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[Sandia Lab News]

Vol. 55, No. 4        February 21, 2003
[Sandia National Laboratories]

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185-0165    ||   Livermore, California 94550-0969
Tonopah, Nevada; Nevada Test Site; Amarillo, Texas

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Carbon sequestration Sandia, Bureau of Reclamation scope desalination R&D Consortium honors EUVL project Labs, UNM launch policy center Sandia researchers named members of NAE

Sandia helps research team study underground disposal of carbon dioxide at New Mexico oil field

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By John German

Sandia is helping the US government take the first small steps toward reducing net US fossil-fuel emissions by examining how some human-produced CO2 could be put back where it came from -- the oil patch.

Since late December a multi-organizational research team has been pumping CO2 gas into a depleted oil reservoir near Hobbs, N.M. As the reservoir fills, they listen to what is happening thousands of feet underground with the help of instruments that measure subtle subterranean changes.

The team's goal is to improve existing models that help researchers predict where CO2 will go after it is pumped into a reservoir, how far and how fast it will move, and what chemical reactions occur as the gas interacts with underground minerals.

They also want to identify remote sensing techniques that are sensitive enough to measure these changes.

And they want to know what the capacity of the reservoir is and how close that capacity matches their estimates.

"This is an experiment," says Hank Westrich (1011), former manager of Geochemistry Dept. 6118. "We don't know if it is going to stay in the reservoir or migrate to an adjacent oil or gas reservoir immediately, or whether it might vent to the surface. We need to know that."

US power plants each year pump into the atmosphere some 2.4 gigatons of carbon dioxide produced in the burning of fossil fuels. Automobile emissions account for many more gigatons per year.

It's a health hazard to those who breathe it, and if global climate change is real, emissions of man-made CO2 are probably a leading cause.

The southern New Mexico collaboration is one of several regional partnerships that make up DOE's Carbon Sequestration Program, funded by the Office of Fossil Energy.

The larger program is exploring all the ways carbon dioxide could be captured at the smokestack and disposed of in a safe place.

It supports the President's Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI), which seeks to slow the increase of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and to ensure that a suite of commercially ready sequestration technologies are available by 2012.

DOE-funded teams, for instance, are exploring the possibility of injecting CO2 into aquifers or the deep ocean, where the gas would be harmlessly dissolved in water.

Others are studying how to speed or improve the natural carbon absorption processes of forests and the ocean's surface.

The total capacity of US geologic repositories -- depleted oil and natural gas reservoirs, aquifers, and unmineable coal beds -- is estimated to be between 300 and 3,200 gigatons of carbon dioxide.

The DOE program proposes a combination of various carbon sequestration efforts to significantly lower net carbon dioxide emissions long enough for the US to transition to cleaner energy sources.

The oil reservoir project is led by DOE's National Energy Technology Lab and includes researchers from Sandia, the Colorado School of Mines, the Petroleum Resource Recovery Center at New Mexico Tech, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Kinder Morgan, an enhanced-oil-recovery company.

Using a small, one-mile-square depleted oil reservoir near Hobbs, donated as a test bed for the project by Strata Production Company, the team pumped about 30 tons of CO2 per day into the reservoir from early December until mid February.

As the gas was injected, downhole geophones much more sensitive than the human ear listened for the snap, crackle, and pop that occurred as the gas induced very small earthquakes called microseisms. Such sounds, it was hoped, would help the researchers follow the CO2 front as the gas spread underground.

Other seismic monitoring was done before and after the gas injection using lines of geophones laid out on the surface above the reservoir. As a truck with a large gas-driven thumper, parked at various locations on the surface, created vibrations, the surface instruments measured seismic waves that reflect off underground features.

Seismic surveys also are being performed between wells that straddle the reservoir. A pressurized air gun creates vibrations from one well while sensors in the other record the vibration signatures. Readings are being taken as the sensors are moved up the borehole in 10-foot increments.

