Four energy innovations developed by Sandia and its partners were recognized with R&D100 awards this month during the awards ceremony on November 17th. The awards identify the 100 most technologically significant products and advancements each year. Sandia received awards for the Microgrid Design Toolkit (MDT), a control system for active damping of inter-area oscillations, Ultra-Wide Bandgap (UWBG) power semiconductor devices, and the SolidSense “gas analyzer on a chip.” The technologies, such as SolidSense, hold promise to impact multiple industries, or—as seen in the co-developed oscillation control system—improve grid reliability.
Winners are chosen from an international pool of submissions from universities, private corporations, and government labs. Since 1976, Sandia has received more than 109 R&D 100 Awards, often referred to as the “Oscars of invention” or the “Nobel Prizes of technology.” Overall, DOE national labs received 33 of the 100 awards, recognizing innovative research with commercial potential, many of which involved collaboration with industry and academic institutions.
The Microgrid Design Toolkit (MDT) is decision support software that can provide microgrid designers the information they need to identify optimal designs for performance, reliability, and cost. The MDT is a significant advancement over anything available to designers today and is being distributed for free by the Department of Energy.
The Ultra-Wide Bandgap (UWBG) power semiconductor devices developed by researchers at Sandia National Labs could enable 10X faster switching speeds than the current state-of-the-art, passive components enabling next-generation power electronics. UWBG can also function at higher operating temperatures and in high radiation environments like space.
Researchers at Sandia National Labs have developed a control system to dampen of inter-area oscillations to improve power grid reliability. Current grids operate will below transmission capacity to avoid widespread outages due to inter-area oscillations. This control system is the first successful grid demonstration of feedback control making it a game changer for the smart grid.
Researchers at Sandia National Labs have developed a robust sensor platform that measures all EPA regulated emissions. The SolidSense-“Gas Analyzer On a Chip” provides exhaust chemistry feedback to improve combustion efficiency for engines, turbines and power plants.