Technology Transfer Opportunities – Argonne National Laboratory

by Edward Beardsworth
September 1994


This report details findings about technology and technology transfer opportunities at the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) that might be of strategic interest to electric utilities. It is based on two visits to ANL near Chicago Illinois (in November 1993 and May 1994), as part of a project for PSI Energy, which had the additional goal to establish relationships that will enable PSI to monitor developments and gain access on an ongoing basis.

Noting the tremendous scope of research underway in the research facilities of the U.S. government, and a very strong impetus on the government’s part to foster commercial partnering with industry and applications of the technology it has developed, PSI Energy supported this project to become familiar with the content and process of those programs, and to seek out opportunities for collaboration, demonstration or other forms of participation that will further the business objectives of PSI. PSI has agreed to make these results available to the participants in UFTO.

ANL Organization

Similar to other DOE labs, ANL has a matrix organizational structure of “Divisions” and “Programs”. The divisions are aligned by programmatic area, and have the people, projects and budgets. Programs are mainly to coordinate the Laboratory’s efforts across divisions. In a few instances, programs take on a larger role, e.g. in the case of fuel cells.

Both divisions and programs live in research “ALD’s” or Associate Laboratory Directorates, headed by Assoc. Lab Directors who along with other administrative and support groups report to the Laboratory Director (Alan Schriesheim).

Argonne’s four research ALD’s are:
– Physical Research (basic research in fundamental sciences)
– Advanced Photon Source (a new high energy x-ray facility for basic research)
– Engineering Research (mostly advanced nuclear and national security)
– Energy & Environmental Science & Technology (EEST)
(name recently changed from “Energy, Environmental and Biological Research”)

Of these, virtually all work of potential interest to utilities is in EEST. However it’s important to understand that EEST has Programs that are carried out by cross-ALD, cross-divisional teams. For example the work of the Electrochemical Technology Program involves major participation by staff from the Chemical Technology Division of the Engineering Research ALD.

ANL has a number of “User Facilities” and “Centers” that focus on particular subjects, and make special equipment, facilities and expertise available to outside users, on a fee or collaborative basis. These are housed within programs and divisions.

ANL also takes on a program management role nationally on behalf of DOE, for some aspect of a DOE program, e.g. supporting PETC or METC or the DOE program office directly, or in collaboration with another national lab.

One other general point: each labs annually publishes an “Institutional Plan”, which is organized according to which DOE Program Office supports the work, not the lab’s own organizational structure. Thus a “mapping” between the two structures is required to be able to see the work of the groups within a lab. In most instances, divisions and programs also publish annual progress reports, providing detailed though not always current accounts of the work

EEST itself is divided into 3 areas reporting to “General Managers”, and then into the divisions and Programs:

1. Energy & Industrial Technologies (Richard W.Weeks, General Manager, 252-9710)
(approx. # people)
Energy Systems Division (Norm Sather, Director, 252-3724) 200
Energy Technology Division (Roger Poeppel, Director, 252-5118) 120
(formerly called Materials & Component Technology Division)

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program (William Schertz)
Electrochemical Technology Programs (Mike Myles)
Fossil Energy Programs (David Schmalzer)
Industrial Technology Development Center (Don Mingesz) (acting)
(formerly called the Technology Transfer Center)

2. Environmental Sciences (Terry Surles, General Manager)
Environmental Research Division (Chris Reilly, Director)
Environmental Assessment Division (Anthony Dvorak, Director) 170
Decision & Information Sciences Division (Paula Scalingi, Director) 150

Environmental Technology & Restoration Program (James Helt)
Global Climate Research Programs (Ruth Reck)

3. Center for Mechanistic Biology & Biotechnology (E Huberman, Director)

Area Code is (708)
ANL Technologies & Programs

Covered in this section:

• Fossil Energy Program
• Advanced Cogeneration
• Plasma Chemistry
• Waste Mgt & Bioengineering
• Environmental Control Technology
• Geographic Information Systems and Environmental Capabilities
• MSW/Biomass Processing
• Advance Heat Exchangers
• Technology Evaluation
• Energy Technology Division Capabilities
• Measurement and NDE
• Superconductivity
• Ice Slurry/District Cooling
• Fuel Cells
• Batteries
• Environmental Assessment Div.
• Decision and Information Sciences Div.
• Global Climate Change Program

Telephone Area Code is (708)

• Fossil Energy Program Dave Schmalzer, Manager, 252-7723, or 202-488-2415 in Wash DC
Manages programs funded by DOE Fossil, including fuel cells. Also $$ from other sources.
Advanced Environmental Control Technology (under PETC). Increasing attention to air toxics, bag houses may be workable if adsorbents can be found. Coal Fired MHD a semi success technically, has been phased out by DOE. Direct Coal Turbine–ANL advisory to METC. Two approaches: UTC doing direct combustion of pulverized coal, and Foster Wheeler’s is mild pyrolysis, with char to be burned on water cooled walls (divides the coal into 2 parts).
Research on multi-phase flow — coal slurries. Also ion-exchange to put catalyst metals into the coal prior to liquefaction.

