Argonne Battery Schema

An illustration of the large T-shaped battery charging in the Chevy Volt. (Source: General Motors)

Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne, Ill.) has recently commercialized its lithium-rich composite cathode technology for lithium-ion batteries with licenses to GM, Envia, Toda Kogyo, LG Chem, and BASF. This material technology is currently being used in the Chevy Volt battery and will be likely deployed in other plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicles.

Physicians need to see coronary stents as they are snaked into place in a patient's artery. However, stents made from 316L stainless steel are insufficiently radiopaque, or visible under x-ray fluorescence to be easily visible. Boston Scientific Corporation, Natick, Mass., developed a stent based on a novel alloy created by National Energy Technology Laboratory in Pittsburgh that contains platinum and is more radiopaque than stainless steel. The stent has been approved for use in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

The Amonix 7700 Concentrated Photovoltaic (CPV) Solar Power Generator, developed by Amonix, Seal Beach, Calif. and the Golden, Colo.-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory, is the size of an IMAX screen but costs much less than comparable generators, partly because of the efficiency of its small solar cells. It delivers more "energy per acre" than anything yet available in the solar energy world.

Restaurants and potato processing plants produce loads of waste grease. Researchers at Idaho National Laboratory, Idaho Falls, developed techniques to turn this gunk into high-quality biodiesel. San Jose, Calif.-based BioFuelBox licensed the methods, integrated it with its own techniques, and is now producing top-grade biodiesel from feedstock from a wastewater-treatment plant.

Published in R & D magazine: Vol. 53, No. 2, April, 2011.