Department of Energy awards $4.3 million to Argonne to support industry collaborations

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded more than $20 million in funding to help national laboratories across the country collaborate with U.S. businesses to speed delivery of promising energy technologies to the marketplace.

DOE's Argonne National Laboratory received $4.3 million from DOE to fund 12 projects across six divisions. Argonne's Applied Materials division and the Energy Systems division each received three, the Nuclear Science and Engineering division and the Chemical and Fuel Cell Technology division each received two, and the Nanoscience and Technology division and the X-Ray Science division each received one.

The awards are being made through the Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF), which is managed by DOE's Office of Technology Transitions (OTT). The TCF is a program in which companies are matched with national laboratories, and the parties work together to mature energy technologies with the potential for high impact. The funds supplied by DOE are matched by funds from the private partners. The total budget of the Argonne-related projects is $9.7 million.

"This year's TCF awards reflect the breadth and depth of Argonne's technical expertise and the value Argonne delivers to its industrial partners and the nation." — Ushma Kriplani, Interim Associate Laboratory Director for Science and Technology Partnerships and Outreach at Argonne

"The Department of Energy is one of the largest supporters of technology transfer within the federal government. By connecting innovators at our national labs with entrepreneurs in the private sector, DOE is breaking down barriers and finding the nexus between ingenuity and opportunity," said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. ?"The projects announced today will further strengthen those efforts across a broad spectrum of energy technologies and advance DOE's important mission of technology transfer."

The full list of TCF selections and the private sector partners can be found on the DOE OTT website.

The goal of TCF is two-fold. First, it is designed to increase the number of energy technologies developed at DOE's national laboratories that graduate to commercial development and achieve commercial impact. Second, the TCF enhances DOE's technology transitions system with a forward-looking and competitive approach to lab-industry partnerships.

"This year's TCF awards reflect the breadth and depth of Argonne's technical expertise and the value Argonne delivers to its industrial partners and the nation," said Ushma Kriplani, Interim Associate Laboratory Director for Science and Technology Partnerships and Outreach at Argonne. ?"The support of these projects by the Office of Technology Transitions is a critical step in the effort to deliver energy technologies that enhance the U.S. energy portfolio and strengthen the U.S. economy."

Argonne researchers whose projects received 2018 funding are:

  • Edward Barry (Applied Materials): Development of a new class of reusable and highly specific adsorbents for biofuels using low-cost materials, processing and sequential infiltration synthesis. ($150,000)
  • Ted Bohn (Energy Systems): Development of a software-defined submeter system targeted for building and electric vehicle charging applications. The meter solution will provide packaging space and cost advantages. ($375,000; in partnership with Amzur Technologies and Flexible Manufacturing, Inc.)
  • Acacia Brunett (Nuclear Science and Engineering): Qualification of system-level advanced nuclear reactor safety analysis software for lead systems. The objective is to improve the pedigree of the SAS4A/SASSYS-1 software, an Argonne-developed code, such that it can be used in a modern licensing or authorization framework for lead-cooled fast reactor safety analyses. ($250,000; in partnership with Westinghouse Electric Company)
  • Art Gelis (Chemical and Fuel Cell Technology): Small-scale recycling of irradiated uranium and transuranic elements using 3-D-printed centrifugal contactors. This work will enable DOE's Fuel Cycle Technologies program to conduct science-based, engineering-driven R&D for a full-recycling scheme and other sustainable nuclear fuel cycle options, to develop advanced separation techniques to lower proliferation risk and to prototype new disposal forms to capture and immobilize nuclear waste. ($500,000; in partnership with Niowave, Inc.)
  • Jason Harper (Energy Systems): Continued development of an adapter for smart electric vehicle charging to improve vehicle grid integration and interoperability. ($590,349; in partnership with the California Energy Commission, Qmulus, LLC, Planet Innovation and Zen Ecosystems)
  • Rui Hu (Nuclear Science and Engineering): The project will support code development for advanced safety analysis of fluoride-salt-cooled, high-temperature nuclear reactors and enable the code utilization in a stringent regulatory environment for licensing analysis. ($750,000; in partnership with Kairos Power, LLC)
  • Anil Mane (Applied Materials): Stabilization of high-energy lithium-ion cathodes using nanocomposite coatings. ($150,000)
  • Subramanian Sankaranarayanan (Nanoscience and Technology): Development of user-friendly, commercial, machine learning-based software for large-scale simulations and real-time 3-Danalysis and visualization. Argonne has demonstrated machine learning workflows that have dramatically reduced the time frame for atomistic model development from several years to a few days. This has implications for a range of industries (aerospace, wind power, etc.) that could benefit by expediting their materials design and discovery processes. ($150,000)
  • Dileep Singh (Applied Materials): Integration of thermal energy storage with a combined heat and power (CHP) system. Recovering and storing thermal energy from CHP exhaust and using it during high periods of high electricity pricing can result in significant cost savings. This is particularly important for leveling of peak load demands and reduction in costs for process/manufacturing industries and building applications. ($380,000; in partnership with Capstone Turbine Corporation)
  • Sibendu Som (Energy Systems): Application of machine learning workflow tools for rapid optimization of product designs and manufacturing processes to reduce design time from months to days. Once commercialized, this approach would translate to significant cost savings to customers in a wide range of industries, from automotive to materials to general manufacturing. ($750,000; in partnership with Convergent Science, Inc. and Parallel Works, Inc.)
  • Randall Winans (X-Ray Science): Enhancing unconventional oil reservoir ultimate recoveries with in-situ nano-catalysts. Argonne has a patented nano-catalytic process that can reduce the viscosity of liquid and solid hydrocarbons under in-situ conditions. This process has the potential to accelerate commercial improvements in ultimate recoveries and drainage areas from unconventional oil reservoirs. ($150,000; in partnership with Greyhorse Engineering and Technology)
  • Abdellatif Yacout (Chemical and Fuel Cell Technology): Novel composite material production for energy applications. The technique provides a unique way for advanced manufacturing of composites at low temperatures. Applications include coating of advanced reactor materials to prevent materials degradation during reactor operations. The technology can be also used with other types of advanced reactors system as well as other non-nuclear applications, including solar energy storage. ($150,000)


Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation's first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America's scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit the Office of Science website.

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