“Argonox” additives to reduce NOx — Pilot test at CG&E — Dave Livingood, 252-3737
Alkali control for PFBC — newly hot topic — Sheldon Lee, 252-4395
CO2 capture, utilization and disposal for IGCC — Richard Doctor (ESD)

• Advanced Cogeneration Roger Cole, 252-6245
O2 enriched air for diesels; H2O emulsified in fuel; low grade fuels
— research stage results –incr. power, reduce particulates, but incr. NOx
–Dupont looking at membranes to produce O2

HPSS (High performance steam system) hi pressure hi temp steam bottoming cycle for GT — DOE and Solar Turbine: Overall electric efficiency 55%, with flexible electricity/heat ratio — looking for industrial cogen demo site. OPPORTUNITY (may be too late)
Also can use it for stand-alone once-thru boiler–unique turbine, thick wall tubes in hi-temp section prevents H2 corrosion.

Tool/method to estimate “value” of steam from Cogen –> better pricing

• Plasma Chemistry John Harkness, 252-7636
Waste Treatment for H2S — big electric load– Based on Russian work — ANL has a proprietary position. Needs demo. Individual reactors 1-2 MW (EPRI/Houston & Ami Amarnath are aware of the project).
Destec gasifier repowering produces H2S — Microwave technology could recover chemical/fuel value of H2 (no current H2S treatment process can do this).

Other applications for plasmas and microwaves: degrading plastics for recycling, novel materials, hazardous waste disposal. (Research Cottrell/PETC project tried radio waves on stack gas, and got more NOx.)

• Waste Mgt & Bioengineering Jim Frank, 252-7693
Keen to solve problems! New aggressive group looking for business. Combined multidisciplinary group to develop better solutions for waste treatment problems, source reduction, and high-value by-product production. Doing projects for EPRI: Arsenic removal (Mary Maclearn) Corrosion, microbial (Joe Gilman).

Other areas of work include: removing impurities from Al scrap, removing lead from brass and bronze scrap, recovering plastics from auto scrap; recovery of H2S — H2 and S; converting food wastes. Also soil remediation, membrane separations, air toxics treatment, remediation sensor development, environmental biotech.

• Environmental Control Technology Dave Livingood, 252-3737
Test facility for dry scrubbing and spray drying –HANDBOOK — “5 yrs ahead of EPRI’s HSTF”. Combined NOx/SOx control –developed additives, systems for both wet and dry scrubbing at lab and pilot scale.

Dravo-Lime ThioNox (like Argonox but better) — add chemicals to wet scrubber to remove NOx along with SOx — it works! CG&E pilot will clarify economics in 1 yr.

Spray-dryer/fabric filter FGD for high sulfur coal — showed long term reliable operation

Air Toxics –have PETC to work with — how to capture heavy metals such as mercury.
dry sorbents (carbon) in wet scrubbers — waste testing (what’s in the output)
Activated carbon performance extreme variation depending on type/source

Sequestering CO2 from IGCC –system study of costs for METC. Estimate all costs, emissions from mining on. Don’t wait till the stack; modify the plant with a shift reactor to H2, and capture the CO2. Algae approach unrealistic.– paper 11/93 at Dallas PowerGen.Conference.

• Geographic Information Systems and Environmental Capabilities Pat Wilkey, 252-6258
Innovative Spatial Analysis system, began work 5 years ago for GRI on pipeline right-of-ways. Provides visualization of various “false terrains” e.g. when cost or other impact factors replace elevation as the z-variable. Allows routes to be optimized against different scenarios and tradeoffs. Graphic imaging to model the visual impact of projects (e.g. a transmission tower) against the “view-shed”. GIS can be a logical extension of CAD-AM/FM systems, as an integrated system.

Argonne also has extensive multi-disciplinary capabilities for analysis and field work in site rehabilitation and restoration.