With the gigabytes of data they are producing, the team will create three-dimensional images of the underground geology. The data will be compared with those from similar measurements taken before the CO2 was injected into the reservoir.

Changes between the two sets of images will provide clues about what is happening underground. Los Alamos and the Colorado School of Mines are performing the data analysis.

The data also will be used to adapt 3-D geophysical computer models used for oil and gas exploration to models that will help predict results of future geologic carbon sequestration efforts.

"The current models depend on some assumptions," says Norm Warpinski (6116), Sandia carbon sequestration program manager. "We don't know where those assumptions are wrong."

"We might raise more questions than we answer," he says. "But that's OK. This is a stepping stone to larger projects."

Sandia's role is to provide technical support of the geologic modeling effort and study in detail the chemical reactivity and fate of the CO2 in laboratory tests.

During the past year Sandia researchers have conducted a series of lab experiments on core samples from the reservoir to study the expected chemical interactions between the CO2, a brine, and the underground minerals. They'll test post-CO2 core samples, as well.

The Strata reservoir near Hobbs is the first US site dedicated to CO2 sequestration rather than enhanced oil recovery. (The oil industry pumps CO2 into active oil reservoirs as a way to recover remaining oil that is difficult to extract.)

Sandians involved in the project include Norm, Jim Krumhansl (6118), Carlos Jove-Colon (6851), John Lorenz, Scott Cooper (both 6116), and Hank. - - John German

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Sandia, Bureau of Reclamation release research strategy for cost-effective water desalination

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By John German

Sandia and the US Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) last week announced the release of a Technology Roadmap to guide future investments necessary to reduce the cost of water desalination.

The report, compiled by a panel of experts, also outlines needed advanced water treatment technologies.

Desalination technologies could provide new processes to remove salts and other contaminants from impaired waters cost-effectively and efficiently.

"The development of an adequate and viable water supply for the 21st century requires the coordinated efforts of many organizations in both the public and private sectors," says Tom Hinkebein (6113), the roadmap program manager who, along with Marie Garcia (1010), represented Sandia on the panel.

"The Technology Roadmap provides the framework for those interactions," he says.

The research roadmap defines a research and development path for desalination technologies, beginning today and continuing through the year 2020. If implemented, the strategy would support finding solutions to the nation's water supply-related needs by advancing water desalination technologies, he says.

"Cost reduction is the single most important factor necessary to increase the implementation of desalination, which will in turn reduce pressure on our limited fresh water supplies," says John Keys, Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. "As we enter the fourth year of a drought in many western states, it is imperative that we develop new technologies to increase our domestic water supply."

The report is expected to be used to guide decision making by Congress, federal agencies, utilities, and research institutions and individuals funding or conducting desalination research.

The Bureau of Reclamation is asking the National Academy of Sciences' National Research Council (NRC) to review the report to address whether the roadmap presents an appropriate and effective course to help address future freshwater needs in the United States.

The NRC also is asked to identify general priorities for research investments. A final report of the roadmap committee will be issued that incorporates the comments from the NRC and other national desalination experts.

Development of the roadmap began with a discussion among members of an expert panel of major national-level water supply needs over the next several decades and included several case studies drawn from across the nation, says Tom.

Sandia and the Bureau of Reclamation convened the panel, which included representatives of the private sector, municipal water agencies, academic and other research institutions, and the federal government.

The report is available here. - - John German

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UNM and Sandia, with Lockheed Martin support, launch new policy center

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By John German

Officials of the University of New Mexico, Sandia, and Lockheed Martin on Wednesday signed an agreement that formalizes a unique collaborative initiative to nurture scholarly thought and research on policy issues linked to national and international security.

The agreement created a new Office for Policy, Security, and Technology at UNM. The office will focus on policy areas where technology and security are related, such as weapons of mass destruction, arms control and nonproliferation, terrorism and homeland security, environment, energy, critical infrastructures, borders, sustainable development, and region-specific issues such as water scarcity.

