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Available Technologies

Title Date Posted Patent Information Opportunity Sort ascending
Metal Oxide Promoters for Improving the Reactivity and Capacity of Oxygen Carriers for the Chemical Looping Combustion Process USPN 8,807,988

This technology, titled "Metal Oxide Promoters for Improving the Reactivity and Capacity of Oxygen Carriers for the Chemical Looping Combustion Process,” provides a mixed metal oxide carrier to improve the oxygen transfer capacity and reactivity of existing carriers. Following patent approval, the technology will be available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Regenerable Mixed Copper-Iron-Inert Support Oxygen Carriers for Solid Fuel Chemical Looping Combustion Process USPN 9,523,499

This technology, "Regenerable Mixed Copper-Iron-Inert Support Oxygen Carriers for Solid Fuel Chemical Looping Combustion Process," provides a metal-oxide oxygen carrier for application in fuel combustion processes that use oxygen. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Pyrochlore-Based Catalysts for Syngas-Derived Alcohol Synthesis USPN 9,150,476; USPN 9,598,644

This technology provides an advantageous means to convert syngas into a class of chemicals known as higher oxygenates, as well as other long-chain hydrocarbons. Research is currently active on this technology "Method of CO and/or CO2 Hydrogenation Using Doped Mixed Metal Oxides." This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Cu-Pd Hydrogen Separation Membranes with Reduced Palladium Content and Improved Performance USPN 8,608,829

This patented technology, "Cu-Pd Hydrogen Separation Membranes with Reduced Palladium Content and Improved Performance," consists of copper-palladium alloy compositions for hydrogen separation membranes that use less palladium and have a potential increase in hydrogen permeability and resistance to sulfur degradation compared to currently available copper-palladium membranes. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Researchers at NETL have identified the need for further materials performance testing to be completed for the alloy compositions described above. Performance testing would provide data related to membrane hydrogen permeability, flux, and membrane lifespan. Testing results would show the significance of the technological and economic impact of this technology compared to current hydrogen separation membrane technology. Results would also potentially validate the technology and allow for introduction into commercial industry.

The NETL Pittsburgh site has materials performance testing capabilities and is able to perform all the necessary tests. Approximately 320 hours of material performance testing is needed to test two most promising alloy compositions.

Novel Method Concentrates Rare Earth Elements Within Coal Byproducts to Facilitate Extraction USPN 10,358,694

This patented technology establishes a novel method for concentrating rare earth elements (REEs) within coal byproducts to facilitate extraction processes. The technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge
REEs are essential components of modern technological devices, such as cell phones and computer hard drives, that support a broad range of vital industries. China provides the bulk of the world’s supply, largely due to environmental and economic challenges associated with extraction. Coal resources used in energy, iron, and steelmaking operations contain quantities of REEs sufficient to meet U.S. needs for years to come, but not as enriched solids. Cost-effective technology that facilitates the recovery of REEs in their most useful form offers the potential to simultaneously boost America’s economy, national security, and independence.

Microwave Active Metal Oxides for CO2 Dry Reforming of Methane U.S. Patent Pending

This patent-pending technology establishes a novel system and method for the microwave-assisted dry reforming of methane. The technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

Traditional steam reforming of methane to produce hydrogen (H2), which is then reacted with carbon (CO) to produce methanol and other industrial commodity chemicals, is an extremely energy intensive process with large carbon footprint. For example, the steam reforming reaction produces 10 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) for every ton of H2. Methane dry reforming uses an alternative reaction that uses CO2 as a soft oxidant to produce CO and H2 from methane, which can be further processed into methanol or hydrocarbons. Further, using CO2 to produce commodity chemicals, such as H2 and CO, can generate revenue to offset carbon capture costs, reduce the carbon footprint of fossil-fuel powered processes, and allow sustainable use of fossil fuel resources.

