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ORNL researchers win seven R&D 100 awards

Scientists and engineers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have received seven R&D 100 Awards presented by R&D Magazine.


These awards, sometimes referred to as the "Academy Awards of Science," honor the 100 most outstanding advances in technology for the year and are chosen by an expert panel of independent judges and the editors of R&D Magazine.

"I want to congratulate this year's R&D 100 award winners," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said. "The Department of Energy's national laboratories and sites are at the forefront of innovation, and it is gratifying to see their work recognized once again. The cutting-edge research and development done in our national labs and facilities is helping to meet our energy challenges, strengthen our national security and enhance our economic competitiveness."

The seven awards bring the total number of R&D 100 awards won by ORNL researchers over the years to 164.

"Winning seven of these prestigious awards is a testimony to the talent and creativity of a remarkable staff," ORNL Director Thom Mason said. "Our researchers do a tremendous job of delivering our mission of scientific discovery and innovation."

ORNL researchers were recognized for the following technologies:

Multiresolution Adaptive Numerical Environment for Scientific Simulations, submitted and developed by ORNL with a team led by Robert Harrison and George Fann with Judith Hill, Diego Galindo and Jun Jia of the Computer Science and Mathematics Division and Rebecca Hartman-Baker of the Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility. Harrison is also the director of the Joint Institute for Computational Sciences.

MADNESS is a free open-source general purpose user-friendly numerical framework and software for the development scientific simulations from laptops to massively parallel supercomputers. MADNESS utilizes the latest parallel computing and solution methodologies to solve many dimensional integral and differential equations accurately and precisely for real-world problems. MADNESS provides a new platform for scientists and engineers to easily create new applications with assurance in the exactness of their results. Funding for this project was provided by the DOE Office of Science, the National Science Foundation Office of Cyber Infrastructure and Division of Chemistry, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Program in High-Productivity Computer Systems under subcontract from Argonne National Laboratory.

Mesoporous Carbon for Capacitive Deionization Electrodes for Desalination, developed and jointly submitted by ORNL's Sheng Dai and Richard Mayes of the Chemical Sciences Division, David DePaoli and Costas Tsouris of the Energy and Transportation Science Division, James Kiggans Jr. of the Materials Science and Technology Division, Craig Blue, director of the Energy Materials Program, Charles Schaich of the Measurement Science and Systems Engineering Division, former post doctoral researcher Xiquing Wang and Frederic W. Seamon III of Campbell Applied Physics. This novel technology makes it possible to desalinate large quantities of water more effectively than conventional technologies. Instead of using thermal or membrane separation?which can be costly and consume high amounts of energy?this desalinization tool can absorb salt ions by running brackish water through mesoporous carbon, inexpensively making the water fit for human consumption. This technology could make it possible for large numbers of the world's population to create safe drinking water at a relatively low cost. The DOE's Office of Science and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy provided funding for this research.

Nano-Optomechanical Hydrogen Safety Sensor Based on Nanostructured Palladium Layers, jointly submitted and developed by Nickolay Lavrik of the ORNL Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, Panos Datskos, Scott Hunter and Barton Smith of the ORNL Measurement Science and Systems Engineering Division, and the University of Tennessee's Michael Sepaniak and James Patton. This technology utilizes nano-sized palladium particles to more efficiently detect hydrogen levels at a lower cost than the competition. Palladium particles react immediately to the presence of hydrogen gas, making the sensor more sensitive when reading levels of hydrogen within any given environment. Other sensors utilize electricity to monitor hydrogen, but an electrical short could prove to be a fire hazard when working with the flammable element. This new technology eliminates that threat and can be used to monitor industrial building activities, rechargeable battery manufacturing and many other hydrogen-sensitive operations. This work was sponsored by DOE's Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program and conducted in part at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, which is sponsored at ORNL by the DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences.

Self-assembled, Ferromagnetic-Insulator Nanocomposites for Ultrahigh-Density Data Storage, developed and submitted by Amit Goyal, Junsoo Shin, Claudia Cantoni and James Thompson of ORNL's Materials Science and Technology Division.

This technology creates a potentially low-cost, self-assembled, ferromagnetic-insulator nanocomposite suitable for ultrahigh density information storage approaching or exceeding 1 terabit (1 trillion bits) per square inch. It exploits strain-induced self-assembly during a deposition process to achieve the ordered magnetic nanostructures, which can achieve very high storage densities. The ORNL Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program provided support for this project.

NextAire Packaged Gas Heat Pump, jointly developed and submitted by ORNL's Ed Vineyard, Abdolreza Zaltash, Randall Linkous and Isaac Mahderekal of the Energy and Transportation Science Division, Randall Wetherington of the Measurement Science and Systems Engineering Division, Patrick Geoghegan of the Neutron Facilities Development Division and Southwest Gas, an investor-owned utility serving customers in Arizona, Nevada and portions of California and IntelliChoice Energy, headquartered in Phoenix. The gas heat pump technology is used to heat and cool small and medium sized buildings using fuel?typically natural gas?instead of electricity to power the compressor. To operate conventional electric heat pumps, fuel is converted to electricity at power plants, resulting in waste heat discharged to the environment. In addition, further energy losses occur as the electricity is transmitted over power lines and converted to mechanical power by the compressor. By reducing conversion and transmission losses, the NextAire unit significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. By converting fuel at the gas heat pump location, waste heat to the atmosphere is dramatically reduced and exhaust heat given off by the engine can be used to supplement the heat provided by the unit. The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Industrial Technologies Program and the National Energy Technology Laboratory funded this joint venture.

CermaClad, jointly developed and submitted by MesoCoat of Euclid, Ohio, Edison Materials Technology Center of Dayton, Ohio, and ORNL. The ORNL team consists of Craig Blue, director of the Energy Materials Program, Art Clemons of the Energy Materials Program, Nancy Dudney, Chad Duty, David Harper, Adrian Sabau and Vinod Sikka of the Materials Science and Technology Division, Ron Ott of the Energy and Transportation Science Division and John Rivard of the Global Security Directorate.

This cladding technology fuses to various substances onto metal substrates 25 to 50 percent cheaper and 10 to 100 times faster than current technology. CermaClad utilizes a high density infrared heating lamp?scalable from 50 kilowatts to 1 megawatt?to quickly fuse materials onto the internal and external surfaces of steel pipes and tubes as well as plates, sheets and bars in thin, strong cladding layers. This technology produces casings that are resistant to chemical corrosion and can endure extreme pressure while also costing a fraction of the price of current technologies in industrial settings. The DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Industrial Technologies Program provided funding for this research

New Stainless Steel Alloy Tooling For High Temperature Presses that Form Aircraft Components, developed and jointly submitted by Roman Pankiw, Don Voke and Alberto Jablonski of Duraloy Technologies and an ORNL team consisting of Govindarajan Muralidharan, Phil Maziasz, Neal Evans, Mike Santella, Chris Stevens, Jackie Mayotte, Ed Kenik, Vinod Sikka and Ken Liu.

This new tooling can be used in high-temperature presses that are used to form commercial and military aircraft components. Because of the oxidation resistance and strength of the newly patented alloy, it can be fabricated into tools that will have a longer life than products on the market. The tools created from the new alloy are also amenable to weld repair, if necessary, thus prolonging their life. The alloy castings are also able to withstand higher temperatures than many competitors while still retaining their structural integrity. This project was originally funded by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Industrial Technology Program. It is currently funded by the DOE EERE Technology Maturation Program in a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Duraloy.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy's Office of Science.