Idaho National Lab Nominates Supercritical/Solid Catalyst for Biodiesel Production for R&D 100 Awards
Idaho National Laboratory has nominated its supercritical/solid catalyst for biodiesel production from waste fats, oils and greases for the R&D 100 Awards. The lab also nominated medical imaging from better radioisotope production, and significantly improved gun sight optics. INL has won 41 R&D 100 Awards since 1986.
The Supercritical/Solid Catalyst (SSC) can handle waste greases with up to 100% free fatty acid (FFA) content, more than 30% water content, and high in impurities such as sulfur, phosphorous, calcium and others.
SSC mixes fat or oil feedstock with supercritical fluid solvents and alcohols at specific temperatures and pressures to completely dissolve the materials during a single supercritical phase. This approach overcomes a key barrier—the polar liquid phase in conventional biodiesel production—which requires multiple steps.
BioFuelBox, Inc. of San Jose, Calif., scaled SSC in a successful demonstration of the technology at a pilot plant in American Falls, Idaho. Conventional biodiesel production requires high-quality oil sources, such as soybean oil or other food crops, but SSC takes the worst of wastes and delivers high-quality B100 in a single step.
Other nominated technologies include:
Accelerator Generation and Thermal Separation (AGATS). The Accelerator Generation and Thermal Separation (AGATS) is an integrated system for producing technetium-99 and other medical radioisotopes. Technetium-99 is a radioactive isotope used for imaging of lungs, bone, heart, renal flow, brain and more. Currently, it is produced within the intense neutron bombardment fields of the cores of nuclear reactors. At the moment, production essentially is limited to five small, aging research reactors on four continents, not all of which are operating at normal production levels.
AGATS has solved the difficulty of separating technetium from molybdenum, a parent isotope that can be produced in a linear electron accelerator. INL researchers developed a method of separating technetium-99 from molybdenum-99 by heating the product to vaporization and condensing the desired radioisotope, free of impurities.
MicroSight. INL’s MicroSight simultaneously images two distinct focal planes so that a marksman can clearly focus on both the gun sight and the target.