• MSW/Biomass Processing Ole Ohlsson, 252-5593
Fuel pellets from MSW to cofire with coal–handles like coal — OK in cyclone or grate, not PC.
In ’87, tested 100’s of binders–lime works the best. NSP (NRG Energy is unreg subsid) is building a facility–EPRI involved. CRADA with Otter Tail, — Archer Midland Daniels, Decatur, wants to cofire in their FBCs.

• Advance Heat Exchangers Tom Rabas, 252-8995
“Enhanced Tubes” for condensers — actively seeking new users — TVA (only utility so far) doing it in 18 units, starting 14 years ago — see Power Engineering July ’93 page 36. ANL has software to predict heat rate improvements. Heat transfer enhanced x1.7. NIPSCo has a program, Alabama Power did some tests a while back; NYPA and PP&L are interested.

Need host utilities to test tubes. ANL would facilitate and provide specs, measurements and test program OPPORTUNITY

– Proposed a plate/fin type heat exchanger for H2 – cooling in generators –could reduce costs of new units — Westinghouse contact. CRADA proposal not selected. (copy on hand).

– With PG&E, proposed a study of potential to improve cooling of transmission transformers to increase system capacity. CRADA proposal not selected. (copy on hand).

(Note: this program is funded by DOE Industrial, not power program — these ideas tend to fall in between.)

• Technology Evaluation Alan Wolsky, Director, Industrial Partnership Program, Energy Systems Div. 252-3783
Capabilities available to utilities: (Crada or hire ANL)
– Modeling combustion–esp. FBC, erosion, gas-solid flows.
– Studies on CO2 capture/use.
– Recover SO2 as salable liquid (proprietary-ANL is under nondisclosure to an outside co.)
– SMES Demo/test–ANL has an idle magnet — 180 MW sec– could do Power quality tests.
– Superconductivity–available to consult; internal study on future applications
– Scrap Metals recycling — Tom Sparrow at Purdue has studied this with utilities
– Coal Ash — general area of interest, e.g. metals recovery, other..

• Energy Technology Division Capabilities Roger Poeppel, Director, 252-5118
Ken Natesan, 252-5103

– Component Failure Analysis — standing agreement to do tests for Commonwealth Ed.
– Corrosion — alloys, coatings. Particular focus on combustion and power plants via DOE Combustion 2000 program funding — sulfur-bearing gases effects, erosion prevention, etc. In ’70s, developed refractories for coal gasification–resistance to corrosion and thermal shock–led into ability to do HTSC materials.
– All kinds of NDE
– Thermal Hydraulics and Fluid Mechanics — two phase flow, heat/mass transfer, flow-induced vibration ( issue for steam generators).
– Tribology — measure friction and wear; surface coating apparatus/techniques, lubricants

• Measurement and NDE Paul Raptis, 252-5930 & Stephen Dieckman, 252-5628
Acoustic leak detection (for Con Ed) Put microphones in the system — Identifying noise signatures for Steam Leaks. Some big wins finding leaks. NSP involved in testing. (Valves, boilers–straightforward, EPRI doing it.) Can apply to any steam system, not just distribution systems. Working on ASME guidelines. Next area for study is water leaks. Applicable in power plants!
Non-intrusive viscometer–good at high viscosity have working prototype — several manufacturers. interested.
Surface Wave Chemical Detector–exists commercially, but needs applications development, e.g. for stack gases.
Mass Spectrometer fits in a briefcase, measures to ppb; more sensitive than current CEM methods.
MM wave sensor chemical spectroscopy- recently declassified arms control spin-off. Can look at large spaces, e.g. plumes–wide angle, and as good as Lidar.
Measurement, generally — flow, density, concentration, on line NMR (chemistry), NDE via optics, acoustics neutrons, microwaves. Effluent detection. Stress analysis.

