Leveraging the Feds

Federal research programs represent an opportunity for private industry to get additional resources applied to their RD&D projects and other business goals. Many companies, and a few utilities, have been successful at this for a long time.

This discussion is an initial introduction to what it takes to tap the Feds, and DOE/Labs in particular. If there is interest, UFTO stands ready to dig deeper.

The good news is that: it can be done, as evidenced by the companies that do it successfully and repeatedly (“best practice”). The bad news is that it isn’t easy, especially starting fresh. “Startup costs” may be considerable, and the ongoing costs are significant as well, particularly administrative. Companies with a lot experience have advised: don’t do it for a couple $100K; be in for the long haul; it’s a means, not an end; and start with knowing what you want to do. Bottom line– there are resources, programs, and mechanisms that can lead to leverage, but if you want to drink, you have to go to the well.

Federal Tech Transfer

Starting in the early 80’s, Congress and executive orders have been steadily reshaping U.S. federal research policy to expand the importance of technology transfer. Over time, it has become easier and easier for federal agencies to grant private parties the rights to technology and IP developed at federal labs. Working with industry is now the norm.

The emphasis on tech transfer is aimed to get results of federal R&D programs into use — thus fulfilling a (new) mission to help U.S. industry be more competitive. Where these efforts provide resources, industry gets a chance for leverage –it’s just the other side of the same coin.

Where federal spending is targeted at policy goals (such as conservation or advancing a new technology), utilities can be particularly appropriate partners. Another point to keep in mind–the labs are always looking for ways to maintain funding for their programs. An outside funder can gain tremendous leverage by adding resources to ongoing programs which can adapt to meet the funder’s own requirements.

If a private company wins a government award to develop new technology, it usually has to come up with matching funds (especially if it expects to hold on to the resulting IP). From the company’s point of view, their portion is leveraged substantially compared with a go-it-alone approach. (In the case a startup, an equity investor who provides the matching funds will find that his money goes that much farther.)

For a good overview and introduction to federal tech transfer, see the Federal Lab Consortium’s “Green Book”, available online or in hardcopy. (scroll down, on left margin under “Resources”)

There are many contracting mechanisms for working with the government, ranging from outright grants to actual fee-for-service. National labs in particular like to say that contracting should not be an obstacle, that they will find a way to make it work. (Non-U.S. companies shouldn’t be discouraged from looking into opportunities– there usually are ways to deal with restrictions that might otherwise interfere.)

– CRADA (Cooperative R&D Agreement)
– Cost Share/Cofund
– Licensing
– User Facilities
– Work-For-Others
– Personnel Exchange
– Data & Information Exchange
– Consulting & Technical Assistance (by Lab personnel)
– Contracts
– Financial Assistance
– Grants (SBIR, Clean Coal, STTR, TRP, ATP, etc.)
– Consortia (“Industry Partnerships”)
– Informal Collegial Contact!

The main agency for energy is obviously DOE, and other agencies have extensive energy programs as well (e.g., DOD , NASA, Commerce, EPA, Agriculture, Transportation, Interior, etc.). Within DOE, two major programs account for most of the relevant activity:
– Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EREN)
– Fossil Energy (FE)

Solicitations are handled by headquarters, regional program offices, or labs. NREL and NETL in particular seem to be heavily involved in supporting headquarters with administering solicitations and managing programs.
NREL-Nat’l Renewable Energy Lab, CO
NETL- Nat’l Energy Technology Lab; WV, PA — formerly METC & PETC

Solicitations Listings

EREN provides this site as a general starting point

DOE’s Seattle Regional Office publishes a comprehensive compilation of solicitations — from multiple agencies and foundations — relating to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and sustainable development. They maintain online a 15-20 page “Open Solicitations Summary” and also send out a monthly email announcement of all new items.
Go to “Open Solicitations” link to see the new monthly listings. Also note instructions on how to be added to the email distribution. The link “Open Solicitations Summary” will take you to the archive where you can download the complete list. (Be sure to look at the last page of the summary for additional information about sources of information.)

On behalf of Fossil Energy, NETL provides alerts, solicitations, CRADA lore, etc., at:
The “Solicitations” link gives a list of current and future opportunities (plus a link to archives).

All DOE solicitations are now handled through the new centralized Industry Interactive Procurement System (IIPS). It is used to post solicitations and amendments, receive proposals/applications, and disseminate award information. Entities wishing to participate in these solicitations will need to register at the IIPS Webster. Proposals will only be accepted through IIPS, unless otherwise indicated within the solicitation document.

