LBL Currents -- August 19, 1994

New technique to clean up fossil fuel emissions

By Jeffery Kahn,

Stepping up the attack against acid rain and smog, Energy and Environment Division researchers have developed a new technology to help eliminate sulfur dioxide air pollution from power plants, incinerators, chemical plants, and smelters.

Part of a multistage treatment system, the new process treats concentrated sulfur dioxide, converting more than 95 percent of it to a valuable commodity--elemental sulfur, a chemical feedstock that can be sold.

A number of effective technologies have been developed to treat fossil fuel emissions before venting them into the atmosphere. However, due to the cost, most of the world's power plants do not significantly treat exhaust gases. Likewise, utilities often elect not to burn abundant fuels such as coal, which have a relatively high sulfur content, because of the expense of removing sulfur dioxide.

The E & E Division team, which includes Shih-Ger Chang and visiting professors Yun Jin and Qiquan Yu from Bejing University, say the primary advantages of their new technology are its simplicity and affordability.

The process relies on the team's invention, a new catalyst for which a patent is pending.

Says Chang, "The catalyst consists of an inexpensive mixture of iron-based metal oxides supported on alumina. We have tested it in the laboratory over a lifetime of 1,080 hours and the catalytic activity is very stable. The yield of sulfur recovery over the course of our lifetime test was 96.5 percent."

Dealing with sulfur has frustrated the emergence of one promising clean coal technology, the Integrated Gasification Combined-Cycle (IGCC) method. The method can convert 42 percent of the energy potential in coal into electricity, a seven-percent improvement over the technologies now in common use.

IGCC combines coal, water, and heat to produce a synthetic gas that consists of carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and hydrogen sulfide. However, before this hot gas can be burned to produce electricity, the hydrogen sulfide must be treated.

Researchers have been looking for a way to remove the hydrogen sulfide from the initial synthetic hot gas mix. One technique under development sprays the hot gas with metal salts, which ultimately results in the production of reusable metal salts and concentrated sulfur dioxide

In the new LBL process, synthesis gas and concentrated sulfur dioxide are fed into a catalytic chamber, which in a single step, reduces more than 95 percent of the sulfur dioxide to elemental sulfur. This makes the IGCC method more efficient and more affordable.

Lab issues call for voluntary layoffs

Reduction-in-Force status for several divisions

By Lynn Yarris,

A Reduction In Force (RIF) status was announced last week for all LBL Operations and Administration divisions. Effective August 8, the RIF status means that all hiring activity, promotions, and reclassifications in those divisions are temporarily frozen.

The Laboratory may have to lay off between 35 and 50 employees from the affected divisions. Volunteers will be considered in lieu of others and those interested in taking a voluntary layoff should contact their divisional offices as soon as possible. The RIF status is the result of reductions in LBL's funding base for FY95.

"The income to the Laboratory is not adequate to keep up with inflation," said Klaus Berkner, Associate Laboratory Director for Operations. "As a consequence, we have more people than we have money to support."

The areas impacted include the Accelerator and Fusion Research Division, the Engineering Division, the Information and Computing Sciences Division, the Environment, Health and Safety Division, the Facilities Department, and the Administration Division.

Employees who are to be laid off will be notified by mid-September.

One big happy family

Last October, Currents ran a story about Fred Dycus, a design draftsman in Facilities, and his family, which was eagerly awaiting government clearance to adopt five Ethiopian children. The brothers and sisters were orphaned during the civil war in their country.

On a two-day trip to Africa this spring, Dycus and his wife, Marva, brought back the five new additions to join their five natural children. All twelve recently posed for their first portrait.

"People said that it would take awhile for the kids to really fit into the family," he says. "But within a week, everyone felt like brothers and sisters. There's been a lot of love."

Dycus admits that five more growing bodies has put a strain on the budget. "The main thing has just been buying more food," he says. Each week the family goes through six gallons of milk, five large boxes of cereal, ten loaves of bread and "lots of macaroni and cheese."

