Federal Laboratory Consortium Awards
The Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) is the nationwide network of federal laboratories that provides the forum to develop strategies and opportunities for linking laboratory mission technologies and expertise with the marketplace.
The FLC recognizes outstanding work in accomplishing technology transfer from the national labs to the public and private sectors with several prestigious awards. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is proud of our excellent record in receiving these honors.
FLC Awards for Excellence in Technology Transfer
Each year, the FLC presents its Awards for Excellence in Technology Transfer to federal laboratory employees who have done outstanding work in transferring U.S. government-sponsored technologies to the public and private sectors. Since 1984, when the awards program was established, Pacific Northwest has earned 75 of these awards, more than any other national laboratory.
A maximum of 30 awards are made each year, and four nominations are the most that any lab can submit. We applaud our winners for their diligence in pursuing new avenues of thought and opportunity while tailoring commercialization solutions to the demands of the marketplace.
You can see these winners by clicking on any of the years listed here. For more information on the Laboratory's FLC Excellence in Technology Transfer Awards, contact Diane Kahler.
Lifetime Achievement Award in Technology Transfer
This award is given annually by the FLC to recognize individuals in government-related work who have, throughout their careers, made important strides in transferring government-developed technology to the private sector and found innovative ways to successfully commercialize new and pathbreaking technologies. Marv Clement, the Laboratory's FLC Representative, won this award in 1996.
Harold Metcalf Award
This award recognizes an individual FLC Representative who has provided sustained, significant service to the FLC and its programs and processes. Former Pacific Northwest FLC Representative Loren C. Schmid won the Metcalf Award in 1986.
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Injectable Radiogel for High-Dose Interstitial Radiation Therapy – PNNL: Ron Thomas, Darrell Fisher. Contact: Ron Thomas
This new non-toxic injectable radiogel technology delivers insoluble yttrium-90—a well-established medical radioisotope with many applications in cancer treatment—to a precise location for targeted radiation therapy. This safe, effective, low-cost brachytherapy treatment allows clinicians to deliver higher doses of radiation exactly where needed while minimizing exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.
In October 2010, Tri-Cities-based Advanced Medical Isotope Corporation (AMIC) signed an exclusive license to deliver yttrium-90 (Y-90) with brachytherapy seeds. The technology was invented by radiochemists and medical physicists at PNNL, and pharmaceutical chemists at the University of Utah. In March 2011, with the goal of adding a fast-resorbable brachytherapy technology to its cancer-treatment portfolio, AMIC signed a one-year option to license Battelle’s technology for injectable radionuclide polymer composites and seeds for high-dose interstitial radiation therapy.
In February 2012, following multiple infusions of internal technology maturation funding to hone and confirm specific technology characteristics and a Technology Assistance Program project for guidance on making and delivering yttrium-90 microspheres for correct tumor dosing, AMIC obtained an exclusive license to eight patents for injectable radiogel technology for use in high-dose radiation therapy.
Mixed-Acid Vanadium Redox Flow Battery Technology – PNNL: Peter Christensen, Gordon Graff, Darrell Herling, Landis Kannberg, Darrell King, Derek Maughan, Eddie Baker, Soowhan Kim; UniEnergy Technologies: Liyu Li and Gary Yang. Contact: Peter Christensen
As renewable energy becomes more important to our future, the challenge of incorporating it onto the grid must be surmounted in part with large-scale energy storage solutions. Redox (reduction-oxidation) flow batteries are considered an advantageous alternative, but some technical improvements are needed for the technology to be viable. The Mixed-Acid Vanadium Redox Flow Battery, developed at PNNL, is the first commercially viable redox flow battery capable of deployment at grid scale.
Because of strong commercial interest in this technology, a Grid-Scale Energy Storage Commercialization Team comprised of appropriate PNNL staff was convened to develop an appropriate licensing strategy.
PNNL's role in this transfer was first as technology developer, but shifted to that of careful and strategic planner and negotiator as multiple parties became interested in exclusively licensing the same technology. The approach led to carefully negotiated limited exclusive licenses with two parties, with another in early discussions at the time of nomination.
UniEnergy Technologies' (UET) role was as potential licensee, with the objective and expectation of obtaining an exclusive license for the technology its founders had developed during their tenure as researchers at PNNL. Licensee A's role (not jointly nominated or named to protect anonymity) was similar to that of UET, with the exception of Licensee A not having been involved in any way with the technology’s development. Both parties interfaced with PNNL to carefully negotiate license agreements that achieved their unique business goals, even without full exclusivity. Another party was in early discussions at the time of nomination.
Next-Generation Microchip Ion Mobility Spectrometer– PNNL: Alex Shvartsburg and Keqi Tang; Owlstone Technologies: Danielle Toutoungi, Billy Boyle, and Matthew Hart. Contact:Alex Shvartsburg
The need to characterize ever more complex and numerous samples, primarily of biomedical or environmental origin, has been driving continued innovation in separation science. The ongoing paradigm shift in the field is replacing or complementing condensed-phase separations such as chromatography or electrophoresis with rapid gas-phase approaches based on ion mobility spectrometry (IMS). This technology is a breakthrough toward meeting that demand, as the much smaller size and stronger electric fields lead to unprecedented analytical speed, sensitivity, and dynamic range, and permit seamless coupling to mass spectrometry (MS) for detailed yet rapid measurements.
A variety of internal PNNL resources supported this work with Owlstone Ltd. over several years—including technology maturation funding and a Technology Assistance Program project—allowing both organizations to combine their advances, which has resulted in a new, comprehensive, broadly useful analytical platform.
Chemically Etched Emitters for Nanospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry –PNNL: Bruce Harrer, Ryan Kelly, Keqi Tang; Michrom Bioresources Inc: Kerry Nugent. Contact: Bruce Harrer.
A new chemical method for producing tiny tubes—called emitters—used in the ionization process in mass spectrometers turned out to be just what Michrom Bioresources, Inc was looking for to solve a clogging issue they were experiencing with mechanically-formed alternatives. The invention, based on a novel chemical etching process applied to fused silica capillaries, produces a gradual taper on their exterior while avoiding the clog-prone internal taper inherent to the emitters Michrom had been using.
The partnership between PNNL and Michrom began in 2009 when Michrom sent PNNL a demo of their CaptiveSpray™ source as a potential sales opportunity. When PNNL researchers evaluated the technology, they were impressed but felt their own emitter technology could improve it. The idea was discussed at a subsequent conference, which led to a funding request through PNNL’s Technology Assistance Program (TAP) that would cover a PNNL researcher’s travel expenses to visit Michrom, to teach them how to fabricate emitters using the new method. The TAP project was quickly approved. Within days of the site visit, Michrom staff had institutionalized the fabrication process, and shortly thereafter began selling the new emitter tips. A few months later, Michrom was acquired by global scientific instrumentation company, Bruker Corporation.
IncubATR™-the Live-Cell Monitor – PNNL: Bruce Harrer, R. Shane Addleman, Brian Riley, Colette Sacksteder, Thomas Weber; Formerly PNNL: SK Sundaram; Simplex Scientific LLC: John Peterman. Contact: Bruce Harrer.
The IncubATR technology was developed as a tool to study cells in near-real time by utilizing and improving on existing attenuated total reflection (ATR)-Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) technology. Before the IncubATR, the technology did not exist to study live-cell responses to stimuli such as nanoparticles, growth-factor agents, or bioagents using FTIR that was not based, in part, on some speculation. Because the cells could not be kept alive long enough to observe their "true" response, results were inevitably retrieved from studies performed on cells that were fixed, dead, or had limited longevity. The ability to study living cells in near-real time removes the guesswork and captures the whole cell dynamic in the testing environment, with applications covering a broad range, from pharmaceutical testing, to biomolecular studies, to environmental impact studies involving biological exposures, and many other potential uses in between. As a standalone technology, the IncubATR is capable of significantly increasing the extent of highly valuable research the scientific community can produce.
In 2009, the IncubATR was licensed to Simplex Scientific LLC, who had partnered with PNNL researchers and provided the in-kind labor and materials needed to take the technology from a concept on paper to a proven prototype to a commercial product in a very short timeframe.
Developed over several years, PNNL's Low Noise Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) Current Controller is a laser power source that when used in laser-based gas sensors, enables scientists to more accurately detect smaller levels of trace gases than would otherwise be possible. The Controller has the lowest noise of any other controller known to be on the market, and is designed specifically for use with QCLs that emit light in a wavelength region that many trace gases strongly absorb. When powered with devices such as PNNL's Controller, the sensitivity of the lasers increases, allowing analysis of a wider range of gases or chemicals.
After obtaining several patents and trying a number of approaches to transfer the Controller to commercial application, PNNL scientist Dr. Matthew Taubman approached small Montana-based laser controller and component developer Wavelength Electronics Inc (WEI). In parallel with a Technology Assistance Program project that resulted in a comparison of the PNNL Controller to WEI’s existing controllers, WEI initiated licensing negotiations for the new design. In October 2009, the license was executed, and the following month, WEI took its first order for several units incorporating the technology.
