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The Lead

A Better Battery Choice

August 19, 2014 2:31 pm | Award Winners

As consumers we are ever more connected these days through tablets, smartphones, smart watches, and smart glasses, while the abundance of apps has made our lives more convenient and interesting. However, the battery in these electronics barely lasts a day. SolidEnergy SystemsSolid Polymer Ionic Liquid (SPiL) rechargeable lithium battery could potentially be the biggest breakthrough in battery technology since Sony introduced the first Li-ion battery in 1991.

No Overcharging Here

August 19, 2014 2:14 pm | Award Winners

Thorough testing by A123 Systems LLC has shown that ANL-RS2 Advanced...

A New DDF Engine Conversion Kit

August 19, 2014 1:57 pm | Award Winners

PTT Public Co. Ltd.’s PTT DIESEL CNG is a new concept for DDF...

An Electric Charge

August 19, 2014 1:39 pm | Award Winners

Arkansas Power Electronics International Inc.’s High-Performance...

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A Magnetic Solution to Power Flow

August 19, 2014 1:09 pm | Award Winners

The control of power flow in power systems is a major concern for utilities and system operators. But full power flow control has been prohibitively expensive, requiring large numbers of complicated and costly devices. As a result, power systems almost always operate sub-optimally at billions of dollars per year. A simple, magnetic-field-based valve-like device for power flow control, the Continuously Variable Series Reactor (CVSR), developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, SPX Transformer Solutions Inc. and the Univ. of Tennessee, has introduced substantial improvements.

A Leap in Power Generation

August 19, 2014 12:37 pm | Award Winners

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s Solar Thermochemical Advanced Reactor System (STARS) addresses a major criticism of solar energy, which, like wind power, can’t provide continuous output. Because of its design, STARS doesn’t require power plants to cease operations when the sun sets or clouds cover the sky.

Efficient PV, Low Cost

August 28, 2013 10:58 am | Award Winners

The photovoltaic industry is particularly sensitive to cost, and while pushing the envelope on conversion efficiency is a priority, efforts to reduce manufacturing costs is also a priority. Toward this end, TetraSun Inc. and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have developed TetraCell solar cells, which offer a bifacial, high-efficiency ($3.09 per Watt-peak) solution for photovoltaic applications.

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Biomass-powered Fuel Cell for Developing Countries

August 28, 2013 10:39 am | Award Winners

Fuel cells are typically viewed as complex or expensive devices. However, Point Source Power and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s VOTO rugged metal-supported solid-oxide fuel cell is a simple, affordable technology that can operate directly on hydrocarbon fuels in the relatively uncontrolled environment of a cookstove.

A Cool Geothermal Solution

August 28, 2013 10:22 am | Award Winners

The ClimateMaster Trilogy 40 Q-Mode water-to-air packaged geothermal heat pump unit, developed by ClimateMaster and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is the first geothermal heat pump to exceed a certified cooling efficiency of 40 EER (energy-efficiency ratio) under the AHRI’s part load ground loop rating conditions.

A New Take on Butanol

August 28, 2013 10:05 am | Award Winners

Butanol is good drop-in fuel and surpasses ethanol with its higher heating value, its compatibility with current gasoline engines and its existing gasoline distribution infrastructure. However, for any biofuel to have a positive economic and environmental impact, production must be efficient, scalable and have a small carbon footprint. Industrial Technology Research Institute has developed a butanol production technology, called ButyFix, which is designed to meet the above requirements.

Nuclear Energy in Space

August 28, 2013 9:51 am | Award Winners

Numerous space probes have taken advantage of radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) powered by plutonium. However, the end of the Cold War has brought about a shortage of plutonium. In collaboration with NASA Glenn Research Center and National Security Technologies, Los Alamos National Laboratory has developed an alternative type of nuclear reactor, one that uses plentiful uranium as its fuel source.

A "Smart" Solution to Thermal Gain

August 28, 2013 9:28 am | Award Winners

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Universal Smart Window (USW) Coating, constructed from an advance nanocrystal conducting oxide-base electrochromatic material embedded in a transition-metal-oxide matrix, is the first window coating to maximize thermal glare that enables dynamic control over heat-producing near-infrared radiation (NIR) and visible light from the sun independent of each other.

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Separate from the Rest

August 28, 2013 9:13 am | Award Winners

Lithium-ion battery separators prevent the anode and cathode layers from contacting each other, allowing cell potential to be maintained and safe operation of the battery. The SYMMETRIX HPX-F polymer-ceramic composite separator, developed by Porous Power Technologies and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, achieves this functionality while improving safety over conventional polyolefin membranes.

Virus Power

August 28, 2013 8:59 am | Award Winners

The worldwide market for portable electronic devices is quickly growing. These devices are predominantly battery-driven, and a challenge looms for maintaining, charging and disposing of these millions of batteries. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Bacteriophage Power Generator offers a potential alternative.

