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3 Crosscutting Programs The emphasis of this study is on how OIT identifies, prioritizes, and manages crosscutting technology initiatives. Current crosscutting initiatives include advanced turbine systems, advanced industrial materials, continuous-fiber ceramic composites, and sensors and controls. To aid the committee in its assessment of the overall OIT program, the committee provided oversight to three topical panels to assess different types of crosscutting technology initiatives. These included intermetallic alloy development, part of a mature program already focused on crosscutting R&D; manufacturing process controls, an area identified in several industry visions as critical to their future competitiveness; and industrial separations, which were identified in several industry visions as important enabling technologies. The panel studies provided specific technological recommendations and were used by the committee as case studies for the overall program assessment. The panels provided the committee with important insights into OIT's identification of research priorities and management of the research portfolio. The case studies are summarized in the following sections. Case Study 1: Intermetallic Alloy Development The intermetallic alloy development program at ORNL was selected for review by the first panel under CITA because it is a mature program already focused on crosscutting R&D. The Intermetallic Alloy Development Panel was established to review the progress and accomplishments of the program; to describe program management strategies, including selection criteria, commercialization plans, and industry involvement; to describe successful and unsuccessful
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efforts to develop commercial applications for intermetallic alloys; to suggest potential applications in the OIT target industries; and to recommend criteria for selecting and prioritizing future projects for R&D on intermetallic materials and processes. The emphasis of the panel's report was on lessons that could be derived from the development of Ni3Al alloys and processes (the focus of the OIT intermetallic research program at ORNL). The panel's findings included a review and assessment of the intermetallic alloy development program and recommendations for the future focus of the program, as well as an assessment of the implications for the entire OIT program and the transition to the IOF strategy (NRC, 1997). The major recommendations are included in this summary. Intermetallic compounds are a unique class of materials consisting of ordered alloy phases formed between two or more metallic elements where the different atomic species occupy specific sites in the crystal lattice. Intermetallic alloys with high aluminum content have been considered for use in demanding structural applications because of their inherent oxidation resistance and strength retention at high temperatures. However, they can be extremely brittle at ambient temperatures, are difficult to process, and are prone to environmental degradation. The development program at ORNL described in this case study was undertaken to increase the understanding and improve the properties of intermetallic compounds so that they could be processed and used as structural materials in demanding, high-temperature environments in a number of industries. The program, which was begun in 1981, is one of the longest continuously funded materials development programs ever undertaken at ORNL. OIT, through the Energy Conversion and Utilization (ECUT) and Advanced Industrial Materials (AIM) programs, has provided roughly one-third of the funding to ORNL for the development and commercialization of intermetallic alloys. Program Assessment Overall, the ORNL intermetallic alloy development program has been successful in terms of the technical goals and objectives established by the program (i.e., to develop high-strength, ductile intermetallic alloys that can be processed and utilized for high-temperature structural applications). The program has been well managed, with effective integration of program elements—from basic research through production scale demonstrations—and good coordination of program goals and responsibilities among funding and research organizations. Program Management In the panel's judgment, the ORNL intermetallics program has been a successful science and technology development program for a number of reasons. These include consistent and continuous funding (since 1982); effective
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integration of basic and applied R&D by universities, other national laboratories, and industry; the flexibility to reorient and refocus research in response to promising results or identified needs; and the establishment of partnerships and collaborations with industry to identify industry needs and establish practical goals for technology development. Technical Program Since its inception, the ORNL intermetallic alloy development program has made significant technical advances—from basic exploratory research and characterization through process development and scaling. The early decision to focus on Ni3Al alloys and to concentrate on optimizing alloy composition, characterizing material behavior, and developing production scale processing methods has been critical to the success of the program. Technical accomplishments in the characterization and development of Ni3Al alloy compositions are listed below: the identification of brittle grain boundary fracture mechanisms at ambient temperatures and the substantial loss of ductility at intermediate temperatures as major material deficits the determination of causes of brittle fracture at ambient temperatures (moisture-induced embrittlement) and loss of