Thursday, April 19, 2018

Bill's Bike & Run plans grand opening Friday for Ammon store

Bill’s Bike & Run has scheduled a grand opening for its new Ammon location Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. It will start with ribbon cutting by the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce.

Free grilled food and cold drinks will be served from 4 until 7. A large
bike and gear demo area will be open, and guests are invited to test out the all new Specialized Stumpjumper and Electric bikes. Attendees can enter raffles for free giveaways by participating in activities. Bill’s is also offering $10 additional “Bill’s Bucks” for each purchase of $100 or more.

The 1,200-square-foot store opened last November in the Sandcreek Commons shopping center. It is the second
location for Bill’s Bike & Run, which also has a shop in Snake River Landing in Idaho Falls.

Regular store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Bill’s Bike & Run of Ammon also offers community group runs starting from the shop beginning at 6:15 p.m. every Wednesday.

Bill’s Bike & Run has gained recognition over the decades through its support of community and youth programs, including Shop with a Cop and the Salvation Army, and has given away hundreds of restored bikes to underprivileged youth in the area.

The business dates back to 1947 when it was founded by Bill Murdock as Bill's Bike Shop, selling motorcycles and bicycles. In 2010, Gary Wight purchased the business from the Murdock family, and in 2012 the business moved to Snake River Landing, to a store much larger than its longtime Holmes Avenue location. The name change came in 2013, when products and services for runners were added.

Sandcreek Commons shopping center is a 40-acre joint venture between Ball Ventures, LLC of Idaho Falls and Woodbury Corp. of Salt Lake City, Utah. Located at Hitt Road and Sunnyside Road, it is home to Cabela’s, Hobby Lobby, Broulim’s Fresh Foods, D.L. Evans Bank, Zions Bank, Mountain American Credit Union, Great Clips, Wendy’s, 7 Nail Spa, Kneader’s Bakery & CafĂ©, Ferraro’s Italian Cuisine and others. Additional space is available for lease. For more information, call 208.523.3794 or visit ballventures.com.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

INL, State of Idaho break ground on two new research facilities

From INL Public Affairs

Officials from Idaho National Laboratory and the State of Idaho held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning on two new research facilities: the Cybercore Integration Center and the Collaborative Computing Center (C3).

Both buildings will be located off University Boulevard on Idaho Falls' north side, near the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, INL's Energy Innovation Laboratory, and ISU's Bennion Student Union Building.

The Cybercore Integration Center will host advanced electronics labs for industry, government and academia to work together to systematically engineer cyber and physical security innovations to protect the nation’s most critical infrastructure, for example the power grid.

The Collaborative Computing Center will provide a modern computing environment, hosting research collaborations and opportunities that would otherwise not be possible – a place where INL researchers, Idaho universities, and industry will explore computer modeling and simulation to develop new nuclear materials, advance nuclear energy concepts and conduct a broad span of scientific research.

“Supporting this collaboration is about much more than new facilities; we are investing in Idaho’s future,” Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said. “But in addition to the INL’s continuing economic importance, this partnership provides Idaho universities with an important edge in preparing tomorrow’s world leaders in cyber-security and nuclear energy research.”

The new facilities will help strengthen partnerships with Idaho universities by tailoring internships for students seeking advanced degrees in nuclear engineering, mechanical engineering, materials science, chemical engineering and computer science, INL Director Mark Peters said. “Students are the talent of the future, and we want to invest in their success. By offering these career-enhancing opportunities, everyone wins," Peters said.

Idaho State Board of Education will retain the economic benefit that will be created by the financing, construction, and operation of these facilities. Off-site computer users, such as students and faculty at Idaho’s universities and colleges, will also have remote access to the high-performance computing systems in the Collaborative Computing Center through the Idaho Regional Optical Network (IRON).

“This is an exceptional example of a public/private partnership working to advance the educational offerings across the entire state,” said Linda Clark, president of the Idaho State Board of Education.

Monday, April 9, 2018

It's unofficial: Idaho Falls Dutch Bros No. 1 to be open by early May

All smiles with the Dutch Bros crew on Woodruff Avenue. Though there is nothing official, word is they will be open by the first week of May.
For those of you who can't get enough news about Dutch Bros Coffee: I noticed people in the new store on Woodruff Avenue while leaving Winco Saturday, so I decided to go over and ask what's up. First things first: It smells really, really good. I poked my head through to chat and did not want to leave. Training is going on, and a crew has been hired, although they are still taking applications. Here's a link to the pdf: https://www.dutchbros.com/public/images/careers/Employment_Application_2018.pdf

The manager was not present, but the word from the crew was that while no official opening date has been set they are shooting for the first week in May. We will be monitoring this news as it develops, because we know how important it is to all of you. Since we posted the news on Nov. 1 it has received 63,772 pageviews, more than anything else we've ever posted, including Hobby Lobby.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

INL develops new petrochemical process involving less energy consumption, lower CO2 emissions

INL researchers Ting He (left) and Dong Ding have developed an electrochemical process for creating synthetic fuels and plastics that uses 65 percent less energy.
A team of Idaho National Laboratory researchers has pioneered a process they say could cut the energy consumption in petrochemical manufacturing by 65 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 98 percent.

