Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Eastern Idaho company gets highlighted in Reuters labor market story

Sean Luangrath, CEO of Inergy Solar, outside the Center for Advanced Energy Studies in Idaho Falls. (Photo Reuters/Ann Saphir)
It looks like eastern Idaho is getting some international exposure, with a Dec. 8 story by Reuters News Service highlighting Inergy Solar of Pocatello.  Here's the link: Red-hot U.S. jobs market drives some to seek cooler options.

To summarize, the company's CEO, Sean Luangrath, was looking at moving his operations to Salt Lake City, but decided to stay in Pocatello because of the local workforce and nearby expertise at Idaho National Laboratory.

Inergy makes portable solar energy collection and storage systems. Its best-selling home system, the 1,100-watt-hour Kodiak, measures 14 inches by 7 inches by 8 inches and weighs less than 20 pounds. After two hours of charging with solar panels, the unit has enough power stored to keep a refrigerator running for 30 hours.

In 2017 the company received technical assistance from INL battery researchers. To learn more about that, follow this link: https://www.inl.gov/article/tech-assistance-program/ .






Monday, December 3, 2018

Smokin Fins opening set for today in downtown Idaho Falls

The kitchen at Smokin Fins, downtown Idaho Falls' newest restaurant, which officially opens today.
There is nothing like a new restaurant to start off the holiday season, and in Idaho Falls today all eyes are likely to be on Smokin Fins Grill, which officially opens at 11 a.m. today in the multi-million-dollar Broadway complex at Memorial Drive and Broadway. Training has been going on for the past month and, judging by the Facebook page, a soft opening happened this past weekend. A grand opening will be announced later.

Created by Fins Concepts out of Meridian, the first Smokin Fins debuted in 2015 in Littleton, Colo., before launching in Fort Collins and Chandler, Ariz. A sibling restaurant, Lucky Fins Seafood Grill, has been open in Greely, Colo., since 2015.

In Idaho Falls, Smokin Fins represents the first opening in The Broadway, which will also be home to Lucy’s New York Style Pizza, as well as other retail tenants.

The menu features shareable plates such as pork shank wings, Key lime calamari, and lobster tater tots, plus, a full range of popular sushi rolls, steak and seafood tacos, poke bowls and heartier entrees including a baked lobster mac and cheese, the Berkshire pork osso buco and a seafood paella. The restaurant also offers a kids’ menu and happy hour deals on sushi and tacos.

The menu for all six locations is the work of Chef Wiley, whose recipe features internationally acclaimed restaurants Nobu and Nygard Cay. According to the company’s website, every Fins brand of restaurant focuses on building relationships within its community, from hosting local business meetings, school fundraiser participation, donations and support for local non-profit organizations.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Fall River Electric Co-op hosting 'Stuff the Truck' food drives

Fall River Electric Cooperative will be hosting several holiday food drives called “Stuff the Truck” throughout its service territory this holiday season. Each event will benefit the local food bank where the drive is being held. In addition to non-perishable food items, our local food banks are especially in need of pasta, cold cereal, peanut butter and canned fruit and chicken.

“Stuff the Truck” will be held at Broulim’s Fresh Foods in Rexburg on Dec. 7 from noon to
4 p.m. Donations made there will be given to Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership for
families in need in the Rexburg and Sugar City areas.

If you are unable to attend this food drive, you can call Fall River Electric at 800.632.5726 and
make a tax-deductible monetary contribution to the food bank of your choice. Office hours are
Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Rexburg Startup Weekend starts Thursday

There is still time to sign up for Startup Weekend, a 54-hour entrepreneur workshop hosted by the city of Rexburg, which starts Thursday at the Madison Business Incubator, 35 N. 1st East. The workshop's purpose is to help entrepreneurs pursue business ideas with help from business mentors and experts.

“The Startup Weekend has helped start four tech companies here in Rexburg,” Daniel Torres, Rexburg’s assistant economic director, said in a news release. “With the help of local experts and great mentors, we have seen business ideas go from just an idea, to a real business making money almost overnight. It is an incredible opportunity for the community.”

The three-day event starts Friday with a dinner and networking event. Participants will pitch their business ideas and they will form teams around the most popular ideas. Teams then develop business models based on the ideas, with help from mentors, throughout the remaining two days.

Judges will award prizes to the best business models, after a presentation from each team, on Saturday, the final day of the event.

Startup Weekend tickets are $25 between now and Thursday. For people who do not want to participate in the event but want to watch the final presentation of business ideas on Saturday, tickets are available for $5.
For information, visit startupweekendrexburg.com.

