MORGANTOWN, WV - For the 22nd consecutive year, the
U.S. Department of Energy's Fossil Energy Office is calling on the nation's
academic researchers for their best ideas and innovative solutions for
advancing the use of coal.
The department, through its National Energy Technology Laboratory, has
issued its annual University Coal Research solicitation, targeting innovative
coal-based technologies that combine efficient energy production with
improved environmental protection.
As it has done in recent university coal research competitions, the department
is placing a particular emphasis on projects that support its Vision
21 concept ? a high-tech approach for using coal and other fuels to
produce a flexible output of electric power, fuels, chemicals and other
high value products with virtually no pollution.
Approximately $3 million in federal funds are reserved for this year's
winning proposals. Proposals are due on February 8, 2001. Winning projects
will be announced this summer.
Since the program began in 1979, it has provided the opportunity for
college students to obtain "hands-on" experience in coal research
projects. More than 1,350 students have worked side-by-side with university
professors in carrying out the research projects.
The program has also produced a wide range of technology advances, from
a new coal cleaning technology developed in one of the program's early
projects to a more recent improvement in the way speciality carbon-based
powders are electrically charged and deposited ? an innovation that could
improve copying machines and laser printers.
The 2000 competition is divided into three parts: the Core Program, the
Innovative Concepts Phase I-Program, and a new Innovative Concepts Phase-II
In its core program, the Department will allot $2 million for
8-10 projects designed to complement and enhance applied research in six
specific research areas:
Materials Development for Advanced Systems
Through Nanostructure Science and Technology - materials focusing
on ultrahigh temperature nanostructured alloys that explore synthesis,
characterization, or engineering development of nanoscale materials
for direct application to advanced power and ultra-clean fuels systems.
Modeling of Molecule-Surface Interactions
- algorithmic models and their validation are needed for predicting
chemically reaction pathways of ideal catalysts for producing synthetic
fuels or chemicals from coal-based synthesis gas.
Liquid Transportation Fuels/Hydrocarbon
Reformulation - the chemistry involved in reforming hydrocarbons
-- specifically coal-derived Fischer-Tropsch liquids -- needs to be
better understood, particularly the nature of the by-products.
Solid Oxide Fuel Cells - research
needed regarding intermediate (500 degrees C to 800 degrees C) temperature
material sets and integration issues for solid oxide fuel cells in
Vision 21 coal-based power plants.
Advanced Sensors for Vision 21
Systems - unique approaches in developing miniaturized advanced
sensors and control systems for advanced efficient energy production
with zero emission are needed.
Modeling of Refractory Materials in Coal
Gasification Systems - studies needed to consider the combined
effect of chemical or phase changes in refractory material and thermal
cycling on the stress state of the refractory material -- a crucial
material for the commercial operation of future Vision 21 Systems.
Individual project funding could vary from $80,000 to $200,000 depending
on the length of the project which could range from 12 to 60 months. As
an added incentive, an institution teaming with two other colleges or
universities, or two colleges/universities teaming with at least one industrial
partner would be eligible for another $400,000 in funding for a 36-month
For each project in this category, the department requires that a teaching
professor team with at least one student who is working toward a degree
in science or engineering.
Innovative Concepts - Phase I Program
Winning ideas for the Innovative Concepts-Phase I Program could
receive up to $50,000 for one-year feasibility studies. Up to five grants
will be awarded for approaches that offer innovative, "out-of-the-box"
thinking that could lead to research breakthroughs. The technical topics
for this program include:
- Mercury and Other Trace Emissions in Advanced Power Systems
- Thermodynamic Measurements for Mixtures of Asymmetric Hydrocarbons,
- Carbon Sequestration
Innovative Concepts - Phase II Program
For the first year, the department is initiating an Innovative
Concepts-Phase II Program. This provides an opportunity for winners of
Phase I grants in fiscal year 1999 to continue their research projects
in the following three areas:
- Novel CO2 Capture and Separation Schemes
- Identification of Promising Vision 21 Configurations
- Efficient Power Cycles
For each of the three categories, the department will accept proposals
from three different combinations of research groups: (1) the faculty
at a single institution or an institution submitting an application on
behalf of two institutions; (2) faculty teams at three or more colleges
or universities; or (3) teams composed of two universities and at least
one industrial partner.
The department has posted the request for proposals, "Support of
Advanced Coal Research at U.S. Universities and Colleges," on the
Business section of its National Energy Technology Laboratory web site
Universities can also obtain the request for proposals by contacting:
Michael Nolan, Contract Specialist
National Energy Technology Laboratory
U.S. Department of Energy
3610 Collins Ferry Road
Morgantown, WV 26507-0880
Requests can also be made by calling 304/285-4149, by fax 304/285-4683,
or by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.