Since the early 20th century, everything from gasoline and diesel fuel to plastics has been made by cracking complex hydrocarbon molecules found in oil, coal and natural gas with tremendous amounts of heat and pressure. In an article published last week in the scientific journal Energy and Environmental Science, the INL researchers report they’ve hit upon an electrochemical process for converting ethane in natural gas liquids to ethylene, which is used to make polymers for everything from cellphone cases to disposable diapers.

Ethane offers a simpler hydrocarbon to refine than oil. It can be converted to ethylene thermally, at temperatures of up to 850 Celsius, the same way as with oil. But the new process involves much lower temperatures, hence much less energy consumption, as it feeds ethane to the anode in an electrochemical membrane reactor. Electricity in the reactor separates protons (hydrogen ions) from the molecules, leaving ethylene. The protons themselves migrate through a dense electrolyte to the cathode, where they combine with electrons to form hydrogen gas.

INL's research is being conducted in conjunction with Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Wyoming. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced in February that the project would receive funding as part of $35 million being awarded to early-stage innovative technologies for advanced manufacturing.

Several factors are driving the project, said INL researcher Dr. Dong Ding.  First, the shale gas revolution has provided a plentiful supply of natural gas at historically low prices. Second, the declining cost of electricity makes electrochemical refining more economically feasible.

Theoretically, if the process was to be powered by a renewable source and the captured hydrogen was incorporated into fuel cells, there could be a net gain in process energy, he said. From a CO2 standpoint, using a non-carbon source of electricity — nuclear, hydro, wind or solar — could cut the carbon footprint down to 2 percent of traditional production methods.

The INL team will focus next on how to convert methane into ethylene. Methane is also found in natural gas — more plentifully than ethane, in fact — but its carbon-hydrogen bond is harder to break, Ding said.

Peer reviewers for the Energy & Environmental Science article called the work "convincing," "timely," "original" and "highly interesting."

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Battelle, DOE, extend INL operating contract to 2024

In December, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) decided to extend its contract with Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) to manage and operate Idaho National Laboratory (INL). This week, DOE officially approved the contract modification that enables a five-year extension through Sept. 30, 2024. This followed a successful negotiation between DOE and BEA on terms and conditions of the INL contract.

The contract extension complies with an executive order issued in February 2017, directing agencies to eliminate unnecessary regulatory burdens. “The agreed-upon terms bring clarity to what is expected of BEA and INL in the next several years,” INL Director Mark Peters said. “The ultimate outcome is that INL is even better-positioned to serve the American taxpayer by helping resolve the nation’s big energy and security challenges.”

DOE originally awarded BEA the management contract in November 2004, creating Idaho National Laboratory and separating the cleanup work to form the Idaho Cleanup Project. That contract ran from until Sept. 30, 2014, at which point, DOE exercised a five-year option period that was set to expire Sept. 30, 2019. With the new five-year extension, BEA is contracted to operate and manage INL through 2024.

Key INL initiatives during the term of the contract extension will include:

  • Revitalizing the nuclear energy sector in the United States through research conducted at the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR), Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT), and the Materials and Fuels Complex (MFC).
  • Continuing research and development on advanced reactor designs, including partnering with the private sector to develop and demonstrate microreactor technologies for potentially powering remote communities and military bases around the world. This work will also include partnerships with industry and other stakeholders to develop and deploy the next generation of nuclear reactors, including small modular reactors (SMRs).
  • Improving upon INL’s world-leading cyber security capabilities and expertise, including efforts to make the nation’s power grids, transportation and water systems more resilient from cyber, physical and natural threats.
  • Extending the electric vehicle corridor in the west, including longer-lived batteries and improved charging infrastructure.
  • Developing integrated energy systems to stabilize the power grid and increase energy storage capabilities.
  • Continuing support for biofuels research and turning captured carbon into usable products, something that could help the nation’s coal plants reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Promoting STEM education and working with college and university partners to fill the pipeline of potential future employees with talented scientists, engineers, technicians and support personnel.
  • Productive partnerships with academia, industry, and federal, state and local governments that allow us to solve complex problems while driving economic growth and making American industry more competitive on a global scale, now and into the future.