Wednesday, October 7, 2020

INL wins three R&D 100 Awards


Three Idaho National Laboratory technologies have won R&D 100 Awards in 2020. Since their inception in 1963, the R&D 100 Awards have celebrated research and development from across the public and private sectors and are a prestigious distinction for inventors. Laboratories and companies across the nation submit nominations, and a panel of more than 40 industry-leading experts ranks the entries based on technical significance, uniqueness, and applicability across industry, government and academia. Typically, the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories have dozens of finalists every year.

Including this year’s winners, INL has won 25 R&D 100 Awards since 2005.

This year, due to concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 R&D 100 Awards ceremony was held virtually.

WINNING TECHNOLOGIES LED BY INL:

Carbon CURE (Carbon Capture & Utilization through Reduction Electrolysis)

Researchers: Luis Diaz Aldana (principal investigator), Ningshengjie Gao, Tedd Lister, Birendra Adhikari, Aaron Wilson, Eric Dufek

Description: Decarbonizing energy production through carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is a popular idea that has been plagued by operational and economic challenges, but integrating carbon capture with reuse to make high-value products could offer an operational advantage. The Carbon CURE process provides a solution by using recyclable solvents as a carbon capture medium that can be fed directly to an electrochemical cell. The cell converts carbon dioxide to syngas, the building block for a raft of high value products. The process will help to achieve economical carbon capture at an industrial scale.

The Carbon CURE process aims to achieve economical carbon capture at an industrial scale.

CoDeAc (Colorimetric Detection of Actinides)


Researchers: Catherine Riddle (principal investigator), Rick Demmer

Description: In responding to an accident or attack, handheld detectors may provide adequate screening for some radiation sources but they lack the sensitivity to detect alpha emitters such as uranium and plutonium in dusty, outdoor environments. CoDeAc can help responders quickly detect actinides at any disaster or accident scene. CoDeAc's color change in the presence of very low concentrations of uranium and plutonium gives a go/no-go result in seconds, allowing these professionals to make decisions based on actual data instead of assumptions on-site. These decisions impact everyone and can mean the difference between evacuating hundreds of thousands of people within square miles or just 100 people within a square block during a radiological event.

Crop Artificial Intelligence Quotient (Crop AIQ)

Researchers: Mike Griffel (principal investigator), Damon Hartley (biomass analysis), M. Ross Kunz (data analytics)

Description: Crop AIQ provides a vital function: agricultural performance assessments that allow land managers to make more informed decisions about how they grow plants for food, feed, fiber and fuel. The tool gives farmers the ability to generate an accurate yield map without having to rely on harvester data, the only other way to produce such a map. A yield map is fundamental to precision agriculture and integrated land management. It is also basic to maximizing agriculture productivity and profitability, while minimizing environmental impact.

CoDeAc can help responders quickly detect actinides at any disaster or accident scene.

FINALIST TECHNOLOGIES LED BY INL:

CellSage-KTA (Kinetic & Transient Analyses)

Researcher: Kevin Gering

Description: CellSage-KTA is an advanced computational tool that gives insight into a battery cell’s age. It employs physics, electrochemistry and thermodynamics to diagnose battery health in real time on a standard personal computer or laptop. It also can be used to predict battery performance and track aging characteristics through multiple mechanisms.

High-Moisture Pelleting Process

Researcher: Jaya Shankar Tumuluru

Description: High-Moisture Pelleting Process helps produce biofuels and biopolymers for roughly 60% less compared to the cost of current practices, making these bioproducts cost-competitive with petroleum-based alternatives. The method efficiently dries and pellets high-moisture biomass, significantly reducing energy consumption for preprocessing materials such as agriculture leftovers or municipal solid waste.

OpDefender

Researchers: Briam Johnson (principal investigator), Michael McCarty, Rishi Chatterjee, Kristopher Watts (Gravwell Group)

Description: The OpDefender, an intelligent software-defined networking switch, protects electric utilities, oil and gas infrastructure, water systems, and other critical infrastructure from cyberattack. OpDefender uniquely monitors and protects industrial control systems at the application protocol layers, reducing the cyberattack surface by as much as 99% compared to standard industrial switches.

Route Operable Unmanned Navigation of Drones (ROUNDS)

Researchers: Ahmad Al Rashdan (principal investigator), Michael L. Wheeler, Dakota Roberson (University of Idaho), Roger Lew (University of Idaho)

Description: ROUNDS is a cost-effective method for drones to navigate a course inside a building or structure where a strong GPS signal is absent. Self-navigation is achieved by determining the drone’s location from the visual angle of QR codes placed along a desired course, then dynamically adjusting trajectory accordingly. Self-navigating drones using ROUNDS could gather instrument data, check inventory, perform security rounds or do other tedious tasks, saving time and money while increasing operational efficiency across a range of industries. Likewise, automated movement of drones could improve safety by eliminating the need for people to enter areas that are hazardous due to elevation or the presence of chemicals or radiation.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Chicken and donuts and subs, oh my! Three new food options coming to Ammon

Who knows when things will ever get back to normal, but regardless of that lunchtime options for students at Hillcrest High School are about to become more varied with the developments at 2671 E. Sunnyside Road.

