SciTech Northwest is the region’s first science and technology expo that highlights the latest innovations in cyber/data analyticsclean energy, and biotechnologyRegister here, or contact for more information. 

Washington’s natural resources have made it a leader in energy production. PNNL, UW and WSU have long histories in developing technologies for the energy industry. Now they are paving the path towards clean energy solutions that are crucial for ensuring sustainable, reliable, and resilient energy supplies for the nation. From developing biofuels to storage solutions for renewable energy sources, the technologies from these three institutions are shaping the future of energy.  


Fish-Friendly Technologies Reveal Fish Behavior and Impacts for Water Power Design, PNNL

Sensor Fish is a small sensor device that analyzes the physical conditions fish experience as they pass through dams. This synthetic “fish,” a small, instrumented tube, is helping hydro facilities become more fish-friendly. The data from Sensor Fish can improve the environmental performance of hydropower. The demo will show the Sensor Fish and associated data.  A separate but related technology, the Juvenile Salmon Acoustic Telemetry System (JSATS), implants acoustic transmitters into fish to remotely track them with sub-meter accuracy. It monitors the survival rate of juvenile salmonoids during migration and monitors how fish respond to waterpower structures and ferry terminals. The demo will show how the swimming motion from the fish is the energy source to power the transmitter. SciTech Northwest attendees can wave a transmitter “fish” around and see the data generated by the movement. 

Friction Stir Welding Enables Lightweight Vehicle Parts, PNNL

PNNL has developed and demonstrated a friction stir welding process for the expanded use of lightweight aluminum in cars and trucks at the speed, scale, quality, and consistency required by the auto industry. The process reduces production time and costs while yielding strong and lightweight parts. A car door can be 62% lighter and 25% cheaper than that produced with today's manufacturing methods. This solid-state welding technology enables joining of aluminum sheets without melting the material, which ultimately enables the stamping of high-quality car components made of varying thicknesses of aluminum alloy. The process is ten times faster than current friction-stir welding techniques, meeting high-volume assembly requirements. Attendees will see a car door made with friction-stir welding and samples of dissimilar materials joined with friction stir scribe technology. PNNL is seeking industry collaborators to customize the process for their needs and licensees to take this technology to market. See videoPhoto courtesy of TWB Company LLC.

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Organic Redox Flow Battery for Energy Storage Improves Grid Operations and Expands Renewable Energy Use, PNNL

This is a new water-soluble, organic electrolyte for redox flow batteries, which are used for large, grid-scale applications and to support the integration of renewable energy sources. An organic electrolyte is more eco-friendly and cost effective compared with conventional alternatives. Flow batteries help stabilize the grid, make renewables dispatchable, and enable companies or utilities to pre-purchase power at non-peak prices. At SciTech Northwest you will see a cutaway of an actual battery stack that makes the technology possible and see how flow batteries make grid storage possible.


Advanced Battery Facility Users Test New Battery Chemistries at Commercially Relevant Scales, PNNL

Researchers from industry and universities can use the Advanced Battery Facility at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., to develop and test new battery chemistry and materials at commercially relevant scales. There, users work with PNNL to test advanced battery chemistries — including lithium-metal, sulfur, sodium and magnesium — to make batteries last longer and store more energy. The facility contains a complete process line to prepare, fabricate, and validate pouch cells (experimental batteries representative of full-scale production) from powder materials to battery testing. This process gives battery manufacturers confidence that the new chemistries are viable. When a promising battery chemistry is identified, PNNL works with companies to license the technology. At SciTech Northwest you will see a pouch cell made in the Advanced Battery Facility and learn more about using the facility or having your materials tested there. See video.


Sensor Suitcase for Building Energy Diagnosis-Efficiency Recommendations Can Save up to 9% of Energy Costs, PNNL

If you own one or more small-sized commercial buildings, you probably do not have the budget for retro-commissioning investments. The Sensor Suitcase offers a turnkey solution that can be used by building owners to automatically generate recommendations to improve building energy efficiency, reduce operating costs, and improve occupant comfort at low/no cost. It is designed for small businesses — up to 50,000 square-feet — and can save building owners up to 9 percent in their annual energy costs.  You place the sensors and collect the data; then analysis software tells you where specific operational changes can save money. At SciTech Northwest, you will be able to handle the sensors, see how easy they are to install, and interact with the software.

