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35 CHAPTER 3 Findings and Applications 3.1 High-Level Commentary Another technology developer noted "An overwhelming prob- on a 15-Year Timeline lem for sensing things at any range is that everything existing uses batteries. That will drive users crazy. Passive technologies In reviewing research materials for this project, a cross- do exist, and they are capable of sensing things--but this is a section of current concerns specific to Hazmat transported very difficult problem. Power has to be somewhere." within each mode was evident. In terms of shared concerns, cer- This recognition of the importance of stand-alone devices tainly characteristics of the three surface modes (highway, rail, that can operate from sources of self-generated power was and marine) position those modes to have the most technolo- noted early by the research team. Three of the most promising gies in common. Trains and barges are physically constrained technology selections are associated with non-typical sources in the routes that they can follow compared with trucks, aircraft, of electrical power, which is an enabler that allows other tech- and (to an extent) oceangoing vessels. The air mode has nologies to be used more economically, such as for detection more in common with the surface modes than with the fixed and alerting. These three technologies are wireless power, infrastructure of the pipeline mode; yet it differs from the plastic thin-film organic solar cells with flexible polymer bat- surface modes in that quantities of the Hazmat transported teries, and nanopiezoelectronics. (The first two were winners by air are much smaller, the characteristics of the Hazmat of the MIT Technology Review's "10 Emerging Technologies" are less dangerous (from the perspective of a catastrophic for 2008 and 2009, respectively). These three alternative power incident resulting from the Hazmat), and air transport generation technologies are not being developed for the pri- occurs within a virtual "closed loop" of long-standing safety mary purpose of transportation applications. This under- and security processes. scores the team's premise in Section 2.2 of this report that Most emerging technologies discovered in the course of this project are involved with vehicles. Some are intended to serve the research should include applications of technologies used as preventive or detection technologies for infrastructure used in (or being developed for) other industries but not currently by vehicles such as in bridges, tunnels, or railroad tracks. adapted to transportation. The remaining most promising Understandably, most of the pipeline technologies are involved emerging technology selections have each to some degree been with infrastructure. The selection of container integrity envisioned as having a transportation application. One of the improvements encompasses all modes and includes concepts RFID technology systems whose developer, a national labora- not only of strengthened materials but also ways to use the tory, was interviewed as part of this project won a 2010 RFID commodity itself to help seal a leak. While the focus is clearly Journal award as one of three finalists in the category of "Most on large tanks such as those on rail tank cars, some of the con- Innovative Use of RFID" for its use of RFID to modernize the tainer improvements may carry over to strengthening smaller management of nuclear materials (41). containers such as those used to transport radioactive isotopes. One interviewee made forward-thinking observations about As observed by one of the technology developers, "Electron- technology developments, grouped into three time periods with ics are providing more capabilities with less power and lower respect to technologies' anticipated time of commercialization: cost. Consumers are demanding that devices last longer with- out being tethered to a charger or a communication cable. The Near Term (Present5 Years) Memory devices are going up and the costs are going down. "In the near-term, informational technologies will reign. Battery energy densities are up, implying that small form fac- More traditional technologies can be made to work in tors can now power the same electronics in a smaller volume." new ways for remediation, packaging standards, safety,