Transportation has been another concern, as simple family outings have taken on problems commonly associated with mass transit. Dycus says he hopes to buy a 15-passenger van, with proper seats and seatbelts for everyone.

He says the children's education is going smoothly. (They are being schooled at home.) He says the kids, who range in age from two to ten, love listening to stories in English and are learning the new language at a furious clip. "Its been incredible how fast they've picked up the syntax in four months," he says. Dycus says he would like to thank the LBL employees who have contributed money and clothing to help the children settle into their new home.

PHOTO CAPTION -- The Dycus family are (top row, left to right) Michael, Fred, Bayley, (row 2) Nina, Marva, Delia, (row 3) Amy, Fred Jr., Phoebe, (row 4) Titus, America, and (at bottom) Liberty. The last five are the adopted children, listed with their new American names.

In Memoriam--Eric Young

Eric Young, a former LBL Engineering Division staff member, died of a heart attack in Berkeley on June 28. He was 69.

A resident of El Sobrante, Young worked at the Lab from July 1957 until his retirement in October 1986. During most of that time, he worked in the Electronics Research Group in support of the Beam Cooling Group. He was known for his excellent work in fabricating complex electronic equipment, such as Owen Chamberlain's Proton Spin Resonance System 1260, spark gap trigger amplifiers for High Energy Physics groups, NMR systems for the Biodynamics Group and the Electron Beam Cooling Amplifier System used at Fermi Lab.

Young was known among local radio amateurs (Hams) for having the most powerful transmitter on this side of the Bay. His antenna, which was located at the top of the hill on Skyline Drive in El Sobrante, had a 360-degree sweeping "view "of the Bay Area and far beyond.

Services were held last month at Westbrae Bible Church in Berkeley; he was buried at Rolling Hills Memorial Park in Richmond. Young is survived by one brother and three sisters-in-law.

All wired up

PHOTO CAPTION -- Summer student Juan Bracchini adjusts the wiring on a mannequin wearing an "air vest" in the lab of Energy and Environment researcher Ashok Gadgil. The lab is designing the air vests to be worn by workers that use industrial fume hoods. The vest blows air away from the wearer's chest, helping eliminate swirling currents that might carry dangerous fumes into the wearer's breathing zone. The electric strips wrapped around the mannequin's head help simulate the heat given off by a person. The copper tubing in front of the mannequin's mouth samples the air that would be inhaled by the air vest wearer. Bracchini is an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin.
Photo by Paul Hames

LBL softball league

Results of August 17:

Ball Park Estimates 14, Budget Cuts 12

Rated X 11, SUDZ 1

Legends 20, CAMshafts 1

Environ-Mets 14, Off-The-Hill 3

Native Defects 8, Animals 5

Standings as of August 17:

Western Division

Budget Cuts 8-4

Environ-Mets 7-5

Animals 6-6

SUDZ 5-7

CAMshafts 0-11

Eastern Division

Legends* 11-1

Rated X * 11-1

Ball Park Estimates 4-7

Native Defects 4-8

Off-The-Hill 3-9

*tied for first place

New stop sign on Cyclotron Road

Drivers exiting the Lab's Blackberry Canyon Gate (main gate) should use extra caution when approaching the bottom of the Hill: The City of Berkeley has installed a stop sign on Cyclotron Road at Highland Place, a short block east of the stoplight at Hearst and Gayley. UC Berkeley police are enforcing the sign. (It is considered a moving violation to pass a stop sign without stopping.)

Puzzle Solution

by Maggie Morley

Phildadelphia is the most pecksniffian of American cities, and thus probably leads the world.

-- H. L. Mencken

Patent Department: In answer to your question...

From time to time, the attorneys and patent agents in LBL's Patent Department receive questions from individual researchers, the answers to which may be of interest to others in the Laboratory. If you have questions for the Patent Department, call X7058.

Q: Do researchers at LBL ever get to patent their own inventions?

A: Yes, under certain circumstances.