IIPS takes some getting used to. “Guest” users can see most everything, but navigation is not easy. Guest users click on “Browse Opportunities”, and are stuck scrolling through 100’s of listings by number. It’s worth registering for a password, otherwise you can’t use the “Main View” which gives you much better sorting capabilities (e.g., by contracting office).
>> or

[Caution: Don’t be surprised to see that “solicitations” in IIPS include everything DOE buys, from research (RFPs) to light bulbs to janitorial services. The Seattle list is a valuable filter.]


Some additional links that provide information and guidance on working with the government:

Argonne National Lab Tech Transfer Office

Laboratory Coordinating Council
Specifically geared to the major “Industries of the Future” from the DOE Office of Industrial Technology.

DOE Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Program
— Sign up to receive notices (right margin, at the bottom)


Advanced Technology Program: partners with the private-sector to develop broadly beneficial technologies. ATP applies across almost any technology area–R&D, (*not* commercialization). Proposal teams often include private companies, startups, labs, universities, etc.


Utilities and DOE

Some utilities have been working closely with DOE for a long time, and others are just now entering the game.

Electricity Advisory Board
Established Nov 2001 to advise on electricity policy issues. Specifically, the DOE’s electricity programs; current and future capacity of the electricity system; issues related to production, reliability and utility restructuring; and coordination between the DOE and state and regional officials and the private sector on matters affecting electricity supply and reliability. Chair is Lynn Draper, CEO of AEP. Many of the CEO members come from utilities that are household words in DOE. (NiSource, DTE, SoCo, etc.)

The Clean Coal Program, which began mid 80’s, has funded major projects with companies like AEP, Tampa Elec, SoCo, etc. The recent solicitation (Clean Coal Power Initiative Round One Proposals – 8/02) attracted a number of new players (Ameren, IP&L, LG&E, Wepco, etc.).

Efficiency & Renewables likewise sees old and new companies at its conferences and responding to its solicitations, particularly in DG, Storage, Hydrogen, etc. (SCE, Nipsco, DTE, Com Ed, SRP…)


Here is some advice compiled from conversations with people at DOE and in the utilities.

Know what DOE is trying to do that fits with your company’s goals
(attend workshops, review meetings, conferences etc.)

Get to know the people and programs, and understand what they’re up to.
( might be able influence what goes into an RFP)

Information/access is public, but only some companies bother to look.
extent of involvement depends on objectives

Work out a strategy, pick out a couple of areas, and put foot in the door.

Key is to find a (programmatic) match and a (contracting) vehicle.
(most DOE work is competed and cost-shared)

Follow the solicitations; understand procedures

Congressional earmark is a possibility, but doesn’t make any friends in DOE

Companies participate (in R&D/DOE) for variety of reasons
(PR, reg. pressures, …and sometimes… actual business goals!)

Don’t need to be insider (but it doesn’t hurt). DOE welcomes new faces and new ideas.

Argonne 98

It is a 28 page (100K) Word doc, so only the front matter is included below in this note. You can obtain the full text either:
— on line in the clients-only part of the UFTO website (html)
— on request as an email attachment (Word, RTF, or html)
— on request in hardcopy

UFTO Final Report–Argonne National Laboratory
September 1998
Technologies & Programs
Sensor monitor and fault detection system (MSET)
On-Line Plant Transient Diagnostic
Steam Generator Tubing Diagnostics
Leak Rate Test Facility
Advanced NOx Control with Gas Co-firing
Enhanced Surface Condensers Improve Heat Rate
Sensors and Component Reliability
Millimeter-wave remote chemical sensor
Near-Frictionless Carbon
Ice Slurry District Cooling
GASMAP — Analysis and Tracking Tool for the Natural Gas Industry
Ceramicrete Phosphate Ceramic
Advanced Fuel Cells for Utilities
GC Tool: A Dynamic Fuel Cell System Simulation Model
Independent Testing of Fuel Cells
Batteries and Energy Storage
Battery Analysis and Diagnostic Laboratory
Information Management
Mesoscale Weather Modelling
Facility Profile Information Management System (FPIMS)
Hazardous Materials Information Exchange (HMIX)
Technology Evaluation
Strategic Planning Systems
Cost Engineering
Decontamination and Decommissioning (D&D)
Oxygen Enriched Diesels
Microwave Recovery of Hydrogen and Sulfur from Refinery Wastes
Nanoparticle catalysts
Advanced Electrodialysis Separations
Recovering Zinc from Galvanized Scrap

Argonne Visit notes

This is a quick highlights memo about the UFTO visit to Argonne, July 15, 16. A full report will be forthcoming early this Fall.

