Washington, DC – Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today honored two Office of Fossil Energy (FE) groups – the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL) Coronary Stents Team and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve’s (SPR) 2011 Drawdown Team – with Secretary of Energy Achievement Awards for exceptional performance in carrying out the Department’s mission.

Small coronary stents made with a unique platinum-chromium alloy developed by NETL and Boston Scientific can open blocked arteries and save lives.The NETL team was honored for work in formulating a unique platinum-chromium alloy used for new generation coronary stents, which are used to successfully treat patients with coronary artery disease. The NETL team, comprising Paul Turner, Paul Jablonski, and Ed Argetsinger, jointly developed the alloy with Boston Scientific Corporation Inc. Stents made with the alloy are stronger, thinner, more flexible, and easier to see on x-ray than previous stainless stents. This results in easier placement by the doctor and greater patient safety.

The stents are so superior to older models that they have quickly captured nearly half of the U.S. market and a third of the market worldwide, with sales of more than $4 billion. Recently, a stent using this alloy was approved in Europe to treat obstructed blood flow in the arms and legs, and it is expected that these same stents will be approved for use in the United States in the next few months.

Learn more about the stent technology

Learn more about the Nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve

In 2011, the new alloy captured two prestigious awards: an R&D 100 Award, given by R&D Magazine to recognize the 100 most technologically significant products entering the marketplace each year, and a technology transfer award for “Outstanding Commercialization Success” from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer.

The SPR team was recognized for exceptional performance in the successful sale, drawdown and delivery of 30 million barrels of crude oil, efficiently executing a Presidential drawdown order.

The SPR team took action after President Obama ordered a drawdown of the reserve to join the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) collective response to the shutdown of Libya’s oil industry. The 2011 drawdown was the largest emergency release of SPR petroleum stocks ever accomplished and was completed on time and without any accidents, environmental incidents, or delivery problems.

Comprising the SPR team were: Jorge Aguinaga, Racheal P. Baldwin, Lansen C. Barrow, Michael Corule, Gary F. Durel, Patricia C. Ehrle, Julianna R. Gallego, Kelley M. Gele, Lionel J. Gele, Jr., William C. Gibson, Jr., Ralph R. Habbaz, Nathan T. Harvey, Marshall B. Jackson, David F. Johnson, Robert J. Kahl III, Allison W. Kuhn, Nancy T. Marland, Michael E. McWilliams, Lindsay Partusch-Goldstein, Anthony Earl Pate, John M. Powell, Anne M. Quern, James M. Quern, Grant G. Rivera, Suresh M. Sevak, Nabil A. Shourbaji, George R. Shutt, and Sheldra A. Wormhoudt.

DOE received more than 55 nominations for the Secretary’s Honor Awards this year. In what was called “the most comprehensive review process to date,” a DOE panel narrowed the list to the most significant of accomplishments and delivered recommendations to Secretary of Energy Steven Chu for final selections. A total of 11 teams were selected for Achievement Awards.

The Secretary of Energy hosts the annual ceremony to present the Honor Awards “to those within our workforce who have risen to the challenge and achieved notable mission successes during the previous year.” The Honor Awards are the highest internal non-monetary recognition that DOE employees can receive.