June 28, 2016
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Lab engineers garner DOE tech transfer awards

Jeremy Thomas, thomas244 [at] llnl.gov, 925-422-5539

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the selection of two proposals from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) researchers for grants under the department’s Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF), a program intended to help promising energy technologies move from national laboratories to the marketplace.

DOE awarded LLNL engineer Brian Guidry a $432,000 grant for his Cryo-Compressed Hydrogen Tank Technology, an advanced fuel system using hydrogen instead of fossil fuels in a combustion engine. The project’s industrial partner, GoTek Energy Inc. of Oak View, California, developed the engine and will provide matching funds for a total of nearly $1 million to create a prototype system.

"This kind of funding is absolutely critical to getting commercialized in a world where investors in green tech are becoming very risk averse," Guidry said. "We’re trying to prove internal combustion is a viable alternative to hydrogen fuel cells."

Guidry will work with LLNL engineer Nick Killingsworth on further development of the system, which incorporates a storage technology invented by Lab engineer Salvador Aceves and his team.

DOE also awarded Lab material scientist Jeff Haslam and his team with $150,000 for their Fire and Water Resistant Pre-Filter, a ceramic pre-filter system concept to help protect HEPA filters in radiological facilities from damage. The Lab will match the award through the Industrial Partnerships Office (IPO) Innovation Development Fund that will go toward engineering design, testing and evaluation of materials, readying prototypes to attract private industry.


"We’re looking forward to seeing what we can do to move this technology toward commercialization," Haslam said. "We look at this approach as a way to mitigate risks and reduce total system costs, including labor cost."

Members of Haslam’s team included Lab employees Erik Brown, Mark Mitchell and James Kelly, along with help from Annemarie Meike in the Lab’s Industrial Partnerships Office.

The two Lab proposals were included in a total of 54 projects from 12 national labs selected in the first round of department-wide funding. The fund distributed a total of $16 million, involving 52 private-sector partners.

"The total objective is to move innovation out of the Lab and into commerce and to do it swiftly," said Rich Rankin, director of LLNL’s Industrial Partnerships Office. "With these awards we have the recognition that in the applied energy space, we can have an impact. It’s highly encouraging."

The Technology Commercialization Fund is administered by DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions (OTT), which works to expand the commercial impact of the department’s portfolio of research, development, demonstration and deployment activities.

The OTT solicited proposals in February, receiving more than 100 applications from across the national lab system. In making its selections, the agency looked for projects that needed additional technology maturation to attract private partners, as well as cooperative development projects between a lab and industry partners.

"Deploying new clean energy technologies is an essential part of our nation’s effort to lead in the 21st century economy and in the fight against climate change," said Lynn Orr, DOE’s undersecretary for Science and Energy. "The funds  will help to accelerate the commercialization of cutting-edge energy technologies developed in our national labs, making them more widely available to American consumers and businesses."

For more information, visit DOE.