For the first time, a sizable contingent of UFTO member companies was present for the whole visit. I hope this can become our standard practice, with even a bigger attendance. Argonne made excellent presentations for us. We all agreed that it was a good *beginning* of what must become an ongoing dialogue.

If you want a headstart on some of Argonne’s work, here are a few things we heard about that really piqued the group’s interest:

Comprehensive GIS with massive data on gas system. See separate NOTE, or go to this webpage:
**User Access is available on request, on a collegial basis.** The limitation is server capacity, so ANL is not in a position to throw it wide open. They are also very open to any companies that want to provide better data on their own gas T&D systems–which can be kept confidential.
Contact Ron Fisher, 630-252-3508,

— Ice Slurry District Cooling
UFTO reported on this back in 93/94. It is now privately funded, and has advanced considerably. Ice slush dramatically increases the capacity of new or retrofitted central cooling distribution systems.
Contact Ken Kasza, 630-252-5224,

— On-Line Plant Transient Diagnostic
Uses thermal-hydraulic first principles, along with generic equipment data, in a two-level knowledge system. Neural net models of the system can rapidly indicate what’s causing a transient, e.g. water loss, heat added, etc., and identify where in the system the problem lies. The system wouldn’t need to be custom built for each plant, except to incorporate the plant’s schematics. It’s been run in blind tests at a nuclear plant. Next step is to hook it up to a full scale simulator, and then go for NRC approval. A fossil application would be much easier.
Contact Tom Wei, 630-252-4688,
or Jaques Reifman 630-252-4685,

— Advanced NOx Control with Gas Co-firing
Closed-loop controller adjusts furnace control variables to get optimal distribution of gas injection to yield greatest NOx reduction. Typical systems use gas at 20% of heat input, but this system gets same or better NOx levels with only 7%. Joint effort with ComEd, GRI, and Energy Systems Assoc.
Contact Jaques Reifman 630-252-4685,
or Tom Wei, 630-252-4688,

Sensor monitor and fault detection system knows if the system is misbehaving or the sensor is wrong. Can see slow drift, signal dropout, and noise, giving early indicators of sensor failure, and providing assurance that the process itself is operating normally, thus reducing unneeded shutdowns. It also can monitor the process itself, for wide ranging quality control applications. MSET stands for Multivariate State Estimation Technique. A model learns expected relationships among dozens or hundreds of sensor inputs, and makes predictions for what each sensor should say, and this is compared with the actual sensor signal. Argonne has patented a unique statistical test for residual error (the difference) which replaces the usual setting of fixed limit levels. There are also important innovations in the neural net modeling, which is completely non-parametric.

Applications range from the NASA shuttle engine, to several power plants, to the stock market.
ANL contacts are Ralph Singer, 630-252-4500,
Kenny Gross 630-252-6689,

A spin off company is doing applications in everything else but electric generation. (Think of the possibilities in T&D!!) They call the product ProSSense. Website is at http//
Contact Alan Wilks, Smart Signal Corp, Mt. Prospect IL 847-758-8418,


Here is the text of ANL’s overview “Topic Capability Sheet”. Many of you got hardcopies of the complete set in the mail. They’re still available from Tom Wolsko ( I’ve also posted them on the UFTO website, until Argonne puts a final verion up on their own website.

Argonne National Laboratory:
A Science and Technology Partner for the Energy Industry

Argonne is a multidisciplinary science and technology organization that
offers innovative and cost-effective solutions to the energy industry.

— Introduction
Argonne National Laboratory understands that energy companies must meet growing customer demand by creating, storing, and distributing energy and using the most efficient, cost-effective, environmentally benign technologies available to provide those services. We also understand that they must use increasingly more complex information for decision-making, comply with a multitude of environmental regulations, and adjust to a rapidly evolving marketplace.

Argonne has more than 50 years of experience in solving energy problems and addressing related issues, for both its customers and its own needs. Combining specialities such as materials science, advanced computing, power engineering, and environmental science, Argonne researchers apply cutting-edge science and advanced technologies to create innovative solutions to complex problems.