Monday, November 19, 2018

INL takes four R&D 100 Awards at annual banquet

ACT Film, developed by RedWave Energy from Idaho National Laboratory research, uses tiny nano-rectennas embedded in flexible plastic sheets that can be applied nearly anywhere to transform low-temperature industrial waste heat into electricity.
Idaho National Laboratory received four R&D 100 awards at the annual banquet, held Friday night in Orlando, Fla.

Since they were started by R&D Magazine in 1963, R&D 100 Awards have identified and celebrated the top technology products from the public and private sectors. The U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories typically have dozens of finalists every year. This year, there were 60 finalists from 13 national labs, with 11 coming from INL.

Researchers Todd Vollmer, Craig Rieger and Milos Manic won with Autonomic Intelligent Cyber Sensor (AICS), an artificial intelligence breakthrough that can protect the nation’s critical infrastructure from devastating cyberattack. AICS works autonomously to give industries the power to quickly identify and divert hackers, using machine learning to identify and map industrial control systems. It can identify anomalous network traffic, alert operators and deploy virtual decoys to slow or halt hacking attempts. Following installation on an industrial control system and an initial learning phase, AICS automatically updates what it knows about a control system, adapting and remapping as it goes. AICS sets up and continually updates decoy virtual hosts – honeypots – to distract attackers from targets, giving asset owners the ability and time to gather information that can help identify both a hacking threat and a potentially compromised system.

INL received co-developer credit with RedWave Energy for Antenna Coupled Thz (ACT) Film, capable of harvesting low-temperature waste heat at power plants. Each sheet of ACT Film is made of tiny, square, gold-wire rectennas embedded in polyethylene, plastic sheeting that can be used nearly anywhere. The ACT Film absorbs heat between 70 and 250 degrees Celsius and converts it to electricity. Conceivably, composite stacks of ACT Film could be engineered to be compatible with existing power plant designs and used to replace cooling towers. By recovering 20 percent of low-temperature waste heat at a typical power plant, the electricity generated would equal the amount produced by burning 112,000 tons of coal in a year.

Researchers Gus Caffrey, Kenneth Krebs and Jayson Wharton received a Special Recognition Award (Corporate Social Responsibility) for On-Site Inspection RadioIsotopic Spectroscopy (OSIRIS), a portable, rugged gamma ray spectroscopy and laptop computer system for nuclear explosion detection that can be taken anywhere in the world to perform precise on-site inspections. Since the adoption of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty in 1996, the vision has been that all nations would one day eventually ratify it to guarantee the world’s collective safety and security with regard to nuclear weapons. The world is still waiting for full ratification, but when that happens – as millions hope it will – there will be a need for advanced tools to ensure compliance with treaty obligations. To satisfy the security concerns of treaty signatories – various countries may disagree about which radioisotopes at a test site raise security concerns – OSIRIS uses a “data filter” to limit the information it collects to 17 fission-product radioisotopes agreed upon by international technical experts.
OSIRIS is a portable, rugged gamma ray spectroscopy and computer system that can be used for nuclear explosion detection nearly anywhere across the globe without revealing sensitive information.
Jack Law, Troy Garn and Mitchell Greenhalgh with Steve Hammon of Global Phosphate Solutions received a Green Tech Special Recognition Award for their Phosphate Sponge, which provides an environmentally safe solution for remediating freshwater algae blooms caused by phosphate pollution from sewage treatment plants, animal feeding operations and fertilizer runoff. Filled with a proprietary powder developed by Rocky Mountain Scientific Corp., the beads in the Phosphate Sponge are made of an INL-developed sorbent material. When contaminated water is passed through a column or bed containing the beads, contaminants are absorbed by ion exchange. This reduces phosphate levels in water to merely a few parts per billion, sometimes even nondetectable levels. Like a sponge, the beads can also be “wrung out” and reused indefinitely, and the phosphates extruded from the beads can be recycled as fertilizer feedstock ingredients.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

INL awards Versatile Test Reactor subcontract to GE Hitachi Nuclear

An artist's rendition of what the PRISM reactor might look like.
Idaho National Laboratory has awarded a subcontract to GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy to support the conceptual design, cost/schedule estimate and safety framework activities for a proposed fast spectrum Versatile Test Reactor (VTR), critical for the development of innovative nuclear fuels, materials, instrumentation and sensors.

The subcontract is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy’s Versatile Test Reactor program, which is investigating what it would take to establish a reactor-based fast-spectrum neutron irradiation capability in the United States by 2026.

