Lab Partnering Service Discovery
Use the LPS faceted search filters, or search by keywords, to narrow your results.
Whether flying through the air, zipping along the ground, or sailing on the water, unmanned vehicles are part of a global market expected to reach $4 billion by 2020. Many of these vehicles are powered by batteries, and in order to improve system reliability and plan complicated missions, operators need to know the batteries’ state of charge and state of health.
Emerging Technology Ventures makes unmanned vehicles for land, air, and sea. Motion Picture Marine uses unmanned vehicles to create sequences for motion pictures like X-Men, Armageddon, and Star Trek. American Lithium Energy manufactures lithium-ion batteries that power unmanned vehicles, and Silent Falcon UAS Technologies is a developer of aerial unmanned vehicles. This group of small New Mexico businesses clustered in the unmanned vehicles industry decided to work together to develop a “smart battery manager.”
In 2016 they completed their second New Mexico Small Business Assistance (NMSBA) project. NMSBA gave them access to Sandia National Laboratories engineers Derek Heeger, Dan Wesolowski, and Von Trullinger, and expertise which would otherwise be unavailable to them.
Assistance from Sandia helped them to advance the battery-monitoring electronics and algorithms that could be embedded within the battery’s hardware. These updates allow users to monitor battery condition and historical data supporting the safe and reliable operations of autonomous and unmanned systems.
In addition to using the smart battery manager technology to give their companies a competitive advantage, now this group is looking at whether it can be turned into a commercially available system others in the industry could integrate into their products. They are seeking investment based on their intellectual property. So far, the companies have received $2.5 million in new investments and added 12 new employees, including 3 engineers to focus on systems integration of the smart battery management system.
Huge parabolic mirrors catching the sun's rays could crisscross America's deserts soon, thanks to a breakthrough that may greatly lower the cost of solar power.
A small solar company has teamed with scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop massive curved sheets of metal that have the potential to be 30 percent less expensive than today's best collectors of concentrated solar power.
The SkyTrough Parabolic Trough Solar Concentrating Collectors will be longer than football fields and look like fun-house mirrors, but could be the game-changers in solar energy's bid to out-muscle gas and coal in providing electricity for America's homes.
The breakthrough recently was honored by R&D Magazine as one of the top 100 technical innovations of the year, and by the Federal Laboratory Consortium with a 2009 Excellence in Technology Transfer Award.
Solar power has been nipping at the heels of fossil fuels for decades, but hasn't yet found a way to be cost-competitive on a large scale.
For more NREL success stories visit http://www.nrel.gov/technologytransfer/succes_stories.html
Glint and glare from solar photovoltaic installations is a potential hazard or distraction for pilots, air-traffic control personnel, motorists, and residents. Sandia National Laboratories developed the Solar Glare Hazard Analysis Tool (SGHAT), a web-based software platform, capable of evaluating the potential of glint/glare while optimizing energy production. SGHAT uses a web map-based interface that enables users to easily site potential installations and automatically determines when and where solar glare can occur throughout the year. The tool also allows users to quickly modify tilt, orientation, and location to optimize energy production while mitigating glare.
In 2016, Cianan Sims, a former Sandia intern and co-author of the software, left the labs, licensed SGHAT, and established Sims Industries, LLC with his wife, Andrea. Sims Industries enhanced SGHAT to create user-friendly web-based tools now known as ForgeSolar. ForgeSolar enables a wider variety of users—from homeowners to experienced solar installers—to conduct their own assessments and optimizations and provides technical support to all users previously unavailable with SGHAT. Use of ForgeSolar ensures solar installations meet Federal Aviation Administration, zoning, and other regulatory requirements and reduces potential permitting delays.
Sims Industries offers subscription-based access to ForgeSolar that ranges from a free trial version to an enterprise version for larger solar consulting firms and installers. They also provide free access for federal government users, homeowners, and academic researchers. The site successfully hosts over two thousand free version users and many subscription-based users.
ForgeSolar and its users benefit from a continued partnership that enables Sandia and Sims Industries to work together on software enhancements and improvements to meet customer and industry needs. While the original government funded project ended in July 2018, Sims Industries is ensuring this valuable tool remains updated and maintained for long-term availability.
Agriculture can create a lot of waste products. Tucumcari Bio-Energy has a vision of a synergistic integration of dairy farming, feedlots, municipal waste, biofuel production, and greenhouse farming that would address this issue. As a first step, the company intends to build a high-efficiency biomethane processing facility by reconfiguring an ethanol plant in New Mexico. This facility will take animal manure and convert it to energy. It will also serve as a prototype for other highly efficient digester systems utilizing unused ethanol plants in the Midwest.
As Bob Hockaday and his team at Tucumcari Bio-Energy made plans, they soon learned that the process used to convert manure to energy suffered from various instabilities. Tucumcari Bio-Energy turned to NMSBA, which in turn connected the company with Sal Rodriguez at Sandia National Laboratories.
Rodriguez and his team worked to determine the optimum water-to-manure ratio to maximize energy conversion. Such a ratio minimizes instabilities, such as extreme temperatures, high alkalinity, or the plugging of anaerobic digestion tanks. To perform this analysis, Rodriguez and his team used advanced computational fluid dynamics and theoretical modeling, along with natural circulation dynamics.
Using the information resulting from this technical assistance, Tucumcari Bio-Energy was able to apply for loans to fund the conversion of the ethanol plant in Tucumcari. Once the plant is producing energy, the company anticipates a revenue stream of approximately $10 million per year and the creation of 20 new jobs.
After a number of serious storms, culminating in Superstorm Sandy in 2012 which caused billions of dollars in damage and closed parts of the transit system, New Jersey Transit (NJT) wanted to reduce their vulnerability to electric power outages caused by natural or manmade disasters. The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force was charged by President Obama with identifying and working to remove obstacles to resilient infrastructure rebuilding while considering existing and future risks.
Because northern New Jersey and New York City have a higher concentration of economic activity compared to other regions, power failure due to major storms can result in significant disruption. Without power, train service is halted, causing extreme economic and safety impacts. NJT links major points in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, and provides nearly 275 million passenger trips each year.
Sandia National Laboratories was brought in by the DOE based on their prior work in microgrid research and their development of microgrid designs for more than 20 military bases.
An MOU between the DOE, NJT, and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, allowed Sandia to do a feasibility study for a microgrid. Through the partnership with NJT, Sandia applied its Energy Surety Design Microgrid (ESDM), a risk-assessment approach that has been successfully applied to high security installations.
Based on the conceptual design, NJT was awarded approximately $410 million from the Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop NJ TRANSITGRID, an innovative microgrid capable of supplying highly reliable power to a core section of NJT’s system. The project will include a large-scale gas-fired generation facility and distributed energy resources to supply power during storm-related disruptions or other power failure events.
An umbrella CRADA with a total value of over $1 million was signed so that Sandia could continue working with NJT on jointly developing a technologically and economically feasible microgrid system.
NJ TRANSITGRID is the first critical application for public transportation of a design methodology originally developed for military installations. The project will help identify and address gaps that challenge the widespread deployment of microgrids, including regulatory implementation.
NJ TRANSITGRID will be the largest microgrid by capacity and geographical footprint in the U.S. While it will normally be operated while connected to a utility electrical grid, it will also be able to operate in “island mode.” The project has attracted the interest of other cities and organizations, and its success will spur more resilient energy projects.