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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.
Supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, other federal agencies, and industry sponsors, Argonne is providing broad-based scientific and engineering expertise to create analytical software tools that will enable the United States to make substantive enhancements in energy efficiency and serve the growing demand for renewable energy.
To support DOE’s goal of increasing generation from existing hydropower facilities, Argonne is leading the development of an integrated modeling and simulation toolkit dealing with water forecasting, reservoir and power supply modeling, stream flow routing, and hydropower unit performance metrics. The toolkit will enable the optimization of hydropower operations and environmental performance and improve the ability of plant operators to manage the risk of hydrological uncertainty. Argonne is leading a multi-laboratory project team that includes Oak Ridge, Pacific Northwest, and Sandia National Laboratories.
Wind Power Forecasting and System Integration
Key challenges in meeting DOE’s target of 20% wind power by 2030 are the need for enhanced wind forecasting and better integration of wind plants into power system operation. To meet these challenges, Argonne is developing new unit commitment models that account for wind uncertainty, as well as leading an international team developing improved methodologies for short-term wind forecasting.
Buildings use more energy than any other sector of the U.S. economy, consuming over 70% of electricity and over 50% of natural gas. Argonne’s research team is working to deliver important new technologies to the market that will help reduce energy use and make new and existing buildings more energy efficient.
Because of their numerous advantages and applications, considerable efforts have been expended to develop superhydrophobic (water repellant) coatings. However, traditional superhydrophobic coatings are soft in nature, with a Teflon-like surface chemistry that results in reduced adhesion and durability, and hence such coatings are not suitable for robust applications. In addition, the harsh chemical treatment processes used to create many of these coatings (e.g., use of chemical solvent mixtures) tend to degrade the physical properties of the underlying materials and create human health and environmental concerns.
By exploiting the properties of oxide materials, ORNL researchers have developed a new approach to creating exceptional superhydrophobicity in durable thin-film-based coatings that not only overcomes the previously described problems, but also provides very high levels of mechanical, thermal, and environmental stability. Testing has confirmed the following properties in coatings produced by this process.
- Superhydrophobicity (droplet contact angle > 170°)
- Rolling angle less than 1°
- High density and uniformity
- UV resistance
- Moisture tolerance
- Temperature tolerance (−40°C to 150°C)
The future of wave energy will depend on developing a new generation of wave energy converters (WECs) that maximize energy extraction and mitigate critical loads while reducing costs. Today’s WECs are relatively inefficient compared to their theoretical upper limit and lack the ability to concurrently maximize power capture and minimize structural loads. The majority of existing WECs consist of fixed geometrical bodies relying predominantly on control of the power take-off system to meet design objectives. This low control authority in existing devices limits the achievable load mitigation in moderate-to-extreme sea states.
Engineers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have optimized an existing advanced WEC concept by adding controllable surfaces for load mitigation and enhanced capabilities for device tuning. Advanced feed-forward controls coordinate controller performance of this multi-actuated system. This project is positively impacting the WEC industry through technology advancements that dramatically reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE).
It was found that of the existing WEC categories an oscillating surge wave energy converter was the best candidate for incorporating structural components that were controllable.
Detailed technical analyses using linear frequency domain methods were used to select the device geometry, dimensions, flap pitch angle, flap cross section, and the number of activated flaps. Figure 1 depicts a sample configuration, showing overall device layout with four flaps having elliptical cross sections chosen to reduce viscous losses in order to improve power. Each flap can be rotated about its centerline to orient the section at different angles to the waves, with the flaps fully closed at 0°, and open at 90° to control the wave forces exerted on the converter. The entire wave energy converter panel assembly with control flaps shown in Figure 1 is hinged at the bottom to allow the entire system to rotate with the wave motion to produce power.
The panel assembly is connected to one or more power-take-off (PTO) systems that allow the device to extract power in heave, surge, and pitch for a floating converter, or in surge for a fixed bottom converter. As a wave propagates past the device the hydrodynamic forces, which occur because of the dynamic pressure variation over the device, force the device to oscillate in its available degrees of freedom. A PTO system is connected to the device providing a force that resists the device motion, thereby extracting power contained within the propagating wave. The device supporting structure is secured to the seafloor through mooring lines and anchors, or bottom fixed foundations. The oscillating converter panel assembly is held in place by the PTO system connections and hinge bearing at the bottom.
One example of an actuated geometry design resembles a large "Venetian blind" (see Figure 1). The device as a rigid body extracts energy from its translational and rotational motion. Each Venetian blind element of the flap can be independently opened and closed. This provides a mechanism to control hydrodynamic forces (i.e. hydrodynamic coefficients) and additionally the natural frequency in surge, heave, and pitch. The flaps would ideally be actuated on a time-scale less than one typical wave period. This property provides several benefits:
- The device can be tuned for optimal performance as each wave passes by actuating the blinds in the correct way
- Opening the Venetian blinds reduces the hydrodynamic loads on the device, allowing it to operate in harsher sea conditions
- Blinds can be actuated to insure PTO forces remain within PTO specifications
- This concept allows for "feed-forward" controls that tune PTO and device parameters for maximum power extraction and or load minimization
Porous carbon films that can be optimized and assembled as electrodes in a device to desalinate water have been successfully produced at ORNL. The new porous carbon has a controlled, well-ordered hierarchy of pore sizes that readily adsorbs materials in industrial desalination processes. Unlike existing films, these carbon films can readily be produced in a batch-to-batch, repeatable, and uniform way on a commercial scale.
Porous carbon materials have long been used in capacitive deionization (CDI) technology. This process is growing in popularity for large-scale desalination operations because of its lower operating costs, but existing porous carbons are hampered by both microporous and broad mesoporous size distributions and cannot be readily improved. Existing films also have significantly lower capacity for kinetic adsorption. The ORNL invention offers both a method for making new, hierarchically ordered porous carbon films and describes a capacitive deionization device in which the material is incorporated.
These technologies are designs and methods that boost the efficiency of electric generators by decoupling the magnetic polarity of the driving mechanism while increasing the operational frequency of the machine. Both are unique, low cost methods to develop a generator with a higher power density.
Commercial applications include stationary, rotational or linear generator sets. The technologies can increase efficiency output at all application levels. Both technologies can be used anywhere a lower cost, higher power density generator is needed.
Researchers at ORNL have developed a superoleophilic coating that pins a layer of oil to a specially coated substrate and particularly to the surface of the coating. The pinning action keeps the oil from leeching out of the coating, even when the coating is submerged in water or subjected to very wet conditions. This enables the oil to persist on the surface of the coating without significantly reducing the coated surface’s coefficient of friction.
The superoleophilic coating uses non-organic based polysiloxane oils in conjunction with porous nano-textured superhydrophobic powders like diatomaceous earth or specially processed and treated spinodally-decomposed borosilicate glass. Unlike current approaches to coating surfaces to protect against water or oxygen damage, the superoleophilic coating will not need to be replaced or maintained as frequently due to the layer of oil providing a semi-permanent oil barrier to the substrate.
The oil barrier provides anti-corrosion and anti-fouling properties to the coated material. In addition, the pinned oil layer can also mitigate or prevent icing. It also provides a degree of anti-bio-fouling protection against microbial and marine organisms. The resulting coating could lead to potential applications in a number of areas including, but not limited to anti-corrosion, marine, anti-icing, and antibacterial coatings.
Researchers at ORNL have developed a method of modifying existing coating techniques to include a bonded superhydrophobic outer coating layer. Superhydrophobic powder will not readily bond to most substrates directly, since superhydrophobic powder is almost entirely made up of fluorinated particles of silica glass, which is chemically inert to most materials. In a standard electrostatic powder spraying process, dry resin powder is sprayed on to a given substrate. The powder adheres to the substrate by electrostatic forces and becomes permanently bonded to the substrate after the resin powder is heated and/or cured.
The developed method is an improvement over standard methods. The novel method could be used to make large superhydrophobic surface areas on a wide variety of substrate materials. The resulting coating can completely repel water and heavy oils leading to potential applications in a number of areas including, but not limited to superhydrophobic, anti-corrosion, anti-icing, and antibacterial coatings.
To advance miniaturization of the AquaSentinel environmental monitoring technology, ORNL and the University of Tennessee researchers developed a microfluidics-based pulse amplitude modulation (PAM) chlorophyll fluorometer—the first of its kind.
Fluorometers have a wide range of applications in the life sciences, including medical, chemical, biological, and environmental, and have proven especially helpful in the analysis of organic compounds. Miniaturization broadens their appeal and flexibility by allowing integration with other laboratory-on-a-chip (LOAC) technologies for in situ measurements in real time. Currently, portable commercial fluorometers are used in the ORNL AquaSentinel water quality monitoring system. Because the fluorometer is one of the key components of the AquaSentinel system, it is not only advantageous to have it customized specifically for the AquaSentinel application, but also more secure than reliance on third-party vendors for a key component.
The main challenge for applying LOAC microfluidics technology to PAM chlorophyll fluorometry was the limited sample volume accommodated by microchannels on a chip. Smaller sample volumes typically mean a lower fluorescence signal. The ORNL team solved this problem with a combination of electrofocusing techniques and careful optical design, including positioning sensors close to the microfluidics channel.
The ORNL LOAC chlorophyll fluorometer incorporates two unique features. The first is use of a meandering microchannel, which allows a relatively large volume of sample to be processed at one time. A photodetector is then positioned so that its active (detection) area covers the entire meandering part of the microchannel. The second unique feature is location of microelectrodes in the channel to concentrate the analyte (in the case of AquaSentinel, microalgae) and thus increase the fluorescence signal.
While developed specifically for the AquaSentinel technology, ORNL’s PAM chlorophyll fluorometer can be integrated with other LOAC technologies and used in a variety of microsensing applications, including detection of contaminants in the air.