• Superconductivity John Hull, 252-8580, and Ken Uherka, 252-7814
High Temperature SuperConductors (HTSC) — 3 distinct areas of work: (all projects are with outside companies!)
1. Basic theory — physics and chemistry
2. Materials fabrication — wire and tape for devices (with mfgs.) largest Federal program center for measuring samples. Use high flux neutrons to look deep in metals; look for O2. Adding particulate Silver to increase fracture resistance. Alloy, draw, roll and heat treat–need grains aligned. Wire development getting close to practical for devices.
3. Applications (notably in the electric utility industry)
– Intermediate link for existing Low temp (liquid He) SC applications, as current leads to the outside, to get lower cooling and insulation needs — for SMES w/ Superconductivity Inc’s 1 MW-1 sec. UPS. Also for B&W 1/2 MW-hr (@ sev. MW for 5-10 min) SMES for Anchorage Electric (TRP/DOE funding).
– Fault current limiter–limits by going from superconducting to normal, limiting rather than interrupting–allows higher transmission line loading. Issues whether to interrupt all 3 phases, and question whether application limited to large concentrated loads.
– Levitation — very different materials requirement–don’t need to align grains! For very low friction bearings, flywheel energy storage program for large diurnal storage systems (with Comm Ed).
(DOE solicited teams 1 year ago for Superconducting Partnership Initiative to develop applications. ANL proposal with Allied Signal unsuccessful–had found sev. utilities willing to invest–Comm Ed, Southern, C&SW, NiMo…)

• Ice Slurry/District Cooling Ken Kasza, 252-9260 (additional info on hand)
Advanced energy transmission fluids–study for DOE — phase change and particulates in water
Additives to reduce friction in flow — very effective

Pelletized ice can be pumped with water in existing chilled water systems or new systems–greater heat transfer capacity & reduced pumping load, and customer storage volume is reduced by factor of 10. Small scale field demo being built with EPRI and NSP–NRG (unreg) subsid has proprietary position–sees business oppty in engineering consulting, licensing and TOU rates.

Handbook done–design for slurries. Have plan to develop Engineering Design Database (whoever does this will control the technology).

Large scale demo will be at ANL–800 ton ice maker–looking for utility participation–need funding for detailed engineering, testing, analysis, etc. Proprietary rights available.

Window of Opportunity –Equipment makers/users will have to phase out CFCs! Utilities can offer central cooling–sell ice , do peak shaving on customer site. Unreg business to sell engineering, equipment, service.

• Friction & Wear Technology George Fenske 252-5190
Surface Modification and characterization, and friction and wear assessment

Protective Surface Modification for High Temp. Alloys — dramatic increase in corrosion resistance of protective scale, by vapor deposition of silicon and high temperature heat treatment–feasible for treating large areas. (Jong Hee Park 252-5104)

Boric-Oxide/Acid coatings-dramatically effective high temperature bearing lubricant (R&D 100)
Diamond-like carbon on steel or ceramics — reduce friction and wear in bearings, fuel injectors, etc.

• Fuel Cells Mike Myles, Director, Electrochemical Technology Program, 252-4329
Michael Krumpelt, Manager, Fuel Cell Technology, 252-8520
ANL does in-house research and is lead lab for DOE Fuel Cell Program and manages the fuel cell effort. Solid Oxide(SO) and Molten Carbonate( MC) for stationary power applic. As phosphoric acid (PA) is considered to be a commercial reality, the only work at ANL is some management activity.

Also Polymer Electrolyte and DOE Bus Program for Transportation. Ballard Technology and Dow aggressive on PEM — big R&D effort with Mercedes Benz and others. Ballard is sub to GM-Allison for DOE passenger car. (IFC pursuing with GE lic., as is Seimens) On-board methanol –>H2

Argonne does Systems Analysis for DOE and EPRI, and work on CO tolerant catalysts and partial oxidation reforming.

MC — gets most of the R&D funding. Some in-house, some to MC Power for electrode development–goal is longer life cathode–trying double doped materials and conductive ceramics. DOE program goals are to double the power density to over 3000 amps/m2 to reduce the plant footprint, to simplify the design and to reduce corrosion. 10 years ago, MC was thought to be the next generation of fuel cell. Not working out easily. Demos in 2-300kw to 2 MW. R&D to increase power density and new stack configuration for cheaper mfg.

SO — Westinghouse is the prime developer. 25-40KW system demos. Alternative for Distributed Generation. More entries internationally. In U.S., B&W with a major chem co. Also, Allied Signal is prime to ANL for work on “Monolithic SO”. Need to control shrinkage, flatness, match coeffic. of thermal expansion–going to thin layers.

ANL has some funding from SCE — opportunities in SO. EPRI forming consortium for new concept “Planar SO” (Rocky Goldstein and John O’Sullivan)

Suggest that in the long run MC may drop back and end up like phosphoric acid (basically leapfrogged) — remains to be seen! World competition is picking up, and U.S. losing lead. The Westinghouse SO technology is expensive. Utilities unwilling to pay higher initial cost of early systems, and private sector can’t do it by themselves (DOE study by Prof. Penner –why commercialization hasn’t happened). Need utilities to work with mg and govt. to commercialize existing systems and support new concepts — 3-way teams.

