DOE-Funded Researchers Win 29 "R&D 100" Awards
October 26, 2005
DOE announced on October 24th that scientists and engineers at 12 DOE national laboratories won 29 of the 100 awards given out this year by R&D Magazine. The prestigious "R&D 100" awards honor the most outstanding technology developments of the year that have commercial potential. Of the 29 DOE awards, 3 relate directly to energy efficiency and renewable energy. DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) helped develop a method of detecting impurities and defects in silicon boules, the single-crystal ingots from which solar cells are made. NREL also helped to develop an energy-modeling program called Targeted Residential Energy Analysis Tools (TREAT), which identifies the most cost-effective energy efficiency upgrades for both single-family and multifamily homes. The third award went to DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), which worked with SEMCO Inc. to develop a rooftop air conditioner that can independently control humidity and temperature while delivering any specified percentage of outdoor air into commercial and institutional buildings. See the press releases from DOE, NREL, ORNL, and SEMCO.
Some award-winning technologies not funded by DOE were also related to energy efficiency and renewable energy. Genencor International won an R&D 100 Award for developing a new blend of enzymes that allow granular starch to be converted to glucose without an energy-intensive cooking step. Converting starch to glucose is a key part of the ethanol production process, and the new enzyme blend not only simplifies that process, but also increases ethanol yield by about 10 percent. Other related award-winning technologies include inexpensive membranes to separate hydrogen from hot gases, novel polymers that may boost the performance of polymer lithium batteries, and a hand-held device powered by a micro-fuel cell. See the Genencor press release, and for the complete list of winners, see the R&D Magazine Web site.