Approximately 2 to 2.5 billion pounds of petroleum are consumed each year to meet the current U.S. demand for propylene glycol, used in the manufacture of chemicals that go into consumer products found in every household in the nation. This new process, developed over the course of a decade at PNNL, offers a now commercially proven, cost-effective way to make the chemical from renewable sources. Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement–or CRADA– with PNNL in 2006 to explore viable ways to bring the process to market. During that same year, ADM licensed the process from PNNL's operator, Battelle. In 2009, ADM constructed and operated a pilot plant, followed by construction of a full-scale production facility in 2010 for the sole purpose of commercializing the PGRS process. The new facility in Decatur, Ill. has 200 million pounds annual production capacity, and is expected to achieve full operational status in 2011.
Laser Shock Peening for Pilger Dies – PNNL: Curt Lavender, Mark Smith, Elizabeth Stephens; LSP Technologies, Inc.: David Lahrman, Richard Tenaglia; Sandvik Special Metals, LLC: Robert Johnson. Contact: Curt Lavender or Eric Lund.
PNNL engineers teamed with Ohio-based LSP Technologies, Inc. and Sandvik Special Metals, LLC of Kennewick, Wash., to advance a metal treatment process that could reduce manufacturing costs for tube makers and other industries. Special tools called pilger dies are used to reduce the circumference and wall thickness of metal tubes, however the reduction process results in frequent die failures and die replacement slows production. LSP Technologies specializes in using lasers to improve material performance with a process called laser shock peening, invented in the 1970s by Battelle researchers in Columbus, Ohio. Together, LSP Technologies and PNNL developed the method to extend steel die life by using intense laser pulses to create deep, compressive residual stresses in the die’s surface. PNNL partnered with LSP Technologies and tube manufacturer and die maker Sandvik to refine the method. They found dies treated with laser shock peening can last up to six times longer than normal dies. Sandvik and LSP Technologies are now partnering to further advance the method, while PNNL and LSP Technologies continue to explore its potential benefit to the automotive, aerospace and internal combustion engine industries.
Analyzing proteins helps researchers learn how tissues and organisms work and could lead to better disease diagnosis and life-saving drugs—but the critical process of breaking proteins into smaller parts by digesting them with enzymes can take many hours. PNNL scientists discovered that putting proteins under high pressure dramatically sped up the process to just a few minutes, allowing scientists to perform more protein studies than previously possible, with reduced processing and analysis costs. The high-pressure enzymatic digestion system was developed at PNNL using a machine made by Massachusetts-based Pressure BioSciences, Inc. After licensing the technology to Pressure BioSciences, PNNL continued to work with the company to help develop a specially engineered sample tube to hold proteins for the digestion process. The company’s resulting new product line—the PCT MicroTube Adapter System—is being sold to a variety of customers involved in life sciences research.
Solid Oxide Fuel Cells – PNNL: Vincent Sprenkle, Larry Chick, Bob Silva, Kerry Meinhardt, Jim Yong Kim, Scott Weil, Nathan Canfield, Eric Mast, Jeff Bonnett, Dean Paxton, John Hardy, Gary Maupin, John Deibler, Kurtis Recknagle, Vladimir Korolev, Jeffrey Stevenson, Gary Yang, Chris Coyle, Mike Davis, Gary McVay, Meg Soldat, Derek Maughn; Delphi Corp.: Karl Haltiner, Shubi Mukerjee, Joe Keller, Rick Kerr, Steve Shaffer, Andrew Rosenblatt, Russ Bosch, Paul Marshall. Contact: Vincent Sprenkle or Bob Silva.
PNNL is a recognized leader in developing solid oxide fuel cells, which cleanly and efficiently produce electricity from a wide variety of fuel sources. Battelle, which operates PNNL, teamed with the Michigan-based Delphi Corp. to develop cost-effective solid oxide fuel cells, which are then used in Delphi-developed auxiliary power units for transportation uses. Among their many uses, the fuel cell auxiliary power units allow long-haul truckers to listen to the radio and to use air conditioning when the engine is turned off. In the future, the power units could also be used in combined heat and power systems and clean coal power plants. PNNL expects this improved technology to play a critical role in improving energy-efficient power generation.
Thermoelectric Ambient Energy Harvesters – PNNL: John DeSteese, Larry Olsen, Bob Silva, Meg Soldat; Perpetua Power Source Technologies: Jon Hofmeister, Paul McClelland. Contact: John DeSteese or Bob Silva.
The Thermoelectric Ambient Energy Harvester produces electricity whenever there is a temperature difference across the device’s two ends. Energy harvesters replace or extend the life of traditional batteries used in wireless sensors or radio frequency transmitters. Not having to travel to remote locations to check on batteries in equipment that monitors the integrity of dams or pipelines, for example, saves valuable time and money. Energy harvesters are expected to last as long as the sensors and transmitters they power. First developed by PNNL, the energy harvester technology was introduced to the private sector when a group of University of Oregon graduate students created a business plan and marketing strategy for the technology through the joint UO/PNNL Technology Entrepreneurship Program. Along with technology veterans from Hewlett-Packard, one of the students founded Perpetua Power Source Technologies to commercialize the technology. The Corvallis, Ore.-based company received an exclusive license from PNNL to incorporate the technology into its new product called the Perpetua Power Puck™. It's currently being marketed for industrial automation, military and other uses.
Energy Expert – PNNL: Michael Brambley, Srinivas Katipamula, Krishnan Gowri, Teresa Carlon, David Chassin, Rob Pratt, Dave Hunt, Bob Silva; NorthWrite, Inc: Patrick O'Neill, Shirley Schultz, Paul Bursch, Sara Benjamin
Energy Expert is the commercial version of PNNL's Whole-Building Energy Diagnostician tool. The technology was adapted for the Web and licensed to NorthWrite Inc., which shares the FLC award with PNNL. Energy Expert monitors energy use in buildings and by major building systems. The technology uses trend data to automatically detect and provide alerts for anomalies in energy consumption as well as supporting information on impacts. The technology automatically creates a model of energy use as data is accumulated. The model is then used to predict future energy use and alerts building operations staff to variances between actual measured consumption and the expected measurements.
Reflector Compact Fluorescent Lamps – Linda Sandahl, Marc Ledbetter, Jeffrey McCullough, Terry Shoemaker, Terri Gilbride, Kathi Ruiz
PNNL's Technology Procurement program implemented a market transformation project aimed at expanding the performance, availability and use of energy-efficient reflector-compact fluorescent lamps (R-CFLs). Recessed downlights are among the most popular lighting fixtures in the country, with an estimated 350 million installed in U.S. homes. Standard incandescent reflector lamps typically used in these fixtures use up to three times more energy than R-CFLs. The PNNL team conducted market research to identify problems with existing R-CFLs, developed technical specifications for production of new models, requested proposals from lighting manufacturers, and tested the products submitted to verify they met size and performance requirements such as minimum life and light output in the high temperature environments found in residential recessed cans. R-CFLs that met those requirements are now widely available commercially and the Department of Energy has adopted the testing requirements in the draft ENERGY STAR criteria for R-CFLs. The R-CFL market transformation project was funded by DOE's Emerging Technologies Program.
Titanium Metal Injection Molding – Eric Nyberg, Kevin Simmons, K. Scott Weil, Eric Lund
Ti MIM is a technique for titanium metal injection molding that enables production of high-quality titanium metal parts for biomedical, aviation and automotive industries at lower cost, higher production rates, and better quality than existing production processes. The non-oxidizing binder reduces or eliminates the swelling, cracking or other distortions to the component that can result from other binders used in traditional injection molding processes. The technology provides for faster production time and lower costs, making titanium's high specific strength, lightweight and excellent corrosion resistance available to aviation, automotive and biomedical implant industries. Ti MIM has been licensed to Praxair Inc.
Grid Friendly Appliance Controller – Robert Pratt, Jeffery Dagle, David Chassin, Donald Hammerstrom, Carl Imhoff, Bob Silva
The Grid Friendly Appliance Controller can be installed in common household appliances to monitor power supply and demand and control appliance operations to help avoid power outages.
The Grid Friendly™ Appliance Controller (GFA) senses conditions on a power grid by monitoring the frequency of the system and then provides an automatic response in times of disruption by reducing the demand – with no apparent disruption visible to the consumer's everyday life. The simple computer chip can be installed in household appliances, such as washers, dryers, refrigerators, air conditioners, water heaters, etc., and can turn them off for a short period of time – just a few seconds up to a few minutes – to allow the grid to stabilize. PNNL and appliance manufacturer Whirlpool teamed up with the Bonneville Power Administration and the U.S. Department of Energy to transfer the technology into hundreds of homes in the Northwest as part of a demonstration project conducted to assess the effectiveness of the technology and its potential impact on power grid stability.
The Morning Report – PNNL: Thomas Ferryman, Brett Amidan; NASA-Ames: Irving Statler; Battelle Memorial Institute: Loren Rosenthal; ProWorks: Gary Prothero; Flight Safety Consultants: Robert Lynch; Safe Flight: Robert Lawrence; Federal Aviation Administration: Tom Chide
The Morning Report is a proactive aviation safety tool that analyzes massive amounts of aircraft operational data to identify patterns and events that could signify potential safety concerns in flights.
