Idaho National Laboratory Fellow Steve Herring retired from INL last month after a storied career studying an extensive variety of energy and nuclear topics.Idaho engineer is energy Renaissance man

From superconducting magnets to high-temperature hydrogen production, and from submerged nuclear reactors to liquefied-natural-gas (LNG) vehicles, Steve Herring, a Laboratory Fellow at DOE's Idaho National Laboratory, has studied an extensive variety of energy and nuclear topics.

Herring got his start in engineering as a 13-year-old, building a linear induction electric motor while in the hospital recovering from an appendectomy. Drawing on his dual degrees in electrical and mechanical engineering from Iowa State (1971), Herring served in the U.S. Army Electronics Command Laboratories and studied at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, Switzerland.

While there, Herring studied nuclear engineering for a year, taking courses taught only in German. Upon returning to the U.S., he earned his doctorate in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and began working at INL in 1979.

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Close-up view of the high-speed propeller inside the injector. Photo credit: Elle Starkman/PPPLPPPL successfully tests system for mitigating instabilities called “ELMs”

DOE’s Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory has successfully tested a Laboratory-designed device to be used to diminish the size of instabilities known as “edge localized modes (ELMs)” on the DIII–D tokamak that General Atomics operates for the U.S. Department of Energy in San Diego. Such instabilities can damage the interior of fusion facilities.

The PPPL device injects granular lithium particles into tokamak plasmas to increase the frequency of the ELMs. The method aims to make the ELMs smaller and reduce the amount of heat that strikes the divertor that exhausts heat in fusion facilities.

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See also…

DOE Pulse
  • Number 425  |
  • October 27, 2014
  • Study sheds new light on why batteries go bad

    An apparatus used to charge lithium ion coin cell batteries at various rates with different levels of current at the Stanford Institute for Materials Science and Engineering. A comprehensive look at how tiny particles in a lithium ion battery electrode behave shows that rapid-charging the battery and using it to do high-power, rapidly draining work may not be as damaging as researchers had thought – and that the benefits of slow draining and charging may have been overestimated.

    The results challenge the prevailing view that “supercharging” batteries is always harder on battery electrodes than charging at slower rates, according to researchers from Stanford University and the Stanford Institute for Materials & Energy Sciences (SIMES) at DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.

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  • More haste, less waste

    Scientists used a technique to shave time off computationally expensive global climate simulations. Like a sleek, modern sports car, a climate model has a complex computer engine running underneath. As the demand grows for the models to produce faster simulations with more details, the computer engine takes up more time and space. This computational cost edges some climate questions out of the nation’s limited number of supercomputers. Using a novel computational approach, scientists at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found a way to reduce the computational cost dramatically and get the climate answers hundreds of times faster.

    The PNNL team calculated the climate simulations from a number of short simulations rather than from a single, multi-year simulation. Using the Community Atmosphere Model, they initialized the short simulations with different weather conditions so that they were independent runs, carried out simultaneously.

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  • Industry, investors count on NREL's modeling tools

    NREL's Nate Blair and Suzanne Tegen take a look at NREL's Solar Prospector tool, which provides information about the sun's resource potential at any spot in the nation. Industry is using models created by NREL to plan for renewable energy installations. Photo by Dennis Schroeder, NREL Whenever installers attach solar panels to rooftops, utilities debate the merits of a wind farm, or investors mull the potential return on a concentrating solar power (CSP) plant, there's a good chance that the performance and risk models created by DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) come into play.

    Can a rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system work for all the homeowners in a particular neighborhood, or only for the ones with a 40-degree pitch to their roofs? Will the wind resource that works in a west Texas county work as well one county over?

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  • Four Corners methane hotspot points to coal-related sources

    Los Alamos National Laboratory measurement instruments were placed in the field for analysis of Four Corners area power plant emissions. A large, persistent methane hot spot has existed over the Four Corners area of the U.S. Southwest for almost a decade, confirmed by remote regional-scale ground measurements of the gas by DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    “A detailed analysis indicates that methane emissions in the region are actually three times larger than reported by EPA. Our analysis demonstrates that current EPA inventories are missing huge methane sources in the region,” said Manvendra Dubey, a Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist on the project. “We attribute this hot spot to fugitive leaks from coal-bed methane that actually preceded recent concerns about potential emissions from fracking,” Dubey said.

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