— Argonne Solutions
Recent applications of that expertise include
– A Spot Market Network model that simulates and evaluates short-term energy transactions.
– A “fuel reformer” that allows fuel cells to use a wide variety of hydrocarbon fuels to make electricity.
– Advisory systems for plant diagnostics and management based on sensors, neural networks, and expert systems.
– MSET, a real-time sensor validation system that provides early warning of sensor malfunction.
– Decontamination and decommissioning techniques developed for Argonne’s own facilities.
– Advanced materials for system components, batteries, ultracapacitors, flywheels, and hazardous waste encapsulation.

— Contacts
Argonne’s Working Group on Utilities:
– Dick Weeks, 630-252-9710,
– Tom Wolsko, 630-252-3733,

For technical information, contact the person listed under the category of interest.

Nuclear Technology
David Weber, 630/252-8175,
– Operations and Maintenance
– Materials
– Reactor Analysis
– Safety
– Spent-Fuel Disposition

Fossil Technology
David Schmalzer, 630/252-7723,
– Basic and Applied Research
– Technology Research and Development
– Market, Resource, and Policy Assessments

Transmission and Distribution
John Hull, 630/252-8580,
– System Components
– Energy Storage
– Distributed Generation
– Data Gathering and Analysis
– Biological Effects

Energy Systems and Components Research
Richard Valentin, 630/252-4483,
– Component Reliability
– Sensors
– Systems Analysis

Materials Science and Technology
Roger Poeppel, 630/252-5118,
– Materials Characterization
– Modeling and Performance
– Advanced and Environmental Materials
– Materials Properties
– Superconductivity

Fuel Cell Research and Development
Walter Podolski, 630/252-7558,
– Fuel Processing
– System Design, Modeling, and Analysis
– Testing
– Energy-Use Pattern Analysis

Advanced Concepts in Energy Storage
K. Michael Myles, 630/252-4329,
– Secondary Batteries
– Ultracapacitors and High-Power Energy Storage
– Flywheels
– Superconducting Magnets

Information Technology
Craig Swietlik, 630/252-8912,
– Computer Security and Protection
– Independent Verification and Validation
– Information Management
– Advanced Computing Technologies

Environmental Science and Technology
Don Johnson, 630/252-3392,
– Environmental Characterization
– Process Modifications
– Emissions Controls
– Waste Management
– Site Management

Environmental and Economic Analysis
Jerry Gillette, 630/252-7475,
– Electric System Modeling and Analysis
– Risk Assessment and Management
– Environmental Assessment
– Cost and Economic Analysis
– Legal and Regulatory Analysis

Decontamination and Decommissioning
Tom Yule, 630/252-6740,
– Operations
– Technology
– Technical Analysis

End-Use Technologies
William Schertz, 630/252-6230,
– Plasma Processes
– Ultrasonic Processing
– Electrodialysis Separation Processes
– Recycling Technologies
– Aluminum and Magnesium Production

Thermal Energy Utilization Technologies
Kenneth Kasza, 630/252-5224,
– Compact Heat Exchangers
– Ice Slurry District Cooling
– Advanced Thermal Fluids

For information on working with Argonne, contact Paul Eichamer, Industrial Technology Development Center, Argonne National Laboratory, Bldg. 201, 9700 South Cass Avenue, Argonne, Illinois 60439; phone: 800/627-2596; fax: 630/252-5230,

Update on UFTO Operation Update

See earlier note attached below. Thanks to the many of you who responded.

We are making progress.

OAK RIDGE — tentatively scheduled for sometime Apr 1-3.
Need to know — WILL YOU COME??

NIST — looking for a date in May

ARGONNE — we’d hoped to go to ANL in March, however they’re gearing up for an initiative to approach utilities, and will be better prepared for us if we wait until June. I’ll keep you posted.
(note to Cubs fans–see how things work out?)

Subject: UFTO Operation Update
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 1998 09:41:54 -0800
From: Ed Beardsworth

| ** UFTO ** Edward Beardsworth ** Consultant
| 951 Lincoln Ave. tel 650-328-5670
| Palo Alto CA 94301-3041 fax 650-328-5675

At our June meeting in SF last year, there was a strong consensus behind the idea to revisit some of the Labs that we first went to several years ago. I’ve already gone to Sandia, and am beginning to put the plans in place for other Labs.

A number of you expressed an interest in accompanying me on such trips, so this note is to find out how many of you are likely to come.

