U.S. Department of Energy Projects Win 33 R&D 100 Awards for 2015

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) researchers have won 33 of the 100 awards given out this year by R&D Magazine for the most outstanding technology developments with promising commercial potential. The R&D 100 awards, sometimes called the “Oscars of Innovation,” are given annually in recognition of exceptional new products or processes that were developed and introduced into the marketplace during the previous year.  The awards were presented at a gala reception in Las Vegas on the evening of Friday, November 13th.

“The pace of change for the basic sciences and for American energy technologies is dramatically accelerating,” said Under Secretary Lynn Orr.  “These awards demonstrate that some of the Nation’s most innovative research and development is taking place at the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories.”

To be eligible for an award, the technology or process has to be in working and marketable condition -- no proof of concept prototypes are allowed -- and had to be first available for purchase or licensing during 2014.

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Since 1962, when the annual competition began, the Energy Department’s National Laboratories have received more than 800 R&D 100 awards. The awards are selected by an independent panel of judges based on the technical significance, uniqueness and usefulness of projects and technologies from across industry, government and academia.

The list of corresponding technologies and National Labs follows below. Please note that many of these were developed in collaboration with private companies or academic institutions.


  • The Binary Pseudo-Random Calibration Tool, developed by researchers at Argonne, Brookhaven and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories with collaborators at Abeam Technologies Inc., provides the highest resolution ever achieved, 1.5 nanometers, and is used to characterize all advanced imaging systems from interferometers to electron microscopes. This new technology can calibrate a broad range of optical instruments, including those used for extreme ultraviolet lithography and high-precision visible light optics. Metrology techniques are used in practically all branches of modern industry, including interferometric microscopes, scanning and transmission electron microscopes, X-ray microscopes, and atomic force microscopes.
  • Versatile Hard Carbon Microspheres Made from Plastic Waste: This technology, developed by researchers at Argonne and Purdue University, allows the inexpensive 2- to 5-micrometer hard carbon microspheres made from unsorted plastic waste to be turned into a wide range of high-value applications. The carbon microsphere manufacturing process completely destroys unwanted plastic waste in an environmentally responsible manner. The one-step, low-energy, solventless process produces carbon microspheres that can serve important tribological and advanced battery applications, in addition to having many other uses including inks, printer toners, and high-performance composites, ceramics, and polymers.

Source: Energy Department
Date: Nov 20, 2015