Signing the office's charter at a ceremony and news conference on Wednesday were UNM Acting President F. Chris Garcia, Labs President C. Paul Robinson, and Lockheed Martin Executive Vice President Michael Camardo.

The office will apply a multidisciplinary approach to its investigations, drawing on the expertise of political science, economics, and other social sciences together with expertise and relationships from technical disciplines and programs. Collaborations within and between Sandia and UNM will be of special attention, but the office will actively seek to facilitate collaborations among multiple institutions and across disciplines.

"Technology can be a causative or curative agent of insecurity, but often can only be fully understood in a broader framework including economic, social, or political factors," says Roger Hagengruber (10), the office's first director.

"This office will seek to forge broad alliances among the many experts in diverse fields at UNM, Sandia, and other organizations around the world committed to supporting thoughtful and effective national and international policy," he says. "The relationship between the University and one of the nation's national labs will be a unique advantage."

Roger most recently served as the Labs' senior vice president for nonproliferation and arms

control. His Sandia career included assignments to negotiating teams in Geneva and service on national panels dealing with national and international security issues.

He also is a political science professor at UNM and is director of UNM's Institute for Public Policy (IPP), which operates a survey research center to collect and analyze public attitudes about a variety of public policy issues including technology and national security.

The office will be located at UNM under Vice Provost for Research Terry Yates. A board of directors including a senior executive each from UNM and Sandia and one member of the community will oversee its activities.

Lockheed Martin is providing startup funding -- $250,000 a year for five years. The long-term goal is to create a base of support from corporations, policy foundations, government agencies, and other institutions that would make the office self-sufficient, says Roger.

The primary function of the office, he says, will be to provide an environment where researchers from diverse disciplines and organizations can engage in research, projects, and education in support of the public service missions of UNM and Sandia.

In doing so, it will initiate research, develop curricula, organize conferences and seminars, host visiting scholars, engage students and interns, and convene multidisciplinary teams and task forces.

Among the office's first efforts, says Roger, will be to conduct an in-depth analysis of more than a decade of public opinion data on national security issues that has been collected for Sandia by the IPP.

The office will also develop curricula for short courses intended for students, business leaders, and government officials on such topics as homeland security, weapons of mass destruction, and terrorism; create a master's degree program in international policy and technology; organize a conference on technology and security topics of specific interest to New Mexico and the Southwest such as water and border issues; and initiate a distinguished speakers series to share the perspectives of national and international luminaries in related fields. - - John German

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Tech transfer consortium honors EUVL project

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By Nancy Garcia

The Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer has granted the Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUVL) project an Excellency in Technology Transfer award for its next-generation technology to produce faster and more powerful microchips.

The EUVL team is made up of scientists and researchers from Sandia, Lawrence Livermore, and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories working as the Virtual National Laboratory. The team has successfully transferred the EUVL technology under a multiyear CRADA (cooperative research and development agreement) to the Extreme Ultraviolet Limited Liability Co. (EUV LLC), a consortium headed by Intel Corporation that includes chipmakers Advanced Micro Devices, IBM, Infineon, Micron Technologies, and Motorola.

Current lithography technology -- which uses light, focused by lenses, to imprint features etched on a silicon chip -- has advanced during the past 25 years to essentially double the number of features that can be packed onto each chip every two years. However, by 2007, the steady reduction in feature sizes possible with visible and ultraviolet-light lithography is expected to reach a physical limit, halting advances in the speed and power of microprocessors.

EUVL has been targeted by industry as the next-generation lithography approach to be introduced in 2007 for high-volume manufacturing. It uses extreme ultraviolet light with a wavelength 10 times shorter than the current wavelengths. Since the shorter wavelength is absorbed by lenses, the EUVL system must use a reflective optical system (coated mirrors) instead of transmitting lenses for the operating wavelength of 134 angstroms. Industry watchers say EUV lithography could be used for the next decade, contrasting current lithographic techniques that are typically outdated within a few years.

