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ORNL researchers developed a broad class of dynamic hybrid phase change materials and coupled them to residential heat pumps, inventing a super energy saver heat pump. This invention significantly improves heating/cooling efficiency in existing pumps and decreases greenhouse gases, due to reduced energy consumption.
The ORNL invention uses what are essentially off-the-shelf components to obtain substantially higher performance than conventional technology. The key feature of this invention is the production, packaging, and configuration of the hybrid phase change material in the heat pump cycle.
The material combines Group I and II halides with silica gel. This is then placed around a finned heat exchanger, housed in a porous drainage pipe. The device permits the heat pump to extract and store heat from ground and air via the dynamic exchange of water between soil solution, water vapor, and phase change material. The design reduces inefficiencies in the heat pump, enables load shifting, and saves electricity.The phase change materials are made from halides, compounds of a halogen such as fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine. This is the only group in the periodic table that contains elements in all three states of matter (solid, liquid, and gas) at standard temperature and pressure. When such materials change from solid to liquid and back again, they are capable of storing and releasing large amounts of energy.
VERDE is a software application utilizing the Google Earth(c) platform to provide real time visualization of the electric power grid. NOTE: This is no longer available for licensing.
VERDE is capable of layering different types of information on top of one another in order to provide the user with visualization of a complex situation. VERDE is also capable of modeling future conditions and could be used to predict outcomes resulting from specific inputs. VERDE will primarily be used to provide wide-area, real-time electric grid situational awareness. It may also be used for predictive analysis, status awareness, and information sharing. NOTE: This is no longer available for licensing.
A general concern based on the supply and demand trend of the permanent magnet (PM) raw materials suggests the need for elimination of these materials from electric motors (and generators) to control future costs. This invention discloses a new motor topology that eliminates the PM. Other innovations include brushless adjustable field excitation for high starting torque, field weakening, and power factor improvement and novel locks for higher peak speed. This novel machine shows promising potential to meet the DOE's FY-2020 motor targets for vehicle applications.
The motor consists of a stator punching core with multi-phase stator windings. The rotor is made of a unique lamination core which reduces the surface loss on the rotor. Grooves between poles are used for the insertion of locks or their equivalents that use the vacant space of the grooves for latching purpose. The rotor punching core is assembled to the rotor hub with keys and key ways for torque transmission. Two parallel magnetic fluxes are produced by two toroidal coils located in the stationary excitation cores. At each end of the rotor punching core, an end piece that contacts every other pole transfers the flux from the stationary excitation core to the rotor.
Ethylene production is one of the most energy intensive processes in the chemical industry, due to the decoking necessary to maintain ethylene furnace tubes.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory and its industrial partners are developing and testing new intermetallic and metallic alloys that are resistant to coke build-up and carburization, along with the tube fabrication and welding methods necessary to implement the new alloys.
ORNL researchers developed a solution to power source problems in hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) and electric vehicle (EV) engines. These engines typically use voltage source inverters. The conventional type of converter requires costly capacitors, has trouble with high temperature operation, and is associated with a variety of other electrical problems.
These problems can be reduced or eliminated with the use of a current source inverter. The ORNL power conversion apparatus adds the ability to charge energy storage devices such as batteries, ultracapacitors, and fuel cells.
The apparatus promises a significant reduction in inverter cost and volume, plus lower electromagnetic interference (EMI) noise emissions, increased reliability, a higher constant power speed range, and improved motor efficiency over the lifetime of the vehicle.
The apparatus includes an interfacing circuit that transforms the voltage source of energy storage devices into a current source that feeds direct current (DC) to the current source inverter. This makes it possible to maintain a constant DC bus current. More importantly, the interfacing circuit also enables the inverter to charge the batteries and ultracapacitors during dynamic breaking, without needing to reverse the direction of the DC bus current.
ORNL researchers developed a method of producing a new family of conductive,low-volatility protic ionic liquids (PILs). Protic ionic liquids can be used in protonexchange membrane fuel cells for the transformation of chemical energy to electrical energy. These liquids are also useful as separation materials and solvent systems in chemical reactions.
Protic ionic liquids have had a propensity to degrade over time and in high temperature conditions. This is a particular problem for fuel cell applications, as it reduces operational lifetime and performance The PILs in this invention show improved stability, even at elevated temperatures of 150°C. These PILs are derived from strong acid/base couples that generate low vapor pressures, enhancing their thermal stability. The invention produces hydrophobic PILs through a facile one-pot method.
Hundreds of new ionic liquids can be synthesized using a method invented by ORNL researchers. This innovation makes it possible to produce ionic liquids and ionic compounds with a variety of tunable chemical properties, and provides ion liquids that are nonvolatile and nonpolluting. These liquids are important in many scientific research and energy applications, including chemical catalysis and in the design of new ultracapacitors.
In this invention, cations of ionic liquids are formed through the reactions of a neutral ligand with metal ions, followed by the reaction of the resulting salts with an anion donor. Crown ethers are used as the neutral ligand. The organic salt of many of these compounds is a strongly hydrophobic, room temperature ionic liquid with low volatility. The reactions require no solvent, heat, or catalyst. The specific method includes mixing a neutral ligand from the group of organic alkyl amines and crown ethers, with a metal ion, and the salt of a metal cation and its conjugate anion at room temperature.
