Back to Top
Skip to main content
 
 
 

Available Technologies

Title Date Posted Patent Information Sort descending Opportunity
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.
 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Optical Sensing Materials Comprising Metal Oxide Nanowires U.S. Patent Pending

The invention consists of the application of metal oxide nanowire-based sensor layers to optical sensing platforms such as optical fiber-based sensor devices. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

Thin film and thick film metal oxide based materials are typically employed as the active layer in harsh environment chemical sensing. However, these sensing layers do not have sufficient sensitivity and chemical selectivity in many applications because of their microstructure and the lack of a sufficiently large surface area.

Producing Hydrogen from Coal Via Catalytic/Chemical Looping Processes U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes a novel catalytic method combined with a chemical looping process to produce a hydrogen (H2)-rich synthesis gas (syngas) stream free of the nitrogen from coal. The catalytic process uses reduced metal oxide/coal/steam to produce a H2-rich syngas stream that is free of nitrogen (N2) from coal while the chemical looping combustion (CLC) of fuel with the metal oxide is used for production of the heat required for the catalytic process. CLC processes also produce a concentrated stream of carbon dioxide (CO2) that is ready for sequestration. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

Traditional coal gasification requires an expensive air separation unit to produce N2-free syngas. However, NETL’s novel catalytic process using reduced metal oxide/coal/steam does not require an air separation unit for production of nitrogen free syngas stream. Heat is traditionally produced via fuel combustion, which generates a CO2 stream mixed with N2. This stream requires expensive separation technologies for CO2 sequestration. The novel catalytic process uses the heat from CLC of fuel, which generates a sequestration ready CO2 stream. Integration of the processes, addressing contaminant issues and scaling up the technology for commercialization are necessary.

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).

Corrosion Detection Sensors for Use in Natural Gas Pipelines U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes a system and method for detecting corrosion in natural gas pipelines using an optical platform or a wireless platform. 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 U.S. Energy Information Administration states that natural gas accounts for nearly 30 percent of energy consumption in the United States. More than 300,000 miles of natural gas transmission and gathering lines deliver this valuable energy source to consumers. Like any energy infrastructure, this network of pipelines requires significant maintenance costs. In the case of natural gas pipelines, corrosion accounts for around 25 percent of incidents over the last 30 years, 61 percent of which was caused by internal corrosion.

The corrosion-related annual cost for such incidents amounts to $6 to $10 billion in the United States each year. Therefore, a need exists to monitor corrosion inside of the gas pipelines to implement corrosion mitigation and control before any failure.