Argonne Grants Target Waste Reduction

Article excerpt

Byline: Schmitt & Culloton

Argonne National Laboratory has received two federal grants totaling $1.5 million to pay for research that may help the paper and aluminum-casting industries cut costs and reduce waste.

Research scientist Ali Erdemir will lead the research on a two-year study looking at the possibility of using boric acid as a lubricant in the aluminum casting process. The $600,000 study will begin this month, Erdemir said.

Aluminum producers now use chemical lubricants. The problem, Erdemir said, is those chemicals must be washed off before the aluminum can be painted or further processed. That uses significant energy and leaves a troublesome byproduct.

"In the end, you will be saving energy and will be left with less pollution to deal with," he said.

Also, Argonne will share a $905,000 grant with the University of Maine to use artificial intelligence techniques to develop computer models that will simulate the production processes of a paper mill.

Researchers can't study the paper-making process using typical computer models because it is too complex, said research scientist Constantine Tzanos.

Artificial intelligence methods will allow scientists first to mimic the paper mill processes on computer and then determine ways to improve the system, Tzanos said.

The goal is improved energy efficiency, productivity and quality of the paper, while producing less waste.

* * *

It's not even Halloween: If store Christmas displays are too much for you already, you probably won't appreciate GTE Airfone Inc. …