Battery Chemistry Improves Power Density

August 28, 2013 8:47 am | Award Winners

Currently, electric grids have limited ability to store excess energy, so electricity must constantly be generated to perfectly match demand. Hence, power generation, transmission and distribution must accommodate the maximum demand of conditions and must include significant standby generation capacity. This adds capital expense, and forces power plants to idle or operate at non-efficient conditions. United Technologies Research Center has developed a flow-battery technology—called PureStorage—that provides affordable, safe, energy-efficient and readily deployable electrical energy storage.

Battery Temperature Control

August 28, 2013 8:34 am | Award Winners

Understanding and controlling temperature is necessary for the successful operation of battery packs in electric-drive vehicles (EDVs). Isothermal Battery Calorimeters (IBCs), developed by National Renewable Energy Laboratory and NETZSCH North America, are the only calorimeters that can accurately measure heat generated from batteries used in EDVs—with a baseline sensitivity of 10 mW and heat detection as low as 15 J—while being charged and/or discharged.

Air conditioning by evaporation

August 15, 2012 7:55 am | Award Winners

DEVAP: Desiccant-Enhanced Evaporative Air-Conditioning, developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, AIL Research, and Synapse Product Development LLC, uses an advanced indirect evaporative cooling method to greatly increase its effectiveness in all types of climates.

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Flexible Fresnel lens concentrates light

August 15, 2012 7:20 am | Award Winners

Using a flexible Fresnel lens technology originally developed to power spacecraft, the SolarVolt module from NASA Glenn Research Center and Entech Solar Inc. offers high-efficiency concentrating photovoltaics for grid-scale deployment on Earth.

High-performance tokamak exhaust

August 15, 2012 7:08 am | Award Winners

Recent work at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the Center for Research in Plasma Physics, and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory has produced the Snowflake Divertor for Nuclear Fusion Reactors, a technology that solves the exhaust power load problem on tokamak fusion reactors.

Less platinum, better fuel cells

August 15, 2012 6:55 am | Award Winners

Oxygen reduction is a performance-limiting process in a fuel cell, prompting Brookhaven National Laboratory and N.E. Chemcat Corp. to design Platinum Monolayer Electrocatalysts for Fuel Cell Cathodes that greatly speed up this process.

A new angle on solar

August 15, 2012 6:48 am | Award Winners

SideLighter Optical microstructure-based concentrator photovoltaic technology from the Industrial Technology Research Institute helps reduce solar panel cost by reducing the size of the panel and increasing its efficiency.

Most efficient PV to date

August 15, 2012 6:26 am | Award Winners

With the development the SJ3 Solar Cell, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Solar Junction have produced an efficient multijunction concentrator solar cell that has achieved a maximum solar conversion of 43.5%.

Photovoltaics that fit

August 15, 2012 6:17 am | Award Winners

Microsystems Enabled Photovoltaics (MEPV) from Sandia National Laboratories represent a move toward miniaturized crystalline silicon and crystalline gallium-arsenide (GaAs) solar cells that can fit within the intricate shapes and contours of various objects.

Layered coating, cool roof

August 15, 2012 6:08 am | Award Winners

Landmark Solaris Platinum solar reflective roofing shingles from CertainTeed Roofing are produced with a new coating process that takes advantage of more of the solar spectrum to produce a solar reflectance of 40%.

High-energy cathode material

August 15, 2012 5:59 am | Award Winners

The High-Energy Concentration-Gradient Cathode Material for Plug-in Hybrids and All-Electric Vehicles, developed by Argonne National Laboratory, Hanyang University, and ECOPRO Co. Ltd., provides higher energy and longer life than any other currently manufactured lithium-ion cathode technology.

Non-flow sets fuel cell free

August 14, 2011 8:00 pm | Award Winners

The Non-Flow-Through Fuel Cell Power System is a light-weight, gravity-independent, hydrogen-oxygen non-flow-through fuel cell power system that does not require atmospheric oxygen for reactions or the presence of air for removing wastewater.

Price is right for better nuclear fuel

August 14, 2011 8:00 pm | Award Winners

A new chemical thorium extraction process from Los Alamos National Laboratory circumvents hazardous chemicals and high prices normally associated with the production of this highly efficient nuclear fuel.

The true nature of batteries

August 14, 2011 8:00 pm | Award Winners

A battery test invention from Idaho National Laboratory called the Impedance Measurement Box (IMB) provides two key but previously ignored metrics regarding battery performance: pulse resistance and power capability.

Fluid additive prevents oil-well blowouts

August 14, 2011 8:00 pm | Award Winners

When added to spacer drilling fluid in the casings of deepwater oil wells, the TAPSS: Trapped Annular Pressure Shrinking Spacer product causes the fluids underground to shrink, counteracting the potentially devastating effects of thermal expansion.

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