GridOPTICS Software for The Power Grid Actionable Information for Operational and Policy Decisions, PNNL

GridOPTICS provides markets-to-exchange decision-making information for today’s grid and data networks, transmission and distribution networks, and operations and planning systems.

It includes the following software tools:

·        VOLTTRON — a distributed control and sensing platform that allows appliances and other devices to communicate with each other to prioritize power needs and deliver electricity accordingly.

·        GridPACK — a software framework that harnesses high-performance computing for grid modeling.

·        GridOPTICS Software System (GOSS) — facilitates data exchange and enables interoperability to develop new applications for the future grid.

·        Framework for Network Co-Simulation (FNCS) — a federated co-simulation platform that merges communication simulators with distribution and transmission simulators.

·        Shared Perspectives — allows simultaneous and selective sharing of information between two different entities such as electric utilities. At SciTech Northwest you will be able to participate in a demonstration that shows how two utilities can see the same information when one has a fire that affects transmission and distribution infrastructure.

Self-Cleaning Solar Panels, University of Washington

Dust accumulation on solar panels reduces their efficiency, so they don’t create as much electricity as they should. Traditional surface modifications on solar panels, such as coatings and textured patterning, have showed promise but have not reached the desired level of cleaning effectiveness. The University of Washington brings all these ideas together in one method called Aquapel technology. This patented approach creates an active, self-cleaning surface on solar panels by dislodging surface contaminants using water droplets and vibration. On solar panel cover glass, a microfabrication process creates hydrophilic (water-loving) patterns on a hydrophobic (water-repellant) background. When water is sprayed on the panel, or when it rains, water droplets are systematically guided along this patterned surface using independent vibration, thus cleaning away contaminants. The result: Cleaning labor and water usage costs are reduced, and customers’ investments in solar electricity are maximized. SciTech participants will see a video of the technology in action, as well as a live demo with instrument setup. 

Battery Informatics, Inc., University of Washington

Battery Informatics, Inc. (Bii), a spin-off from the University of Washington (UW), is developing the next generation battery management systems. It is based on two technologies originated in ChemE department at UW: Battery models from Prof. Venkat Subramanian and his PhD student Manan Pathak, and battery health diagnostics from Prof. Dan Schwartz and his PhD student Matthew Murbach. Bii’s solution is targeted at the electric vehicle (EV) and the energy storage markets. These rapidly growing markets are converging on Li-ion chemistry as the preferred battery solution, however the Li-ion batteries have complex behavior resulting in conservative operations. Bii provides improved control of the operating constraints to reduce battery degradation which results in the batteries lasting longer. Bii’s solution will provide a 20% improvement by a combination of longer battery life and improved economic benefits. The product will run as a real-time control system as part of a battery management system. The target customers are: battery manufacturers; automotive OEM suppliers; and integrators who sell energy storage solutions to commercial buildings and electric power utility companies. SciTech participants will see Li-ion batteries and associated control devices. Simulation results to illustrate scenarios and benefits will also be available.

Making Liquid Hydrogen a Viable Alternative Fuel Source, Washington State University

The very low value of electricity in our region creates problems for new renewable energy projects and rural energy utilities. Converting this surplus curtailed energy into storable hydrogen fuel can increase the value of the energy up to 40x. The HYdrogen Properties for Energy Research (HYPER) laboratory at WSU recently founded Protium Innovations, LLC to commercialize small-scale hydrogen liquefaction technologies to address this need, while simultaneously fueling the coming fleet of fuel cell electric vehicles. They have already worked with local company Insitu on a liquid hydrogen-fueled drone, and are developing more collaborations with industry. Attendees will see demonstrations of the Heisenberg Vortex technology at the heart of the liquefier, in addition to liquid hydrogen storage technologies.