Bulletin #23 – Ames Lab “Road Map”

UFTO Bulletin #23

June 12, 1996

To: UFTO Members:

. . in this issue: . . . . . . . . .

Ames Lab “Road Map” Underground Radar Brasil

1. Last week I visited Ames Lab, a different kind of DOE lab at Iowa State University. It started in the 1940s developing methods to purify uranium. Much of the funding comes from Energy Research/Basic Energy Sciences Office in DOE. The headcount is hard to determine, because there’s such a high degree of overlap with the university and its various centers, but in round numbers figure about 400 FTEs and upwards (counting grad students). The annual budget is about $30 million. As the smallest lab in the DOE system, they produce results and win awards in disproportionate numbers, and have the lowest overhead rates of any DOE lab.

They have unique capabilities and expertise in a number of interesting areas, including magnetic materials and applications, rare earth materials (they produce most of the world’s research grade supply),thermoelectrics (and TPV–thermo photovoltaics), ash characterization and use, biomass, coal cleaning, NDE , and fluidized bed combustion (FBC) operations and troubleshooting. They’ve got a monitor to measure carbon in ash, and an alkalinity monitor for gasifier diagnoses.

Also, some unpublished ideas for a new class of high temperature corrosion resistant coatings (needs a demo partner and a little funding). Also high strength conductors — 10 times the tensile strength of Cu, at 80% of the conductivity. [Wouldn’t this be interesting for transmission lines? No more temperature sag limits? Increased tower spacing? Not to mention high-speed generator rotors, and magnetizer coils, and other applications where strength is an issue?] These opportunities are virtually untapped.

If you want to jump on any of these topics before I return from vacation, Call Todd Zdorkowski, 515-294-5640, Email: zdorkowski@ameslab.gov

2. Following up on one of the discussions at the Tampa Meeting on the “process” of dealing with the labs, you’ll find enclosed a copy of “Road Map to Technology”, which Virginia Tong at Com Ed sent to me as she said she would. (Thanks, Virginia!) Chapter 6 and some of the Appendices look as though they might be particularly useful.

3. Underground radar — some of you are interested in this, for locating buried pipes, cables and obstacles. Our new member KEURP is sponsoring work (an EPRI TC) at the University of Kansas, Radar Systems and Remote Sensing Lab, with the goal of detecting pollutants underground. The professors and grad students have built a test facility, and have a detailed computer model of the entire system (antenna, ground layers, scatterer). They appear to have a very complete grasp of the field and all the other programs and players. Contact Prof. Richard Plumb, 913-864-7395

4. If your company is looking at utility acquisitions, Power System Research Inc. (PSRI) in Rio is very close to and knowledgeable about power systems and privatization issues in Brasil and throughout Latin America. See the web site at http://www.psr-inc.com

As you know, I’ll be out of the country and completely out of touch with the office from June 13 to July 13 , on vacation in Brasil visiting family and friends and ending with a 10 day river boat tour on the Amazon. We’ll go 200 mi. upstream from Manaus on the Rio Negro. Wish us luck with the piranhas.

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