DOE Environmental Sustainability Award to Three from APS

DECEMBER 18, 2009

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At the presentation ceremony, left to right: John Houck (SC-ASO), Geoff Pile, Ali Nassiri, Elroy Chang, Bill Ruzicka (Director, ANL-AES), and Gregg Kulma (ANL-ESQ).

Elroy Chang (ANL-AES), Ali Nassiri (ANL-ASD), and Geoff Pile (ANL-PSC) have been presented with a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Environmental Sustainability Award for the “Reduction, Re-use, Recycling, and Re-buying of Dielectric Oils.” The award, signed by W.F. Brinkman, Director of the Office of Science, was presented to Chang, Nassiri, and Pile on behalf of Argonne National Laboratory at a ceremony in November 2009.

The Environmental Sustainability Awards are presented annually in conjunction with DOE’s Environmental Protection Program to organizations and projects that make significant contributions to achieving DOE’s sustainable environmental stewardship goals.

The Argonne project involved purifying two types of existing dielectric oil with a filtering system in order to reuse the oil. Dielectric oil comes from tanks in the Advanced Photon Source (APS) radio-frequency systems, where it is used for high-voltage insulation. Pile, Nassiri, and Chang led the in-house effort to develop purification units that used a twin Baron purification system to remove the carbon that results after the oil has been exposed to high voltage. The Baron system degasifies, dehydrates, and filters the dielectric oil to extend its life. The typical useful lifetime for these dielectric (“R-temp”) oils is one year. The process employed at Argonne extends the lifetime of the oil, reducing the total volume of oil needing replacement. Without this process, the ASD Radio Frequency Group (RFG) would have to replace 2500 gallons of oil on an annual basis.

When the R-temp oil, which is non-toxic and biodegradable, no longer meets performance specifications, the RFG coordinates with Argonne's waste management group to recycle the oil through a company that refines the oil to the quality of new oil. The selection of R-temp by Argonne demonstrates the use of a "green" product and process to protect the environment.  Over the last three years the RFG has recycled approximately 3000 gallons of R-temp oil at a savings of $25,000 per year.