R&D 100 Awards Honor Berkeley Lab Innovations

August 24, 2023

Two innovative technologies from the Energy Technologies Area (ETA) are among four at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) that have been honored with a 2023 R&D 100 Award.

The award, presented by R&D Magazine and selected by an independent panel of judges, recognizes the year’s 100 most innovative and disruptive technology products from industry, academia, and government-sponsored research.

For the first time this year, R&D Magazine presented Professional Awards to individuals and teams. In this new category, ETA’s Ashok Gadgil received the 2023 R&D Leader of the Year Award and ETA’s Energy Management System team received the 2023 R&D Team of the Year.

Berkeley Lab’s winning technologies improve research tools, generate green hydrogen, provide software tools for materials discovery, and figure out the future of charging stations for electric vehicles. The winning teams will be celebrated at the R&D 100 gala banquet in San Diego on November 16, 2023.

Below are descriptions of the ETA winners:

Cost-effective and clean hydrogen production with molten catalysis

Hydrogen tankHydrogen as a new fuel is critical to decarbonizing our economy and reducing our environmental impact. However, many processes that produce hydrogen also produce carbon dioxide (CO2), a known greenhouse gas. A team of Berkeley Lab researchers has improved a process called methane pyrolysis to produce hydrogen and carbon without CO2 emissions. The researchers developed a ternary-liquid-metal-catalyst for methane pyrolysis. Their new “multi-catalyst” could simultaneously perform with high efficiency, selectivity, and durability for methane pyrolysis at mild temperatures (450-800 oC). Most importantly, this new catalyst can be easily fabricated using non-precious metal elements, making it both scalable and cost-effective for industrial use. The technology was filed for US patent application (Homogeneous Ternary Liquid Metal System for Clean Hydrogen Production – Intellectual Property Office) and the core science understanding was accepted in journal Science.

The development team led by Ji Su includes Luning Chen, Shuchen Zhang, Zhigang Song, Gabor A Somorjai, Miquel Salmeron, David Prendergast, Chaochao Dun, Jeff Urban, Jinghua Guo, Xinxin Peng, Yu-Chun Chuang, Chung-Kai Chang, Jeng-Lung Chen

Berkeley Lab researcher headshots montageHEVI-LOAD: A tool for projecting infrastructure needs for medium and heavy-duty electric vehicles

As the decarbonization of the transportation sector continues, government agencies, transportation planners, private clean energy practitioners, and medium and heavy-duty (MHD) electric vehicle drivers are wondering what kind of infrastructure will be needed and where it will be needed. Berkeley Lab scientists have developed a tool to help answer these and related questions: Medium- and Heavy-Duty Electric Vehicle Infrastructure – Load Operation and Deployment (HEVI-LOAD). HEVI-LOAD is a software tool that helps predict the needs of MHD electric vehicles. Its projections include requirements for the electric grid and charging infrastructure such as the type, number, and location of charging stations for the state of California and beyond. The data is visualized and presented in a dashboard application that allows the user to view large and small results down to the county level. The tool has been supported by the California Energy Commission and the US Department of Energy, Vehicle Technology Office’s Analysis Program.

The development team led by Bin Wang includes Wanshi Hong, Cong Zhang, Fan Tong and Douglas Black.

Inaugural R&D 100 Professional Awards winners

In addition to recognizing the year’s 100 most innovative and disruptive technologies, R&D Magazine awarded this year R&D 100 Professional Awards. This award honors exceptional leaders and teams for their achievements in R&D. One team and one scientist from Berkeley Lab have been awarded with this honor this year.

Ashok Gadgil headshotAshok Gadgil receives R&D Leader of the Year Award

Ashok Gadgil receives the R&D Leader of the Year Award for his more than 30 years of dedication to creating technological innovations for safe drinking water, clean air, sustainable energy, and reduced child mortality. His work has benefited the health and dignity of low-resource communities throughout the years. In addition to his innovative work, he has worked tirelessly to implement his solutions nationally and internationally. Throughout his career, he has mentored numerous students, directed a national laboratory research division, led a binational clean water-energy technology research organization, directed a university development impact lab, and developed and taught courses at UC Berkeley.

Energy Management Systems Team receives R&D 100 Professional Team of the Year Award

The Energy Management Systems Team receives the R&D 100 Professional Team of the Year Award from R&D World for its ongoing international efforts to advance energy management business practices in the commercial, manufacturing, and institutional sectors. The team has collectively built on each other’s strengths to make a profound impact in their respective fields. By leveraging their diverse academic and personal backgrounds, the team has created a technical program that reaches people working in all sectors of the economy. The team has published international standards, conducted original research, delivered technical assistance to organizations globally, developed professional workforce certification programs, and partnered with private and public sector organizaEnergy Management Team group phototions to accelerate the deployment of energy management business practices. The team’s resources and practices have been adopted by tens of thousands of organizations worldwide, including large and small manufacturers, regional hospital groups, government agencies, schools and universities, and corporate and boutique hotel chains. To learn more about energy management system business practices, visit 50001Ready.lbl.gov.

The team includes Amy Pevzner, Ana Comesaña, Arian Aghajanzadeh, Bunmi Adesola, Christopher Payne, Graziella Siciliano, Heidi Fuchs, Natalie Sherman, Nick Karki, Paul Sheaffer, Peter Therkelsen, Prakash Rao, Rory Schmick, Sergio Dias, Vestal Tutterow, Vi Rapp, William Miller.

For information about licensing the above technologies, contact [email protected].
To see all of the winning Berkeley Lab technologies, see the full article at the Berkeley Lab News Center.


Cara Laasch