PEM, primarily being developed for transportation use, could reach low cost mass production first–despite disadvantages for stationary use. Dow is committed to be supplier of membranes –ANL to do concept design for stationary applications. OPPORTUNITY for a 3-way partnership–other utilities avoiding, due to belief that PEM not appropriate for stationary.

NREL/DOE solicitation on infrastructure for H2–utilities to have role in demos.

• Batteries Gary Henriksen, 252-4176
Most action is in transportation. Hybrids getting attention. High power requirement is a problem.
ANL has proposed a bipolar Li Sulfide battery–has small funding from USABC.
ANL has major battery test facility, able to handle anything from cells to systems. All work is tied to manufacturers, one way or another. ANL did ABC tests — results to be announced very soon.

• Environmental Assessment Div. Tony Dvorak, Director, Contact: Dale Pflug, 252-6682
Environmental Impact, Decision support software, Risk Management — lots of work for others

New program Technology Connection: Identify needs for restoration at DOE sites, and identify/inventory available technologies in DOE that can be used–verify claims. Also search for technology domestic and foreign–now monitoring over 800 items in Database.

Expedited Site Characterization — Shrink time and cost by 90% — first done for Dept. of Agric, now being implemented across DOE–accepted by EPA and state regulators. Looking of users, collaborators and trainees. Smart sampling schemes, based on other information.

“ConSolve-site planner” visualization tool
“Plume” licensable code, could add transport and ground water modeling
Chemical Risk Code based on radiation risk code
Geographic Information Systems: graphical interpretation for environ impact, planning.

• Decision and Information Sciences Div. Paula Scalingi, Director
Contact: Dave South, Technology and Environmental Policy, 252-6107

– Compliance with Environmental Mandates (e.g. CAA, CWA,CERCLA/RCRA, greenhouse gases, etc.) — Analysis of regulations, synergies and conflicts, trade-off analysis/ decision framework at the plant level of compliance strategies, vis a vis other business goals, rate regulation etc. A dynamic and complicated process. Models developed allow rapid assessment of scenarios, based on actual plant data.

– Incentive regulation–adoption of innovative technologies–detailed analyses.
– Integrated Resource Planning
– Technology Assessment (e.g. CFC replacement — utilities need to inventory commercial a/c installed base and plan a response.)
– AI applied to reliability/value based maintenance. Did earlier (non-AI) work on boiler aging/vintaging.

– R&D Portfolio Management–long standing program for Defense Nuclear Agency, and other applications (e.g. Wisc PUC!) –software and information gathering techniques. A rigorous approach using multi-attribute utility function decision techniques, for optimizing portfolio and prioritizing projects, against measurable objectives, as the situation changes.

• Global Climate Program Ruth Reck, Director (Contact David South)
Climate Processes, Societal and Environmental Impacts, Response Strategies and Assessment, and Data Management. Policy and Regulatory analysis; interactions between climate change and other environmental issues (domestic and international); voluntary/joint implementation. Publish an extensive quarterly report called “Global Change Scaler”.

ANL Contacts (general phone # is 708-252-2000)

The primary contacts for UFTO are:

Thomas J. Marciniak, Manager Industrial and Utility Technology, Energy Systems Division,

David W. South, Technology and Environmental Policy Program, Decision and Information Sciences Division, 252-6107

Roger Poeppel, Director, Energy Technology Division, 252-511. Also Chuck Malefyt, 252-5125

Technology Transfer:

The Industrial Technology Development Center (ITDC) (formerly called the Technology Transfer Center) — Don Mingesz is the acting director; Primary contact is Shari Zussman (252-5230) — is administratively located in EEST, but serves the entire lab. It handles interactions with industry and DOE on all tech transfer matters. The ITDC has a Hotline 800#: 1-800-627-2596.

ITDC publishes a newsletter called Tech Transfer Highlights. Call the above hotline # to be put on the mailing list

There was recently a new program put in place to have each Division appoint a tech transfer point of contact. Most of these people, however, already have demanding full time jobs, some as heads of sizable research groups. Their role and way of working is just beginning to evolve.

Information Source Contacts / Technical Information Services:

Office of Public Affairs : 708-252-5575 — can provide general information, annual reports, etc.
They publish a biannual “Research Highlights” and a technical magazine called “logos”.

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