DisrupTECH features superior plastics recycling, smart software, predictive mapping

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., Nov. 23, 2020—Cutting-edge technologies ranging from more effective plastics recycling to using AI for systems monitoring were recently showcased by a select group of Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists to businesses and investment groups as part of the Laboratory’s annual DisrupTECH event.

“Part of the mission of Los Alamos National Laboratory is to transition technology that was developed here to the commercial sector so the public can benefit from it,” said Kathleen McDonald, acting director of the Feynman Center for Innovation, which is the tech-transfer division of the Laboratory and host of the event. “For six years now, DisrupTECH has provided an excellent opportunity for scientists to share their promising technological innovations with the business community in hopes of commercializing it. This year was no exception.”

This year’s event, which was held virtually due to the pandemic, was divided into two sessions of six presentations each, one focusing on hardware technology and the other on software. Each session recognized two scientists with “Most Fundable” and “Best Pitch” awards.

For new hardware technology, the winner of “Most Fundable” went to Juan Leal for his proposal to use formulated solvents to dissolve mixed plastic waste into virgin materials. Eric Davis won “Best Pitch” for his presentation about a technology that provides real-time flow and material composition measurement for smarter operation management for oil and gas production.

In the software session, the “Most Fundable” award went to Neil Loychik for his technology that uses AI for systematic monitoring of operational efficiency in manufacturing processes. “Best Pitch” was awarded to Tony Shin, who presented a machine-learning algorithm for autonomous drone sensor controls for predictive mapping. Tony Shin also will represent Los Alamos in the National Lab Pitch Competition hosted by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on Dec. 2.

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