ductility at intermediate temperatures (dynamic oxygen-induced degradation) the improvement of ductility by microalloying with boron and chromium the improvement of elevated-temperature strength and processibility using standard alloying techniques, including solid solution strengthening, dispersion strengthening, and improving strength, weldability, and castability In the panel's judgment, some of the most significant accomplishments of the intermetallic alloy research program have been in the development of manufacturing processes. Developments in this area are listed below: a production-volume melting process that maintains aluminum concentration while melting higher-temperature-melting constituents (Exo-melt process) methods and alloy modifications for low-cost casting processes materials (e.g., weld wire) and processes for making structural welds and weld repairs Commercialization The results of the successful use of Ni3Al alloys in a variety of trial production applications, as well as recent commercial orders for furnace transfer rolls in steel mills and heat treat furnace fixtures, indicate that the commercial use of
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these alloys is likely to increase in the next several years. However, although Ni3Al alloys have performed well in production scale trials, it is unclear at this time if commercial use will repay the research investment. Criteria that should be considered in the full commercialization of a new material include the following: The availability of suitable alternative materials. To replace an established material with a new material, factors other than performance must be considered, including the cost and supply of raw materials; production capability; cost of materials, fabrication processes, tooling, and facilities; demonstrated reliability; and supplier infrastructure. Industrial participation. Successful commercialization requires a strong, committed industrial proponent who understands the real hurdles and motivation for industrial acceptance. Technology readiness. The technology, especially the processing technology, must be substantially developed prior to commercialization. Even though the ORNL intermetallic program's commercialization strategy has included these criteria, ORNL ultimately depends on industry to commercialize new technologies. Future Program Focus Throughout the history of the ORNL intermetallic alloy development program, interaction with industrial participants has been critical to identifying needs and priorities. Interactions with industry have helped ORNL focus on optimizing alloy compositions and developing process technologies to meet industrial needs. In addition to the collaboration mechanisms previously used by ORNL (cooperative research and development agreements, cofunded research projects, license agreements), IOF industry "vision documents" and road maps would help identify industry needs and priorities that could be met through the use of intermetallic alloys. Examples of potential applications include expanding the use of Ni3Al for hot metalworking (dies, fixtures, furnace components), developing nickel and iron aluminides for processing equipment used in high-temperature and corrosive environments in the chemical and petroleum refining industries, and using Ni3Al in transfer and processing rolls for the steel and paper industries. In addition to characterizing the physical and mechanical properties of Ni3Al, the focus should be shifted to modeling of solidification (casting and welding) processes and to establishing production processing standards and methods of machining and welding nickel aluminide and iron aluminide. This shift could extend the industrial applications and improve the potential for the commercialization of intermetallic alloys. The panel believes that relying on industry needs alone, even with an effective identification strategy, has inherent drawbacks. For example, important
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crosscutting or exploratory research programs might not be supported if they are not identified as high-priority industry needs by any one group. Therefore, the panel made the following recommendations (NRC, 1997): ORNL should focus research on optimizing alloys and developing process technologies for a select number of alloy families for which ORNL has unique expertise and capability, the Ni3Al-based alloys and iron aluminides (Fe3Al, FeAl). ORNL should continue to emphasize the development of manufacturing process technologies for selected alloys to maximize opportunities for commercialization and technology transfer to industry. ORNL should emphasize low-cost processes in the development and optimization of intermetallic alloys. OIT and the ORNL intermetallic alloy development program should use the following approach to identify and prioritize research programs: Identify IOF needs and priorities that can be met through the application of intermetallic alloys. Establish, with input from IOF teams interested in the commercial uses of intermetallic alloys, a target level of support for crosscutting R&D programs. Identify projects with the potential to meet identified industry needs, and develop material and process technology goals based on these potential applications. Emphasize crosscutting projects that could lead to commercial application in more than one industrial sector. Implications for the Office of Industrial Technology Program The lessons learned from the development of Ni3Al alloys and processes could provide OIT with general guidelines for coordinating and managing several funding and research organizations and for establishing effective industrial collaborations. These guidelines could then be used in the implementation of the IOF strategy throughout the OIT program. The panel made the following recommendations concerning the implications for the overall OIT program (NRC, 1997): OIT should emphasize the early involvement of key industrial participants, including the suppliers, producers, and users of particular materials or process technologies. OIT should adopt collaboration mechanisms, such as cooperative research and development agreements, cofunded research programs, exchanges of personnel, and the use of laboratory user centers (e.g., the ORNL Metals Processing User Center). OIT should support joint projects with potential suppliers and users of a specific technology to demonstrate and debut the technology. When licensing technology developed by an OIT R&D program, OIT