Traditional dry reforming techniques are extremely energy intensive and require very high temperatures (>800C) that make it unpractical economically compared with the lower-temperature, carbon-positive, methane steam reforming. Microwave-assisted catalysis has been demonstrated as an enabling technology to promote high temperature chemical processes. Unlike traditional thermal heating, microwaves can rapidly heat catalysts to extremely high temperatures without heating the entire reactor volume. This reduces heat management issues of conventional reactors and enables rapid heating/cooling cycles. Ultimately, this can allow reactors to utilize excess renewable energy on an intermittent basis (load follow) to promote traditionally challenging, thermally-driven reactions for on-demand chemical production.

Microwave absorption is a function of the electronic and magnetic properties of the material, and a properly designed catalyst may function as a both a microwave heater and a reactive surface for driving the desired reaction. Microwave absorption is extremely sensitive to the catalyst’s chemical state and electronic structure, and effective catalysts must maintain microwave activity across a wide range of temperatures in both oxidative and reductive environments.

 

Downhole Laser System With an Improved Laser Output Production and Data Collection U.S. Patent Pending

This patent-pending technology establishes a novel system and method for laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) applications. The technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

Low-cost, efficient monitoring of remote locations has and continues to be highly sought in the industry. For example, drilling production or injection wells for oil/gas extraction or carbon dioxide (CO2) storage always has the potential for leakage into the surrounding formations and environment. The ability to measure the subsurface fluids in and around the injection/production area before and after subsurface activities becomes more important when there is a suspected leak. Current downhole monitoring systems rely on bulk parameters such as pH and conductivity. Lab based systems can provide trace element measurements of subsurface fluids but require fluids to be taken from the field and digested prior to measurement. A system that can provide trace element measurements in real time while deployed in the subsurface is potentially of great value.

Current diode pumped solid state (DPSS) laser systems used for laser induced breakdown spectroscopy applications in fluid system measurements have numerous limitations. First, the systems are susceptible to dimensional changes caused by temperature and pressure swings in fluctuating environments in downhole applications. A second issue is the size of the laser spark that is produced in the fluid for measurements affecting signal strength. The third issue is the efficient collection and transmission of the plasma emission for analysis.

Converting Natural Gas to Valuable Chemicals with Microwave Technology U.S. Patent Pending

This novel patent-pending methane conversion technology employees microwave-assisted catalysis for chemical conversion. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

Natural gas, primarily composed of methane, is a cheap and abundant domestic resource that can be converted to a wide range of products including liquid transportation fuels and a wide range of chemical intermediates. However, traditional methods of converting methane to valuable chemicals first require it to be converted to synthesis gas.

A direct, one-step, method to convert the methane would have significant advantages over current indirect methods, including reduced costs and increased yields, but several technology barriers must first be overcome. Microwave-assisted catalyst reactions can provide a viable direct method for overcoming these barriers.

Producing Carbon and Hydrogen With NETL’s Novel Iron-based Catalyst U.S. Patent Pending

This new Iron-based catalyst will enable a one-step process to produce hydrogen - a promising energy source that is also environmentally benign - by directly converting methane. The catalyst will eliminate the need to first create syngas and then remove carbon dioxide. In addition to creating hydrogen, carbon, which is also a useful commodity is created as a by-product. 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 traditional commercial methods of forming hydrogen from methane are based on steam methane reforming, coal or bio-mass gasification, electrolysis, and thermo-chemical processes. Some of these methods are cost-effective, but each requires that syngas first be created and the water gas shift reaction be used to convert syngas to hydrogen and carbon dioxide. From there, the hydrogen must be purified using pressure swing adsorption to separate the hydrogen for the carbon dioxide. Developing a method that avoids these intermediate steps would reduce the cost of producing valuable hydrogen.

Selective CO2 Conversion With Novel Copper Catalyst U.S.Patent Pending

This invention describes the synthesis and application of nanostructured copper (Cu) catalysts that selectively convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into carbon monoxide (CO). 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 electrochemical CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR) is an appealing strategy for addressing man-made CO2 emissions because it can leverage excess renewable energy to produce carbon-neutral chemicals and fuels. However, the economic viability of large-scale CO2RR systems will depend on the ability to selectively and efficiently form desirable products. Because it is earth-abundant and can produce a variety of products, Cu is a popular CO2RR catalyst. Unfortunately, the wide product distribution of Cu introduces inefficiencies in the form of chemical separation steps.