Within the INL-led VTR team, engineers from GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy will adapt the company’s (http://gehitachiprism.com/) sodium-cooled nuclear reactor design to the needs of a test reactor for state-of-the art research and development purposes.

“To meet our aggressive schedule for establishing this much-needed capability in the United States, it is necessary to leverage an existing and mature sodium-cooled fast reactor design that can be modified to meet the needs of a versatile test reactor,” said INL’s Kemal Pasamehmetoglu, the executive director of VTR. “Having a timely and detailed conceptual design is critical to generating an accurate cost and schedule estimate, which will then be key to DOE’s decision on whether to move forward in 2020.”

Establishing a fast spectrum test reactor ensures continued U.S. technology leadership in nuclear energy innovation. Currently, only a few capabilities are available for testing fast neutron reactor technology in the world and none in the U.S.

DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy established the VTR program earlier this year in response to reports outlining the need for a fast spectrum test reactor, including one issued by the agency’s Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee (NEAC) in 2017. In that report, NEAC recommended “that DOE-NE proceed immediately with pre-conceptual design planning activities to support a new test reactor (including cost and schedule estimates).”

The recommendation, in part, was based on responses from U.S. companies developing advanced reactors, many of which require different testing facilities than the commercial nuclear power technology in use today.

Also recently, Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (S.97) highlighted the need for a reactor-based fast neutron source authorizing DOE to proceed with the relevant activities.

“The VTR is a vital and strategic project for the U.S. and its promising advanced reactor industry, and we applaud the administration and Congress for making this technology a priority,” said Jay Wileman, GEH President and CEO. “Our VTR project team combines GEH’s strength as a nuclear plant vendor, service provider and nuclear fuel fabricator with Bechtel’s strength in nuclear project management, engineering, procurement and construction. The mature PRISM technology is ideally suited to meet the VTR mission needs.”

“The U.S. currently has no capability to test these fuels and materials,” said Peggy McCullough, a Bechtel senior vice president and general manager of Bechtel’s Nuclear, Security, and Operations business line. “Advanced reactors hold great promise but their components need the proper testing before they can be licensed and used in energy-producing reactors. That’s what the Versatile Test Reactor will provide. It’s extremely important for the science community, industry, regulators, and the future of nuclear energy research.”

Building on the proven principles of the Experimental Breeder Reactor-II, an integral sodium-cooled fast reactor prototype that was operated successfully for more than 30 years by Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) in Idaho, PRISM is the only sodium-cooled reactor to have successfully completed the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) pre-application review process. The PRISM Probabilistic Risk Assessment, developed with ANL in 2016, provided a validation of the advanced reactor’s safety.
Now at what is called the INL Materials & Fuels Complex, Experimental Breeder Reactor-II was operated by Argonne National Laboratory west of Idaho Falls from 1961 to 1994. 
For those of you who might be interested, here are a few more links about VTR:

A Versatile Way to Grow Advanced Nuclear Power (Clearpath.org)
Should The U.S. Build A Fast Nuclear Test Reactor Or Continue To Be Beholden To Russia? (Forbes.com)

Monday, November 12, 2018

Rexburg Motorsports hosting "Stuff the Side-by-Side" food drive for EICAP

Rexburg Motorsports is looking to give back to families in need in their community with its Stuff the Side-by-Side Food Drive. The event runs from 2 until 4 p.m. Saturday, November 17, outside Broulim's in Rexburg. To support the Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership (EICAP) Rexburg Outreach Office, Rexburg Motorsports is looking for donations of new and unopened food and household items to stuff a Honda Pioneer Side x Side with a half ton of food.

The Rexburg Outreach Office is seeking donations for the following unexpired items: canned chicken, canned fruit, cereals, soups, laundry soap, dishwasher soap, cleaning supplies, and various hygiene items.

The Honda Pioneer is equipped to hold up to 1,000 pounds of donations in the seats, bed, and storage compartments. Rexburg Motorsports is hoping the vehicle's capacity will be exceeded before the event concludes.

To donate, simply stop by the Broulim’s in Rexburg between 2 and 4 p.m. and place your donations in the side-by-side parked outside the store. All donations received will be housed in the food bank in Rexburg and be distributed to families in need in the Madison County area. “We're always looking for ways to help out the community,” said Mike Vickers, Owner of Rexburg Motorsports. "This seemed like a fun way to accomplish that, and to encourage others to get involved."

For further questions or information regarding the food drive or Rexburg Motorsports in general, contact, Matt Dyer, at 208-356-4000 or via email at mdyer@gearhead.com.