The patent process at LBL starts with an inventor filling out an invention disclosure form, which is sent to the Patent Department. Almost every week members from the Patent Department and the Technology Transfer Department meet to discuss the latest inventions and to decide whether LBL should obtain patents for them. If LBL (UC Regents) elects to obtaIn title, a letter stating this is sent to the inventor(s) and LBL starts preparing an application.

If LBL does not elect to patent the invention, the U.S. Department of Energy takes title. If inventors then wish to patent their inventions themselves, they must petition DOE for the right to do so.

Time to prepare for LBL Runaround XVII

On Friday, Sept. 16, Lab employees will take to the hills in the 17th Annual LBL Runaround. The course is 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) long, with some steep slopes. The event begins at noon near the LBL Firehouse (Bldg. 48), and ends at the cafeteria parking lot. You do not have to be a runner to participate. You can walk or stride the course and still have plenty of time to finish and receive a free T-shirt. Watch future issues of Currents for additional information and start getting in shape now!

C A L E N D A R -- August 22 to August 26

22 m o n d a y


7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Bldg. 77


1:30 p.m., Bldg. 50 Aud.; M. Yoshimura, Univ. of Hiroshima, Japan, "Heteroepitaxy of Al on Si(111)"

23 t u e s d a y


9-10:30 a.m., Bldg. 2-300F; Blood Biosafety Training (EHS-735); pre-registration required, X6612


12:30 p.m., 375 Le Conte; S. Bludman, Univ. of Pennsylvania, "Significance of New Observations of Cosmological Abundances of the Light Elements"

24 w e d n e s d a y


9-11 a.m., Bldg. 90-2063; Machine Tool Safeguarding (EHS-245); pre-registration required, X6612


9 A.m.-noon, Bldg. 48-109; Adult CPR (EHS-123); pre-registration required, X6554

25 t h u r s d a y


4 p.m., Bldg. 50A-5132; S. Coleman, Harvard Univ., "Quantum Mechanics In Your Face," Refreshments, 3:40 p.m.

26 f r i d a y


4 p.m., Bldg. 2-100B; P. Ross, LBL, Title to be announced, Refreshments, 3:30 p.m.



Peach pancakes

Beef barley

Roast turkey breast

Hot pastrami & cheese

South of the Border


3-cheese omelet

Hearty turkey vegetable

Home-style meat loaf


South of the Border


Corned beef hash

Cream of potato

Chicken stir-fry

Santa Cruz chicken

South of the Border


Big blueberry pancakes

Creamy clam chowder

Meatballs w/pesto pasta

Philly cheese steak

South of the Border


Ham scramble

Vegetarian vegetable

Cajun red snapper

Polish sausage w/kraut

South of the Border


Flea Market ads may be sent via Lab mail to Bldg. 65B, electronic mail to, or via Fax to X6641. The deadline is 5 p.m. Friday.


'69 MGB-GT, Calif. gold w/blk int., chrome bumpers, ww, Pirelli radials, re-built eng., gd cond., $3K/b.o. Stephen, (415) 851-9559

'74 PONTIAC Grand Am, gray, exc. cond., 1 owner, 100K+ mi. Mike, X7685, (707) 429-5582

'82 TOYOTA Celica, 5-spd, a/c, sun roof, hatchbk, shade kit, $1750. Tom, X7704, 527-2068

'83 CHEVROLET Cavalier type 10, 98K mi., $1200 negot. 865-9435

'84 FORD Bronco, white, no air, 100K mi. Mike, X7685, (707)429-5582

'85 BMW 318i, 2-dr, 5-spd, sunroof, a/c, full power, white, 112K mi., exc. cond., must sell, $6100/b.o. X6333, 524-8183

'85 HONDA Accord LX, 4-dr sedan, 5-spd, dk gray, 94K mi., p/s, pwr locks & windows, a/c, am/fm cass., exc. cond., clean, all maint. records avail., $4K/b.o. Zaf, X5784, (415)776-5653

'85 VW Golf, 2-dr, 5-spd, recent tune-up, new front tires, pull-out radio, runs great, $2200. Forrest, X6219

'86 TOYOTA 4x4 pickup, beige, a/c, 4-cyl, alloy wheels, 146K mi., $3200. Mark, X6554, 236-5980

'87 MAZDA 626 2.0i, 4-dr sedan, a/t, a/c, am/fm/cass. stereo, clean, gd cond., $3500/b.o. 793-6844

'87 PLYMOUTH Colt Vista wgn, 4WD, 1 owner, 5-spd, a/c, p/s, roof rack, alloy wheels, v.g. cond., seats 7, all maint. records avail., $5K. Doug Lockhart, X5120, 482-1563

'87 PONTIAC 6000/SE wgn, 6-cyl., loaded, a/t, p/s, a/c, cc, pw, pl, am/fm, gd running cond., very clean, $2450. X7708, 527-3856

'89 HONDA Civic, 3-dr hatchbk, silver, 4-spd auto, a/c, am/fm/cass. stereo, 24K mi., new battery/muffler, orig. owner, $5700. Claude, X6359

'89 NISSAN 4x2 pickup, 5-spd, red w/matching topper & bed mat, am/fm/cass., a/c, very gd cond., 27/23 mpg (not Calif. car), $4300/b.o. Waiman, X5928, 549-2033

'92 SUZUKI Sidekick, 2-dr, 4WD JX LE, lavender/pink, wide M/S tires, raised white lettering, am/fm/cass. stereo, 54K mi., exc. cond., $9K. Shirley, X4521


S.F. OPERA, Sat. nite balcony pr., Macbeth 9/24, Otello 10/22, possibly others, $80/pr. P. Concus, 526-3519


CAMPER SHELL for '89 Ford Ranger, prefer w/lumber rack, but w/o is OK. Tom, X7704, 527-2068

CAMPER VEHICLE to rent for vacations, can pay $50/day negot. Tom, X7704, 527-2068

CHILD-CARE JOB for my wonderful, Spanish-speaking babysitter, f/t or p/t, exc. refs., has worked for me since Oct. `92, prefer Berkeley, Albany, Oakland areas. Carolyn, X7827, 631-9781

CHILD CARE JOB for my wonderful & very reliable baby-sitter of 2 yrs., exc. refs., Spanish-speaking, ltd. English, 3-4 days/wk, prefer Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito. Sara, X6614, 849-4175 (eve.)

GARAGE SPACE for storage, secure, dry, prefer Berkeley/Albany/No. Oakland. X4695, 843-5100

HOUSE TO SIT, by 2 responsible French researchers, avail. now to 8/28, also avail. for watering, pets, etc. Karine & Nathalie, X4108, 843-3856

INFORMATION on '84 Toyota Camry LE which appeared in 8/5 Currents Flea Mkt. Terry Murphy, 637-1871

MOTHERS, who are interested in help w/child care exchange, i.e. families babysit each other's kids by turn. 527-0693

MOVIE PROJECTOR, 16 mm, and/or editor. Jon, X4462

NANNY for our 2 boys, ages 7 & 11, live in our Oakley home, own bdrm & bth off pool area, vac. & holiday pay, eve. & wkends off, must have valid driver's license, non-smoking & love children, refs. Elizabeth Reyes, 634-0538 (after 5 p.m.)

NORDIC TRACK exerciser, used. 843-6023 (6-8 a.m./p.m.)

TOOLS, auto & home, for a reasonable price, all types welcomed, screw drivers, wrenches, sockets, jacks, sanders, saws, etc. Robert, X4017, 836-2806

ULTIMATE FRISBEE PLAYERS for a coed corporate league tournament in San Jose, 9/17-18. J. Eto, X7284


AIR COMPRESSOR TANK, horizontal 80 gal. cap., tank is 57" long & 20" in dia., w/mounting bracket on top (12" x 31" long), $150. Jack Smith, X5901, 471-4921 (after 3:30 p.m.)

ANTI-GRAVITY "Backswing" brand inversion exerciser for chiropractic therapy, $350 new, asking $100. Wendy, X5388, 845-1942

BICYCLE, Miyata road bike, 21" frame, tires 700x23C w/Presta valves, Shimano equip., 12-spd, incl. lights & lock, gd cond., $175/b.o. Jonathan, X4704

BIKES (2), children's, for ages approx. 5-10 yrs., 1 pink/purple, 1 blue Schwinn, $25 ea. Blythe, X5025, 934-5582

CELLULAR PHONE, NEC 110, $200, accessories free w/purchase of phone, battery charger, cigarette adapter, leather carrying case & carrier strap. Tevar, X4384

CLOSET DOORS, mirror faced, brass frames, 2 prs. adj. to fit openings 92-94" tall, 66 to 160" wide (in combination), plastic wheels at bottom, metal rail base & top, all hardware incl., asking $100/pr. Giovanni De Amici, X6532

COMPUTER, Macintosh IIsi 5/80, extended keyboard, Apple 13" hi-res color monitor, software incl. MS Word, Quicken, etc., exc. cond. Rob, X4920, 658-4128

COMPUTER SYSTEM, Tandy TRS-80 model 2000, 10M HD, modem, color mon., DMP 133 printer, $200; (2) VCRs, both top load, RCA VHS & Sanyo BETA, $100 ea.; cass. deck, TEAC V-417C, $50; printer, Star gemini-10x, 9 pin tractor feed, $50; portable cass. player/recorder, GE, $10; (2) TVs, 12" M. Ward's, $50, 15" Sears, $75; tuner amp, Sony STR-6055, $50. Dave, X5490, X5562, (707) 257-0731 (after 6 p.m.)

DOUBLE OVEN, elec. Hotpoint, build-in, mustard color, uses 25" cavity, $100/b.o. Dianne, 886-5527

FAX MACHINE, Brother IntelliFAX 600, 2 yrs. old, like new cond., $250/b.o. Stephen, (415) 851-9559

FUTON/FRAME, queen sz., 1 yr old, futon is 8" foam-core, exc. cond., frame adj. to short A-frame couch, $200/b.o. Jennie, X6944, 841-6316

LITHOGRAPH, Oakland Raiders, 1979, collector's item, #12 of 100, framed, 19x21, exc. cond., best offer. Monte, X6761

MACINTOSH IIsi, 5 RAM 80MB hard drive w/14 in. Apple/Trinitron color monitor, extended keyboard, Apple Imagewriter II printer, Word, Excel, Pagemaker, Filemaker, Illustrator, barely used, $1400. John, X7343, 848-9526

MOVING SALE: Microwave oven, $125; queen sz. bed, frame & mattress, $150; 30x60 working desk, $60; white 3-pc. furniture, w/movable cabinet & computer desk $70; white book case, $20; dresser, $20; night stand, $5. X4470, 848-7226

MOVING SALE: Furniture less than 1 yr old, beige/mauve floral print sofa, $250; matching love seat $200; wood coffee table $90; matching end table $50. W. Blount, X7560, S. Williams, X5327

OVEN, new Kitchen Aid, in orig. container, 27" built-in, single oven. Peter, (415) 961-3126

PERSIAN CARPET, hand-woven, 4'6"x7', very intricate, Sarouk from Iran, $1800/b.o. 420-1205

PIANO w/bench, antique tiger oak, 1914 upright, ivory keys, looks & sounds great, $1850. Peter, X7337, 531-7837

TABLE, wooden, swivel top, cream wrought-iron base, $45. Elise, X4574

TABLE LAMP, 3-way, contemporary off-white, $25; hand-woven wool rug, peach/beige/brn, 47"x70", $40. Lynn, 614-7696

YARD SALE, multi-family, 2325 McKinley (@ Channing below ML King), Berkeley, Sun., 8/21, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.


ALBANY, 3-bdrm, 1-bth house, kitchen appliances, washer/dryer, hardwd flrs, frpl, detachable garage, lease, $1450/mo., 1st, last + cleaning dep. Kym, 525-8961, 525-8743 (FAX)

BERKELEY, 1-bdrm in-law apt, Creston & Grizzly Peak, sunny, clean, bay view, quiet, mo. to mo. lease, $645/mo. 527-3461

BERKELEY, nr Monterey Mkt, share 3-bdrm, 2-bth house, wood flrs, frpl, laundry, avail. about 9/1, $425/mo. + dep. & share utils. Karen, X7263, 526-1950

BERKELEY, nr Oxford/Cedar,

1-bdrm apt, parking, laundry, avail. 9/4 - 8/95, furn. avail., $650/mo. 524-8122

CROCKETT, 3-bdrm, 2-bth house, secluded w/trees, lg. living rm, lg. wrap-around deck w/view of Carquinez Strait, 15 mi. to LBL, 5 min. to I-80, $1100/mo. Frank, 540-0838

EL CERRITO/RICHMOND, 1 blk from E. C. Post Ofc., (2) 2-bdrm, 1-bth units, elec. stove, refrig., dishwasher, frpl, closed automatic garage, patio balcony, bay windows, yd, laundry fac., nr BART, public trans. & shopping, newly painted, clean, avail. 9/1/94, $845/mo. Mr. Anderson, 724-3089

EL CERRITO, 1-bdrm, 1-bth in-law apt, wall-to-wall carpet, microwave, washer/dryer, walk to BART/shopping, very quiet, $575/mo. incl. utils/cable. Sari, X4764, 232-6546

EL SOBRANTE, part. furn. 2-bdrm, 1-bth condo, pvt. upstairs unit, Parkland view, drive to LBL thru Tilden Pk, pool, tennis, sauna, laundry, $750/mo. Emily, X7979

PIEDMONT, unfurn. 2-bdrm, 1-bth house, kitchen, hardwd flrs, living & dining rms, storage shack, frpl, garage, nr LBL, no smoking, $1495/mo. 763-7843

RICHMOND ANNEX, 2-bdrm apt in triplex, nr EC Plaza & BART, lg. kitchen, dishwasher, refrig., range, yd, garage, new paint & blinds, $700/mo. Judy, 527-8766

SHARE RENTAL: Female non-smoker environmental engr. looking to share apt/house w/1-3 people in Alameda, Oakland hills or Rockridge area, guys OK, prefer no kids or smokers. Mary, 829-2569

WANTED: Native Calif. Postdoc relocating to LBL from Switzerland seeks housing (house, studio, apt.) starting lsdt wk of Aug./1st wk of Sept., prefer 2+bdrm, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, Montclair, 2 adult nonsmokers, will care for pets, garden, plants, max. $1K/mo., local refs. avail., desire short (1-2 mo.) or long, term. Greg & Leticia Smestad, (415)979-8730 (msg.)


CENT. LONDON, furn. 2-bdrm, 1-bth apt, living rm, modern kitchen, cent. heating, carpet, walk to trans., stores, etc., lease, avail Aug. 527-0189

LAKE WILDWOOD, nr Grass Valley/Nevada City, panoramic lake view, furn. 3-bdrm, 2-bth house, swimming. fishing, tennis, wkend/weekly rates. 352-7709 (eve.)

SO. LAKE TAHOE, deluxe townhouse, all amenities, nr all playspots. Herbert Newkirk, 422-8845, 455-5595



Mary Bodvarsson, X4014

Mac QuickMail, fax X6641


Jeffery Kahn

Mike Wooldridge

Lynn Yarris


Fax X6641

Deadline: 10:30 a.m. Tuesday


Fax X6641

Deadline: 5 p.m. Friday


Mary Padilla, X5771


Alice Ramirez


Public Information Dept., Bldg. 65B

Mike Chartock, Acting Manager