Global energy production, storage and transport are both essential and environmentally impactful. New energy sources, managing and capturing the biproducts of energy expenditure, and repurposing of carbon dioxide are issues of national and global importance. Researchers at LLNL continue to broadly invent novel technologies that intersect at materials, mechanical, electrical, biological and chemical interfaces. Inventions in this portfolio range from bioreactors, to materials, to batteries, motors and new systems.

Portfolio News and Multimedia

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An Open-Source, Data-Science Toolkit for Energy Grids

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has developed GridDS — an open-source, data-science toolkit for power and data engineers that will provide an integrated energy data storage and augmentation infrastructure, as well as a flexible and comprehensive set of state-of-the-art machine-learning models.

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LLNL and Partners Leveraging Microorganisms to Separate and Purify Rare-Earth Elements

LLNL, Penn State, Columbia University, Tufts University, University of Kentucky, Purdue University and industry partner Western Rare Earths will use microbial and biomolecular engineering to develop a scalable bio-based separation and purification strategy for rare-earth elements

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LLNL and Ampcera Partnership Using 3D printing for Next Generation Lithium-Ion Batteries

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is partnering with Ampcera Inc. to develop solvent-free Laser Powder Bed Fusion additive manufacturing technologies for the fabrication of 3D-structured lithium battery cathodes, that could result in faster charging and higher-energy-density batteries.

Energy and Environment Technologies

Areas of Focus

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CRETIN is a 1D, 2D, and 3D non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (NLTE) atomic kinetics/radiation transport code which follows the time evolution of atomic populations and photon distributions as radiation interacts with a plasma consisting of an arbitrary mix of elements. It can provide detailed spectra for comparing with experimental diagnostics.
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In order to identify new, unknown proteins associated with viruses, such as COVID-19, it is easiest to start by identifying structurally related proteins. LLNL scientists have created tools that identify structurally related proteins and their relevant residues, called cSpan. The cSpan (sequence conservation in structurally conserved “span” regions) calculation is a quantitative measure of…

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Understanding proteins, their structures, and how they may be similar is necessary for many applications from basic science to developing vaccines for COVID-19. Most computational models that predict protein structure similarity consider certain features at the expense of others. To get a holistic picture of protein structures, LLNL scientists developed the Local-Global Alignment (LGA) model.…

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Automating protein classification via structural similarity has been a technique employeed by researchers for a while. The current methods generally only assess structure similarity using a single metric (e.g., Z-score) and only evaluate similar conformations of secondary structure elements. In order to accurately access structure similarity, LLNL scientists created a method called STRucture…

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Understanding how proteins interact with membrane surfaces is important for drug discovery studies in which a drug may target a membrane protein. One of the main proteins of interest for COVID-19 antibodies is the ACE2 protein that binds to the neutral amino acid transporter B0AT1. B0AT1 sits in the membrane and understanding how movement or perturbation of that membrane might after the…

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There are prominent technical challenges arising from spinning a battery on the order of kilohertz as required by magic angle spinning in order to obtain spectral resolution that are addressed and enable operando solid-state NMR. The operando NMR measurement allows for continuous monitoring of the battery components and of potential metastable states that may exist during…

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Using native bacterial regulatory systems, LLNL researchers have developed whole-cell biosensors that can be used in aqueous samples for sensitive and selective in situ detection of the uranyl oxycation (UO22+), the most toxic and stable form of U in oxygenated environments. Specifically, two functionally independent, native U-responsive regulatory systems, UzcRS and UrpRS, were integrated…

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LLNL has a patented process to produce colloidal silica directly from geothermal fluids. Livermore’s process uses membranes to produce a mono-dispense slurry of colloidal silica particles for which there are several applications. LLNL has demonstrated that colloidal silica solutions that result from extraction of silica from geothermal fluids undergo a transition to a solid gel over a range of…

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There are three main components to the RaFTS system: 1) the radiation detector, which can be of any type and from any manufacturer; 2) the RaFTS electronics, which produce the electronic pulses that are injected into the electronics of the radiation detector through a (to be) standardized port interface; and 3) the exercise scenario, which defines the synthetic radiation field and time-varying…

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Livermore Laboratory researchers have developed a methodology for degradation of TBP using an inexpensive, readily available, and environmentally friendly salt, potassium iodide (KI), in a similarly inexpensive, abundant, and green solvent dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) to efficiently convert TBP to the potassium salts of dibutylphosphate (DBP) and monobutylphosphate (MBP) The reaction is carried…

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The core innovation of LLNL's enzyme-embedded, multi-component polymer-based bioreactors perform one or more additional functions of the bioreactor:

  • efficient distribution of reactants and removal of products
  • exposure of enzymes to high concentrations of gas-phase reactants
  • separation of products and reactants
  • formation of high surface area…
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LLNL’s invention for non-destructive evaluation of water ingress in photovoltaic modules uses a non-invasive optical detection technique based on hyperspectral near infrared imaging technology with frequencies tuned to water absorption band. In this way a quantitative 2D image of the water content in a given device can be obtained remotely and repeatedly over time. A key challenge is presented…

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LLNL is developing a highly-sensitive compact Compton imaging technology with excellent energy resolution, good imaging performance and large field-of-view. This system is built of large-volume and high-resolution Si(Li) and HPGe detectors. These detectors are built in double-sided strip configurations providing excellent three-dimensional position resolution. The system can measure individual…

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LLNL researchers have grown and characterized scintillator crystals of Strontium Iodide (SrI2). Scintillator energy resolution and light yield proportionality surpass NaI and are similar to LaBr3. The SrI2 scintillators doped with europium (Eu) exhibit very high light yields (> 100,000 photons/MeV), extremely good energy resolution (<3% at 662 keV) and excellent light yield…

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LLNL has developed an innovative technology known as flow-through electrode capacitive desalination (FTE-CD) that promises to unlock an almost inexhaustible water source for U.S. and global population markets. FTE-CD represents a robust and low-maintenance path for efficiently and cost-effectively producing clean drinking water from seawater and brackish water.

FTE-CD removes salt by…

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LLNL's X-ray spectrometers based on STJ have been developed for high-resolution soft X-ray spectroscopy. STJ consist of two superconducting thin film electrodes separated by a thin insulating tunnel barrier. They measure X-ray energies from the increase in tunneling current after X-ray absorption in one of the electrodes excites additional charge carriers above the superconducting energy gap.…

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LLNL scientists have developed a simple neutron detection technique that can discriminate fissile material from non-fissile material. A low cost digital data acquisition unit collects data at high rates and processes large volumes of data in real-time. This technique functions in a passive mode much like a standard portal monitor. There are options for converting the technique to an active…

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Nanomaterials that are emerging out of cutting edge nanotechnology research are a key component for an energy revolution. Carbon-based nanomaterials are ushering in the "new carbon age" with carbon nanotubes, nanoporous carbons, and graphene nanosheets that will prove necessary to provide sustainable energy applications that lessen our dependence on fossil fuels.

Carbon aerogels (CAs)…

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LLNL's new EMB designs are intended to answer to all of the new requirements for bulk energy storage systems, including very low parasitic losses and high turnaround efficiency. The new systems are designed for low capital and maintenance cost, and long (decades) service lifetime. The size of the modules will be such as to make them useful in a wide variety of applications, all the way from…
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A ceramic HEPA filter designed to meet commercial and DOE requirements, as well as to minimize upgrade installation logistics for use in existing facilities. Current key performance requirements are described in DOE Standard 3020. The ceramic filter is designed to be nonflammable, corrosion resistant, and compatible with high temperatures and moisture. The ceramic filter will significantly…

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LLNL has identified solution-grown organic crystals having scintillation efficiency not only close to, but even exceeding that of stilbene.. LLNL's invention relates to a new class of neutron detectors based on scintillation response of organic single crystals. More specifically, the use of organic molecules grown from solution and to molecules including the basic benzene or phenyl structure…

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The design calculations that have been performed in exploring the potentialities of LLNL's new approaches to flywheel energy storage have been built on existing and past LLNL flywheel programs, including a program aimed at flywheel systems for the bulk storage of electricity at utility scale. To achieve the requirements of such systems, as mentioned above, LLNL has developed some key new…

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An invention at LLNL uses a mixture of solid and liquid dielectric media. This combination has properties that are an improvement over either separately. The solid phase, in the form of small pellets, inhibits fluid motion, which reduces leakage currents, while the liquid phase (dielectric oil) provides self-repair capabilities. Also, since the media is removable, the high voltage equipment…

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LLNL has developed a noble gas mass spectrometry facility that houses a state-of-the-art water-gas separation manifold and mass spectrometry system designed specifically for high throughput of groundwater samples. The fully automated, computer-controlled manifold system allows analysis of the full suite of noble gases (3He/4He, He, Ne, Ar, Kr, and Xe concentrations), along with low level…

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LLNL scientists have developed a radiation detection network that uses solid state detectors (e.g. CZT) coupled to cellular telephones. Detection of gamma and/or neutron radiation is possible with high sensitivity. A network of cellular phones GPS locations and their detection data can be correlated for real-time analysis of potential nuclear threats.

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Transparent ceramic fabrication allows the production of gadolinium- , lutetium-, and terbium-based garnets which are difficult to grow by melt techniques due to phase instabilities. Phase stabilization of the garnets is accomplished by the addition of the intersubstitutional ions, Gallium and/or Scandium.

Scientists have developed many versatile and scaleable fabrication methods.…

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LLNL has developed a radiation detector that cools to operating temperatures in 1-2 hours using two separate cooling stages. The first cooling brings the instrument to operating temperature. The embedded second cooling system achieves portable detection that can be sustained for 8-12 hours.

In addition, an integrated, hermetically-sealed package has been developed complete with…

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LLNL has developed a new method of separating carbon dioxide from flue gas. LLNL's ion pump method increases the concentration of dissolved carbonate ion solution. This increases the vapor pressure of carbon dioxide gas, permitting carbon dioxide to be removed from the downstream side of the ion pump as a pure gas. The ion pumping may be obtained from reverse osmosis, electrodialysis, or the…

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Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have developed a plastic that can detect neutrons, something previously thought impossible.

Livermore scientists demonstrated a plastic scintillator that can discriminate between neutrons and gamma rays with a polyvinyltoluene (PVT) polymer matrix loaded with a scintillating dye, 2,5-diphenyloxazole (PPO). They have found that…

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The invention utilizes the statistical nature of radiation transport as well as modern processing techniques to implement a physics-based, sequential statistical processor. By this we mean that instead of accumulating a pulse-height spectrum as is done in many other systems, each photon is processed individually upon arrival and then discarded. As each photon arrives, a decision is…

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An LLNL and UCLA team has recently demonstrated a new compound material that can directly convert thermal energy to electrical energy. Basic research is required before this newly invented material can be produced in the form of a thin film and tested at high frequency. The team is interested in partnering with a company from basic research and development through production of a manufacturing…

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LLNL scientists have developed an approach for full spectrum analysis during gamma ray spectrometry using a spectral library signature created from a large amount of spectral data. The signature can be compared to unknown spectral measurements for the identification of previously unknown nuclear material.

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LLNL's neutron "Pillar Detector" fabrication technology uses semiconductor-based micro-structured elements as an electrical signal generation medium for the detection of neutrons. These materials in the form of semiconductor "pillars" embedded in matrix of high cross-section neutron converter materials (such as Boron) that emit charged particles upon interaction with neutrons. These charged…