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PNNL scientists win 4 R&D 100 awards for environment, biology, security technologies
Date:7/8/2010

ioactive suspects won't have to stop people walking by and ask if they've had a radiopharmaceutical lately. GammaTracker will tell them on the spot if the radiation they're detecting is from plutonium, radioactive iodine or something else.

Advanced crystals developed at UM make it accurate and portable. To incorporate directionality, PNNL's Cari Seifert and her colleagues developed software that determines where the radiation is coming from based on how it travels through 18 carefully arranged crystals. Combined in a rugged unit designed by the Kansas City Plant, the GammaTracker fulfills several needs of first responders, HazMat teams and others.

Catalyzing change from petroleum to plants
Propylene Glycol from Renewable Sources

Many everyday items from food to liquid detergents and cosmetics contain the petroleum-based additive known as propylene glycol. The additive, however, can also be made from plant byproducts. Funded by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, PNNL researchers have developed a chemical catalyst that converts a plant-based compound into the additive so well that an agricultural processing company has built a production facility around it.

Archer Daniels Midland Company licensed the catalytic process from PNNL in 2006 to help consumers kick the oil habit. Adding processes to clean out impurities, ADM built a pilot plant whose highly efficient process generates the additive from plant byproducts cheap enough to compete with propylene glycol derived from oil. Now, they have completed construction of the first full-scale plant to make propylene glycol from renewable sources. The Decatur, Ill., plant is designed to produce up to 25 percent of the propylene glycol needed in the United States every year.

Even better, the plant-based feedstocks such as glycerol do not need to be generated anew to produce the additive. Glycerol is a castoff from the production of biodiesel,
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Contact: Mary Beckman
mary.beckman@pnl.gov
509-375-3688
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

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