The Clean Dozen: 12 Techs Near Commercial Use

By Frances White, Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business

A dozen clean energy technologies that enable everything from lightweight, fuel-sipping cars to the expansion of renewable energy and cleaner fossil fuel use are getting a boost at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

DOE is awarding PNNL about $4.4 million to bring the 12 technologies closer to commercial use, according to a recent announcement from DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions about the first DOE-wide grants from its Technology Commercialization Fund.

Companies partnering with PNNL to advance these technologies also will provide matching support, while PNNL will provide funding from its technology licensing income to support projects not involving industrial partners. PNNL is among 12 DOE national labs receiving a total of nearly $16 million to advance 54 different lab-developed technologies through today’s grant announcement.

“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 announced today 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.”

PNNL’s 12 winning technologies, how they could be used, the lead PNNL researchers involved, and their partner organizations are as follows:

  • Solar system that converts natural gas into hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles.Bob Wegeng and Richard Zheng, with STARS LLC, Southern California Gas Company, Infinia Technology Corp., Barr Engineering and Diver Solar LLC
  • Making fertilizer from coal fly ash, a byproduct of coal-fired power plants. James Amonette and Josef Matyas
  • Self-powered acoustic fish-tracking tag for evaluating fish passage at dams. Daniel Deng, with Advanced Telemetry Systems Inc., Idaho Power Company and Grant County Public Utilities District.
  • Material manufacturing techniques to make more durable, longer-lasting components for dams. Kenneth Ross
  • Method to join aluminum parts made of different thicknesses and alloys for car manufacturing. Piyush Upadhyay, with Honda R&D Americas and Alcoa Inc.
  • Highly conductive copper composite made with a new manufacturing process for use in high-powered electric motors. Glenn Grant, with General Motors
  • Computational prediction tools to improve power grid operations. Yuri Makarov and Pavel Etingov, with California Independent System Operator and AWS Truepower
  • Kilowatt-scale vanadium flow battery using an enhanced electrolyte for renewable energy storage. David Reed, with ITN Energy Systems
  • Electrolytes for rechargeable lithium batteries. Wu Xu, with Farasis Energy Inc. and Navitas SystemsSeals for membranes used to convert natural gas to syngas. David Reed, with Praxair
  • Protective coating for solid oxide fuel cells. Jeff Stevenson, with Protonex
  • Seals for solid oxide fuel cells. Yeong-Shyung “Matt” Chou, with LG Fuel Cell Systems Inc.

A full list of all of the winning Technology Commercialization Fund-supported projects is available at

Read the original story on the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business website by clicking here.