This is Hillcrest Plaza, the strip mall near the new Dutch Bros, and this week’s list of real estate transactions from TOK Commercial shows three transactions: Super Chix Idaho, LLC has leased 3,044 square feet; Hole Foods, LLC has leased 1,200 square feet; and Snake River Restaurant Group, LLC has leased 1,646 square feet.

Word is the latter two will be home to Duck Donuts and Jersey Mike's Subs.

No opening dates have been announced. Bonnie Wetsel, who is opening Duck Donuts with her husband, Wyatt, told EastIdahoNews.com in September that the buildout will depend on availability of materials. Likewise, Bill Hawes, who is opening Super Chix, said an opening won’t be for several months.

Duck Donuts was founded in North Carolina in 2007. Since then, it has expanded to more than 200 stores, mainly on the East Coast, with scattered locations in Utah, Arizona and California. The Ammon store will be the first in Idaho.

Super Chix is owned by Yum! Brands, the parent company of Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut. The first restaurant opened in Texas in 2014. It bills itself as “a premium, fast-casual dining experience devoted to fresh, high-quality offerings and a great customer experience.” Besides chicken sandwiches and fries, the menu also features hand-dipped frozen custard, served in cones, cups, milkshakes and fusions (concretes). Two franchises opened in Utah earlier this year.

Jersey Mike’s
dates back to 1956, when 17-year-old Pete Cancro, with help from his high school football coach (also a banker) opened a shop in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J. Since then, the chain has expanded to more than 1,600 locations, with major expansion in California and the Western United States.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Sara Prentice selected to chair Chamber of Commerce board

Sara Prentice
The Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors has selected Sara Prentice as its new chair.

In addition to having served on the board since 2016, Prentice is manager of Mission Enabling Communication Services at Idaho National Laboratory. In that role, she oversees a staff of communications professionals focused on supporting the INL laboratory director and deputy laboratory directors with executive communications. Her organization also includes employee communications, visual communications, digital media, and protocol and hospitality. Prentice was previously the protocol officer for INL and enjoyed showcasing the eastern Idaho community to VIP visitors.

“Sara is a great connection between the business community and the INL," said Chamber CEO Chip Schwarze. "Her leadership, event planning, tourism, and community awareness make her an ideal representative of our diverse business community. I am eager to work with her and serve our great business community.”

Since it started as the Idaho Falls Club of Commerce in 1904, the chamber has grown to include 656 member businesses representing more than 27,000 employees in the greater Idaho Falls region. Member businesses represent more than 30 different business sectors. The chamber works to create and protect competitive advantage for business in the region. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

A little bit of history for today ...

Researching my weekly history column for the Post Register, I  found an interesting ad on the financial page of the Sept. 7, 1920, Portland, Ore., Daily Journal. It might be of interest some of my commercial real estate friends. The copy reads as follows:

“Per Capita — Idaho Falls is One of the West’s Wealthiest Cities ... The fact that Idaho Falls’ immense wealth is based on agriculture and it is the trading center of a vast irrigated region makes it unusually solid and places its bonds in the class of PREFERRED INVESTMENTS ... ONE TO TEN-YEAR 6 1/2% IMPROVEMENT BONDS ... INCOME TAX EXEMPT PRICE TO YIELD 7%”

Bonds could be bought in denominations of $100, $500 and $1,000. The ad was posted by Lumbermens Trust Co., under supervision of the Oregon State Building Department.

Good news from Google -- and how to stay in the Big G's good graces

Oh my gosh, after eight years it looks like BizMojoIdaho is out of the doghouse with Google! My AdSense account has been reinstated.

I don’t know what got me banned in the first place, a mildly satirical column on the blog or the mistake of clicking a Google-sponsored ad that appeared on my page (a bigger no-no than I had any idea, obviously). Whatever the case, my appeals fell on deaf ears for years until this past week.

For the education and edification of any publisher with a web page who wishes to stay in Google’s good graces, here is a rundown of do’s and don’ts from the email I received Monday afternoon:

  • It is against our program policies for publishers to click on their own ads or to encourage others to do so. In addition, the use of automated techniques to generate clicks, such as robots or scripts, is prohibited.
  • Use the Google Publisher Toolbar if you want to click an ad to check the landing page or other details. It will allow you to check the destination of ads on your page without the risk of invalid clicks.

The email contains a few cautions as well:

  • Please be assured that we are logging all the clicks, so do not click your ads to make sure the clicks are reported in the Performance reports. However, there may be reasons that you don't see the clicks right away as it may take up to 24 hours to finalize clicks and impressions in your reports.
  • Please note that if ad serving does not resume after your account is reinstated, there may be other issues needing resolution.

So I guess we wait and see. I'm curious to see how the ads appear and whether they generate any significant money. This blog turned nine years old earlier this month, and a lot has changed since I started it. I really appreciate the people who've followed it, the people who weigh in with questions and suggestions and tips, also my faithful advertisers. Thanks so much!