Argonne National Laboratory

Department of Energy awards flow into Argonne

By Kathryn E. JandeskaOctober 18, 2017

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently awarded $19.7 million to help national laboratories across the country speed promising energy technologies to the marketplace. Argonne received the most funding from the DOE, with nine projects being funded in three divisions. Argonne’s Energy Science division received four awards, the Nanoscience and Technology division received one and the Nuclear Engineering division won four awards.

DOE Secretary Rick Perry awarded Argonne with nearly $4.7 million in projects as part of the DOE’s Office of Technology Transition’s Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) in September.

The 2017 awards represent the second time TCF has distributed funds. Last year, the DOE awarded nearly $16 million, with Argonne winning five awards.

“We did quite well, winning funding for nine projects. It shows Argonne scientists are making a valuable contribution to society with their work.” - Hemant Bhimnathwala, a business development manager with Argonne’s Technology Commercialization and Partnerships division

According to the DOE, the 2017 funding will support 54 projects across 12 national laboratories working with more than 30 private-sector partners.

In his statement, Secretary Perry highlighted “the incredible value of DOE’s national laboratories and the importance of bringing the Department’s technology transfer mission to the American people.”

Argonne’s success in securing the funding is important and speaks to the expertise of the laboratory’s scientists and engineers, said Hemant Bhimnathwala, a business development manager with Argonne’s Technology Commercialization and Partnerships division. “One of the ways laboratories measure success is by how much impact they create through industry engagements. Argonne won nine projects, which is significant, and this TCF funding offers an independent measure of our impact on the U.S. economy.”

The funding creates impact for Argonne scientists as well, he said. “It communicates to the scientists and engineers that their work is relevant and can become a useful product or service in the future.”

To be considered for the awards, scientists and engineers submit proposals. This year, said Bhimnathwala, Argonne scientists submitted 15 to 20 proposals. “We did quite well, winning funding for nine projects. It shows Argonne scientists are making a valuable contribution to society with their work.”

The awards also inspire other Argonne researchers, said Bhimnathwala. “It signals that there are ways to work with industry and possibly bring their work to the marketplace. I hope it will encourage other scientists and engineers to apply in the future.”

This year’s TCF awards ranged from $75,000 to $750,000. Argonne researchers whose projects received 2017 funding include:

  • Acacia Brunett (Nuclear Engineering): NRC Qualification of Advanced Reactor Safety Analysis Software ($75,000)
  • Jeff Elam (Energy Systems): Lithium Anodes for Electric Vehicles ($750,000; in partnership with alpha-En)
  • Amgad Elgowainy (Energy Systems): Two-Tier Tube-Trailer Consolidation Technology for Fast Fueling of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles ($749,434; in partnership with FirstElement Fuel, Gas Technology Institute and PDC Machines, Inc.)
  • Levent Eryilmaz (Energy Systems): The Application of Catalytically Active Nano-composite Coatings to increase the Service Interval of Automotive Powertrain Applications ($712,450; in partnership with Magna Services of America)
  • Darius Lisowski (Nuclear Engineering): Passive, High Efficiency Ventilation for the DRACS and other Natural Circulation Systems ($100,000; in partnership with General Atomics)
  • Tanju Sofu (Nuclear Engineering): Joint Development of SAS4A Code in Application to Oxide-fueled LFR Severe Accident Analysis ($400,000; in partnership with Westinghouse Nuclear)
  • Jeff Spangenberger (Energy Systems): Development of a Scalable Process for Recovery of Polymers and Residual Metals from Mixed Polymer Content Scrap ($750,000; in partnership with Global Electric Electronic Processing International)
  • Ani Sumant (Nanoscience and Technology): Graphene-Based Solid Lubricants for Automotive Applications ($640,000; in partnership with Magna International, Inc.)
  • Rick Vilim (Nuclear Engineering): Advanced Physics-Based Fluid System Performance Monitoring to Support Nuclear Power Plant Operations ($500,000; in partnership with LPI, Inc.)

Securing DOE funding for these projects, said Bhimnathwala, “shows the value we’re bringing to taxpayers through the commercialization of our technologies.”

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.