Technology Transfer Opportunities in the Federal Laboratories
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Utility Federal Technology Opportunities (UFTO)
Overview & Organization
Technologies & Programs
This report is part of a series examining technology opportunities at National Laboratories of possible interest to electric utilities
This report is proprietary and confidential. It is for internal use by personnel of companies that are subscribers in the UFTO multi-client program. It is not to be otherwise copied or distributed except as authorized in writing.
This report details findings about technology and technology transfer opportunities at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory that might be of strategic interest to electric utilities. It is a major update and revision materials developed previously, and is based on a visit to the lab in April 1998, and also draws from various publications, collateral information and website content.
A special note of thanks to Marilyn Brown for arranging the agenda and her gracious and tireless support, and to all the ORNL staff who gave generously of their time and attention.
Also to Mr. Scott Penfield of Technology Insights, who accompanied the visits (as a representative of one of the UFTO utilities) and kindly provided his written account of the meetings for use in the preparation this report.
ORNL — Overview & Organization
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) is a “GOCO” lab (government-owned, contractor operated). Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corp. is the contractor that manages ORNL. (Lockheed Martin also manages the Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge, Idaho National Engineering Lab and Sandia National Lab.)
ORNL has a matrix organizational structure, where “divisions” aligned primarily by discipline have the people, and “programs” have the projects and budgets. On some occasions, divisions do get funds and projects of their own. ORNL finds that matrix management can work well if there is a balance of power and the right incentives.
Both divisions and programs live in research “ALD’s” or Associate Laboratory Directorates, headed by Associate Lab Directors who along with other administrative and support groups report to the Laboratory Director (Alvin Trivelpiece).
ORNL’s four research ALD’s are:
=> Energy and Engineering Sciences — Gil Gilliland 423-574-9920
(Div: Engineering Technology, Fusion., Instrum & Control)
(Prog: Energy Effic/Renew Energy, Energy Technology, Fossil Energy, Nuc Technol)
=> Life Sciences and Environmental Technologies
(Div: Chemical Technol, Energy, Environmental Sci, Life Sciences)
=> Adv. Materials, Physical and Neutron Sciences
(Div: Metals & Ceramics, Physics, Solid State, Chemical/Analytical Sci . . .)
=> Computing, Robotics, and Education
(Div: Computer Science and Mathematics, Robotics and Process Systems…)
There is work in all four ALDs of potential interest to utilities. The point of contact for this study was established through the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program, which oversees activities involving 11 different research divisions. Contact was also made with the Fossil Energy Program, with a similarly broad scope. Divisions encountered include Engineering Technology, Instrumentation & Control, Metals & Ceramics, and others.
Staffing level is now at approximately 5000, of which 1500 are scientists, of which about 1/2 are PhDs. ORNL’s 1997 budget was about $550 million. Of this amount, the largest program areas were Energy Research (28%), Environmental Management (25%) and Energy Efficiency (16%). Nuclear programs, which were once the principal focus of the Laboratory, are identified at a level of 4% in the overall budget; however, when supporting research topics (e.g., High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR), materials, NRC Programs, etc.) are included, some $100 million can still be identified as nuclear related.
A major new initiative at ORNL is the Spallation Neutron Source facility. The 1999 budget year will constitute a major test for this project, as it will include a construction line item for the first time. If approved, construction is expected to take 6-7 years. A new ORNL directorate has been established to oversee the Spallation Neutron Source project.
Primary UFTO contact:
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program:
A.C.(Tony) Schaffhauser, Director, 423-574-4826, email@example.com
Marilyn Brown, Deputy Director, 423-576-8152, firstname.lastname@example.org
Working with ORNL:
Technology Transfer: (Licensing and CRADAs)
Dean Waters, Acting Director, Office of Technology Transfer,
Sylvester Scott, Director, Licensing, 423-576-9673, email@example.com
Partnerships: (CRADAs, User Program, Personnel Exchanges, Guest Research Assignments)
Louise B. Dunlap, Director, Office of Science and Technology Partnerships,
Public Relations: Joe Culver, Director, Public Affairs,
ORNL makes use of an increasingly broad array of contracting mechanisms, including CRADAs, Work for others, User Facility Agreements, etc. Greater use of simpler standard formats makes the process much quicker than in the past.
They are seeing an increasing number of “100% funds-in CRADAs” (i.e. no cost sharing by the lab) from industry, as a cheaper alternative to work-for-others with essentially equivalent intellectual property rights. The Lab also will have as many as 4000 guest assignments per year, 1/4 of which are from industry, where visitors use the facilities or work with staff on CRADAs, etc.
Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program
Tony Schaffhauser, Director 423-574-4826 firstname.lastname@example.org
Marilyn Brown, Deputy Director 423-576-8152 email@example.com
The EE/RE Program is a matrix organization that draws on several line divisions at ORNL for the majority of its personnel and technical facility resources, to set up multi disciplinary teams. DOE is the sponsor for most of the work, but they see industry and the public as the real customer.