The Morning Report is a data-intensive airline safety and information tool that gives aviation personnel insight into overall flight patterns and subtle flight characteristics by providing commercial airlines, the federal government, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the ability to gain insight into potentially unsafe flight practices and conditions. The technology uses sophisticated multivariate statistical algorithms to analyze gigabytes of data from on-board instrumentation on thousands of flights. Examples of the data recorded during flights are speed, roll, gear position, and engine temperature. The data driven approach identifies typical patterns and atypical events, which is shared with domain experts using intuitive software with drill down capability.
Breakthrough Treatment for Prostate Cancer — PNNL: Larry Greenwood, Chuck Soderquist, Mark Murphy, Deborah Coffey, Jaquetta DesChane; IsoRay: Donald Segna, Lane Bray, David Swanberg, Clay L. O’Laughlin, Garrett Brown
Through access to specialized PNNL facilities, equipment, and expertise under a variety of collaborative agreements between IsoRay and PNNL since 1998, researchers from both organizations contributed to the development of a breakthrough cancer therapy technology to the point where it is helping treat and cure cancer patients. The U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) provided access to equipment and two user facilities in a unique way to transfer its radiological expertise to IsoRay Medical, Inc. (IsoRay), Richland , WA , to enable the successful launch of its commercial product. IsoRay is producing a powerful new kind of brachytherapy seed made from cesium-131 ( 131 Cs) for treating prostate and other cancers.
Self-Assembled Monolayers on Mesoporous Silica (SAMMS) Technology for Mercury Source Reduction — Glen Fryxell, Shas Mattigod, Jim J. Toth, Rick Skaggs, Eric Lund, Shane Addleman, Tom Zemanian
Mercury contamination poses a serious threat to the environment and human health. PNNL researchers have developed an innovative technology that quickly and easily reduces or removes mercury content without creating hazardous waste or by-products, and that can be disposed of as a nonhazardous waste. SAMMS is simple, inexpensive and easy to use; it is highly adaptable for use in reducing and removing other contaminants from soil and water; and it has numerous applications, including water treatment, waste stabilization, and metal processing and finishing. It is also significantly faster, more effective, and far less expensive than other mercury removal methods used in the past.
Starlight Information Visualization System — John Risch, John Pinto, Dennis McQuerry, Scott Dowson, Michelle Hart, Wes Hatley, Brian Kritzstein
Starlight Information Visualization System has enabled nearly 40 entities to access and interpret information about business intelligence, consumer trends, medical records, current events, and cyber security data and to enhance their operations by exploiting the data to their competitive advantage. Companies use Starlight to extract consumer and product information pertinent to their business operations from enormous masses of data that previously were virtually inscrutable. Starlight is the only software that can integrate many different data types and formats, perform high-speed, high-efficiency analysis, and display the results graphically so that the relationships among the data and their implications can be quickly and easily understood. While other commercial software products support only a few predefined data types, Starlight supports the concurrent analysis of an unlimited variety of information types.
Improving Medical Care and Saving Lives with Bioactive Thin-Film Coatings — Allison Campbell, Eric R. Jurrus
Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) developed the first-ever water-based process that allows calcium-phosphate thin-film coatings containing controlled-release bioactive therapeutic agents to be deposited on orthopedic devices and other medical implants, such as catheters and stents. Benefits to the 750,000 implant recipients each year are two-fold: (1) the antimicrobial agent in the coating has been proven in tests to kill bacteria or greatly inhibit its growth in the body, helping to prevent dangerous and costly post-surgical infections, and (2) the water-based deposition process coupled with the bioactive antimicrobial agent provides an advanced method for applying thin films containing calcium-phosphate coatings-a natural component of bone-to artificial joints, allowing for enhanced bone bonding and helping to avoid rejection of the implant by the body.
Millimeter Wave Holographic Body Scanner — Doug McMakin, Mark Goodwin, Tom Hall, Paul Keller, Wayne Lechelt, David Martin, Gary Morgan, James Prince, Ron Severtsen, Dave Sheen, Meg Soldat, and Erik Stenehjem
The transfer of the Millimeter Wave Holographic Body Scanner to the commercial sector has been a success for PNNL and for the two diverse companies who have licensed the technology. In security applications, the body scanner detects any item worn in or under clothing, including plastics and ceramics, without exposing the body to ionizing radiation. No other scanner is as safe, as thorough, or has the capability to detect the broad array of items that might be concealed under clothing. This device brings a new level of safety to airports and other public places where terrorists might try to use weapons. But not only is the scanner being used for security purposes, as originally envisioned, it is quickly achieving success in the apparel industry, where it is being used by several nationwide clothing chains to determine customers’ exact measurements for a perfect fit. This scanner provides dozens of precise measurements in less than 10 seconds while the person remains dressed in their own clothing. This is a significant advancement in comfort, time, and precision over previous measurement devices. This technology has thus had a widespread impact in two diverse industries and holds promise for many others as well.
The primary recipients of this technology transfer were two companies who have developed scanners for their individual applications. SafeView, Inc., of Santa Clara, CA was licensed in 2002 to market the technology as a security screening device. The scanner improves the safety and efficiency of checkpoint operations by identifying any items concealed in or under clothing. The scanner can be deployed at airports, border crossings, building entrances, prisons, and anywhere that requires security scans. It has distinct advantages over other surveillance systems that rely on metal detection, visual imaging (video), or x-ray imaging. The Millimeter Wave Holographic Body Scanner actually “sees ” and displays on the screen any object in or under clothing, and it does so without exposing the person to ionizing rays. It clearly displays ceramic and plastic devices that can be hidden from other screening devices. SafeView is marketing the scanner throughout the world and plans to soon have units installed in Europe as well as in the U.S.
Intellifit, of Philadelphia, PA, has licensed the Millimeter Wave Holographic Body Scanner for the apparel industry. In this application the scanner is used to take exact body measurements, helping customers find clothing that really fits. Dozens of precise body measurements are obtained in less than ten seconds while the customer remains fully clothed. This body scanner promises to transform the way consumers buy and manufacturers make apparel.
This technology won not only an R&D 100 Award in 2004, but also R&D Magazine’s Editor’s Choice Award as “Most Promising New Technology” of 2004.
The Electrodynamic Ion Funnel — Richard D. (Dick) Smith, Harold Udseth, Keqi Tang, and Bruce Harrer
The PNNL - developed Electrodynamic Ion Funnel significantly improves the sensitivity of analytical instruments such as mass spectrometers by improving the focusing and transmission of gaseous ions. Sensitivity is a key measure of the analytical value of a mass spectrometer. Enhanced sensitivity allows, for example, the detection of many new proteins from blood plasma and the possibility of discovering new biomarkers for the early detection of cancer. The funnel’s capability for focusing significantly more ions into the mass spectrometer for analysis will result in lower detection limits, improved data collection, new applications and greater understanding of the substances analyzed.
Originally developed to enhance PNNL’s mass spectrometry capabilities, the Electrodynamic Ion Funnel uses a series of ring electrodes of increasingly smaller size in combination with both radio frequency and direct current electric potentials. This provides for the efficient collection of ions in the presence of gases where they normally would be lost, and a more focused transmission. The result is much greater sensitivity and the capability to measure substances, such as proteins, at much lower levels.
Through non-exclusive licensing agreements, PNNL has transferred the technology to three companies - Waters Corporation, Milford, Mass., and Bruker Daltonics, Bellerica, Mass., manufacturers of mass spectrometers; and Biospect, San Francisco, Calif., which is developing a new class of instruments for human clinical applications.
Alpha Particle Immunotherapy (APIT) for Treating Leukemia and Solid-Tumor Metastases — Darrell Fisher, Oleg Egorov, Eric Lund, and Kenneth Givens (MedActinium)
Alpha particle immunotherapy is the first treatment that targets metastatic cancers. This groundbreaking technology makes it possible to treat some types of cancer more effectively and with fewer side effects than conventional treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery. Immunotherapy combines the power of alpha particle-emitting radioactive isotopes, such as actinium-225 and bismuth-213, with monoclonal antibodies that bind to and destroy specific cancer cells, while sparing nearby healthy tissues.
The PNNL-developed separations, purification and conjugate chemistry has made it possible to use these powerful new radioisotopes to treat patients with leukemia or fast-spreading cancers. Early trials at major research centers have been encouraging and a second round of clinical trails is scheduled to begin in fall 2004 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
While researchers at PNNL developed the enabling chemistry, the primary supplier of the radioisotopes is MedActinium, a small radiopharmaceutical firm in Tennessee. MedActinium holds an exclusive license to the new technology, which allows them to develop immunotherapy products and bring the therapy closer to full-scale clinical use.
Inductively Coupled Plasma/Mass Spectrometry Collision/Reaction Cell Technology — Dave Koppenaal, Charles Barinaga, Greg Eiden, and Bruce Harrer
PNNL’s development of the Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP/MS) Collision/Reaction Cell (CRC) technology has resulted in a new generation of elemental and isotopic analysis instruments. CRC removes interferences, enabling the mass spectrometer to better detect and measure environmentally significant metals, such as heavy metals, toxic pollutants and radionuclides, compared with conventional technology. The CRC technology, which can be used by environmental monitoring and testing firms, semiconductor manufacturers, forensics laboratories, pharmaceutical companies and agencies involved in national security, will enable faster, more cost-effective characterization of samples and materials.
