electrochomics, Inc., Faribault, Minn., has developed a "switchable," absorbing electrochromic window. The SageGlass Smart Window Glazing is an all solid-state, ceramic materials technology in which the electrochromic films are adhered to the glass surface through high-temperature annealing.
Electronic component manufacturers looking to maximize cooling stand to benefit from The Ascent Cold Plate. Developed by Richard Goldman at Lytron, Inc., Woburn, Mass., this product is designed for component cooling applications where high performance is required.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colo., with First Solar, LLC, Perrysburg, Ohio, have created a high rate vapor transport deposition (HRVTD) technology for CdTe PV modules. This system enables in-line, continuous manufacture of thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules and allows PV to broaden its reach into the commercial market by generating 50 W at $2.50/W, a 30% cost reduction.
Devised by 3M, St. Paul, Minn., along with Preformed Line Products, Cleveland, Alcoa-Fujikura, Franklin, Tenn., Wire Rope Industries, Pointe-Claire, Quebec, and Nexans Canada, Markam, Ontario, the 3M Composite Conductor is a high-temperature, low-sag, bare overhead composite conductor with the ability to double the capacity of overhead transmission lines.
Innovative blends of process controls are featured in the Low Emissions Atmospherics Separator or LEAMS. Developed by Douglas Jung, PI, Two Phase Engineering & Research, Santa Rosa, Calif., in conjunction with Allan Sattler, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, N.M., and Al Champness, President, Drill Cool Systems, Bakersfield, Calif., LEAMS addresses the contamination problems associated with drilling and creating geothermal power.
A group led by Darren Naud, Los Alamos National Laboratory, N.M., and PyroLabs, Inc., Whitewater, Colo., have devised Super-Thermite Electric Matches. These devices are made out of Metastable Intermolecular Composite (MIC) materials, which do not emit any toxic lead smoke and resist friction, impact, and static. Their potential goes beyond transforming pyrotechnics and extends into igniting rocket motors or as a possible triggering device for car air bags.
More than 150 gas stations incorporate the Power-View Photovoltaic Module, structural material/solar panels that provide 17% of a station’s electricity supply. The research team led by Robert Oswald and Frank Liu from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colo., and BP Solar, Toano, Va., designed a Power-View module as two pieces of heat-strengthened glass with thin film deposited on the front piece and then laminated to a second piece.
Acrion Technologies' CO2 Wash Technology is the first equipment designed to convert harmful landfill gas (LFG) into usable energy. As microorganisms digest waste in landfills, they produce LFG, consisting of methane, carbon dioxide (CO2), and trace levels of toxic volatile organic compounds, all of which are altered through systems of wells and valves.
Telcordia Technologies’ Asymmetric Hybrid Energy Storage Device, developed by Glenn Amatucci at the Red Bank, N.J., company, delivers power quickly and has high-energy densities. This battery/supercapacitor replaces the need for heavy, expensive batteries normally used to overcome restrictions of smaller batteries.
A problem in commercializing solar power technology has been the cost of converting electrical systems to solar sources. The APx-8 (APEX) Solar Cell from AstroPower Inc., Newark, Del., overcomes these problems by tweaking the design of a solar cell. A simple 5.2 W solar cell converts sunlight into electricity; the APx-8 is extraordinary for the rate at which it does so and the way the cells themselves are produced.
With growing fears of global warming and environmental pollution, society has been demanding more Earth-friendly technology, and many manufacturers are responding. One example of a green technology is the “Super Enzyme System” developed by Haruo Takahashi at Toyota Central Research and Development Laboratories Inc., Nagakute-cho, Japan.