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Available Technologies

Title Date Posted Patent Information Sort descending Opportunity
High-Temperature Sensors for Monitoring and Control of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells U.S. Patent Pending

Research is active on the application of embedded optical fiber based sensors to an operational solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) in conjunction with high-temperature stable distributed interrogation approaches to allow for local monitoring of the absolute value and spatial gradient of the chemical composition and temperature of an anode or cathode stream.

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.
 

Blended Polymer for Gas Separation Membranes U.S. Patent Pending

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has developed a new high performance microporous polymeric blend for carbon dioxide (CO2) gas capture and separation applications. This invention is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from NETL.

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.

System for Enhanced Chemical Reaction, Dissociation, or Separation by Electrostatic/Microwave and/or Radio Frequency Controlled Resonant Electron Interaction U.S. Patent Pending

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has developed a system for enhancing chemical reactions by electrostatic/microwave and/or/ radio frequency controlled resonant electron interaction. The invention performs at a much lower temperature than conventional processes. The system can reduce the cost of many important industrial processes including nitrogen and hydrogen production. Although the focus of the invention is on producing hydrogen from hydrocarbon sources, many different reactions could be activated using the same physics. This invention is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research.

Challenge

Approximately 50 percent of natural gas is used by industry. The existing chemical reaction-based processes, such as, the Haber process, are very energy intensive and costly. This invention increases the rate and extent of chemical reactions at much lower temperatures resulting in higher product yield and overall production. It also allows for reduced energy requirements and reactor size of dry and partial oxidation reformers.

Novel Algorithm Enables Manufacture of Continuous Single-Crystal Fibers of Infinite Length U.S. Patent Pending

A patent-pending computer-control algorithm invented by the National Energy Technology Laboratory enables the manufacture of single-crystal optical fibers of potentially infinite length, with improved diameter control and faster growth, using a laser-heated pedestal growth (LHPG) system. These fibers can be used to fabricate sensors that can withstand the harsh environments of advanced energy systems. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from NETL.

Challenge

Single-crystal optical fibers made of sapphire and other materials are only commercially available in short lengths of less than 2 meters. Using conventional technologies, length is limited by the finite size of the feedstock pedestal and equipment constraints that prevent supplying more feedstock material without compromising crystal quality. A robust technological solution is needed that allows replacement of the feedstock pedestal with minimum crystal defects and more consistent diameter for long single-crystal fibers. Other algorithms have been studied, but none has offered the ability to produce fibers of arbitrary length.

Integration of Thermal Energy Storage into Solid Oxide Fuel Cell Systems U.S. Patent Pending

Research is active on the design and development of solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) systems featuring thicker interconnects for increased thermal energy storage. A large amount of heat can then be extracted from the interconnects and used to quickly increase the electric load in a hybrid power system. This invention is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).

Efficient Processes for the Conversion of Methane to Syngas U.S. Patent Pending

Research is active on a method to convert methane into synthesis gas using a mixture of metal oxides. The resulting syngas could be used to manufacture more valuable chemicals. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Cyber-Physical System Model for Monitoring and Control U.S. Patent Pending

Research is active on the design of a cyber-physical system to monitor and exert control over multistage networked plants and processes such as multistage chemical processing plants and power generation facilities. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.