Spectral interferences are a major problem in many analytical techniques. They cloud the certainty of results and limit the ability of analysts to determine very low levels of substances. New techniques and technologies that can reduce or eliminate such interferences always extend the power and application of analytical techniques. With the CRC technology, spectral interferences long associated with the ICP/MS technique have been overcome. The technology uses simple and effective gas-phase reaction chemistry techniques, carried out in a small cell that is easily adapted to conventional instruments. The approach is able to overcome interferences that previously required much larger mass spectrometers to resolve.
The technology has been licensed to ThermoElectron, Waltham, Mass., and Agilent Technologies, Palo Alto, Calif., manufacturers of high-performance elemental analysis instruments. Today, more than 60 percent of ICP/MS instruments sold incorporate PNNL’s CRC technology.
The Acoustic Inspection Device — Aaron A. Diaz, Todd J. Samuel, Chester L. Shepard, Joe C. Harris, Laurie P. Berube, Richard A. Pappas, James R. Skorpik, Larry D. Reid, Steven W. Martin, Theodore T. (Tom) Taylor, Michael L. Spradling, Brion J. Burghard, Juan D. Valencia
Protecting our nation’s borders is a daunting task, particularly since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. On a typical day, the U.S. Customs Service (USCS)-which patrols the vast, open borders of the U.S. and prevents dangerous materials from coming in-examines 1.3 million passengers, 2,700 aircraft, 51,000 trucks, 355,000 vehicles, and 500 vessels.
Detecting and preventing hidden contraband and weapons of mass destruction from entering through U.S. borders is now a high priority. A multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers from PNNL, Mehls, Griffin & Bartek Ltd. (MGB Ltd.), and International Engineering and Manufacturing is helping solve this problem by developing and transferring the Acoustic Inspection Device (AID), which provides non-invasive examination of sealed containers and can help screen bulk solids.
The AID rapidly and reliably discriminates and identifies or “sees” liquid contents in sealed containers, determines if there are concealed compartments within sealed containers of liquid, and detects hidden compartments in solid forms such as metal ingots and tar kegs that may contain contraband (drugs or other smuggled commodities), or weapons of mass destruction. Detecting and preventing such items from entering the U.S. illegally will help ensure the safety and security of our nation, deter illicit drugs, deter smuggling, increase revenues, and verify treaty compliance.
The AID was originally developed by PNNL for inspection of chemical weapon stockpiles in Iraq after the 1991 Gulf War and for U.S. and Russian chemical weapons bilateral treaty verification. Subsequently, the USCS wanted the technology to be commercially available for domestic deployment at U.S. ports-of-entry. USCS funded PNNL to identify and transfer the technology to a private sector commercial partner for testing and eventual mass production and subsequent procurement and use by USCS inspectors.
The technology transfer was conducted aggressively over 9 months, from May 2001 to the license signing in January 2002. PNNL approached MGB about manufacturing the AID in early 2001. Realizing its potential, MGB management took a keen interest in securing the technology. A strong working relationship between PNNL and MGB in the past and the events of September 11 sped up the commercialization process.
MGB Ltd. is currently customizing AID for the USCS, which will be a prime user of the technology along with many new and emerging customers and applications as a result of the on-going marketing efforts by MGB. Potential customers and applications include the Air Force, Hazardous Material (HAZMAT) personnel, and the power, pipeline and pharmaceutical industries.
EMADVANTAGE: Emergency Management Capabilities to Support Multiple Users and Jurisdictions — W. David Millard, Blanche M. Wood, Richard J. Chidester, Kelvin L. Soldat, Ken Harrington, Mark Goodwin
In an emergency, getting the right information to the right people in time to make the right decisions can save lives and property. This is true for natural disasters and industrial incidents because large populations often live and work near facilities that routinely handle toxic, explosive, or other sensitive materials. PNNL has developed an emergency management software system that accomplishes that goal and transferred it to a refinery in Mexico, a small business in Maryland, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the U.S. Army. The system is based on components of the Federal Emergency Management Information System (FEMIS), the breakthrough technology PNNL developed to safeguard communities near the nation’s chemical weapons depots. Recognizing the need for a general operations and emergency management system for natural disasters and human-caused hazards, the PNNL nominees enhanced, copyrighted and packaged FEMIS into a broadly applicable suite of capabilities called EMADVANTAGE.
Today, EMADVANTAGE is bringing a new level of safety to the Mexican Petroleum Industry by making accurate, up-to-the-minute information available simultaneously to all agencies involved in emergency planning and response activities. EMADVANTAGE enables emergency personnel to plan for emergencies in advance and then to adapt to the reality should it occur. The PNNL nominees translated EMADVANTAGE into Spanish and transferred it to Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), which manages the national petroleum industry in Mexico, to support emergency planning and response at their Minatitlan Oil Refinery. This partnership has been a success. PEMEX Headquarters believes that EMADVANTAGE will improve the refinery’s operations and safety procedures enough that they have asked Battelle, who operates PNNL for the U.S. Department of Energy, to submit a proposal for installing EMADVANTAGE in all of their refineries.
EMADVANTAGE is the only emergency management system that supports all phases of emergency management and makes information available with constant, dynamic updates via desktop computer, the Internet, and personal digital assistants (PDAs). Those attributes caught the attention of NASA for its Earth Alert project. The nominees teamed with NASA to integrate EMADVANTAGE decision support architecture into NASA’s wireless device that integrates a PDA, modem, and a global positioning system into a single unit that can acquire and deliver field data. This technology transfer enabled NASA’s contractor, Aeptec Microsystems, Inc., to win the 2001 SBIR Tibbett’s Award from the Small Business Administration.
The transfer of EMADVANTAGE technology to PEMEX broke new ground for partnerships among a Mexican nationalized business, a Mexican university, and a U.S. national laboratory. Moreover, EMADVANTAGE made it possible for NASA to achieve a “technically sophisticated and reliable system that has the potential to become an integral component of Homeland Security initiatives”. PNNL continues to expand EMADVANTAGE capabilities to local, state, and federal emergency planning agencies. The technology also has come full circle, back to the U.S. Army, which sponsored the development of FEMIS and which now is using the EMADVANTAGE web-based enhancements.
Engine Exhaust Aftertreatment System Based on Non-Thermal Plasma-Assisted Catalysis — Darrell R. Herling, Christopher L. Aardahl, Kenneth G. Rappe, Russell G. Tonkyn, Gary D. Maupin, Charles H.F. Peden, John G. Frye, Stephan E. Barlow, Monty R. Smith, Delbert L. Lessor, Jud W.Virden, Robert R. Silva
PNNL and its industry partners have developed an engine exhaust aftertreatment system that converts harmful oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) from vehicle engines into components of clean air. PNNL’s system, which is based on non-thermal plasma- (NTP) assisted catalysis, addresses industry’s serious need for a technology that will meet upcoming 2010 regulations for dramatic reductions in NOx and PM emissions. NOx emissions react with water vapor in the atmosphere to form acid rain and are a precursor to ozone, a major component of smog. PM emissions are a source of respiratory irritation and potentially contribute to chronic health effects.
The need for a technology to reduce NOx and PM emissions is so great that the nominees successfully transferred this exhaust aftertreatment technology from the national lab to three organizations. Recipients include Delphi Corp. (Delphi canceled its NTP exhaust aftertreatment program in October 2002. Delphi has stopped work with PNNL to further research and develop an NTP exhaust aftertreatment solution.), Caterpillar Inc., and the Low Emissions Partnership of USCAR, a government-industry program that involves Ford Motor Co., DaimlerChrysler, and General Motors Corp. Through three ongoing CRADAs and one direct-funded R&D project, the nominees have developed and transferred the following technologies in support of overall system development and efforts to improve performance and minimize the burden of the system on vehicles: 1) several new low-temperature NOx reduction catalysts and manufacturing methods, 2) high-temperature NOx reduction catalysts and manufacturing methods, 3) designs and manufacturing methods for energy-efficient NTP reactors, 4) an energy-efficient method of supplying power to an NTP reactor, 5) predictive models of performance for an NTP reactor for exhaust aftertreatment, and 6) process engineering and knowledge about thermal and chemical management of the aftertreatment system.
These technology advancements address a roadblock to widespread use of engines that could greatly increase fuel efficiency in vehicles, reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emitted to the atmosphere. Even though the nominees’ NTP catalysis technology was viewed as an obscure, “left-field” approach only a few years ago, promising results including nearly 100% NOx reduction in laboratory tests now make it a front-runner among developing technologies.
Because of a change in the number of entries each laboratory could submit, PNNL submitted three rather than four entries this year. All three received awards.
Scott Chambers, Don Baer, Bruce Harrer, and Mary Peterson received a Federal Laboratory Consortium award in 2002 for their work on the molecular beam epitaxy or MBE.
