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Available Technologies

Title Date Posted Sort descending Patent Information Opportunity
Catalysts for Thermal Conversion of Carbon Dioxide to Carbon Monoxide or Synthesis Gas Using Fuels U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes novel iron-based catalysts for conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) to produce valuable gases such as carbon monoxide (CO) or syngas in the presence of fuel (biomass, coal, methane) for commercial and industrial applications while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge
Syngas production from solid fuels such as biomass or coal is commercially conducted via a solid fuel gasification process. However, conventional solid fuel gasification processes are generally capital-intensive and require significant amounts of parasitic energy. Typically, the gasification process involves partial coal combustion with either O2 or air. When air is utilized, nitrogen (N2) may enter the syngas, diluting the syngas and making extraction difficult. When oxygen (O2) is utilized, expensive oxygen production units tend to generate high parasitic losses. As a result, the development of alternative methods for syngas production from solid fuels are a significant area of current interest. For oxygen-based commercial solid fuel gasification, oxygen must be separated from air, which requires an air separation unit. Cryogenic air separation has been used and is very expensive. In addition, steam is also required for the process. Gasification of solid fuel with CO2 has many advantages over conventional solid fuel gasification with oxygen/steam. 
Syngas production from methane is currently conducted via catalytic steam methane reforming and the process is energy intense with high carbon footprint. Catalytic methane dry reforming using CO2 to produce syngas has a potential to be more economical route for syngas production.  However, the catalysts used for methane dry reforming are either very expensive or has shown poor performance stability due to catalyst deactivation. Therefore, catalyst development is important for methane dry reforming technology to be commercially viable.
 

Fiber Optic pH Sensor for High-Temperature and High-Pressure Environments U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes a pH sensor comprising an optical fiber coated with metal-oxide based pH sensing materials for use in high-temperature and high-pressure environments such as wellbores and the challenging high pH range relevant for wellbore cement. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge
Various fossil energy and carbon management applications require chemical composition monitoring in subsurface environments. Examples of these areas include deep and ultra-deep oil and gas resource recovery through drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques as well as environmental monitoring in reservoirs for carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration. Accurate measurement of pH in subsurface wellbores is critical for early corrosion detection and wellbore cement failure prediction.
However, these subsurface environments are extremely challenging for the development and deployment of sensing technologies because of harsh conditions such as high temperatures, high pressures, corrosive chemical species, and potentially high salinity. In such harsh environments, most electrical and electronic components used in sensor applications are not feasible. Additionally, real-time monitoring of pH within cement is challenging because the high-pH range (pH ~13) can cause stability issues of commonly used pH sensing materials at high temperatures. Therefore, it is essential to develop approaches that provide stable pH sensing and that could eliminate the use of electrical components and connections at the sensing locations and avoid the common mode of failure in conventional sensors.
 

Single-Step Synthesis of Carbon Capture Fiber Sorbents U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes a single-stage preparation of a novel carbon capture fiber sorbent. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge
Conventional pressure- or temperature-swing adsorption (PSA/TSA) processes have been widely considered for post-combustion carbon capture and direct air capture (DAC). However, the processes of pressurizing the flue gas in the case of PSA or the long regeneration time in the case of TSA are considered neither cost-effective nor energy efficient, which limit their use in large-scale carbon capture processes. Furthermore, the high heat released during carbon dioxide (CO2) adsorption onto conventional sorbent amine sites necessitate efficient heat redistribution away from the sorbent bed and back into the overall carbon capture process. Therefore, a low-cost and energy efficient carbon capture process that could be retrofitted onto existing power plants is needed.

Hydrophobic Alkyl-Ester Physical Solvents for CO2 Removal from H2 Produced from Synthesis Gas U.S. Patent Pending

Hydrophobic Alkyl-Ester Physical Solvents for CO2 Removal from H2 Produced from Synthesis GasThe invention is a family of hydrophobic, low viscosity, low vapor pressure physical solvents with molecular structures consisting of two or more alkyl-ester functional groups on a central hydrocarbon chain. These solvents have been shown to possess high carbon dioxide (CO2) solubility and absorption selectivity, which make them well suited for the removal of CO2 from hydrogen (H2) produced from synthesis gas. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge
Future integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants and steam methane reforming (SMR) chemical plants have the potential to reduce the cost of CO2 capture. These power and chemical plants generate high-pressure CO2 gas streams from the in-situ water gas shift reaction when producing H2 used to power the electrical turbines. A variety of methods have been proposed to capture CO2, including solvent, sorbent, and membrane technologies, with continuous solvent looping systems currently considered to be the most advanced. Precombustion capture of CO2 is typically accomplished using physical solvents.

State-of-the-art precombustion CO2 capture processes predominantly employ hydrophilic physical solvents. Current commercial physical solvents touted for IGCC CO2 capture were developed for removing acid gases from raw natural gas streams. Therefore, they were designed to remove significant amounts of water from the process gas. As such, the focus was on the purification of the process gas with less concern for generation of high-purity CO2 streams suitable for pipeline transmission and sequestration. While water removal is important for natural gas pipeline applications, it is not favorable for applications in which the fuel stream is directly combusted on-site, as would be encountered in IGCC systems.

