Mailed 11/8/96, Embargoed until 11/12/96

Popular Science's Best of What's New!


Upton, NY - A grease-eating apparatus that uses microbes to process wastes and a novel video screen, both developed by Brookhaven National Laboratory with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's Laboratory Technology Research Program, have been picked by Popular Science magazine as two of the 100 most significant products and achievements of 1996. To make their selections for the magazine's annual "Best of What's New" edition, the editors of Popular Science reviewed thousands of new products, technologies and scientific achievements.

The EnSoL System, based on grease-eating microbes, was developed jointly by Brookhaven and Environmental Solutions Corporation of Nesconset, Long Island. It is an environmentally friendly technology that uses nonpathogenic bacteria for processing restaurant and food-industry wastes.

The Polyplanar Optics Display, a flat-panel video screen, was developed solely at Brookhaven. It has several potential uses, including wall-sized displays for home entertainment, video advertising displays, computers, and automotive-dashboard and aircraft-cockpit displays.

Associated Universities, Inc., a nonprofit research management organization that operates Brookhaven Lab under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy, holds the patent to the Polyplanar Optics Display, and it holds a joint patent with Environmental Solutions Corporation on the EnSoL System.

Awards will be presented at a luncheon and exhibition on November 12, at Tavern on the Green in Manhattan. The December issue of Popular Science will contain a 24-page special editorial section highlighting the magazine's selections for "Best of What's New."

EnSoL System

Developed under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement between Brookhaven Lab and Environmental Solutions Corporation, the EnSoL System incubates selected bacteria until they are at their peak of grease-eating power, then releases them into a drain system. The bacteria digest grease and solid waste, completely changing them to water-soluble, environmentally benign byproducts.

EnSoL's biochemical processing is better for the environment than cleaning up wastes with harsh chemicals or by physical methods. While grease-eating microbes are not new, the EnSoL System improves the timing of the bacteria's delivery. This increased efficiency results in a better than 70 percent digestion of grease, substantially cutting the volume of solid grease waste sent to septic systems and municipal sewage-treatment plants.

Founded in 1993, Environmental Solutions Corporation has over 200 clients in the New York and New Jersey areas who use the technology, including McDonald's franchises, Marriott Hotels and King Kullen supermarkets.

Polyplanar Optics Display

Currently being developed for cockpit displays in U.S. Air Force airplanes, Brookhaven's Polyplanar Optics Display has several other potential commercial uses. For example, it can be used to make a six-foot wide television screen that is only about four inches thick and has excellent picture quality.

This display works by directing light from a laser or incandescent source to a scanner, which guides the light beam into the proper sector of laminated wave guides. Composed of multiple sheets of laminated glass or plastic, the wave guides direct the light to the screen for displaying the video image.

The new technology is eye-safe, high-contrast, and offers exceptionally wide viewing angles. The screen can be adapted to display 3D images. Also, it can be equipped with a laser or infrared pointer to make it interactive. The pointer would be used in much the same way a person working at a computer would use a mouse.

The Laboratory's Office of Technology Transfer is currently soliciting proposals for licensing and commercialization of the novel video screen. A prospectus on the technology is available by calling (516) 344-5217. All proposals must be submitted by December 31, 1996.

Brookhaven National Laboratory carries out basic and applied research in the physical, biomedical and environmental sciences and in selected energy technologies.