ORNL budget expenditures controlled through the EE/RE Program office amount to some $80 million. The ORNL Energy Efficiency/Renewable Energy (EE/RE) budget was lower in 1996, but the level now appears to be stable.
Major Research and Development Areas
=> Transportation systems, including advanced automotive technologies, advanced materials, utilization of alternative fuels including biofuels, and transportation data.
=> Efficient building systems and for state and community programs, including heating, cooling, and refrigerating equipment; roofs, walls, and foundations; insulating materials; technology transfer; and retrofit of existing residential and commercial structures.
=> Industrial processes, such as bioprocessing, electric motor systems, advanced turbine systems, advanced materials, industrial heat pumps, and evaluations of energy-related inventions.
=> Utilities, including high-temperature superconductors (for transformers and transmission cables), power transmission and distribution systems, electric and magnetic field effects, biomass for power generation, and international programs (including IEA and APEC programs).
Technologies & Programs
Superconducting Technology Program for Electric Energy Systems
Fossil Energy Technologies
Real-Time Corrosion Monitoring
Hot Gas Filters
Furnace Wall Corrosion with retrofit low-NOx burners
Effects of Coal impurities on fireside corrosion
Improved Stainless Steels
Sulfidation Resistant Alloys
Building Technology Center
Frostless Heat Pump
High Efficiency Refrigerator (1 kwh/day)
Power Systems Technology Program
Energy Conservation Standards for Distribution Transformers
Flywheels and Energy Storage Technologies
Utility Restructuring and Electric Power Ancillary Services
Grid Reliability-Control Center Survey
Electric and Magnetic Fields Bioeffects
Research and Public Information Dissemination (RAPID) Program
Advanced Turbine Systems
Motor, Steam, and Compressed Air Challenge Programs
Oak Ridge Centers for Manufacturing Technology (ORCMT)
Electric Machinery Center
Power Electronics Technology Center and Inverter Technology
Instrumentation & Controls
Machine Condition Monitoring and Diagnostics
Electrical Signature Analysis (ESA) for Utility Applications
Nonlinear data analysis–Component Failure Prediction
NRC/INPO plant database
Photonics and Hybrid Lighting
Superconducting Technology Program for Electric Energy Systems
Bob Hawsey 423-574-8057 firstname.lastname@example.org
Web sites: http://www.ornl.gov/HTSC/htsc.html
(See special report and series of articles on “Superconductivity in Electric Power,”
pp 18-49, IEEE Spectrum, July 1997)
The discovery of high-temperature (i.e., above the boiling temperature of liquid nitrogen) superconductor materials dates to 1986. Since that time, the challenge has been to develop these brittle, ceramic-based materials into a form that can be produced and practically used. DOE research in this area has taken a major step increase, from $19 million in 1997 to $32 million in 1998. (By comparison, Japan is investing $100 million/year in superconductor research.)
DOE HTS Program
Jim Daley, Team Leader, 202-586-1165, email@example.com
or Joe Mulholland, Utility Liaison
The DOE HTS program supports a balanced technology development effort. Wire and device technologies are developed through a large number of collaborative projects between U.S. national laboratories and industry, and systems technologies are supported through the SPI and other vertically integrated project teams.
DOE’s Superconducting Partnership Initiative (SPI) is a systems technology program designed to accelerate the development of HTS electric power systems. Begun in the fall of 1993, the SPI encourages the formation of vertically integrated teams comprised of partners who usually do not interact in the development cycle, involving close collaboration among system integrators, wire and device manufacturers, end-users (typically electric utilities)
Major projects include
– 5,000 hp high-temperature superconducting (HTS) motor
– 100 MVA HTS generator,
– 115 kV and 12.5 kV HTS transmission cable (2 projects)
– 5/10 MVA HTS transformers (2 projects)
– 15 kV HTS fault current limiter (2.4 kV successfully tested in 9/95 at a utility host site)
Fault Current Limiter
Later this year, pre-commercial (alpha) prototype will be tested by So Cal Edison and Lockheed Martin. Rating is 15-kV, normal 2 kA, intercepts/reduces by 80% a 20-kA peak symmetric or 45 kA peak assymmetric fault. Also functions as a 1/2 cycle circuit breaker. If demo successful, Edison will install it at a substation, and anticipates $1million in savings from avoiding need for a second bus. Next stage will be beta units.
Contact: Eddie Leung, Lockheed Martin program manager
619-874-7945, ext. 4636, firstname.lastname@example.org
ORNL is participating in two of these partnerships.
Transformers — There is a strong need for medium power transformers (10-150 MVA) that are smaller, more efficient and free of fire hazard, to meet the growth in urban power density. These transformers will go inside building and in multistory substations, and provide higher ratings from existing substations.
— Waukesha Electric Systems (WES), Waukesha, WI
For the Waukesha program, ORNL is responsible for the engineering, design and science of the cooling system, while Intermagnetic General is producing the HTSC coil. WES did the core, instrumentation tank, pumps and test rig. An initial 1 MVA prototype has been constructed and entered testing at WES in February 1998. Initial results are good–the first operational US HTSC transformer easily sustains 2X overloads. Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) participated in this initial demonstration.