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should specify the relationship between the R&D program and the licensee's business strategy. OIT should not enter into exclusive licensing arrangements that rely on unrealistic technology development for commercialization (i.e., licensing too early) or that unnecessarily restrict or preclude the use of the technology by other industries. OIT should develop a mechanism for the orderly termination of (1) projects that have met OIT objectives and progressed to the final stage of commercialization (market introduction) and (2) projects that do not have sufficient industrial interest to support demonstration, process development, and scale-up. Case Study 2: Manufacturing Process Controls Manufacturing process controls include all systems and software that exert control over production processes. Control systems include: process sensors, data processing equipment, actuators, networks to connect equipment, and algorithms to relate process variables to product attributes. The Panel on Manufacturing Process Controls was established to identify key processes and needs for improved manufacturing control technology, especially the needs common to several IOF industries; identify specific research opportunities for addressing these common industry needs; suggest criteria for identifying and prioritizing R&D to improve manufacturing control technologies; and recommend means for implementing advances in control technologies. Manufacturing Process Controls was selected as the second panel under CITA because process monitoring sensors and process control technologies were identified in several industry visions as important to their future competitiveness. The emphasis of the panel's report was on identifying common research needs and the issues involved in establishing new crosscutting technology development programs that address the needs of multiple industries. The panel's findings included a summary of the needs for sensors and controls of the individual IOF industry groups, as well as a discussion of research opportunities to meet these needs (NRC, 1998). The major recommendations are included below. Key Processes and Control Technology Needs The panel identified common industry needs for process sensing and manufacturing process controls based on key IOF process attributes, including (1) high processing volume and production rates, (2) large-batch or continuous processes, (3) commodity-grade products (low value per unit), (4) harsh processing environments,1 and (5) serial processing sequences (i.e., the output of one process becomes the feedstock for the next). 1 A harsh processing environment has one or more of the following characteristics: high processing temperature (with respect to sensor and control capabilities); steep thermal gradients; corrosivity; erosivity; high particle content; combustion; or high processing speeds.
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Common needs for process sensing include the following: measurement of temperature profiles in harsh processing environments measurement of chemical composition/stoichiometry in harsh processing environments measurement of physical attributes at high line speeds and high temperatures monitoring of combustion processes Common needs for process controls include the following: methodologies to enable in-situ-level process controls optimization at the plant or enterprise level open-architecture software tools adaptive control systems methods and diagnostic tools for the condition-based maintenance of process equipment To address all of these needs, the panel suggested an OIT program that includes (1) a crosscutting R&D initiative to develop fundamental technologies that address common IOF needs, (2) industry-specific R&D to validate and implement advances in technology, and (3) an interagency government initiative to coordinate plans and research objectives. Research Opportunities The panel recommended that OIT establish a crosscutting R&D initiative to address the common needs of the IOF industries. Examples of specific research opportunities (not prioritized) are listed below: the development of sensor materials with significantly improved thermal and chemical resistance the compilation of a comprehensive database of candidate sensor material properties to accelerate the design and development cycle for the fabrication of new sensor systems the development of methods to measure temperatures accurately and reliably the development of low-cost, miniaturized, integrated analytical instruments that can directly and easily measure process chemistry for a wide range of process flow-streams and conditions, including harsh environments the application of new processing science for the fabrication and packaging of integrated sensor/data processing/actuation modules the development of measurement technologies for the rapid characterization and evaluation of physical properties for wide-sheet and web processes the application of wireless telecommunications technology to advanced wireless sensors