For decades, the semiconductor industry has been able to continually increase the amount of circuitry, or computing power, on a chip while reducing its size, thereby enabling smaller, faster and better electronic products. However, a fundamental physics problem is on the horizon - the industry soon will hit a technical wall that will prevent semiconductor designers from achieving additional size reduction unless methods can be found to create cost-effective “nanoscale” semiconductors.
PNNL researchers are world leaders in advancing the state of a powerful research tool called molecular beam epitaxy, or MBE, and applying the method to new materials. MBE uses separately generated and controlled beams of atoms and molecules to deposit a thin film of crystalline material on a solid substrate. PNNL helped Motorola Labs obtain an advanced MBE deposition and analysis system, then collaborated with Motorola researchers to understand the basic science underlying the challenge to create the next generation of semiconductor wafers.
In September 2001, Motorola announced that the MBE system and interactions with PNNL staff, combined with their own significant internal research, provided them with the information necessary to successfully combine properties of silicon with the speed and optical capabilities of high-performance compound semiconductors. Motorola plans to have silicon wafers manufactured using this new technology and produce communication devices containing circuits manufactured on these wafers.
The interactions with Motorola were prompted by a suite of MBE instruments assembled in the William R. Wiley Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory , a DOE scientific user facility at PNNL. PNNL scientist Scott Chambers designed and built an MBE system in the 1990s, and his was the first of its kind in the world when it was installed in the EMSL.
The suite includes an array of innovative analytical tools normally not used by industry in MBE systems. Such tools are essential to synthesizing new electronic materials and understanding their structural and electronic properties.
Radio frequency tags are small, inexpensive tags that can be used to identify, inventory and track assets. The tags range in size from a grain of rice to a credit card, and can be encoded with detailed information.
Throughout the 1990s, PNNL engineers made significant advances in RF tag technology, creating tags that are smaller, less expensive, have up to 10 times the read range of previous tags, and can be read at relatively high rates. As a result, groups of items may be inventoried in minutes instead of days, and the exact location of a specific item can be determined at any time. In addition, full life cycle information - such as serial number, warranty information, purchase date, return for repair date and other information can be written into the tagged items as they are read at different points in the supply chain. The technology won an R&D 100 Award in 2001.
In late 2000, Battelle created a new company called Wave ID to manufacture, market and distribute the RF tags developed at PNNL. Within a year, Wave ID was acquired by Alien Technology , a fast-growing California-based company with a patented technology that dramatically reduces the cost of manufacturing electronic products.
Ultra-Barrier Coatings for Flat-Panel Displays — Wendy Bennett, Charles Bonham, Paul Burrows, Steve Cohen, Gordon Graff, Mark Gross, Mike Hall, Pete Martin, Eric Mast, Dean Matson, Laura Silva, Mac Zumhoff
Electronic displays in cell phones, handheld computers, watches and computer monitors typically are built with glass, but plastic offers the allure of thinness, ruggedness and light weight. Its use also could lead to roll-up computer screens, electronic books and even flexible displays sewn into clothing.
But there are major technical obstacles to these improvements. Water vapor and oxygen can pass through plastic and cause harm to sensitive display devices, until now. PNNL researchers found a way to make plastic virtually impermeable, which may allow plastics to replace glass in electronic displays and meet the demanding needs of new display technologies.
PNNL scientists developed an ultra-barrier coating technology that gives plastic the necessary levels of protection without affecting its clarity or other qualities. The superior barrier qualities of the coating technology are achieved by depositing multiple layers of organic and inorganic materials in stacks during a “single vacuum” production process. The stacks include a unique smoothing layer that helps cover surface flaws and prevents defects in the extremely thin coating layers.
In November 1999, Battelle, which operates PNNL for DOE, created a subsidiary to commercialize these products. Vitex Systems Inc. soon attracted $15 million in investment from Mitsubishi Corp. and is bringing two products to market. Vitex still relies on staff at PNNL for technical support as the company’s research and development arm. The technology also won an R&D 100 Award in 2000.
Radionuclide Detection Technologies — Ted Bowyer, Harry Miley, Ray Warner
Two nuclear explosion identification devices developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, are being deployed worldwide to verify international compliance with the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT). These two breakthrough technologies, RASA (radionuclide aerosol sampler-analyzer) and ARSA (automated radioxenon sampler-analyzer), permit fast, accurate, and economical detection of radionuclides from nuclear explosions. Although the technologies emerged from new research, the developers so effectively transferred them to DME Corporation, Orlando, FL, a manufacturer of safety and diagnostic equipment, that they were commercialized and deployed within 6 years. They are now part of a global monitoring network whose goal is to ultimately limit the spread of nuclear weapons.
EMSL Publisher is a powerful word processing and presentation tool that offers the unique ability to run the same software on any computer platform. It enables users to collaborate on complex documents over the Internet without the usual loss of format or readability that can occur when a software is used on different computer systems.
When first developed in 1996 for PNNL’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL), the technology was clearly ahead of its time. Potential users needed to be convinced of its benefits. The developer initiated a comprehensive technology transfer research and marketing effort that resulted in the Laboratory signing a license agreement with e-commerce vendor Flashline.com to sell EMSL Publisher on its web site. This single license agreement enables many sales to be generated without the need to negotiate a separate license agreement with each buyer. Once EMSL Publisher debuted on Flashline.com, large software vendors (Oracle, Cisco Systems) took notice, and the Lab funded additional commercialization efforts. They realized sales within the first 2 months! EMSL Publisher is being used as the foundation for new products that will contribute to the nation's technology base and enhance industry’s ability to compete globally.
Americans alone consume more than 15 billion pounds of French fries yearly. Improvements in fry processing technology that increase output and minimize losses are essential to profitability and dominance in a highly competitive market that operates on large volumes, small profit margins. When a cutting knife failure goes undetected, tons of prime potatoes are reduced to truckloads of defective strips in just an hour. A multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers from PNNL, Lamb-Weston, Inc., and Delta Computing Systems, Inc., solved the problem by developing and transferring the Multi-Blade Knife Failure Detector (KFD) for Food Processing from PNNL to the production floor so that knife failures can be detected immediately.
Now operating in several Lamb-Weston plants, the KFD takes less than 1 second to identify a blade break, trigger an alarm and signal blade replacement. On one line at one plant, the new system has reduced annual cutting losses by more than 6 million pounds.
The KFD brings high performance, computer-based instrumentation to the plant floor without crippling amounts of capital investment. Designed to operate in severe conditions, the system can be installed and serviced during the plant’s regular maintenance cycle. Today, this process monitoring technology can be used to ensure product quality, cut costs, and reduce waste in many other industrial situations where measurements are difficult to obtain.
Yttrium-90 for Cancer Treatment — Thomas Tenforde, Dennis Wester, Brian Rapko, Chuck Soderquist, Jaquetta Deschane, Katharine Carson, Susan Golladay, LaDonna James
The development of an efficient method for retrieving the medical isotope yttrium-90 (90Y) as a decay product of stockpiled strontium-90 (90Sr) is a breakthrough technology that was developed and patented at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. During the past decade, PNNL has supplied multicurie quantities of 90Y in weekly shipments to hospitals worldwide for treating critically ill cancer patients. Today, 90Y is regarded as the therapeutic isotope of choice for the treatment of many types of human cancer.
In 1999, following a 15-fold growth in the demand for 90Y, the PNNL team successfully privatized the production, shipping, marketing, and sales of this isotope with NEN Life Science Products, Inc. They transferred the patented process for extracting the 90Y isotope from purified 90Sr. Because of the complicated, exacting nature of the extraction process, PNNL provided training and quality control oversight during this technology transfer to ensure that NEN’s 90Y met the standards set by the Food and Drug Administration.
This is an exemplary model of achieving the government’s objective of funding the development and early stages of testing new medical products, followed by commercialization for rapid growth and maximum benefit to the private sector. The pleasantly ironic twist to this story is that a valuable medical isotope can be extracted from a byproduct of nuclear weapons production-an outstanding example of the DOE’s ability through one of its national laboratories to convert nuclear “swords” into medical “plowshares”.
MS3 is the first general-purpose software that provides access to high-performance, massively parallel computers for a broad range of chemists on a broad range of applications. This multidisciplinary team used several avenues to make MS3, developed at Pacific Northwest’s Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, easily available to the entire chemical research enterprise. Today, MS3 is used by more than 37 universities and supercomputing centers, 14 national laboratories or federal agencies, and 15 industries. The software can enable the scientific community to solve—quickly and cost effectively—complex environmental problems in the atmosphere, aquatic systems, and the subterranean environment. In addition, MS3 will be used in the search for new pharmaceuticals, to improve agricultural productivity, and to provide insights into how organisms work at the molecular level. Note: MS3 also received an R&D100 award.
Commercialization of the plasma enhanced melter (PEM) is the result of many years of work funded by the Department of Energy to develop two waste conversion technologies—plasma arc and glass melter. This work was conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Pacific Northwest, respectively. By integrating these two technologies in a special way, the resulting PEM provides the ultimate capability in commercial conversion of waste into useful products and maximizes the potential for recycling because they can accept all kinds of waste at once. Virtually anything that fits into the feeder line can be turned into something—iron, glass or a clean-burning, hydrogen-rich gas. The high temperature of plasmas and their ability to treat waste without the adverse environmental effects encountered in incineration makes PEM an attractive alternative for municipal waste treatment as well as cleanup of government waste sites. Surma, LaMar, and Elliott commercialized the PEM through their Richland-based start-up company, Integrated Environmental Technologies.