Method of Fabricating Low-Loss and Low-Noise Hollow Waveguides for Visible Wavelength Applications U.S. Patent Pending

The invention is method of fabricating a hollow glass waveguide (tube that transmits light) that exhibits low loss in the visible or short-wave spectral region and is optimized for Raman spectroscopy or visible laser beam delivery. Prior art hollow capillaries suffer high optical loss and poor visible transmission, but the NETL invention produces these high-quality capillaries via a specialized deposition system. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge
Currently, there are no high-quality commercially produced visible-wave hollow waveguides. Commercial vendors can produce reasonable IR hollow waveguides, but visible-range waveguides exhibit high losses and high optical noise. The patented NETL Raman Gas Analyzer requires visible-range hollow waveguides with small internal diameters (a few hundred microns) and low optical noise. No vendor could produce these waveguides, so NETL constructed this new system of waveguide fabrication. Other spectroscopic systems would benefit from better waveguides including absorption spectrometers, microscopes, sensors, etc.
 

Metal-Loaded Basic Immobilized Amine Sorbents for the Removal of Metal Contaminants from Wastewater U.S. Patent Pending

NETL's basic immobilized amine sorbents (BIAS) have previously been shown effective at removing heavy metals and radioactive ions from aqueous sources. Chelating the amines with metals such as iron or copper significantly increases the heavy metal capture affinity of the sorbents, up to 50% over the non-metal chelated amines. In this invention, the metal-chelated polyamine is chemically tethered to a solid silica support (SiO2) via a crosslinker. The sorbents resist leaching by H2O in an aqueous stream containing heavy oxyanion-based (and other) metals and demonstrate stability over a pH range of 5 - 14. Cationic heavy metals are captured by the amine functional groups (-NH2, -NH, -N) from the polymeric network while oxyanionic metal species bind readily to the metal loaded sites. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Capture of contaminants from water flowing through sorbent.
Capture of contaminants from water flowing through sorbent.

Challenge

Heavy metals are common in industrial wastewater streams such as those associated with flue gas desulfurization (FGD), acid mine drainage, hydraulic fracturing, and nuclear fission. As heavy metals pose health and environmental hazards, there is a critical need to remediate them, i.e., safely and efficiently remove them from the aqueous sources. The US Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) gave the US Environmental Protection Agency the authority to establish and enforce regulatory policies and toxicity limits arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), selenium (Se), and other metals. Many of these metals present a distinct challenge for capture because they are most commonly present in the polyatomic oxy-anion form. Sources for most of these contaminant metals result from the treatment of fossil fuel-derived, post-combustion flue gas with aqueous-based technologies. The well-known and widespread contamination of RCRA metals in drinking water and other terrestrial water sources either through natural processes or resulting from human activity, demands remediation.

Multi-Functionalized Basic Immobilized Amine Sorbents for Removal of Metal Contaminants from Wastewater U.S. Patent Pending

The invention is a new type of amine-based sorbent material that has increased affinity towards heavy metal capture, from a variety of sources that exceeds the existing amine-sorbent ability by greater than 50%. This invention involves use of a polyamine that is chemically tethered to the surface of a solid silica support through use of a crosslinker and further stabilized through hydrogen bonding with a linker/cross linker. These sorbents can be used for the capture of heavy metals from a variety of aqueous sources. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

The US Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) gave the US Environmental Protection Agency the authority to establish and enforce regulatory policies and toxicity limits regarding Arsenic (As), Cadmium (Cd), Chromium (Cr), Lead (Pb), Mercury (Hg), Selenium (Se), and other metals. Many of these metals present a distinct challenge for capture because they are most commonly present in the polyatomic oxy-anion form. Sources for most of these contaminant metals include flue gas desulfurization (FGD) wastewater streams. These streams result from the treatment of fossil fuel-derived, post combustion flue gas with aqueous-based technologies. The well-known and widespread contamination of metals in drinking water and other terrestrial water sources through natural processes or human activity, demands remediation. In addition, radioactive pollutants in aqueous form have raised concerns about exposure levels in the nearby communities because of fears that these fission products could make their way into the food chain.

NETL Develops Enriched Microbial Biocatalyst Technology to Convert CO2 into Acetate and Other Products Process Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Costs U.S. Patent Pending (provisional patent application)

22N09NETL has developed a unique biocatalyst that is robust to environmental challenges and adaptable to feedstock and condition variability.

To combat climate change and move towards a circular carbon economy, technologies are needed to capture, store, and/or convert waste carbon. Microbial gas fermentation is one approach that exploits the natural ability of microorganisms to capture and utilize gaseous waste feedstocks. 

The NETL process uses an enriched microbial biocatalyst to convert carbon into acetate and other short-chain fatty acids. The innovation represents an improved way for direct conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) and CO waste gases into value added products with a lower carbon footprint and energy inputs compared to current methods for production of commercial short-chain fatty acids. 

The global acetic acid market is estimated to be $21.5 billion and projected to reach $34.2 billion by 2030.

The invention is available for license and/or CRADA.

Challenge
To combat climate change, slow CO2 emissions, and move towards a circular carbon economy, technologies are needed to capture, store, and/or convert waste carbon. Microbial gas fermentation is one approach that exploits the natural ability of microorganisms to capture and utilize gaseous one-carbon waste feedstocks.