Technology Impact

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, is a national laboratory of the U.S.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, is a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) managed by the Midwest Research Group. The group recently released the report Impacts: Summary of Results from Programs Conducted by the Office of Industrial Technologies.

The report summarizes the impacts of research, development, demonstration and technology transfer conducted through 1994 by the DOE and the Office of Industrial Technologies (OIT). These OIT-supported efforts aim to find and encourage cost-effective ways for U.S. industry to reduce energy consumption and minimize waste generation.

Several projects are relative to the finishing industry. Among them is a project on dual-cure photocatalysts that reduce solvent use in coatings. The coatings, developed by 3M, reduced the amount of time needed for painting and coating. Coatings cure at temperatures as low as 60F. The system uses photocatalysts (activated by light) to simultaneously polymerize two monomers to produce a coating that does not emit VOCs. Using the new coatings, U.S. industry could reduce VOC emissions by an estimated 260,000 tons per year, according to the report.

Another project involves a plating waste concentrator that reduces pollution, recovers chemicals and saves energy. ALVAL International developed the system and has 62 units in operation. The vapor-recompression evaporator is coupled to a single-effect evaporator that uses waste heat as the energy source. The two evaporators complement one another for maximum energy efficiency. The high-efficiency is due to the capture of energy from the vapor leaving the evaporator, which is recycled through a mechanical compressor. The system recovers 100 pct of plating metals for reuse. For more information on the waste concentrator or dual-cure coatings, contact D. Gish of DOE at 202-586-1741.

The third project relative to finishing was a technology to reclaim and reuse wastewater and minimize hazardous waste. The system, developed by PPG Industries, Inc., reclaims and reuses wastewater generated during the cleaning of equipment used in water-borne painting. The contaminated water is collected separately from other wastes. It is then prefiltered to remove large solids. Next, it goes through ultrafiltration where suspended solids and high-molecular-weight particles are removed. The smallest impurities are removed by reverse osmosis. Reclaimed water is pumped to a storage tank. PPG has reduced the number of annual tanker truck trips to hazardous waste facilities from 65 to four. The system recovers 95 pct of the wastewater. For more information on this system, contact A. Schroeder at 202-586-1641.

The booklet, which covers 52 technologies, is available free by connecting the Document Distribution Service at 303-275-4363, fax: 303-275-4035 or by electronic mail at