SEAWOLF (Sediment Erosion Actuated by Wave Oscillations and Linear Flow) is a method and apparatus for measuring erosion rates of sediments and high shear stresses in wave dominated environments. Accurate prediction of erosion rates is complicated by a lack of understanding regarding cohesive sediment interactions. A need exists for an apparatus that can accurately and directly measure the individual contributors to the total erosion rate of sediments from suspended and bedload erosion processes both in the lab and field.
Sandia National Laboratories has designed, constructed, and tested a high shear stress flume that can superimpose a complex wave action with a unidirectional current upon a sediment surface. It allows effected shear stresses to be determined from erosion tests within situ sediment samples, making SEAWOLF a useful tool for predictive modeling in coastal areas with wave dominated environments.
There are many examples of surface modifications that reduce resistance to flow and improve performance. For instance, a dimpled golf ball can travel twice as far as a smooth ball when hit with the same force. Dimple modifications have had an impact on many application fields, most recently vehicles, aerospace, and energy systems. However, there is no methodology or tool to ensure optimal dimpling. Sandia Labs has developed a software that predicts optimal dimpling for any turbulent system for reduced flow drag.
Sandia’s Right-Size Dimple Evaluator uses a unique set of independent turbulence equations, with input based on the system’s specific characteristics. The software can also import fluid properties from the REFPROP NIST database. The software uses the input to calculate an optimal dimpled pattern for the intended application—thereby eliminating guesswork or design by trial and error. The software ensures the dimple dimensions enable unimpeded flow through the dimple’s concave cavity. This software will enable a wider range of applications to apply dimple modifications to enhance performance.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) have developed a novel split laser system for in situ environmental monitoring via Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) or Raman analysis. The design features fiber-coupled, optically-pumped, passively Q-switched lasers that are small, portable, low cost and robust enough for even downhole applications. The technology can be used in a wide array of applications, including, but not limited to, carbon dioxide (CO2) monitoring for CO2sequestration, oil and gas monitoring, and water analysis (groundwater and municipal systems). The technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research with NETL.
Proof of concept experimentation has been completed. NETL researchers are continuing to design miniaturized lasers and optical delivery systems to allow further size and cost reductions. The researchers have identified the need to complete and demonstrate both single point and multipoint measurement prototypes. The results would further validate the technology and expedite its deployment to the private sector.
Environmental monitoring, i.e., the assessment of air, water and soil quality, is highly important to oil and gas exploration companies, landowners, regulatory agencies, municipalities and any organization measuring emissions and pollutants. The majority of monitoring technologies, however, are expensive and labor intensive, often requiring sample collection and preparation (i.e., external lab analysis) which can dramatically alter the sample and its inherent components. Of those technologies that do allow for in situ analysis, few are amenable to measurements under harsh conditions, such as high temperature and/or pressure.
Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS), an atomic emission spectroscopy, offers solutions to the drawbacks of conventional environmental monitoring technologies. It provides rapid and relatively simple qualitative and quantitative elemental analysis. Significantly, this analysis can be accomplished without the need for sample collection or preparation. Moreover, LIBS can be applied to in situ measurements of gases, liquids and solids, making it amenable to the monitoring of air, water and soil. The majority of available LIBS systems, however, are large and complex, employing aboveground, laboratory-scale lasers. Furthermore, the design of current systems and the complexity of their components do not allow for monitoring under extreme conditions, such as high temperature and pressure.
NETL researchers have designed a LIBS system fully adaptable to field use and capable of measurements in harsh environments. The system has been designed to be portable, with a minimal number of optical components, no moving parts and no electrical connections, which should translate into far lower production costs than competitive devices. In addition, unlike competing LIBS systems which employ actively Q-switched lasers, NETL’s system utilizes a passively-switched laser, providing the same degree of precision timing as the actively-switched output with fewer components and a lower cost laser system. The NETL system also employs a unique split laser design. Conventional LIBS analysis requires complete laser systems to deliver a high peak pulse to the sample, incompatible with the use of optical fibers which are ideal for at-a-distance monitoring. To avoid fiber optic damage, NETL’s system employs a remotely-positioned laser diode pump capable of generating a peak power of only a few hundred watts as compared to the megawatts produced by conventional systems. The low peak pulse is delivered via a fiber optic cable to a remotely-located solid state laser where the high peak pulse necessary for analysis is produced. Significantly, this unique dual laser arrangement coupled with solid state optics permits monitoring of even severe downhole environments while avoiding system damage.
The split laser design also provides for multipoint analysis, allowing multiple lasers to be distributed over a broad area, ideal for applications such as the detection of CO2 leakage from an injection basin. Adding to the system’s flexibility, with few modifications the same system can also be used to provide output for Raman analysis, permitting the identification of organic compounds such as methane. Thus, one system can be designed to be used for both LIBS and Raman investigations. For example, the system can be used above ground or downhole to directly monitor CH4 via Raman analysis and detect changes in groundwater ions via LIBS.