The next step will be a 5 MVA system, which will provide power to the WES plant beginning in 1999. A larger utility advisory group is participating in this second step (includes several UFTO members). The initial commercial target is a transformer in the range of 10-30 MVA.
Contact: Pat Sullivan, VP Marketing, Waukesha, 414-547-0121, x 1531.
There is a separate transformer development effort that involves ABB, EdF, Los Alamos National Lab (LANL) and American Superconductor.
Cable — HTSC Cables hold the promise of far greater capacity– 5X the power in the same 8″ diameter pipe of conventional buried cable, and without the losses, heat, oil and range limitations.
— Southwire,Carrolton, GA
The Southwire HTSC cable project is expected to culminate in an initial demonstration at Southwire in 1999. The planned 100 ft, 3-phase, 12.4 kV, 1250 Amp cable will provide power (30 MVA) to Southwire facilities. Southern Co, Georgia Transmission Co, and So Cal Edison are partners. DOE is providing half of the $14 million. Southwire has built a 200 ft clean room manufacturing facility, and recently delivered a 5 meter test cable to ORNL for testing.
Pirelli and Los Alamos are pursuing a parallel HTSC cable initiative, with participation by Detroit Edison. The initial objective is a 25 kV line.
Other HTSC development initiatives mentioned include motors/generators (including flywheel motors/generators under development at Boeing) and kaolin magnetic separation equipment being developed by Dupont for the paper industry.
NOTE- More uility participation is needed–to provide advice, and as partners, cofunders and beta test hosts. Any kind of innovative proposal is more than welcome.
RABiTS (TM) Process for Coated High-Temperature Superconductors
Oak Ridge researchers have produced a roll-textured, buffered metal, superconducting tape with a critical current density of 300,000 amperes per square centimeter in liquid nitrogen, which may pave the way for the future manufacture of practical yttrium- or thallium-based conductors for electric power applications.
To produce a superconducting wire sample, the ORNL researchers first developed a process called rolling-assisted biaxial textured substrates, or RABiTS(TM), which enables the superconducting materials to have a high degree of grain alignment in all directions, a necessary condition for more efficient current flow through the superconductor.
MicroCoating Technologies (MCT) in Atlanta and ORNL announced on April 16 that MCT has licensed key patents. “MCT scientists within a six-month period have successfully deposited both HTS coatings and oxide “buffer layers” on several single crystal oxide substrates. MCT also successfully deposited buffer layer on textured nickel. The epitaxy of some buffer layers is as good or better than with any other deposition technique to date. In addition, MCT’s open atmosphere process can meet or exceed industry-wide cost targets to enable commercial-scale production of superconductor technology.”
Other licensees include Midwest Superconductivity and Oxford Superconducting Technology, with two more pending.
Fossil Energy Technologies
Rod Judkins 423-574-4572 email@example.com
ORNL described some additional advancements in materials and technology for fossil and related applications that were not addressed in the ORNL survey of utilities (developed by Technology Insights and sent to UFTO members in mid 1997). Some examples are:
Real-Time Corrosion Monitoring: A flash of laser light is impinged on a fossil boiler wall. By observing the infrared response of the area, corrosion related effects, such as thinning, debonding and delamination can be inferred.
Hot Gas Filters: In partnership with manufacturers, ORNL has developed two distinct classes of hot gas clean up filters.
– A ceramic composite (SiC-based) filter developed with 3-M is primarily targeted to fluidized bed combustion applications. The filter has been tested in AEP’s Tidd Plant and a Studvik incinerator in S. Carolina. It is available through 3-M. Contact Ed Fisher, 612-736-1005
– A lower temperature (700 – 1000 deg C) iron-aluminide filter, with high resistance to sulfidation, has been developed in partnership with Pall Corp. (Portland NY) and is nearing commercial introduction. An alternative to ceramics, it can be made with standard manufacturing equipment. Tests at the University of Cinncinnati show excellent corrosion resistance. Coal gasification is the target application.
Ron Bradley 423-574-6095 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ian Wright, 423-574-4451 email@example.com
Furnace Wall Corrosion with retrofit low-NOx burners — root cause is flame licking walls, so that control of flame characteristics using sensor-feedback arrangements should be the best solution. Hence, there is a need to develop sensors to monitor flame condition as input to control mechanism. ORNL has approaches for this, using chaos theory to analyse the flame signatures, for instance (Stuart Daw, David Schoenwald). There will also be a continuing practical need for diagnostics, coatings, repair techniques, etc., since not all boilers will be amenable to combustion control, and the use of multiple and varying coal sources will lead to continuing corrosion problems in some parts of the furnace wall. Sulfidation-resistant ferritic alloys (ORNL’s iron aluminides) promising as overlay/cladding, but difficult to apply reproducibly. Development program with Lehigh Univ-utility boiler consortium (Prof. Arnie Marder) is showing good promise.
Effects of Coal impurities on fireside corrosion — Chlorine limits based on fundamental misunderstanding–only a problem when other combustion problems (flame impingement) present. Developing in situ probes to measure short-term corrosion.