Environmental technologies earn award for PNNL

April 29, 2005

RICHLAND, Wash. - Three water-related research developments have earned the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory a Technology Merit Award in the 2005 Business Achievement Awards competition sponsored by the Environmental Business Journal.

The laboratory was recognized for an environmentally sensitive design for marine docks, a process for removing mercury from industrial wastes and a system that tracks the behavior and fate of migrating juvenile salmon.


Docks typically harm nearshore marine life. PNNL, Miller/Hull Partnership architects of Seattle and a dozen stakeholders teamed to create a new kind of dock at the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Wash.

Opened in May 2004, the new dock supports a restored eelgrass bed that provides habitat for Dungeness crab, salmon and other species. Above water, the dock is designed to accommodate vessels ranging from tall ships to sea kayaks, plus a future educational center.

The dock also received the international Waterfront Center's 2004 Urban Waterfront Projects Award for environmental protection and enhancement. The jury chair called the dock "a $1.5-million experiment - a relatively small undertaking - that has the potential to influence thinking and design elsewhere."


Researchers at PNNL and the National Marine Fisheries Service have developed a sophisticated yet simple underwater acoustic system that reveals the behavior and fate of migrating juvenile Chinook salmon as they pass through the Columbia River hydropower system and the lower Columbia River estuary.

The system consists of tiny microtransmitters implanted in salmon and receivers anchored to the river bottom that individually identify each tagged fish and record behavioral data. The information will be used to find new ways to increase salmon survival, avoid impacts on migrating juvenile salmon from activities associated with jetty repair and channel deepening, and aid restoration of critical estuarine habitat.

PNNL and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have successfully tested the system for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on fish released at Bonneville Dam and monitored at the mouth of the Columbia River. PNNL and NOAA will conduct extensive juvenile salmon survival studies with the new system this year.


PNNL researchers have developed a cost-effective nanomaterial to remove mercury from industrial wastes without producing harmful byproducts or secondary waste. The inexpensive, easy-to-use technology is called Self-Assembled Monolayers on Mesoporous Supports for mercury, or Thiol-SAMMS.

Thiol-SAMMS adsorbs mercury 500 to 1,000 times faster than other materials, pulling more than 99.9 percent of the mercury out of solution in the first five minutes. Preliminary lifetime estimates indicate that removing one kilogram of mercury using Thiol-SAMMS will cost 60 to 90 percent less than traditional methods.

Thiol-SAMMS has been used to remove mercury from laboratory wastes and is currently part of an ongoing commercialization effort with Perry Equipment Corp. of Mineral Wells, Texas. The technology can also be tailored to remove other contaminants.

The awards competition is sponsored by Environmental Business International www.ebiusa.com, publisher of the journal and provider of news, research reports and consulting services worldwide.
Business inquiries on environmental or other areas of research at PNNL should be directed to 888-375-PNNL or inquiry@pnl.gov. PNNL (www.pnl.gov) is a DOE Office of Science laboratory that solves complex problems in energy, national security, the environment and life sciences by advancing the understanding of physics, chemistry, biology and computation. PNNL employs 4,000 staff, has a $650 million annual budget, and has been managed by Ohio-based Battelle since the lab's inception in 1965.

DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Related Mercury Articles from Brightsurf:

Mercury's 400 C heat may help it make its own ice
Despite Mercury's 400 C daytime heat, there is ice at its caps, and now a study shows how that Vulcan scorch probably helps the planet closest to the sun make some of that ice.

New potential cause of Minamata mercury poisoning identified
One of the world's most horrific environmental disasters--the 1950 and 60s mercury poisoning in Minamata, Japan--may have been caused by a previously unstudied form of mercury discharged directly from a chemical factory, research by the University of Saskatchewan (USask) has found.

New nanomaterial to replace mercury
Ultraviolet light is used to kill bacteria and viruses, but UV lamps contain toxic mercury.

Wildfire ash could trap mercury
In the summers of 2017 and 2018, heat waves and drought conditions spawned hundreds of wildfires in the western US and in November, two more devastating wildfires broke out in California, scorching thousands of acres of forest, destroying homes and even claiming lives.

Removing toxic mercury from contaminated water
Water which has been contaminated with mercury and other toxic heavy metals is a major cause of environmental damage and health problems worldwide.

Fish can detox too -- but not so well, when it comes to mercury
By examining the tissues at a subcellular level, the researchers discovered yelloweye rockfish were able to immobilize several potentially toxic elements within their liver tissues (cadmium, lead, and arsenic) thus preventing them from interacting with sensitive parts of the cell.

Chemists disproved the universal nature of the mercury test
The mercury test of catalysts that has been used and considered universal for 100 years, turned out to be ambiguous.

Mercury rising: Are the fish we eat toxic?
Canadian researchers say industrial sea fishing may be exposing people in coastal and island nations to excessively high levels of mercury.

New estimates of Mercury's thin, dense crust
Michael Sori, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona, used careful mathematical calculations to determine the density of Mercury's crust, which is thinner than anyone thought.

Understanding Mercury's magnetic tail
Theoretical physicists used simulations to explain the unusual readings collected in 2009 by the Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging mission.

Read More: Mercury News and Mercury Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.