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ORNL wins six R&D 100 Awards, pushing total to 134

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory have won six R&D 100 Awards, given annually by R&D Magazine to the year's most technologically significant new products.


"Once again, DOE's labs are at the cutting edge of innovation with new technology developments to enhance America's economic and national security," U.S. Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman said. "My heartiest congratulations to the DOE researchers and scientists that have won R&D Magazine's prestigious awards this year."

ORNL leads all DOE labs with 134, second overall in all-time winners. ORNL researchers were recognized for the following inventions:

Piranha, developed by Mark Elmore, Brian Klump, Robert Patton, Thomas Potok, Joel Reed and Jim Treadwell of ORNL's Computational Science and Engineering Division.

The Piranha knowledge discovery engine uses intelligent agent technology and a very large cluster computer to analyze large volumes of text data with unprecedented speed and accuracy. Piranha sorts huge numbers of text documents into groups that are easily processed by people. The system can find similar documents to a document of interest, remove duplicated documents such as identical news stories from different sources, and automatically classify documents by topic. Because of the scalability of the agent architecture and better algorithms, Piranha runs 100 times faster than other search engines and can work with continuously changing data sets. Piranha has been used by the U.S. military and Department of Homeland Security to analyze large sets of streaming data.

Piranha was funded through the DOE Work for Others program.

Pharos Neutron Detector System, developed by Richard Riedel of ORNL's Neutron Scattering Science Division, Ronald Cooper of the Neutron Facilities Development Division and Lloyd Clonts of the Engineering Science and Technology Division.

Pharos is a small low-power neutron detection system that can be used to identify nuclear materials at airports and harbors. Pharos can determine from what direction and distance neutrons come from, allowing it to track targets after they have been identified. It has large-area detector coverage, extremely low power requirements and digital communication capability.


Cast Nickel Aluminide for Improved Productivity of Steel Heat-Treating Furnaces, developed and submitted jointly by Duraloy Technologies, Mittal Steel USA, Anthony Martocci (consultant), Vinod Sikka and Michael Santella of ORNL's Materials Science and Technology Division and Jeffrey McNabb of ORNL's Fabrication Division.

Cast nickel aluminide has a unique combination of high-temperature strength and oxidation resistance, which is critical for continuous operation of steel plate heat-treating furnaces. The nickel aluminide eliminates the need for frequent furnace shutdowns, provides significant savings in energy and cost and reduces CO2 emissions.

Funding for this project was provided by DOE's Industrial Technology Program.

High-Performance LMO-enabled, High Temperature Superconducting Wires, developed and submitted jointly by SuperPower Inc., Parans Paranthaman and Tolga Aytug of ORNL's Chemical Sciences Division and Amit Goyal of ORNL's Materials Science and Technology Division.

LMOe-HTS is a high-current, second-generation superconducting wire with the unique combination of strength, flexibility, fabricability, throughput and low cost needed for power-grid applications, including coils and motors. The wire set three world records for superconducting in 2006. As replacements for copper power cables, cables made from the ORNL/SuperPower wire will carry more electricity much more efficiently and can be retrofitted to the standard grid infrastructure.

This project was funded through the DOE Office of Electric Transmission and Distribution High Temperature Superconducting program.

Large Area Imager for Standoff Detection, developed and submitted jointly by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California-Berkeley, Lorenzo Fabris and Thomas Karnowski of ORNL's Engineering Science and Technology Division and Klaus-Peter Ziock of ORNL's Nuclear Science and Technology Division.

The Large Area Imager is a search instrument capable of finding radiation sources within a 100-meter swath while traveling at 25 mph. It reduces the search time for radiation sources by a factor of 25 and has unprecedented sensitivity to weak sources. Funding was provided by the Department of Homeland Security.

Armstrong Process CP Ti and Ti Alloy Powder and Products, developed and submitted jointly by International Titanium Powder, Craig Blue, Jim Kiggans, Stephen Nunn and Phil Sklad of ORNL's Materials Science and Technology Division, ORNL postdoctoral fellows William Peter and John Rivard, Art Clemons of ORNL's National Security Directorate, BAE Systems, AMETEK, National Energy Technology Laboratory and Red Devil Brakes.

The Armstrong Process is a new method of producing titanium powder that reduces costs significantly. Titanium's strength, low mass and corrosion resistance make it ideal for many manufacturing uses, but it is prohibitively costly because of the difficulty and expense of extracting it from ore. The Armstrong Process extracts titanium from ore much more cheaply than conventional methods, making titanium feasible in many new applications. This is the most significant development in the titanium industry in 50 years and can produce titanium continuously, unlike other methods. Funding was provided by sources that include DOE's Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy