Livermore’s Kambiz Salari was awarded a Distinguished Achievement Award by the Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies Office in recognition of his aerodynamics research. He has led the Vehicle Systems Aerodynamic Drag Reduction Project for almost 20 years, and his work underpins commercial drag-reduction technologies for long-haul trucks. Salari’s scientific research has led to significant developments in the field and has accelerated the commercialization and adoption of trailer skirts, tails, and other aerodynamic equipment on trailers today. Estimated savings from commercial trailer skirts and tails are more than 1.1 billion gallons of diesel fuel per year. In 2014, Salari’s team began designing the next generation of highly aerodynamic, integrated tractor–trailers, with the goal of reducing aerodynamic drag for Class 8 trucks by 50 percent and improving fuel efficiency by 25 percent. His work is part of the Navistar SuperTruck team.
Engineers Tom Edmunds and Pedro Sotorrio received special recognition awards from the Geothermal Energy Association. Presented at the association’s National Geothermal Summit, the awards recognize their work on flexible geothermal contracts, exploring economic incentives and innovative reservoir-management strategies for geothermal plant operators. Although current contracts and business practices do not provide such flexibility, “we postulate new contract structures that would allow a geothermal plant operator to switch from providing energy-only to providing flexibility to the grid operator when it is advantageous to the plant operator to do so,” Sotorrio says.
Physicist Pierre Michel was awarded the 2015 Edouard Fabre Prize for his pioneering research into energy transfer between crossing laser beams in National Ignition Facility (NIF) hohlraums. Named for one of the founders of inertial confinement fusion (ICF) in Europe, the Edouard Fabre prize is awarded to active researchers within 15 years of their doctoral degree and is sponsored by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology Network for Inertial Confinement Fusion. Michel was selected based on his “contributions to studying the physics of laser-driven inertial confinement fusion and physics of laser-produced plasmas.” Since joining Livermore in 2006, Michel has focused on the physics of laser–plasma interactions to support the NIF ignition effort. In particular, Michel has served as the lead scientist in charge of studying and modeling cross-beam energy transfer in preparation for some of the first NIF experiments. From these studies, he successfully predicted that the implosion symmetry of fusion experiments could be tuned by relying on self-induced plasma gratings that can redirect laser energy directly inside NIF targets. This technique has been used on almost every NIF shot since then. “The work done by (Michel) has turned a potentially deleterious laser–plasma interaction mechanism . . . into a tool for balancing the spatial distribution of power and energy into an ICF hohlraum,” says the Fabre Prize award committee.