The format will depend on how many of you attend, and what your interests will be. I would go ahead for meetings on Day 1, and then be prepared for your arrival that evening. Day 2 would be tours, presentations and meetings for the group. You certainly could expect a good overview of relevant programs at each Lab, and a chance to meet some of the management and key investigators.

I’ve contacted Oak Ridge, Argonne, and NIST, to start the process of finding possible dates. My goal is to accomplish all three visits by the mid July, though we may let one slide to the Fall.

(To review our materials for each of these labs, go to the website/ members only/ “advanced” search, and put the lab name in “Source”…For NIST use “institute”. Also, note new “reports and workshops” section.)

It’s very important to have good estimates for this. Please REPLY, by cob Tues Jan 27. Thank you.

A. ____ NIST (Wash DC)
____ Oak Ridge (Tenn.)
____ Argonne (Chicago)

_1_ Almost certain we will send someone, schedules permitting
_2_ A distinct possibility
_3_ Almost certainly won’t send anyone

B. Comments or suggestions on:
TIMING? (good, bad dates–preferred days of week, etc.)
Other comments?

C. ____ UFTO Members Meeting?
When? Where? (Combine with a Lab visit? Another event?)

Resonant Shock

See UFTO Note Jan 15, 1998 for background on this remarkable development–turns ash of any kind, tailings, and dirt, into excellent building materials–cheaply and easily–using shock compaction.

The company, Resonant Shock Compaction, is making excellent progress. Here are two items they’ve just sent me (I’ve made no changes):

1. Large Block Testing Program — invitation to participate.
2. Abstract of their paper at recent DOE FETC 3rd annual Conference on Unburned Carbon on Utility Fly Ash.

Proposed Large Block Testing
RSC Compaction Technology
University of Denver


Public Service Company of Colorado and others are interested in testing the RSC technology beyond tests conducted in 1997 using coal combustion by-product (CCB) mixes to make parts for potential construction applications. This testing will test the RSC technology and its ability to fabricate large block parts.

Test Program Participants:

The following are defined as “test program participants,” Boral Material Technologies, Cat Construction Inc., McDonald Farms Enterprises, Public Service Company of Colorado, RSC LLC, Tri-State Generation & Transmission, UtiliCorp United, University of Denver, VFL Technologies, Wallace Industries; and Nuclear Fuel Industries/Stoller Corp. These parties are willing to fund this test program in which large parts will be fabricated for laboratory and field testing. All program participants will share equally in test data without regard to their monetary contribution toward the test program.

Test Objective:

The test objective is to measure strength and durability of large blocks fabricated from CCB mixes compacted by the RSC technology. These large blocks will be approximately 36″ by 48″ by up to 10″ thick. The test program will compare properties of the large blocks with smaller test blocks fabricated and tested in 1997 and 1998.

It is proposed that the following number of quality blocks be fabricated from the following mixes:

(4 Blocks) Cherokee bottom ash and Cherokee No. 4 silo ash
(1 Block) Cameo combination silo/bottom ash
(1 Block ) FGD material from Craig and bottom ash from Hayden
(1 Block) Bottom ash from Nucla and other materials
(1 Block) Bottom ash from Clark Station and Class C ash from Comanche
(1 Block) Mojave bottom ash and fly ash
(1 Block) Japanese bottom ash and fly ash (NFI/Stoller)


The existing RSC machine at the University of Denver will be used. Four more air cushions and associated pneumatics will be installed to fabricate large blocks. A vacuum lifting device will be installed to safely move the large blocks. The vacuum lifting device will enable the same mold to be used repeatedly with minimum cycle time. A low cost curing chamber will be constructed to accelerate block curing to approximately 24 hours. Cement mixers and batch scales will be rented to prepare mixes and core drilling services will be hired to produce cores for laboratory testing.

A single mold that can fabricate the blocks will be provided and upon completion of the program, the mold will become property of RSC LLC.

Mold Design:

A single mold, designed to produce parts approximately 36″ by 48″ by up to 10″ thick will be designed by RSC LLC. Cost of the mold will be paid by test program participants. The mold will be designed for manual disassembly or ejection removal of parts. Testing will also address handling techniques (pins, bolts, lifting holes, etc.) for these test parts. The use of a vacuum lifting device will enable parts to be removed from the mold upon ejection for separate movement to the curing chamber.