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the development of process control methodologies, including process measurements, intelligent control algorithms, and reliable process models, to enable the transition from environmental-level (energy transport) to in-situ-level (material behavior) controls the development of techniques and control architectures for using multiple, disparate process models in a cohesive and integrated way the development of technology for process optimization and the plant-wide integration of process controls the evaluation of open-architecture control systems for large-batch and continuous processes typical of IOF industries the development and implementation of machine learning and adaptive controls Criteria for Identifying and Prioritizing Research and Development The panel recommended that OIT focus its research on the development of process sensors and control technologies that address the needs of the IOF industries. In addition to the common needs, the organizational objectives of DOE and OIT—to reduce the consumption of raw materials and energy, to increase labor and capital productivity, and to reduce waste—must be considered. The panel recommended the following criteria as a basis for comparing and selecting technologies for the crosscutting program: the potential for reducing the consumption of energy and raw materials and for reducing waste consistency with the technology road maps of the IOF industries potential crosscutting benefits for more than one industrial sector the potential for commercial application One of the key challenges for OIT is to manage the crosscutting program in a way that will facilitate the development of specific R&D performance goals based on the common needs of several industries. To identify and prioritize research that meets IOF's needs, the panel recommended that OIT take the following steps: Establish an IOF coordination group to develop short-term and long-term goals and to monitor the progress and results of work on crosscutting technologies. The group would review process attributes and control needs in each IOF industry and establish a consensus on specific goals for the most beneficial crosscutting R&D. Facilitate interaction between the researchers developing improved process control technologies and potential IOF users. These interactions could include technical progress reviews of crosscutting R&D programs and technology workshops to discuss technical developments and identify opportunities for validating and implementing them.
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Technology Transfer among Industry Sectors The panel identified crosscutting R&D that could benefit several industries without redundancy. However, the process development and implementation phases will be unique to particular processes or conditions and could be addressed best by the interested IOF groups. Some industry-specific tasks are listed below: the development of road maps to identify technology needs and implementation plans interaction with crosscutting technology programs (e.g., technical workshops and R&D progress reviews) the development and validation of process models related to specific key processes that would facilitate moving from environment-level to in-situ-level control schemes the development of actuators to control specific key process variables the optimization of process control systems, especially using supervisory controllers and plant-wide integration the validation and implementation of improved sensor technologies and process control systems in large-scale processes Finally, the panel recommended that OIT continue to coordinate interagency and intra-agency progress and plans in complementary technologies to avoid duplications. In addition to monitoring complementary programs, the panel recommended that OIT collaborate with four other organizations. National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is developing standards for open-architecture systems. IOF industries should evaluate and validate system standards for large-batch and continuous operations. National Science Foundation (NSF), which is sponsoring research centers to develop improved process sensing and process modeling capabilities. IOF industries should coordinate the implementation and application of process modeling and advanced sensor technology. Department of Defense (DOD) especially the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is developing microelectromechanical (MEMS) devices, fabrication processes, and applications. IOF industries should evaluate MEMS devices for sensing/control of industrial processes. DOD programs (especially Army, Navy, and DARPA), which are developing condition-based maintenance approaches. IOF industries should evaluate sensors and diagnostics developed to monitor processing equipment and machinery. Case Study 3: Industrial Separation Processes Separation processes (i.e., processes using physical, chemical, or electrical driving forces to isolate or concentrate selected constituents from a mixture) are