This Pacific Northwest team transferred new understanding and optimization of the superplastic forming (SPF) process for aluminum alloys to General Motors Corporation, MARC Analysis, and Kaiser Aluminum. Applying the improved SPF technology to automotive component manufacturing is helping develop lightweight, fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly vehicles by providing a cost-effective forming technology for aluminum sheet materials. The team developed and transferred an integrated approach to optimizing the SPF manufacturing process. This approach yields accurate models that have dramatically reduced the forming time of a complex part, making the traditionally slow SPF process attractive and practical for higher volume manufacturing.
This creative and innovative team created, recognized the potential of, and then successfully commercialized a new kind of radiation sensor that uses glass fibers to detect the presence of radionuclides. Early in its development stages, they saw the potential of the Fiber Optic Neutron and Gamma Ray sensor as a nuclear weapons deterrent, for environmental cleanup, and as a valuable tool in nuclear medicine. The team faced substantial obstacles to commercialization—from resistance by commercial vendors who were reluctant to embrace such an innovative technology—to a foreign licensee and cumbersome processes of patenting and licensing. They overcame these obstacles in record time and obtained a license agreement with Tennelec/Nucleus, Inc., (formerly Oxford Instruments), one of the world’s largest manufacturers of detection technology, within 1 year of obtaining a patent.
The innovative use of glass fibers is a breakthrough in the field of radiation detectors (most neutron sensors use inflexible helium-filled tubes). Glass fibers are much more flexible than conventional sensor technologies; for example, the fibers can be wrapped around a drum to assay its contents or installed in an asphalt road to detect the transport of nuclear materials. In medicine, the sensor can be used with boron neutron capture therapy, a promising method for treating cancer patients. The sensor can monitor real-time dose to provide the exact dose prescribed and prevent overexposure to radiation. One of the biggest potential applications for the new sensor is monitoring plutonium in spent fuel rods—the PNNL/Tennelec team demonstrated their technology to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is evaluating technologies for this application worldwide. Tennelec has estimated that they will sell 1 million meters of fibers this year.
The techology also won an R&D 100 Award in 1999
This persistent team took basic research on reverse micelles done at Pacific Northwest and worked with a new company, MICELL Technologies, Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina, to license the technology. The road taken to bring this technology from discovery to commercialization is a case study of the teamwork and long-term commitment needed to bring basic discoveries to the marketplace. It is also a classic demonstration of the important role the national laboratories must now play in keeping the U.S. competitive in the global economy. MICELL is now manufacturing and selling highly effective, environmentally friendly carbon dioxide-surfactant cleaning systems to the dry cleaning and parts cleaning industries, among others. These systems are an alternative to solvent cleaning methods—providing the same cleaning power as organic solvents but without the hazards.
The technology also won an R&D 100 Award in 1998.
Commercialization of Six-Phase Heating (SPH) represents the essence of advanced technology transfer. SPH was developed for the Department of Energy as a faster, cheaper way to remediate contaminated soils. The team recognized SPH’s marketability as an enhancement to a proven, commercially accepted technology for removing volatile organic contaminants from soils. In May 1997, the team formed a Battelle limited liability corporation called Current Environmental Solutions (CES). The joint venture corporation is off and running with real revenue-generating projects. Seven difficult-to-treat commercial sites around the country have been successfully remediated with SPH. The novel element in the technology transfer mechanism is CES’ special master contracting agreement, under which the two companies work together on projects and share profits equally, regardless of specific work scope, creating an incentive for both parties to provide the most cost-effective approach for the client. Updated information can be obtained by visiting the CES web site at http://www.cesiweb.com or contacting Esteban Garcia at 949-916-9595.
This innovative team developed and transferred Nuclide Navigator™, a PC-based software tool for retrieving, displaying, and managing large quantities of nuclear data, to EG&G ORTEC, Oak Ridge, TN. The software contains a unique, comprehensive on-line collection of gamma, alpha- and beta-ray information. Before Nuclide Navigator was available, engineers, scientists, and technicians performing such critical tasks as measuring human exposure to radioactivity, managing nuclear power plant facilities, and conducting medical procedures using isotopes were forced to extract data from the standard Segré chart of the nuclides (3' x 2' in its smallest legible form) and other hard-copy references such as the Table of Isotopes (3000 pages). Wading through such materials to find, retrieve, sort, and manage information was time consuming, expensive, and error prone. Nuclide Navigator solves this data retrieval and management problem. Its unique one-stop-shopping feature for nuclear isotope information simplifies and furthers worldwide nuclear research--from pharmaceutical and medical applications to chemistry, nuclear weapons verification and nuclear power plant construction and operation. Nuclide Navigator™ is currently the best-selling software EG&G ORTEC has ever licensed or developed.
The volume of information researchers and others must read to glean information pertinent to their work grows daily. Printed information bombards readers from a multitude of sources—journal and popular press publications, newspaper articles, Internet documents, and conferences proceedings are just a few. Readers need help to find what they need instead of what they don’t need. This inventive team developed a unique information visualization software called SPIRE (Spatial Paradigm for Information Retrieval and Exploration) that changes the way people retrieve and analyze text information by quickly analyzing large volumes of text and displaying related documents and themes as star clusters in a night sky and terrain maps--visual metaphors that are intuitively understood by most people. Following immense interest in the software’s capabilities by industry, Battelle partnered with the Smaby Group of Minneapolis, MN, to form a new company, ThemeMedia Inc., Redmond, WA, to market and sell the software.
SPIRE also won an R&D 100 Award in 1996.
This story provides a classic illustration of a good partnership built when federal laboratory researchers combine exceptional creativity and perseverance with top-quality technology and marketing savvy. A team from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory had the vision to recognize the potential value of a new use for a defense-related nuclear waste treatment technology. They made the new concept work; and even though they were not allowed to publicize the original defense-related technology, they marketed it—and themselves—to a company capable of putting it to broad use. The technology is Catalyzed Electrochemical Oxidation, an electrochemical process that provides a viable alternative to incineration for the destruction of hazardous solid and liquid wastes. The licensee is EOSystems, Inc., a small waste treatment company located in San Jose, California. The team members have helped both Pacific Northwest and EOSystems through the transfer of this world-class technology. The key to their success was their willingness to help a potential partner (EOSystems) by demonstrating the technology on EOSystems' customers' waste samples and their ability to redirect the defense technology to meet Pacific Northwest customers’ needs.
The technology earned an R&D 100 Award in 1996.
In today’s competitive environment, many cost-conscious companies are adopting purchasing card programs to streamline their procurement process—more than half of the Fortune 1000 companies now use such systems. Company-specific purchasing cards allow a firm’s employees to bypass time-consuming, expensive procurement processes and purchase small-dollar goods and services directly from vendors. Thanks to the inventiveness and pioneering spirit of a team from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a remarkable new software—the P-Card Solution™—is saving time and money by automating and expediting the entire purchasing card process. This unique client/server-based software package is being marketed by the Pacific Northwest team through a new company, Credit Card Solutions, Inc., of Richland, Washington. The firm was created after Pacific Northwest saved $2 million in the first year of its purchasing card program. The team members recognized the potential the software they created holds for any organization utilizing purchasing cards. They convinced Pacific Northwest that they were “licensee” material, seized an opportunity to create a spin-off company, and successfully competed for a license to the software. In the process, they became the first staff members to participate in a new Pacific Northwest program of entrepreneurial leave, a program designed to encourage small business start-ups to license and commercialize Pacific Northwest technology and thus to diversify the economy of the Tri-Cities area in southeast Washington. In addition to seizing the initiative to commercialize the P-Card Solution™ software, the team also blazed a trail that has made the licensing process easier for other entrepreneurs who use Pacific Northwest’s leave of absence program.
Through scientific creativity, persistence, and a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with an industrial partner, an innovative research team from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has developed a new atomic mass spectrometry instrument that is exciting the research community and creating new markets in the field of analytical chemistry. The new instrument, called the Plasma Source Quistor (PSQ) mass spectrometer, measures inorganic and isotopic components of samples collected for various environmental and industrial environmental monitoring purposes. Pacific Northwest researchers recognized the potential for combining the best features of two widely used analytical tools, inductively coupled plasmas (ICP) ion sources and ion trap mass spectrometers, to create a new instrument. They convinced a dubious scientific community that the technology was unique and useful. They also convinced Finnigan Corporation, one of the pre-eminent manufacturers of mass spectrometers in the world, and the subsequent technology transfer activities have developed into a strong partnership. The Pacific Northwest team worked steadfastly on their innovative concept through a combination of Pacific Northwest internal funding, DOE programmatic support, and eventually through a CRADA with Finnigan. Helping Finnigan gain an understanding of the inorganic/isotopic market, and convincing them that the instrument would be a logical extension of the products they were already making, was one of the most critical components of the collaboration between these partners. Finnigan’s enthusiastic support for the team’s work became apparent when they entered into the CRADA and within 6 months wanted to amend it to do even more! Since then, direct financial support from Finnigan has been obtained, completing the technology development loop by getting off government support. A patent application is pending and license negotiations with Finnigan are underway. This relationship is proving beneficial for both partners. The success of this partnering is an exciting example of the “handshaking” that is possible between a national laboratory and private industry.
