U.S. Department of Energy announced today that 17 university-proposed projects will share
in $2.8 million in federal coal research funds - marking the 20th year of a program that
combines science education for students with research that can reveal cleaner and more
effective ways to use the nation's plentiful coal reserves.
The winning colleges and universities include:
- Arizona State University
- Brigham Young University
- Brown University
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Clarkson University
- Colorado School of Mines
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- Kansas State University
- Ohio University
- Pennsylvania State University
- State University of New York
- University of Akron
- Iowa State University (2 projects)
- University of North Dakota
- Washington University
- West Virginia University
The 17 projects, selected in a national competition run by
the Energy Department, will be conducted in colleges and universities in 12 states.
Private sector sources will provide an additional $692,336 for projects that range from
fundamental studies of coal science to support for a futuristic, pollution-free coal
The University Coal Research program began in 1979 as an
Energy Department initiative to encourage college-level science and engineering students
to team with professors in exploratory coal research. Since then, approximately 1,340
students have been part of the program and nearly 1,290 of them have already gone on to
receive science or engineering degrees. These 17 projects, brings the total federal awards
during the two decades of the program to 553 grants with a combined public-private sector
value of about $96 million.
The 1999 winning proposals were selected from 51
applications that were judged by peer review teams consisting of 36 academic, industrial
and government coal experts. Actual grant awards are expected to be in place by July.
Twelve of the university teams will conduct research that
supports the Energy Department's "core program" in coal science, utilization and
the "Vision 21" concept. "Vision 21" is the Energy Department's
long-range concept for ultra-clean energy plants that could be customized to co-produce
electric power, fuels, chemicals and other high value products from coal. A key goal of
the "Vision 21" concept is the near-zero release of emissions - including
greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide - by the year 2015.
The other five project teams will receive smaller grants
for longer-range, more exploratory research that could lead to future breakthroughs. The
projects include research into intriguing concepts for capturing greenhouse gases and
innovative ideas for future energy and power cycles.
Details on the individual projects follow.
1999 University Coal Research
Winning ProjectsProject Descriptions
- Improved hot gas contaminant and particulate removal
techniques are needed because current technologies for gas cleanup, and
particulate control in plants with integrated gasification combined cycle technology (one
of the "Vision 21" advanced power plant options) limits overall plant
efficiencies. Four projects were selected to address these concerns in this area:
- Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa
will receive $200,000 from DOE and will contribute an additional
$122,311 to examine the formation of dust cakes to improve the performance of
moving bed granular filters for hot gas clean-up. The contact at Iowa State University is
Richard E. Hasbrook at (515) 294-5225.
- In a second project to the same school, Iowa State
University will receive $200,000 from DOE and will contribute an
additional $103,076 to examine methods for producing a regenerable,
superior calcium-based sorbent for cleaning hot gas in integrated gasification combined
- University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North
Dakota, will receive $192,363 from DOE to develop an
electrostatic barrier filter collection system that can withstand temperatures above 1500
degrees F and be compatible with various sorbent injection schemes for sulfur and alkali
controls. The contact at the University is Dr. John Erjavec, (701) 777-3797.
- Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia,
will receive $198,860 from DOE to investigate the removal of hydrogen
sulfide from coal gasification process streams and optimize high temperature
desulfurization processes using an electrochemical membrane. The contact at Georgia
Institute of Technology is Dr. Jack Winnick at (404) 894-2839.
- Ambient PM2.5 sampling and sorting is
important because measurement of the concentration, chemical composition, and physical
characteristics of fine particles, smaller than 2.5 microns [PM2.5], is a necessary
component of a national strategy to better understand the links between emissions and
their impact on human health and the environment. Under this topic research will be
conducted by two universities:
- Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, will receive $199,948 from DOE to study the
uncertainties that exist in both the primary fine particulate emissions from coal-fired
boilers and the formation of secondary aerosols, a complex mixture of particles from
numerous sources. The objective of this study is to design and build a state-of-the-art
dilute sampler to investigate PM2.5 emissions from a pilot-scale coal combustor under
different conditions to compare theoretical and experimental particle formation. The
contact at Carnegie Mellon is Allen Robinson at (412) 268-3657.
- Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, will
receive $198,747 from DOE and will contribute an additional
$78,844 to determine the impact to human health from airborne gases produced
during coal burning. The contact at the University is Gary Reynolds at (801) 378-6177.
- Production of premium carbon products from coal
is necessary because the United States and global markets for carbon and carbon products
are increasing significantly. It is economically and strategically desirable to find
processes that use coal -- a low cost, abundant feedstock -- for carbon products. Two
universities were selected to investigate methods for developing premium carbon products:
- Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, will
receive $199,588 from DOE to examine coal types, preparation conditions,
mineral content, and burning patterns to better understand the influence of pores in the
coal on how well different coals burn. The contact at Brown University is Norman Hebert,
- Pennsylvania State University in State College,
Pennsylvania, will receive $199,928 from DOE and will contribute
an additional $116,587 to systematically study the chemical and physical
properties of coal combustion by-products to determine commercial applications of the
adsorbent material products from several different combustion processes. The contact at
the Pennsylvania State University is Harold Schobert at (814) 863-1337.
- Advanced diagnostics and modeling techniques for
three-phase slurry reactors (called bubble columns) predict the chemical profiles
necessary for scaling up the process for converting coal-derived synthetic gas to a liquid
fuel. Two universities were selected under this topic:
- Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri,
teaming with Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and Air Products and Chemicals, will
receive $380,095 from DOE and will contribute an additional
$168,390 to use advanced diagnostics techniques in an attempt to resolve problems
of slurry bubble column reactors under certain reaction conditions to generate a new
approach for scale-up and design of new reactors. The contact at Washington University is
Cynthia White, (314) 935-5825.
- Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York,
will receive $200,000 from DOE and will contribute an additional $39,320
to investigate slurry phase Fischer-Tropsch processing for developing an advanced
computational model for predicting the behavior of dense mixtures in coal liquefaction,
gasification, and liquid fuel production. The contact at the University is Goodarz Ahmadi
at (315) 268-2322.
- Advanced hydrogen separation technologies research
supports all proposed "Vision 21" plant configurations which produce hydrogen
either as a product, for power production in a fuel cell, or as a reactant to produce
fuels and chemicals. Better hydrogen separation technologies can significantly affect the
economics of the plant and reduce downtime due to maintenance and failures. One university
was selected in this area:
- Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, will
receive $200,000 from DOE to develop and fine-tune sulfur resistant
palladium-copper composite membranes that can be applied to high temperature high purity
hydrogen separation. The contact at Colorado School of Mines is Robert McCormick at (303)
- Water gas shift with integrated hydrogen/carbon
dioxide (H2/CO2) separation process is seeking options for removing carbon from
coal before combustion as an alternative approach to reducing greenhouse gases from power
generation and offers the promise of making hydrogen from coal with zero pollution for
fuel cell and other applications. One award was made in this area:
- State University of New York in Buffalo, New York,
will receive $194,762 from DOE to examine the kinetics of the reaction
for removing CO2 and separating the hydrogen into a single processing vessel. The contact
at the University is Carl Lund at (716) 645-2977.
INNOVATIVE CONCEPTS PROGRAM
Another five projects will receive grants of up to $50,000
under the Innovative Concepts Program. Through this program, the Department is seeking to
explore novel concepts that would offer prospects for research breakthroughs in areas the
- Novel CO2 capture and separation schemes address concerns
about Global Climate Change and the possible impact of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
"Vision 21" plants are able to take advantage of integrated design to facilitate
CO2 capture and separation. Three projects are awarded under this area:
- The Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, will
receive $50,000 from DOE and will contribute an additional
$27,610 to consider how to use algae to recycle CO2 from emissions gases from
coal-fired power plants using wet scrubbers. The contact at the University is David J.
Bayless, (740) 593-0264.
- University of Akron in Akron, Ohio, will
receive $50,000 from DOE and will contribute an additional $9,350
to study the feasibility of storing and recycling CO2 by photosynthesis and
paving the way toward visible light photosynthesis under practical flue gas conditions.
The contact at the University of Akron is Gerald Parker at (330) 972-6764.
- Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, will
receive $47,884 from DOE and will contribute an additional
$16,209 to investigate advanced computational modeling for identifying key
factors that govern mineral carbonation kinetics for safe capture and long term CO2
sequestration. The contact at Arizona State University is Andrew Chizmeshya at (602)
- Identification of promising "Vision 21"
configurations encompasses the idea of interchangeable modules that are capable
of assembly into various configurations that may co-produce power and fuels, chemicals, or
other high value products. The configurations, which appear to be most likely to be
commercialized, at first, may not include all potential applications of the "Vision
21" concept. One project was selected in this area:
- West Virginia University in Morgantown, West
Virginia, will receive $50,000 from DOE to investigate using
coal as a scrubbing medium in place of lime. This concept is a multi-step process that
captures sulfur dioxide and oxidizes it to sulfate while reducing pyritic sulfur from the
coal. The contact at WVU is Allan B. Martin at (304) 293-3998.
- Efficient power cycles research seeks to
improve the thermal efficiency of a system with two working fluids: ammonia and water.
This is important because more efficient cycles mean lowered power production costs.
- Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas,
will receive $42,048 from DOE and will contribute an additional
$10,639 to investigate increasing cycle efficiency, cost, ease of handling,
toxicity, and environmental concerns for providing the basis for conceptual design of a
heat exchanger that optimizes heat recovery from flue gas. The contact at the University
is Stephen M. Bajorek at (785) 532-2607.
-End of TechLine-
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