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Jefferson Lab cuts $33,000 from its Electric bill

If you’re like many of us, you complain that your home's electric bill is high. Did you ever stop to consider what the cost of running Jefferson Lab is?

In an August 30 article at, John W. Glass with The Virginia Pilot tells us just how much it costs to run the Lab as well as what has been done in recent years to save on electricity and $$$.

Researchers run up monthly power bills of more than a half-million dollars - some $7 million a year.

But smashing atoms just got a little cheaper. Looking to save money for taxpayers, employees of the DOE lab have figured out a way to save approximately $1,000 a day in electricity costs.

To accelerate electrons for its nuclear physics experiments, the lab uses liquid helium to cool a superconducting metal to between minus 452 and minus 456 degrees Fahrenheit.

It's done with a huge refrigeration system that runs all day, every day. The system's helium compressors were designed to work most efficiently at maximum cooling capacity - even at times when full capacity wasn't needed.

The solution involved figuring out a way to turn down the compressors during cycles when full power isn’t needed.

The Lab's Cryogenics Group did just that with a little reconfiguring. Electricity costs have been slashed by about $33,000 a month - an annual savings of more than 5 percent.

The cycle - dubbed the Ganni Cycle after the lab's cryogenics whiz Rao Ganni - has a patent pending.

"We're concerned about energy consumption, and we want to do whatever we can to save tax dollars," Linda Ware said. "Any savings on that bill can be given back to science."

Besides saving on power bills, the process has reduced maintenance needs. The lab has shared its discovery with other DOE facilities.

The Lab's CEBAF enables researchers to smash atoms, breaking the nucleus into smaller pieces known as quarks. By doing so, scientists hope to get a better understanding of the nature of matter.

[For the full article, visit]

 — Reach Jon W. Glass at (757)446-2318 or