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essential to the chemical, petroleum refining, and materials processing industries. In addition to the important process roles that separation technologies play in each of these industries, separation technologies present opportunities for reducing waste and using energy and raw materials more efficiently. New developments in separation technologies are, therefore, critical for the continued productivity and global competitiveness of U.S. industries. The Panel on Industrial Separation Processes was established to identify the most important needs for separation processes in the IOF; to identify separation technologies that can meet these needs, especially technologies that are applicable to two or more industries; and to suggest criteria for identifying and prioritizing research and development in separation technologies. Industrial separations was selected as the third study under CITA because separation process technologies were identified by several of the industry visions as important enabling technologies. The panel's findings include a summary of the separation process needs of individual IOF industries, as well as a discussion of research opportunities to meet these needs (NRC, 1999). The major recommendations are included in the summary below. Key Needs for Separation Processes The panel included in its analysis the seven IOF industries involved in the program at the beginning of the study (chemicals, petroleum refining, aluminum, steel, metalcasting, glass, and forest products) and identified specific separation needs for each of these industries. Although a number of areas were identified where separation issues affected more than one industry, the panel concluded that the needs of these industries warranted individual treatment. In fact, the panel found that many important separation problems were unique to a particular industry. Crosscutting Research Opportunities Although separation technologies were essential to all seven IOF industries, the panel found few opportunities for crosscutting research because of the diversity of raw materials, product forms, and processing conditions in these industries. The panel, therefore, concluded that OIT's program would not be significantly more efficient by establishing a single crosscutting research program in separation technologies. Nevertheless, relatively well developed technologies in one industry might be transferable to another industry. In addition, a few technology areas were relevant to more than one, in some cases all, of the IOF industries. Therefore, the panel recommended that the technical program managers at OIT coordinate the results of separations research among the IOF industries, and monitor and disseminate the results. The panel identified five opportunities for coordinated programs:
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separation processes for the chemical and petroleum refining industries; bulk sorting technologies for the materials processing industries (especially aluminum, steel, metalcasting, glass, and the polymer-recycling sector of the chemical industry); separation technologies for dilute gaseous and aqueous waste streams; drying and dewatering technologies; and lower cost oxygen production processes. Separation Processes for the Chemical and Petroleum Refining Industries A number of issues are common to the chemical and petroleum refining industries. In addition to general improvements in process efficiency, the panel identified two separation technology areas that could meet a number of needs in these industries: separation methods using multiple driving forces, including processes in which a naturally occurring driving force for a specific operation is enhanced by an intervention that changes the system thermodynamics or where two or more separation techniques are combined (e.g., membrane separation and distillation, affinity-based adsorbent separation, and electrically aided separation) separations associated with chemical reactions, in other words, methods that combine reaction and separation in one process step (e.g., reactive metal complex sorbents and chemically facilitated transport membranes, combined chemical synthesis and separation processes, membrane reactors, and electrochemical methods of separation) Bulk Sorting Technologies for the Materials Processing Industries A number of the materials processing industries (aluminum, steel, metalcasting, glass, and the polymer-recycling sector of the chemical industry) identified separation needs that can be classified as materials handling and sorting, specifically, the high-speed separation of scrap. R&D in this area should focus on making processes more economical. Improved high-speed sorting technologies, such as air-jet and conveyer-belt technologies, would serve this purpose. R&D should explore the following areas: on-line sensors for high-speed analysis of the composition of streams and the makeup of individual objects in these streams physical separation techniques, including gravity separations (e.g., air-jet and flowing-film separation), froth flotation, magnetic separations, and electrical separations (e.g., electrostatic separation and tribo-electrification) high-speed sorting technologies, including the fundamental mechanics of high-speed conveying, techniques to position individual scrap pieces in sequential arrays before analysis, and methods for physically diverting the analyzed pieces by material type
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Dilute Gaseous and Aqueous Streams All of the IOF industries identified the separation of components from dilute gaseous streams, dilute aqueous streams, or both, as important needs. Areas with potential for crosscutting research include the following: methods for separating components from dilute gaseous streams, such as adsorption, high-selectivity membranes, inorganic membranes, and advanced-particle-capture technologies for the removal of micron-sized particles methods for separating components from dilute aqueous streams, such as reactive metal complex sorbents, reducing agents, air oxidation combined with absorption, membranes, steam and air stripping, electrically facilitated separations, destructive-oxidation techniques, electrodialysis, ion exchange, and crystallization Drying and Dewatering Technologies Several industries identified separation needs that could be met by improvements in drying and dewatering technologies. Examples include: the removal of solvents from polymers (devolitalization) in the chemical industry; the removal of entrained water from crude oil and the drying of natural gas in the petroleum