Innovative Energy-Saving Process Earns Jefferson Lab Team a 2007 White House Award


The Jefferson Lab engineers who received a White House Closing the Circle Award were (left to right): Cryogenic Group Leader Dana Arenius, and team members Mathew Wright, Jonathan Creel, Kelly Dixon, Peter Knudsen and Venkatarao "Rao" Ganni.

NEWPORT NEWS, VA. - A series of innovative energy-saving processes invented by engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility today were celebrated with a prestigious White House Closing the Circle Award during ceremonies in Washington, D.C.

The engineers revolutionized the way helium cryogenic (refrigeration) plants work, reducing electricity consumption at Jefferson Lab and other Department of Energy scientific research facilities. The new processes require very few or no new components and nearly double the lifetime of refrigeration equipment, while improving system reliability, availability, stability and efficiency. The benefits of the combined processes will be fully realized with the construction of new facilities, but portions of the processes have already been demonstrated on existing systems with significant results, including the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton, N.Y., and the Spallation Neutron Source at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

At Jefferson Lab, an existing refrigeration system was reconfigured to allow compressors to automatically scale back when full capacity isn't needed. This process slashed the power requirements of the refrigeration system from 6 megawatts to 4.2 megawatts, resulting in a savings of $33,000 each month. The change also increased the time between necessary maintenance periods for the compressors from 45,000 hours to 74,000 hours.

The engineers also fully automated Jefferson Lab's refrigeration facilities, the first cryogenics plant to do so, using a computer-based control system for round-the-clock load-matching efficient operation without the need for round-the-clock staffing.

The Jefferson Lab engineers who received the Closing the Circle Award were: Cryogenic Group Leader Dana Arenius, and team members Jonathan Creel, Kelly Dixon, Venkatarao "Rao" Ganni, Peter Knudsen and Mathew Wright.

White House Closing the Circle Awards are presented to those federal employees and their facilities whose efforts have resulted in significant contributions to or significant positive impact on environmental stewardship. The awards are competitively selected and presented annually through the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive. A total of just 17 awards were presented during today's ceremony held at the Office of the Federal Environmental Executive.


Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, a joint venture of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc. and PAE Applied Technologies, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit