Fermilab's golden rule: What goes around comes around
|The SRF Test Facility at NML is filled with recycled materials. The green shield blocks, cable tray and yellow electrical racks are all reused equipment. Photo: Jerry Leibfritz
Some people make coffee coasters out of old newspapers or lawn ornaments out of rusty shovels. Fermilab is building a particle accelerator that employs $28 million of recycled equipment and material.
Fermilab's Superconducting Radio Frequency program places Fermilab at the forefront of design and development for the next generation of particle accelerators. To develop the SRF program infrastructure, scientists and engineers are incorporating old equipment into its new designs. A significant portion of the machinery, metal and concrete the SRF program uses for its test facility was reclaimed, revamped and refurbished from old experiments. The SRF program also uses preexisting buildings on site to build and house various components of the program.
SRF program Director Bob Kephart is proud of the reuse and recycle tradition at Fermilab.
"Reusing parts and machinery is a win-win: it's quick, environmental, saves money and it's smart," Kephart said. "If we can use something that's already here and refurbish it for our own purposes, it's a lot easier and faster than building something from scratch."
Engineers designing the facility scoured Fermilab's railhead, a storage yard used to house unneeded materials until another experiment or project finds a use for them. Fermilab personnel also contacted other laboratories, like Jefferson Laboratory and SLAC, looking for all the right parts. One piece of machinery they are particularly excited about is a helium purifier that they will be getting from PPD.
"There is a lot of trading between the experiments, and whenever we can get a piece of equipment that we can use, we are very appreciative," said Jay Theilacker of the Cryogenic Department.
Because budgets are limited, Fermilab engineers like those working on the SRF project must be creative when planning an experiment.