Argonne National Laboratory

Argonne Recognized for Excellence in Technology Transfer

By Angela HardinApril 11, 2014

The Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) recently announced that Argonne National Laboratory's Jason Harper and Aaron Sauers will receive a 2014 Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer for Argonne's “SpEC” SAE DC Charging Digital Communication Controller.

SpEC enables direct current (DC) fast-charging communication between an electric vehicle (EV) and a DC charger by implementing SAE charging standards and specifications. DC fast-charging can charge an EV in under 15 minutes compared with the 6 to 8 hours needed for alternating current charging. The technology was recently licensed to BTCPower for 25- and 50-kW fast chargers.

Harper, the inventor of SpEC, is an electrical engineer in Argonne's Electric Vehicle‐Smart Grid Interoperability Center. Sauers is a Certified Licensing Professional specializing in software-based technology transfer in Argonne’s Technology Development and Commercialization division.

"SpEC began as a proof-of-concept," Harper said. "But what we ended up with was a licensable product that could not only achieve DC fast charging, but potentially be used to accomplish smart grid and wireless charging communication, or as an emulator to aid in testing and protocol development."

The award for excellence in technology transfer recognizes employees of FLC member laboratories and non-laboratory staff who have accomplished outstanding work in the process of transferring federally developed technology. 

"The Excellence in Technology Transfer award indicates our research is properly aligned with the needs of industry," Sauers said. "Our licensee is now turning Argonne’s technology into a product, which enhances the return on investment of the federal R&D budget while assisting Argonne with meeting its mission requirements. This, in turn, enhances the nation’s energy security and competitiveness in the global economy."

FLC annually recognizes federal laboratories and their industry partners for outstanding technology transfer efforts. Since 1984, these awards have become one of the most prestigious honors in technology transfer among researchers and licensing professionals alike.