Mix Design:

Each test participant will provide sufficient quantities of CCBs at no cost to the program. All costs of raw materials provided to RSC LLC will be borne by test program participants. Disposal of excess material will be arranged by PSCo. Each participant will work with RSC LLC to determine the appropriate mix design. New materials and/or mix designs will first be tested in the small mold to develop mix design for the large blocks.

Machine Operations:

Machine power settings, vibration, shock, acceleration, and period will be set to achieve large block strength and durability characteristics similar to previously fabricated small test blocks.


Block strength and durability will be determined by measurement of compressive strength, porosity, freeze-thaw cycling, and resonant frequency. These tests will be performed on core samples cut from the blocks. Test criteria are based upon the 1997 and 1998 testing of small test block fabricated from similar mixes. Machine parameters and mix composition will be optimized to achieve strong and durable blocks.

Upon completion of curing the blocks will be transported to the PSCo Arapahoe Plant where the test cores will be cut from the blocks for testing at the University of Denver and at Commercial Testing Laboratories (CTL). Participants will determine block performance by placing the blocks in field test conditions at their respective locations. Upon completion of the test program, sample cores or whole parts may be retained by RSC LLC, the University of Denver and/or program participants.

Additional test capabilities available through the University of Denver Environmental Materials Laboratory include acoustic pulse velocity and absorption, acoustic emission, surface porosity, SEM analysis, thermal properties, and TCLP.

Test Results:

Test data obtained from this program will be available to program participants. It is anticipated that test data will be used by program participants and others to identify potential market applications of the RSC technology for large blocks. If a participant requires test data for a specific mix to be treated with confidentiality, that data will be provided only to that participant. However, it is anticipated that the physical characteristics of the large blocks will be reported generically without regard to specific mix designs.

Material Handling Issues:

Material handling techniques used at the University of Denver will not represent anticipated production techniques. Raw materials will be delivered in drums and mixing performed by manually placing mix components into a cement mixer and manually placing the mix into the mold. Equipment for weighing, measuring and blending raw materials may be rented. A forklift and vacuum hoist will be used to move the block. Because of space limitations at the University, different mix designs will be scheduled to reduce on property storage of raw materials and facilitate movement of completed blocks.


The test program schedule will be mutually determined by test program participants. A draft schedule is attached.

Test Program Costs:

The test program participants have agreed to fund this test program for an amount not to exceed $50,000. A test agreement will be prepared in which each participant will indicate their participation and/or level of funding. Participants will additionally bear all costs associated with providing their mix materials to the program, and transportation of mix material and test blocks. PSCo will assist in the coordination of transportation of finished blocks to Arapahoe Station and in the disposal of excess materials.

Other Parties and Potential Recovering of Test Program Costs:

To reduce the test program costs for all participants and to encourage development of the RSC technology with other entities, if test data from this program attract other partners, then the test program participants will be reimbursed a prorated portion of their costs from future agreements in which the large block testing served as the catalyst. For example, each participant’s share will be calculated as a percent of the total program. If a future agreement is signed between RSC LLC and other entities in which the large block test program results enable the agreement to be executed, then each test program participant will receive a fractional share of the agreement value to reimburse them for their participation, up to the full value only of their actual costs. This repayment will be made within three years of the completion of the test program. If no large block agreement with an entity is executed by that time, the test program costs will be forgiven.

Proposed Estimated Budget $45,000 – $50,000.

Presentation at the DOE FETC 3rd Annual Conference
on Unburned Carbon on Utility Fly ASh.


⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭⎭University of Denver

Robert E. Pressey, Keith Wier, and David Frey, RSC LLC.


The RSC technology is a high-g particle packing and forming process that has been licensed for ten years to commercially manufacture refractories weighing up to 5000 pounds. The Public Service Company of Colorado has funded a program at the University of Denver to develop applications of RSC to forming high-carbon Class F fly ash and bottom ash into value-added blocks and panels to construct sound barriers, retaining walls, pond liners, and tilt-up building panels. The Environmental Materials Laboratory is providing test facilities to study RSC process dynamics and product characteristics.

Typically, high-carbon test specimens formed by the RSC process have a compressive strength of 2000 to 5000 psi. Even specimens made from stoker fired ash containing 30% LOI measured 2500 psi. RSC is a robust technology that is tolerant of a wide range of carbon, calcium oxide, and calcium sulfate.