refining industry; the drying of ceramic casting materials and reclamation of sand in the metalcasting industry; the drying of paper in the forest products industry, and the drying of sludge from waste-gas scrubbing and wastewater treatment. Lower Cost Oxygen Production The chemical, petroleum refining, aluminum, steel, and glass industries all indicated that lower cost oxygen would be beneficial to them in combustion and other processes. Currently, the high cost of oxygen is a significant barrier to the widespread use of several emerging technologies. Enabling Technologies The panel identified several enabling technologies that, although they are not separation processes, could be used to improve industrial separations. Research areas include new membrane materials, sorbent materials for specific applications, on-line diagnostics and sensors, an improved understanding of thermodynamics, and particle characterization. The panel recommended that OIT focus long-term, fundamental research on these areas. Recommended Criteria Based on the research opportunities identified by the panel for each industry and the maturity of separation technologies, the panel identified four general criteria for selecting R&D projects:
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Time scale. Research in this area should focus on high-impact technologies that have been demonstrated in the laboratory and will be ready for commercial application in five to seven years. Crosscutting criteria. OIT should only support crosscutting research in separation technologies that are either (1) embryonic technologies that could lead to major advances in several industries or (2) improvements in mature, high-use technologies where incremental improvements could have a substantial effect. Impact on existing processes and equipment. Proposed projects should be evaluated for the potential economic impact of a new separation method and for the potential effect of that new method on existing processes and equipment. New technologies. Projects for the development of new separation technologies should be multidisciplinary and should be scaleable to production volume, both in technical and economic terms. Conclusions and Lessons Learned Crosscutting Initiatives Based on these case studies and a review of existing OIT programs, the committee identified four types of crosscutting technologies: crosscutting technologies in name only that have little overlap or synergy among the identified needs of the IOF industries, even though they may have similar nomenclature existing projects that predate the IOF strategy that have been relabeled as crosscutting crosscutting technologies that do not have a critical mass of support in any IOF industry but are considered somewhat important to several of them research of significant interest to several IOF industries that can be more efficiently managed and leveraged if they are merged into a crosscutting program Of these, only the last type is consistent with the IOF strategy. Recommendation. OIT should establish crosscutting technology initiatives only if it would make the overall program significantly more efficient. Crosscutting research opportunities are often related to either (1) embryonic technologies that have the potential for major advances in multiple industries or (2) more mature, high-use technologies where incremental improvements could have a substantial effect. Research that would benefit many industries is often more fundamental than the research generally undertaken by OIT, especially in
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the IOF program. If OIT relies only on industry-identified needs, potential crosscutting or exploratory research opportunities may not be supported. The committee believes that continued collaboration and coordination with basic and applied research organizations will be critical to the future relevance of the OIT program. Recommendation. OIT should increase the level of collaboration with other Department of Energy offices (e.g., Basic Energy Sciences, other applied program offices, or relevant national laboratories) in crosscutting research programs. Managing Crosscutting Initiatives The committee believes that it will be difficult for OIT to manage crosscutting initiatives within the IOF framework in a way that facilitates the development of specific R&D performance goals based on the common needs of several industries. Recommendation. To identify and prioritize crosscutting research to meet the needs of the IOF industries, OIT should (1) establish a coordination group in each crosscutting technology area to develop short-term and long-term goals and to monitor the progress and results of research and (2) facilitate interaction between the researchers and potential IOF users (e.g., technical progress reviews, technology workshops). Recommendation. OIT should emphasize the early involvement of key industrial participants in crosscutting programs, including suppliers, producers, and users of particular materials or process technologies. Metrics Even though the OIT program has relied on industrial participants to establish needs and priorities, the ''profit-based'' metrics used in industry to measure the efficacy of R&D may not be appropriate for measuring progress in government-funded long-term research. Recommendation. OIT should adopt metrics compatible with the Department of Energy and OIT organizational objectives for comparing and selecting crosscutting programs for the IOF program. These metrics should include (1) the potential for reducing the consumption of energy and raw materials and for reducing waste, (2) consistency with the technology road maps of the IOF industries, (3) commercial potential/market value, and (4) potential use in more than one industrial sector.
Representative terms from entire chapter: