Peter Christensen, the manager of technology commercialization at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, has been named the Technology Transfer Professional of the Year for the Federal Laboratory Consortium's Far West Region.
The national lab in Richland also was recognized with the regional Outstanding Technology Development award for a battery that can potentially make wind or other renewable energy more practical for the nation's electric grid.
The awards recognize creativity and effectiveness of federal laboratories in helping move laboratory-developed technology into practical use. The consortium's Far West Region covers more than 100 laboratories and facilities in eight states.
Christensen, an attorney, leads a PNNL team that is responsible for the identification and protection of intellectual property created at the laboratory and for the licensing and deployment of PNNL-created technologies.
During his five years at the laboratory, Christensen has completed 44 technology transfer agreements with industry and other partners, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small startup firms.
Several of these agreements included working out long-term relationships with the industry partner to pay for further technology development at PNNL. Christensen has also instituted new technology transfer processes to expand the pipeline of PNNL-created intellectual property available to industry.
The second award was for work on the iron vanadium redox flow battery.
Developing a large-scale energy storage device is a priority for those hoping to smoothly integrate large amounts of renewable energy, such as wind and solar, into the current electrical grid infrastructure.
Redox flow batteries, which were developed in the 1970s, have shown the most promise for doing that, but are expensive and have technical issues.
Researchers at PNNL have made significant progress in improving the performance of redox flow technologies, including dramatically improved operating range for redox flow batteries.
The PNNL-developed battery is up to 40 percent less expensive than other storage alternatives.
Battelle, which operates PNNL for the department of Energy, has signed license agreements with five companies to help commercialize vanadium redox flow battery products for utilities, power generators and industry. The companies include Aartha USA of Bellingham and UniEnergy Technologies LLC Mukilteo.
The technology was developed by PNNL's Wei Wang and Zimin Nie, as well as former PNNL staff member Baowei Chen.