The RSC machine at the Environmental Materials Laboratory is a commercial sized unit capable of compacting 2000 pound parts. Laboratory test specimens are nominally 10 pounds but a mold to make 500 to 1000 pound panels has been designed. Large ash-based blocks and panels will be made for field testing.

Based upon Resonant Shock Compaction of Public Service Company of Colorado Cherokee Plant Class F fly ash and bottom ash this past year, it appears that the RSC technology can compact high-carbon ash into construction blocks, panels, or aggregate that pass many ASTM concrete and masonry strength and durability standards. These standards include compressive strength of 3000 to 5000 psi, sodium sulfate aggregate durability, face fired masonry water absorption, and freeze-thaw 300 cycle tests. These tests were performed by an ASTM certified commercial laboratory.

Papers at the last three DOE FETC Conferences on Unburned Carbonaceous Material on Utility Fly Ash reported that the highest valued ash utilization (cement admixture) is “at risk” because low NOx combustion technology often increases ash carbon content above the ASTM 618 limit of 6%, and the industry preference for 3% or lower. There is considerable effort underway to modify combustion processes to reduce ash carbon content and other efforts to increase alternative high-volume use options for high-carbon ash such as structural fill, agricultural soil amendments, and mine stabilization. Ash use is also limited by transportation cost to market and seasonal demand by the construction industry. Reduced ash use in concrete results in increased cement consumption and an associated one ton of CO2 for each ton of cement clinker produced.

Current research and development is focused on PSCo Cherokee Class F fly ash containing sodium carbonate flue gas conditioning agents and bottom ash, Valmont Class F fly ash and bottom ash, Comanche Class C fly ash, and Hayden bottom ash mixed with fly ash which has been conditioned with limestone ( flue gas desulfurization conditioned fly ash). Other tests include similar ashes, high carbon stoker ash (30% LOI), and circulating fluid bed ash containing highly reactive residual calcined calcium oxide with calcium sulfate.

The RSC market goal is to provide an alternative high-volume, high-valued product utilization of coal combustion products in partnership with electric utilities, ash brokers, construction companies, and manufacturers of concrete blocks, panels, and bricks. Acceptance of RSC ash-based construction materials is predicated upon successfully demonstrating the strength and durability of these products and obtaining the construction industry certifications from the International Conference of Building Officials, National Evaluation Service (ICBO NES).

Large blocks and panels will be made at the Environmental Materials Laboratory for testing in real applications. A transportable commercial plant will be built. Marketing studies have been performed by MBA students at the University of Denver Daniels School of Business. A preliminary conceptual design including capital and operating costs has been completed. Projected capital and operating costs are quite low.

Several electric utilities, environmental contractors, construction companies, and block manufacturers are participating in evaluation of the RSC technology to convert ash into construction blocks and panels. Waste clay and mine tailings are also being tested independently and in combination with ash. Specific products of interest to these parties are low cost highway sound barriers, retaining walls. pond liners, and tilt-up building walls. Test specimens containing greater than 50% bottom ash can be sawed, screwed, and nailed like wood.
⎭The University of Denver, Environmental Materials Laboratory, RSC LLC, and several electric utilities, are continuing studies to understand the unique properties of the RSC formed ash-based products. High-carbon ash formed into high strength products by the RSC process appear to be stronger than conventionally formed high-carbon ash products. RSC particle packing and high-g compaction of fly ash, bottom ash, and binder only requires about 10% water. This bonding process is being studied.

Acoustic velocity absorption and scanning electron microscopy have been used to measure ash and RSC product characteristics. A scanning optical microscopy densitometer system has been developed to measure product porosity. Acoustic velocity will be measured to correlate with product integrity. Differential scanning calorimetry and wide line proton nuclear magnetic resonance can provide information on ash-cement hydration.

The US Department of Energy has funded similar studies of the RSC technology at the University of Denver, Environmental Materials Laboratory to compact and stabilize radioactive and heavy metal contaminated soils. These studies have been conducted in cooperation with the DOE Rocky Flats Environmental Test Site, the DOE Argonne National Laboratories, and the DOE Mixed Waste Focus Area. Preliminary results have shown that RSC compacted soils have lower toxicity leach rates than other methods.

DD&D Conference

Subject: UFTO Note – DD&D Conference
Date: Tue, 20 May 1997 12:15:16 -0700
From: Ed Beardsworth

This is a follow up to the May 12 UFTO Note on Nuclear Decommissioning.

