Researchers at the U.S. Department
of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and their industrial partners
have won two R and D 100 Awards for innovative fluid sealing and lithium-ion
Argonne scientists have been awarded 101 R&D 100 Awards since the awards
introduction by R&D Magazine in 1964. Winning a prestigious R&D 100
Award -- dubbed the "Oscars of innovation" by The Chicago Tribune
-- provides proof that a product is one of the most innovative ideas of the
year, according to R&D Magazine.
"This is yet the latest example of how the Department of Energy and our
National Laboratories are continuing to demonstrate world-class leadership in
innovation, as we enhance our energy security, national security and economic
competiveness," Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman said. "On behalf
of the Department, I would like to congratulate all of our employees who have
earned R&D 100 awards and in particular this year's winners."
"These awards demonstrate the scientific know-how and innovative spirit
on the part of Argonne researchers," said Argonne Director Robert Rosner.
"I offer my hearty congratulations to our winning scientists."
This year's winners are:
- EnerDel/Argonne High-Power Lithium-Ion Battery for hybrid electric vehicles.
- Ultrananocrystalline Diamond (UNCD) Mechanical Seals, a fluid sealing technology.
EnerDel/Argonne Advanced High-Power Battery for Hybrid Electric Vehicles
The EnerDel/Argonne lithium-ion battery is a highly reliable and extremely
safe devise that is lighter in weight, more compact, more powerful and longer
lasting than the nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) )batteries that are found in today's
hybrid electric vehicles (HEV).
The battery is expected to meet the U.S. Advanced Battery Consortium's $500
manufacturing price criterion for a 25-kilowatt battery, which is almost a sixth
of the cost to make comparable Ni-MH batteries intended for use in HEVs. It
is also less expensive to make than comparable Li-ion batteries. That cost reduction
is expected to help make HEVs more competitive in the marketplace and enable
consumers to receive an immediate payback in gas-cost savings rather than having
to wait seven years for the savings to surpass the premium placed on HEVs.
Additionally, the EnerDel/Argonne battery does not use graphite as the anode
material, which been the cause for concerns about the safety other Li-ion battery
brands. Instead, Argonne developed an innovative, more stable new form of nano-phase
lithium titanate (LTO) to replace the graphite. It also developed a new way
of making nano-phased LTO that will allow for easier industrial process, as
well as provide a high packing density that can increase the battery's energy
density and provide the power needed for vehicle acceleration and regenerative
charging of HEVs.
The battery's principal developers are Khalil Amine, an Argonne senior scientist
and group leader; Illias Belharouak, an Argonne materials scientist; Zonghai
Chen, an Argonne assistant chemist; Taison Tan, EnerDel's research and development
manager; Hiroyuki Yumoto, EnerDel's director of research and development; and
Naoki Ota, EnerDel president and chief operating officer.
The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's (EERE) FreedomCAR
and Vehicle Technologies program provides funding for Argonne battery research.
UNCD Mechanical Seals
UNCD Mechanical Seals are specially-treated pumping-system seals that have
their surfaces imparted with the properties of diamond to improve their reliability,
useful life and integrity in preventing the escape of pumped fluids into the
environment. UNCD is an engineered nanomaterial invented at Argonne and is known
for its exceptional smoothness when applied to the bearing surface of a mechanical
seal. UNCD is an exceptionally low-friction material, and among its many benefits
it saves energy by reducing friction on the sealing surface.
The UNCD Mechanical Seals were jointly developed by a team from Argonne, Advanced
Diamond Technologies, Inc., (ADT), Romeoville, Ill., and John Crane Inc., Morton
Grove, Ill. The Argonne team included former Argonne process development engineer
John Hryn, now senior development associate at Praxair, Inc.; Gregory Krumdick,
engineer; Jeffrey Elam, chemist; and Joseph Libera, post-doctoral appointee.
The ADT contributors included Charles West, vice president of engineering, James
Netzel, director of seals engineering, and John Carlisle, chief technical officer.
The John Crane team included Douglas Volden, new products director; Joe Haas,
vice president of engineering; and Rick Page, vice president of marketing.
EERE's Industrial Technologies Program provided funding for the development
of the UNCD Mechanical Seals.
ADT, an Argonne spin-off based in Romeoville, Ill., secured the rights from
Argonne to commercialize the technology in 2004 and has since then actively
pursued several applications for it, including mechanical seals. ADT has developed
a commercial manufacturing platform for making UNCD Seals in volume with exceptional
reproducibility and quality. John Crane, the world's largest manufacturer of
seals and associated products, performed exhaustive tests that demonstrated
that the UNCD-enhanced seals have a significant tribological advantage that
improves the performance capabilities of mechanical seals when compared to conventional
mechanical seal face materials.
Interestingly, the UNCD thin film production technology that was developed
in 2002 by Argonne and iplas GmbH, near Cologne, Germany, won an R&D 100
Award in 2003. UNCD marked the first-ever affordable diamond film suitable for
mass production of a wide range of diamond-based microelectromechanical systems,
nanoelectromechanical system devices, biodevices, biosensors and microelectronic
circuits. Adjustments in the production process were necessitated to make UNCD
suitable for application on mechanical seals.
Posted July 17th, 2008