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INL wins national award for energy work

May 1, 2019 GMT

Idaho National Laboratory has been recognized for the successful transfer of small-scale waste-to-energy technologies to Cogent Energy Systems.

The award, in the Technology Focus category, is from the Federal Laboratory Consortium, a group mandated by Congress to promote, educate and facilitate technology transfer among more than 300 federal laboratories, research centers and agencies nationwide.

The category recognizes technologies that have demonstrated innovation or creativity in the transfer of an energy product, technology or service, INL said in a news release. It was presented at the FLC National Meeting in Orlando, Fla., last week.

The story started, INL said, with research at the lab on the creation of nanoparticles. The modular hybrid plasma reactor that originated from this research evolved into a gasification system for waste-to-energy applications. The resulting ionic gasification process, embodied in Cogent’s HelioStorm Gasifier, involves processing 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, INL said, is a clean, high-energy synthesis gas that can be used to generate electricity or be converted into valuable end products such as hydrogen, liquid fuels and chemical precursors.

Cogent Energy Systems was founded in 2012 and is based in Merrifield, Va., but it does its technology development in Idaho Falls, where the modular hybrid plasma technology at the heart of its HelioStorm Gasifier originated. Cogent has developed and demonstrated two full-scale waste-to-energy gasifiers in partnership with other organizations, with plans for a complete commercial demonstration system in 2020.

Cogent has a license option agreement with INL, and the lab plans to help Cogent leverage U.S. Department of Energy programs and assets in its work.