Tuesday, April 30, 2019

INL wins Federal Laboratory Consortium National Award

Dr. Peter Kong, chief technology officer at Cogent Energy Systems, developed the
background modular plasma technology at Idaho National Laboratory.
Idaho National Laboratory has been honored with a 2019 Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) National Award in the Technology Focus category for the successful transfer of small-scale waste-to-energy technologies to Cogent Energy Systems. The FLC is a formally chartered organization mandated by Congress to promote, educate and facilitate technology transfer among more than 300 federal laboratories, research centers and agencies nationwide. Honorees are recognized in eight categories.

The Technology Focus award recognizes technologies that have demonstrated innovation or creativity in the transfer of an energy product, technology or service. The award was presented at the FLC National Meeting in Orlando, held April 23 through 25.

The story starts at INL with research being conducted on the creation of nanoparticles. The modular hybrid plasma reactor that originated from this research evolved into a gasification system for Waste to Energy (WTE) applications. The resulting proprietary ionic gasification process—embodied in Cogent’s HelioStorm Gasifier—involves the direct-contact processing of combustible feedstock waste, such as biomass and municipal solid waste, inside an active plasma field at temperatures of 3,000 to 10,000 degrees Celsius. The result is a clean, high-energy synthesis gas (or syngas) that can be used to generate electricity or converted into many valuable end products, including hydrogen, liquid fuels, and chemical precursors.

Founded in 2012, Cogent Energy Systems of Merrifield, Virginia, was the recipient of the transferred technology. The company’s technology development takes place in Idaho Falls, Idaho, near INL, where the modular hybrid plasma technology at the heart of its HelioStorm Gasifier originated. In partnership with other organizations, Cogent has developed and demonstrated two full-scale waste-to-energy gasifiers, with plans for a complete end-to-end commercial demonstration system scheduled to come on line during 2020.

Cogent executed a license option agreement with INL in 2012 and exercised the option to license the technology two years later. INL stands ready to help Cogent leverage DOE programs and assets to achieve commercial success. In the relationship with Cogent, INL has taken the approach that a successful technology transfer requires a sustained effort that does not end with execution of the license agreement. INL Commercialization Manager Ryan Bills, along with Cogent’s Dr. Abraham Haspel and Dr. Peter Kong, were recognized for this accomplishment through the FLC Award.

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