The technology also won an R&D 100 Award in 1996.
This is a federal technology transfer success story different from most. While most involve a complex process or high-tech product with immediate benefits for one or a few clients, this is a story of making a complex task simple with a product that has directly aided thousands. Three years ago, five staff members at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory undertook the arduous job of making the Model Energy Code more understandable and accessible to federal, state, and local government agencies; building code officials; builders; and manufacturers of energy-efficient materials; and ultimately, helping to ensure energy efficiency in new homes for the American consumer. The goal was simple, but the task was daunting. With patience, persistence, and a substantial amount of creativity and ability, Pacific Northwest staff members sought advice from the end users, turned the collection of complex technical requirements comprising the MEC into a simple, yet comprehensive set of tools called MECcheck™. Although other materials similar to MECcheck™ are available, MECcheck™ is what gets used. Why? Because MECcheck’s™ efficient simplicity fits nicely into the demanding, competitive, and hectic world of the professional builder and code official. One of the keys to MECcheck’s success was the support provided to the code users. The MECcheck team did more than generate a group of tool—it supported the code users and their organizations in application of those tools. More than 10,000 copies of the MECcheck™ tool kit have been requested and distributed to users, and it is the material specified for compliance in 10 states. At least six different organizations reproduce and distribute MECcheck™ to their constituents.
A team of researchers from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, with faith in their technology and the vision to see its commercial possibilities, created a strong partnership with industry that is making a world-class technology available for better products in many areas of our lives. The technology, a vacuum process for depositing and bonding thin, multi-layered polymer films, was transferred for application in the production of lithium polymer batteries used in flashlights, computers, and countless other items. It was transferred to Moltech Corporation, based in Tucson, Arizona. An incredibly innovative package of technology transfer mechanisms included a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement, a private development contract, a nonexclusive license, and an option for an exclusive license for lithium polymer battery production. The team also obtained a license from industry to provide an important component of the technology package and make it even more valuable to Moltech. The nominees then convinced Moltech that the potential commercial value of this technology was so great that the firm requested an exclusive license. Since the exclusive license was granted to Moltech, the Pacific Northwest-Moltech team has taken on new partners for future work together. This alliance provides maximum possible benefit to Pacific Northwest, the partners, the U.S. Government, and, ultimately, to the technology user.
The technology also won an R&D 100 Award in 1996.
For the first time, architects will be able to use separate energy analysis software to estimate energy use early in the design of a building—using information previously considered inadequate to the task. A Pacific Northwest project team led by Mike Brambley, Rich Quadrel, and Dave Chassin pursued their vision of a “user friendly” software for energy-efficient design, overcame the skepticism of industry and energy software traditionalists, and spearheaded an effort that resulted in commercial release of a unique product. To achieve their goals, they recruited industry partners and brought together a group of industry, academic, and national laboratory experts in software development and energy-efficient design. The result was an energy analysis software package and a novel distribution concept that would ensure the widest possible dissemination of the software within the design and building construction industry. The software package, now commercially available as Softdesk Energy, is ultimately expected to reach tens of thousands of building designers. Before Softdesk Energy was made available, energy-use estimates were possible only in the very late stages of building design. Softdesk Energy introduced a significant design feature for a growing architectural software company, created an entirely new approach to integrated energy-efficient design, and helped the Department of Energy stride forward in its goal of improving energy efficiency in buildings across the nation.
Freeborn Tool Company, a small company in Spokane, Washington, is greatly improving its position as an international leader in the shaper tool segment of the machine tool industry through the technology transfer of an exciting new tool grinding capability developed at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Don Rasmussen, Les Kirihara, and Gerald Morgen are Pacific Northwest researchers who used their expertise in automated control systems to assist Freeborn Tool in replacing their conventional manual, pattern-based process for manufacturing wood shaper tools with an automated tool profile grinding machine. Wood shaper tools are used to produce patterns on wood products such as furniture, cabinets, and doors. When Freeborn Tool expressed interest in Pacific Northwest’s expertise but could not afford a major development contract, the nominees provided access to the U.S. Department of Energy laboratory and its unique resources through a DOE Staff Exchange and then a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. Quietly, to protect the firm’s competitive position, the Pacific Northwest nominees and Freeborn Tool staff developed a prototype automated machine. The new machine produces shaper tool tips that are much more precise than those produced through the manual, pattern-following process. The machine provides capability for producing shaper tools with easily replaceable tips, thus opening the door to an entirely new product line for Freeborn Tool. The prototype was so successful that it was moved from Pacific Northwest to the Freeborn Tool plant for production line use. Until now, the U.S. machine tool industry has been endangered by increasing competition from outside the United States; however, the capability provided by Pacific Northwest’s technology is expected to result in increased U.S. sales and a burgeoning international market for Freeborn Tool. The firm’s owner says that without the Pacific Northwest team’s assistance, and the opportunities provided through the CRADA and staff exchange, Freeborn Tool would not have been able to move forward in this effort.
The UMA uses high-frequency ultrasonic waves to analyze the subsurface microstructure of a metal component. It allows processing flaws and fractures or structural insufficiencies to be spotted and corrected immediately.
The technology also won an R&D 100 Award in 1994.
This technology measures radiation in dosimeters and other thermoluminescent materials. In the COSL process, a dosimeter is cooled to the termperature of liquid nitrogen and then exposed to ultraviolet light. As the dosimeter warms, it gives off visible light similar to thermoluminescent dosimeters. Dosimeters can be re-read and a variety of packaging is greater because no heat is involved.
The technology also won an R&D 100 Award in 1992.
The Scout™ is a practical and economically attractive, portable, highly sophisticated radiation analyzer. It is a hand-held, battery-operated instrument that makes a sophisticated characterization of radiological isotopes without requiring laboratory analysis.
Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have been working with the U.S. wind energy industry to search for economical and environmentally sound methods of harnessing wind power. The Pacific Northwest team produced and documented the most comprehensive analyses available of wind energy resources and wind electric potential in the United States; these analyses are used by utilities, energy planners, and the industry. The Pacific Northwest researchers have also extended their efforts abroad, assisting developing countries to establish local wind energy projects.
During the past four years, the Pacific Northwest team developed a measurement and analysis system for characterizing turbulence in the wind inflow to a turbine rotor. With the cooperation of wind plant developers and operators, this system has been applied in a variety of terrain configurations. This work is providing valuable tools for wind turbine design, operation, and siting.
In May 1994, team member Dennis Elliott received the 1994 American Wind Energy Association Award for Technical Achievement for his contributions in wind resource assessment. The Pacific Northwest work has been supported by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Wind Energy Program.
Available technology was inadequate for molecular-level chemical separations analysis, so Pacific Northwest scientists designed and developed their own research tool—the capillary electrophoresis-mass spectrometry interface (CE-MS), and used it extensively for their own investigations. However, they immediately saw ways to apply CE-MS outside their own fields. Within three years of its development, two patents and three licenses for CE-MS had been issued. Within five years, in response to customer demand, manufacturers of mass spectrometers were making the interface available, and CE-MS was boosting sales of U.S.-made instruments
Small, affordable, and easily adapted to a standard mass spectrometry system, CE-MS has become a standard tool in commercial laboratories. CE-MS analysis conserves rare or expensive research resources, since the interface can be used to analyze very small samples. Pharmaceutical companies are using CE-MS-generated information to ensure the purity of their products and to develop more-effective drugs. Manufacturers of chemically formed products use CE-MS to analyze their products at each production stage and pinpoint process failures. The newest users are the detergent and soap manufacturers. Surfactants, the backbone of soaps and detergents, have always been recalcitrant substances to study. CE-MS technology is giving scientists new information about how surfactants work and interact with other chemicals.
For researchers, CE-MS has opened a new field of scientific investigation into molecular and sub-molecular level interactions. The capability for single-cell level analysis may give insights into how specific cells function—until now, researchers have largely relied on averaging reactions over large cell populations. Analysts using CE-MS are entering new fields of inquiry into medicine, hazardous waste remediation, chemical manufacturing, and biological functions.
Computer software that significantly increases the effectiveness of massively parallel computer systems is benefiting high-performance computer operations across the nation because of an award-winning technology transfer achievement at Pacific Northwest. The software was created to facilitate research at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) by strengthening the capability to perform simultaneous computations. The innovation—new algorithms and a set of global operations to make a user's operations run up 10 times faster—was licensed by a major computing firm. Further development is continuing under a CRADA.
The benefits are now being felt at Pacific Northwest, where EMSL researchers are using the codes to help them model the behavior of environmentally important chemical systems such as the interactions between various solutes and clays. Moreover, the EMSL is a user facility, so the enhanced computing resources will be available to researchers from industry and academia. The computing firms’s use of the codes to enhance its computer systems so that researchers will be able to perform intensely complex calculations rapidly, efficiently, and accurately.
