Washington, DC - Three technologies developed with support from the Office of Fossil Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) have won prestigious R&D 100 Awards from R&D Magazine for 2007.
"Once again, we are at the cutting edge of innovation with new technology developments that enhance America's economic and national security," said
Thomas Shope, DOE's Acting Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy. "My heartiest congratulations to the NETL researchers and scientists that have won R&D Magazine's prestigious awards this year."
According to R&D Magazine, the goal of the awards is to spotlight major breakthroughs - products and processes with the capacity to improve the standard of living for many people. Since 1963, R&D Magazine has annually awarded R&D 100 Awards to the 100 most technologically significant new products to hit the market.
Dubbed the "Oscars of Invention," by the Chicago Tribune, the R&D Awards provide winning products with "a mark of excellence known to industry, government, and academia as proof that the product is one of the most innovative ideas," according to R&D Magazine. Winning an award is a significant foot in the door and aids new products in successfully competing in the marketplace.
This year's R&D 100 Awards will be announced in the September issue of R&D Magazine and presented at an annual awards banquet in October in the Grand Ballroom of Chicago's Navy Pier.
The winning technologies are:
- Armstrong Process CP Ti and Ti Alloy Powder and Products - Working in cooperation with NETL, International Titanium Powder LLC of Rockport, Ill., developed a proprietary process to produce titanium and titanium alloy powders at a substantially reduced cost using their Armstrong Process. The name titanium derives from Titan and the mighty metal has the advantages of being strong and lightweight, and it resists corrosion. However, the high-temperature batch process currently used for manufacturing this super metal is expensive, meaning that titanium can only be practically used in specific, high-priced markets. The groundbreaking Armstrong Process is a continuous process (as opposed to a step-wise batch process) that is low temperature, low pressure, and also low cost. The new cost-efficient titanium process lends itself to a variety of applications, particularly NETL's work with the U.S. Army Tank and Automotive Command and Army Research Laboratory in developing armorplate. Titanium armorplate is valued for its light weight, high corrosion resistance, and superior ballistic properties. The reduced-cost Armstrong Process makes titanium a practical choice as well. NETL is already fabricating titanium hatches for tanks, and work is currently ongoing to develop titanium body armor. The Armstrong Process was developed jointly by ITP, NETL, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, Tenn.), BAE Systems (Rockville, Md.), AMETEK (Paoli, Pa.), and Red Devil Brakes (Mount Pleasant, Pa.).
- MFIX (Multiphase Flow with Interphase eXchanges) - This much-needed software developed at NETL with support from Aeolus Research, Inc. (Dunbar, Pa.), Parsons, Inc. (Morgantown, W.Va.), and Oak Ridge National Laboratory promises to advance coal-utilization technologies by reducing the cost of developing and commercializing advanced coal technologies. Developing the technologies needed to use coal cleanly, efficiently, and with less carbon emissions entails repeatedly building and testing at several different scales designs that use solid fuels. This build-and-test method increases the cost of developing new technologies, which limits engineers' abilities to develop the novel designs that are needed to achieve near-zero emissions in future power plants. MFIX solves physics-based equations to simulate high-solids-loading flows that occur in critical equipment items, such as coal gasifiers, and allows engineers to replace expensive build-and-test steps with much cheaper simulations, thereby encouraging the discovery of radically novel designs. MFIX Version 2006-4 was released in December of 2006 and is available for download from www.mfix.org.
- SEQURE(™) Well Finding Technology - This technology developed by NETL researchers in partnership with Apogee Scientific, Inc. (Englewood, Colo.), Fugro Airborne Surveys (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), and LaSen, Inc. (Las Cruces, N.M.) offers a promising solution to mitigating global warming by quickly locating potential sites for permanently storing CO2 emissions. Oil and gas reservoirs have trapped hydrocarbons for millions of years, a feature which makes them primary targets for trapping and storing CO2 as well. However, thanks to oil and gas production ongoing since 1859, millions of wells now perforate the caprock that once trapped the hydrocarbons in these reservoirs. Because improperly plugged wells can provide an escape route for CO2, they are considered the greatest threat to geologic CO2 sequestration. To ensure successful CO2 storage, every well must be located, evaluated, and, if necessary, reworked. Using magnetic and methane sensors deployed on helicopters, SEQURE provides a time- and cost-effective means to accurately locate abandoned and leaking wells. As the only commercially available well-finding technology for large areas, SEQURE is uniquely qualified for this task, which will require searches stretching over hundreds of square kilometers to uncover "lost" wells.