AUSTIN, Texas — Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corp. (LMER) has signed a memorandum of collaboration with The University of Texas at Austin for research, education and technology transfer activities related to applications of separation and chemical processing technology.
LMER manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) for the Department of Energy (DOE). The memorandum was signed by David E. Reichle, ORNL associate director, and Juan M. Sanchez, associate vice president for research at UT.
The intent of the collaboration is to establish programs involving both institutions to provide an accessible separations and chemical processing research, development and demonstration (RD&D) capability to government and industry. The RD&D activities also will provide an opportunity to educate students in these areas.
Separations and chemical processing technology continue to be a critical part of U.S. manufacturing and energy production industries, as does the expertise required to use the technology. Separation-intensive industries such as petroleum refining, pharmaceuticals and mining are a large portion of the technical challenge of process industries worldwide. Meeting these challenges is important to improve U.S. competitiveness and reduce global climate impacts.
The Separations Research Program is a research unit of UT Austin’s College of Engineering. The program has 35 industrial sponsors supporting research in separations and chemical processing technology. The program conducts fundamental and applied research in six major areas-distillation, liquid-liquid extraction, adsorption, membrane separations, with separations chemical reactions and supercritical processes.
During the past 13 years, the program has evolved into one of the major centers of separations expertise in the United States. The program’s principal investigators are widely recognized for their separations technology expertise and oversee the work of over 40 graduate students. The research staff also operates large experimental equipment related to separations.
ORNL has scientific expertise in broad areas of separation science and chemical processing, having its genesis in the Manhattan District during World War II. ORNL has diversified from the early days, performing RD&D on nuclear and non-nuclear separations for a number of federal programs related to energy research, environmental management, efficient energy and renewable resources, nuclear energy and fossil energy. Current areas of RD&D include advanced solvent extraction to recover medical isotopes, bioprocessing of trees into useful chemicals, ion exchange recovery of pollutants or valuable metals and use of advanced computation to improve separation and chemical processes. ORNL also is in the process of establishing a Center for Separations and Chemical Processing to better coordinate its own capabilities, as well as providing a focal point for collaborating with other organizations such as the University of Texas.
ORNL, one of DOE’s multiprogram national research and development facilities, is managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corp.