Mesoporous carbon materials lack sufficient ordering at the atomic scale to exhibit good conductivity properties and thermal stability. To date, mesoporous carbons having uniform mesopores and high surface areas have been prepared from partially graphitizable precursors in the presence of templates. High-temperature thermal treatments above 2000 C, which are usually required to increase conductivity, result in a partial or total collapse of the mesoporous structures and reduced surface areas induced by growth of graphitic domains, limiting their applications in electric double-layer capacitors and in lithium-ion batteries.
In this work, we successfully implemented a “brick-and-mortar” approach to obtain ordered graphitic mesoporous carbon nanocomposites with tunable mesopore size below 850 C and without using graphitization catalysts or high-temperature thermal treatments. The capacitance and resistivity of the final materials can be tailored by changing the mortar-to-bricks ratios.
This cost-effective technology stores and reuses what would otherwise be wasted energy inside a hybrid electric vehicle engine. The invention, a mechanical flywheel coupled to a rotor inside the engine, stores rotational energy during engine performance, subsequently feeding it back to assist with acceleration and braking.
The device significantly improves fuel efficiency and does not conflict with other energy storage components, such as batteries. No special container is required, as the flywheel operates at a lower power density. The rotors include a permanent magnet rotor and a magnetic coupling rotor, configured to act with a permanent magnet.
When the vehicle is in operation, an initial excitation source sets up a magnetic field. When power is applied to drive the permanent magnet rotor, magnetic coupling occurs between the permanent magnet rotor and the flywheel rotor, creating torque between them. Once higher speed is reached, kinetic energy is stored in the flywheel rotor. A secondary excitation source affects the second rotor. The sources are electrically connected for power cycling. In braking mode, power is taken away from the permanent magnet rotor and supplied back through coils to the flywheel rotor. The invention allows the relatively low power density of the second rotor to act as a component for relatively high-frequency energy cycling.
Researchers at ORNL developed a process for manufacturing a thin film from a layer of particles, as well as complex three dimensional devices. The nanomaterials are deposited, and then rapidly fused into a functional, multi-material thin-film. The process saves time and energy compared to conventional methods.
A significant challenge in conventional thin film production is the need to use multiple deposition and annealing steps for introducing and reacting each of the elements which comprise a single layer of film. This makes current deposition methods, such as those used for photovoltaic compositions, especially costly. In addition, these methods often use highly toxic chemicals in a selenization step. It is also difficult with current methods to assure batch-to-batch consistency.
The ORNL instant method uses a pulse of thermal energy on a layer of particles to merge at least some of the particles by melting. A single precursor deposition step can be followed by a single film-forming step. By optimizing the particle composition, thin films with precise features can be made in a reproducible manner at a commercial scale. Both continuous thin films (with no pores) and thin films with various degrees of porosity can be produced with this method.
To provide rapid measurement of oxygen concentrations in fluids, ORNL researchers developed a sensor that measures oxygen in temperatures from 0 degrees Celsius up to the 200 degrees Celsius commonly found in intake manifolds. The sensor can be used in a variety of applications to quickly and inexpensively detect oxygen levels, including internal combustion engines, medical monitors, and marine biology measurement technologies.
Compared to current sensor technology, such as universal exhaust gas oxygen sensors and paramagnetic oxygen analyzers, the invention supports more rapid measurements over a broader temperature range. The timing can also be controlled to measure a specific oxygen concentration at any point in the engine cycle.
The invention features an excitation light source, which could be a light emitting diode or a fluorescent device. The source transmits light inside a fluid, such as a gasoline/air mixture inside the intake manifold of an engine, to a transducer via a fiber optic cable. The transducer is a material that emits light as it transitions between energy states. A spectrometer light detector is also attached, via another fiber optic cable, to the transducer. The detector receives the transducer signals and processes them to determine the concentration of oxygen in the fluid.
An ORNL invention uses a unique molecular surface imprinting technique to make sorbent materials that can be tailored to target specific molecules. The mesoporous, ordered sorbents can sense, quantify, and remove toxic ions from effluents. The method offers a new class of chemical tools for industrial cleanup processes.
A major challenge facing mining and energy industries is the removal of toxic metal ions from process water or gas. The ORNL invention improves on existing technology by offering mesoporous sorbents that feature fast kinetics, high capacity, high selectivity, and molecule-specific capability. The invention can separate toxic metals from process effluents and detect and target amino acids, drugs, herbicides, and TNT in composites. Existing bulk molecular imprinting techniques have unfavorable process kinetics because the mass molecular transfer takes place through microporous channels. In addition, the cavities of conventional methods are extremely diverse, which reduces their ability to select target molecules.
The invention entails mixing a template molecule with an ordered mesoporous substrate. In solution, the template molecule binds to a bifunctional ligand in the substrate. When treated with an acid solution, evaporated, and titrated to a neutral pH, a highly tooled mesoporous sorbent results. The invention is a generic technique and can be applied to make solid-state sorbents for any toxic ion.