The detailed agenda for the Conference at Argonne is now available. The first page is shown below. I have an electronic copy of the whole document that I can forward on request.

| ** UFTO ** Edward Beardsworth ** Consultant
| 951 Lincoln Ave. tel 415-328-5670
| Palo Alto CA 94301-3041 fax 415-328-5675

The Fourth Annual Nuclear Decommissioning Decisionmakers’ Forum
A Monitor Publications & Forums Event
Co-sponsored by: Commonwealth Edison

Argonne National Laboratory
Executive Conference Center
Chicago, Illinois
June 24-27, 1997

Melding Government, Utilities & University DD&D Programs
. . . to Get Real World Solutions

. . . A gathering of Who’s Who in the federal & commercial decommissioning arena where one is able to raise key concerns with key decisionmakers

– James J. O’Connor, CEO and Chairman, Commonwealth Edison
– Dr. Dean Eastman, Director, Argonne National Laboratory
– Cherri Langenfeld, Manager, Chicago Operations Office – DOE
– Dr. Clyde Frank, Dpty Assist Scrtry for Sci. & Technol, DOE – EM
– Rita Bajura, Director, DOE Federal Energy Technology Center

… plus other senior utility executives and top officials from DOE, EPA, NRC; and executives from decommissioning service firms

Special On-Site Visits. . . See Actual DD&D at Argonne’s CP-5 and ComEd’s Dresden-1 Reactors. View the actual opening of the CP-5 reactor containment vessel utilizing new robotics technology


Survey Critical Infrastructure

Subject: UFTO Note – Survey Critical Infrastructure
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 1997 08:53:19 -0700
From: Ed Beardsworth

| ** UFTO ** Edward Beardsworth ** Consultant
| 951 Lincoln Ave. tel 415-328-5670
| Palo Alto CA 94301-3041 fax 415-328-5675

(Forwarding this news time-sensitive news item. This commission is separate from the DOE Reliability Task Force.)

Survey- President’s Commission On Critical Infrastructure Protection

(Via Utility-News Inc.)- April 17, 1997- The President’s Commission on Critical Infrastructure Protection is requesting information regarding technologies and capabilities for protecting critical infrastructures vital to our nation’s economic and national security. Of particular concern are physical and cyber threats. Eight critical infrastructures have been identified: (1) telecommunications, (2) electrical power systems, (3) gas and oil storage and transportation, (4) banking and finance, (5) transportation, (6) water supply systems, (7) emergency services, and (8) continuity of government services. The Commission has retained the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory to act on its behalf in soliciting and collecting this information.

The Commission designed a survey template to facilitate this critical infrastructure data collection effort. The survey template can be requested via e-mail at, or downloaded from Responses must be received no later than May 30, 1997, to guarantee inclusion in the Commission’s report.

Taking time to provide information may increase organizational visibility, not only with the Commission, but also with government agencies and private-sector entities needing infrastructure protection technologies and capabilities. Responses will be entered into a database and made available to the government and private sector. The Commission will use the information to help (1) formulate critical infrastructure protection strategies, and (2) develop recommendations for research and development programs to address technology shortfalls.

For more information on this critical infrastructure protection technologies and capabilities data collection or the Commission, please contact Mr. Jerry Gillette at 630/252-7475 or

Argonne Industry Day

Subject: Argonne Industry Day; and UFTO point of contact
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Dear Roger:
Thanks for your cordial response. I know you appreciate the reasons for our interest in maintaining close relationships with Argonne. In particular, we’re long overdue to update our UFTO report on Argonne.

By copy of this note, I’ll inform the UFTO members about your event on September 17. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend myself, but I would like to see the information about it.

In the meantime, who can I consider as a primary point of contact at ANL? Are your volunteering? Can I assume that the note about our planned UFTO T&D workshop has reached (or will reach) the right people?

Thanks again for your attention
Sincerely, Ed Beardsworth/ UFTO

RB Poeppel wrote:
> Reply to: RE>POC at ANL for Utility Fed Technology Oppty (UFTO)
> Dear Ed: Greetings. We met when you visited in May of 1994. We appreciate
> your continued interest in Argonne National Laboratory. Your e mail is very
> timely. We are holding a business and industry day on September 17. There
> may never be a better opportunity to get a full view of Argonne programs and
> capabilities in a single day. Let us know if you will be able to attend and I
> will have all the information sent to you.
> Roger Poeppel