Pacific Northwest scientists developed an in-process recovery system that separates spent acid into reusable acid, clean water, and reclaimable metal crystals. After conducting pilot-scale tests on the process, the technology was transferred to the private sector by means of a partnership with Viatec. Viatec had manufactured the corrosion resistant equipment used in the WADR pilot-plant system. Building on the working relations they had established, Pacific Northwest and Viatec formed a new company, Viatec Recovery Systems, Inc., and earned an FLC Citation.
ReOpt™ Software is an easy-to-use, electronic encyclopedia of environmental remediation action options. Database information is derived from the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and industry sources. ReOpt describes technologies and their applications, contaminants, and environmental regulations. It also identifies reference literature and sites where the technologies have been used.
The software is designed to help the user focus on the technologies that have the potential to be applied to a particular environmental problem, thus streamlining the remediation planning process. Users can specify the parameters to guide their search: the medium, its contaimination and the preferred type of cleanup method.
The GNP technology produces very fine particles of multicomponent ceramic oxides that are of uniform size and chemical composition. These very pure particles can be used to produce solid oxide fuel cells, ceramic engine parts, and many other sophisticated products. The process produces uses moderate temperatures to form fine powders rapidly and inexpensively, and the powders are so uniform, they require very little milling - both these factors make the process very economical and attractive to industries that manufacture ceramic-based products. In addition, powder production makes little impact on the environment.
A small business received a license to use the technology , which led to the FLC Citation.
The technology also won an R&D 100 Award in 1992.
The MEPAS computer software uses sophisticated modeling codes to generate risk information needed to plan activities that could impact human health, such as remediation of hazardous waste sites. A unique partnership between Pacific Northwest, the Department of Energy, American Telephone & Telegraph, and MESA State College in Colorado led to the development of this program. MESA State College now has a license to use the software and is seeking partners interested in licensing the technology.
Today, Pacific Northwest researchers are teaching staff at national and international agencies to use MEPAS to prioritize their clean-up activities which is one reason why MEPAS is a technology transfer Success Story.
This small, inexpensive device can be a water content meter or a leak detector for fuel oil, gasoline, solvents, or other organic liquids in soil, sand, cement, and other porous materials. An industrial firm has received a nonexclusive license to use the sensor to detect oil spills and leaks. The sensor also could be used to optimize crop irrigation.
The technology also won an R&D 100 Award in 1991.
Pacific Northwest began developing a fully portable blood irradiator in the early 1970s when there were no mechanisms to treat blood diseases and to help suppress rejection of transplanted organs or tissues. The technology was transferred to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in 1991. Manufacture and delivery of the irradiators and the development of safer, more effective protocols for their use is occurring through Pacific Northwest’s first CRADA.
The technology also won an R&D 100 Award in 1982.
TEMPEST stands for Transient Energy Momentum and Pressure Equations Solutions in Three dimensions. This code graphically represents water movement and temperature changes inside a container such as an ordinary teapot, a building, or a geologic formation. Three industrial companies, five universities, and two government agencies have received licenses for various uses of the TEMPEST technology.
This microprocessor-controlled survey meter recorder can collect electricity use data in all types of buildings. Pacific Northwest also developed a complementary software package that analyses the data the meter collects. The system enables more accurate energy use forecasts, improves rate and conservation programs, and helps architects design more energy efficient buildings. The Bonneville Power Authority uses the system to help utilities learn how consumers use electricity. We helped a small U.S. manufacturing firm gain a license to use the inexpensive device.
A technology developed at Pacific Northwest for treating the nation’s high-level radioactive wastes has been tailored for use by industry to help solve one of the nation’s leading environmental problems, the disposal of municipal solid wastes. The transfer is the product of a recent alliance between Pacific Northwest and a small waste management business in Bellingham, Washington, that incinerates approximately 100 tons of municipal waste each day. The transfer is leading to the development of the nation's first commercial ash glassification plant.
In situ vitrification (ISV) is a unique soil-melting process that economically destroys or removes organic contaminants and dissolves heavy metals and other inorganics in the vitrified soil mass. The technology was invented and developed at Pacific Northwest then transferred by means of a spin-off company so that it could become widely available for environmental cleanup.
Several members of the Pacific Northwest research team became part of the new company, thus transferring their technical expertise and making it available in the private sector. The patent assignment also applies to ongoing work; therefore, the new enterprise continues to receive new technology developed in the extensive ongoing DOE work.
This technology determines the internal temperature of steel products by measuring the velocity of sound in the steel object. The device could save the U.S. steel industry up to 5.5 million tons of coal or 90 billion cubic feet of natural gas each year and up to a million dollars a day.
This process combines fermentation and catalytic processes to produce lactic acid from agricultural wastes. The technology offers a low-cost alternative for productig lactic acid—a costly commodity in the world marketplace.
Blackstrap molasses, cheese whey, residue from grain processing, and leftovers from potatio processing can be used as feedstock. The resulting lactic acid has widespread application in the produciton of sealants, coatings, textiles, and biodegradable plastics.
Pacific Northwest researchers helped a sugar processing firm in Hawaii gain a license to use the process.
This technology also won an R&D 100 Award in 1991.
Food processing byproducts, agricultural residues, and other large amounts of wet, organic waste are clarified and treated for use or disposal using this process. Using TEES, food processing wastes can be converted into methane fuel that can be used to power production processes. The system can function as a stand-alone portable unit or be integrated into a larger plant to help industries cost-effectively meet stringent environmental standards.
Through a novel technology transfer mechanism, Pacific Northwest licensed TEES in 1988 to Onsite*Offsite, Inc., an engineering and construction management firm in Pasadena, California. Onsite*Offsite helped Pacific Northwest tailor the technology for the food processing and beverage industries—industries that generally are not structured to engineer and develop ancillary technologies. With some modification, researchers believe TEES could be used to destroy hazardous organic materials in industrial wastewater and contaminated ground and surface water. In this application TEES would prove unique because it removes and destroys the organics, rather than simply separating them out.
The technology also won an R&D 100 Award in 1989.
CAGE/GEM is a software toolkit that can help researchers design genetic structures before performing expensive laboratory experiments. By using the system, scientists can analyze sequences from both a broad and specific viewpoint with integration of expert knowledge. They can isolate a genetic element in DNA sequence, then graphically manipulate the element to create and explore new genetic constructs. The technology was transferred to the private sector through a licensing agreement.
The technology also won an R&D 100 Award in 1986.
The sludge-to-oil reactor system (STORS) is a process for converting sewage sludge and agricultural wastes to a useful petroleum product. Molton and Fassbender transferred the technology to the American Fuel and Power Corporation and its successor, Innotek Corporation.
The technology also won an R&D 100 Award in 1988.
Kinetic phosphorimetry is used to measure uranium concentrations in human body fluids. Pacific Northwest's technique is quicker, less expensive, and more accurate than other measuring methods. A spinoff company, Chemchek Instruments, Inc., was established to commercialize the bioassay device. The Richland firm markets the device and conducts analyses for customers throughout the United States.
Pacific Northwest’s sampling pump, an innovative and inexpensive device originally developed for use on government sites, improves the process of monitoring groundwater for contaminants. The development team, after exploring a number of transfer options for the technology, licensed a small company, Instrumentation Northwest, Inc., to commercialize the technology. The firm has developed a series of pump models, marketed as Hydrostar™.
The root barrier technology is a cost-effective, environmentally safe process in which a controlled-release chemical is used to prevent unwanted plant root penetration. The technology has been transferred for a variety of applications for prevention of root growth into sewer gaskets, drip irrigation lines, and under sidewalks, airplane runways, and other structures.
The synthetic aperture focusing technology for ultrasonic testing (SAFT-UT) enables the nondestructive determination and characterization of defects in structural components. The technology is now being further refined for use by the nuclear industry.
Electropolishing decontamination is an industrial metal finishing process tailored by Pacific Northwest for use by the commercial nuclear power industry. An electric current is applied to metal objects immersed in an acid electrolyte to selectively remove surface imperfections and produce a smooth, polished surface. Through Pacific Northwest’s technology transfer efforts, three major U.S. nuclear service organizations were able to offer utility decontamination services using electropolishing techniques. One firm, Quadrex, established a new service division based on the technology.
The dry-cooling concept utilizes air instead of water for cooling electric power generating plants. The technology offers the potential for saving millions of gallons of water required in conventional cooling systems. The technology was developed cooperatively by Pacific Northwest, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Electric Power Research Institute, Union Carbide, and four utility companies.
Tissue equivalent proportional neutron counter dosimeters allow dose measurements that previously could only be estimated. George Endres was instrumental in transferring the technology to nuclear reactor facilities for use in personnel dose equivalent measurements.
Charles Stewart won one of the first FLC awards for providing the electric utility industry with a consistent and integrated computer approach enabling the analysis of coolant flow and heat transfer in the cores of light-water nuclear reactors. As part of the transfer process, Pacific Northwest conducted information and training sessions with about thirty U.S. utility companies.