Glass Blowing Expertise for Idaho State University Nuclear Fuel Experiment

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Advancing nuclear fuels research using INL’s Technical Assistance Program, Idaho State University obtained glass blowing expertise for an experiment to develop a method to manufacture depleted uranium microspheres for basic materials science research. This process required the drip-casting of an alginate (sea weed extract) slurry containing uranium oxide, which produced a hardening solution. To advance this project, a tumble drying technique required the isolation of the drying spheres within a vented, rotating glass cylinder. (2014)

Sunshot PVMapper

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DOE’s SunShot Initiative to develop PVMapper, a geographic information system (GIS) that helps large-scale photovoltaic project developers consider social preferences and constraints in their planning. Featured in “Solar Industry Magazine,” PVMapper is an online software tool based on large-scale maps of the U.S. that developers are working to make usable across the nation.

Learn more about PVMapper.

Developing highly-efficient and reliable thermoelectric generators

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Researchers at Boise State University, in collaboration with Idaho National Laboratory and GMZ Energy, Inc., are working to develop highly-efficient and reliable thermoelectric generators (TEGs) for wireless, self-powered sensors that will utilize thermal energy from nuclear reactors or fuel cycle. The project will identify suitable hot surfaces for TEG implementation, develop a TEG prototype, and study the radiation effect on TEG properties and performances. The research will improve the safety and reliability of nuclear power plants and spent fuel storage facilities, plus significantly expand the existing partnership between Boise State University, national laboratory, and industrial collaborators, and will provide opportunities to train and educate graduate students.

Energy-efficient construction and design

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The University of Idaho Integrated Design Lab (IDL) is supporting Idaho Power Company’s efforts to improve energy efficiency by providing professional education to the design and construction industry and technical assistance on new construction and renovations. IDL staff also are developing new commercial heat pump sizing calculation methods, researching the most effective commissioning practices to harvest daylight and reduce use of electric lighting, and studying the cost-effectiveness of energy-efficient multifamily residential design.

Read more about the Integrated Design Lab.

Helping industry save energy

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The CAES Energy Efficiency Research Institute (CEERI) launched a statewide industrial assessment center after receiving a DOE grant. Student teams at the CAES partner universities conducted free energy efficiency assessments for regional companies and manufacturing plants. The teams conducted eight visits and submitted four reports during FY 2012. Total projected energy savings identified by the teams is 1,003,464 kilowatt hours, 83,022 therms, 1,255 kilowatts and a potential cost savings of $109, 524.

Learn more about the CAES Energy Efficiency Research Institute.