The first full-scale prototype EUVL machine, located at Sandia's California site, was completed in 2001. The technology demonstrated by the prototype machine will make possible microprocessors that are 10 times faster with 10 times as many active transistors and memory chips that can store 40 times more information.

"This recognition marks another milestone in the evolution of EUVL technology," says Don Sweeney, Livermore's EUVL program manager and director of the EUV Virtual National Laboratory. "It truly is an honor to be recognized for the successful transfer of fundamental science developed at the national laboratory level to the private sector."

The FLC award is given only to organizations that have successfully transferred a technology to a commercial company. A panel of technology transfer experts from industry, state and local government, academia, and the federal laboratory system evaluated the nominations.

The Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer is a nationwide network of more than 700 federal laboratories that provides a forum to develop strategies and opportunities for linking laboratory technologies with the commercial marketplace. The FLC was organized in 1974 and formally chartered by the Federal Technology Transfer Act of 1986 to promote and strengthen technology transfer nationwide. -- Nancy Garcia

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Romig, Jakowatz, Asay elected to National Academy of Engineering

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By Ken Frazier

"Pretty exciting, isn't it?"

That was how Sandia VP Al Romig put it about news last Friday that three Sandians, Jack Jakowatz, Jim Asay, and Al himself, had been elected to membership in the National Academy of Engineering. Election to the NAE is among the highest professional distinctions that can be accorded an engineer.

"I am personally pleased but am absolutely delighted at the honor that having three

Sandians elected brings to the work of the Labs," says Al.

"It's great news," said George Samara (1120), one of Sandia's earlier elected NAE members, in spreading word around the Labs of the honors. "Heartiest congratulations to Al, Jack, and Jim."

Academy membership honors those who have made "important contributions to engineering theory and practice, including

significant contributions to the literature of engineering theory and practice," and those who have demonstrated accomplishment in "the pioneering of new fields of engineering, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/ implementing innovative approaches to engineering education."

NAE President Wm. A. Wulf announced the awards in Washington on Feb. 14.

The three Sandians were among 77 new members and nine foreign associates elected, bringing the total NAE US membership to 2,138 and the number of foreign associates to 165.

This is the first time three Sandians have been elected to NAE membership in the same year. And, as Al points out, it means that five Sandians have been elected in the last two years. Last year Jeff Brinker and Gordon Osbourn were elected (Lab News, Feb. 22, 2002). Al says he believes this brings the number of Sandians, including retired Sandians, elected to NAE over the years to about 15.

Here are the NAE listings and citations:

Charles [Jack] Jakowatz Jr., Manager, Signal Processing and Research Dept. 5912. "For innovations in synthetic-aperture radar-image processing critical to military applications and environmental monitoring."

Alton [Al] Romig Jr., Vice President, Science, Technology, and Partnerships, and chief technology officer. "For outstanding contributions to the science and technology of materials and for innovative research and development of defense systems."

James Asay, Deputy Director, Weapon Science Applications, Sandia. "For leadership in engineering research and management of shock waves and for the development of tools that have contributed to national security." Jim retired recently from Sandia after 32 years and is now a research professor and associate director at the Institute for Shock Physics at Washington State University, Pullman. Last fall he was honored with the American Physical Society's Shock Compression Science Award (Lab News, Oct. 10, 2002).

"I was extremely proud to hear that the National Academy of Engineering had elected three more Sandians to membership," says Sandia President and Labs Director C. Paul Robinson, who himself was elected to NAE in 1998. "Each is exceptionally worthy of membership, and it's even more remarkable that the specialties of these three are so diverse: Al Romig, who is a premier materials scientist, Jim Asay, who is a world-recognized expert in equation-of-state technology, and 'Jack' Jakowatz, who has pioneered real-time SAR with many important applications.

"I'm especially proud that the Academy has seen fit to induct these individuals, particularly since some of their greatest accomplishments have been performed in the classified realm. It should be encouraging to all Sandia engineers that such outstanding work can be awarded Academy membership." -- Ken Frazier

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Last modified: February 20, 2003

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