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Available Technologies

Title Date Posted Patent Information Sort descending Opportunity
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.

Polyphosphazene Blends for Gas Separation Membranes U.S. Patent Pending; USPN 7,074,256

These technologies are high-performance CO2 separation membranes made from polyphosphazene polymer blends.  NETL’s technology was originally developed to aid in separating CO2 from flue gas emitted by fossil-fuel power plants. The NETL membrane is cross-linked chemically using low intensity UV irradiation, a facile technique that improves the membrane’s mechanical toughness compared to its uncrosslinked polyphosphazene constituents. Membranes fabricated with this technique have demonstrated permeability of up to 610 barrer, with CO2/N2 selectivity in excess of 30, at a practical separation temperature of 40°C. NETL’s patent-pending technology is being bundled with Idaho National Laboratory’s (INL) patented technology, with NETL handling licensing.  NETL would work with a potential licensee and INL to license the technology. 


Challenge: 
Membrane-based separation is one of the most promising solutions for CO2 removal from post-combustion flue gases produced in power generation. Technoeconomic analyses show that membranes aimed for this application must possess high gas permeability; however, most high permeability materials suffer from poor mechanical properties or unacceptable loss in performance over time due to physical aging. This technology is a successful attempt to turn one of these high-performance materials with poor mechanical properties into one amenable for use in practical separation membranes with virtually no physical aging issues.
 

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.

Improved Pelletized Immobilized Amine Sorbents for CO2 Capture USPN 10,065,174; USPN 10,603,654;

This invention describes basic immobilized amine sorbents (BIAS) with improved pelletization process and formulation for use in CO2 capture processes. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge
BIAS sorbents demonstrate high CO2 capture capacity and thermal stability over multiple steam regeneration cycles and represent a promising approach for CO2 removal from a variety of source points, including coal and natural gas combustion power plants. Bench- and pilot-scale testing have demonstrated the feasibility of commercial-scale BIAS sorbents. However, full commercialization of BIAS sorbents requires pelletization. Commercially available silica typically serves as the support for amine-based particle sorbents, yet these materials are not commercially feasible due to their relatively low mechanical strength and difficult management in dynamic reactor systems. Thus, the development of an economical method of fabricating a strong silica-supported BIAS pellet is a primary concern.

Efficient Process for Converting Methane to Syngas USPN 10,106,407

Research is active on a method to convert methane into synthesis gas using mixed 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.

Challenge

Natural gas (NG), which is composed primarily of methane, is one of the most abundant, low-cost carbon-containing feedstocks available. The economically available route to produce valuable chemicals from methane is via synthesis gas followed by different chemical routes to manufacture the desired chemicals. In a large-scale industrial plant, the production of syngas accounts for a large part of the total costs. Therefore, it is important to develop more efficient and cost-effective methods for the conversion of methane to syngas.

Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy Probe for Simplified Light Collection and Laser Operation USPN 10,145,737

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has developed a laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) probe featuring simplified construction that minimizes the need for optical elements from the probes data collection path, reducing potential interference with the transmission of high quality spectra. By reducing the complexity and cost of the laser head, the invention maximizes the amount and quality of light returned for analysis and increases the usefulness of LIBS research.

Real-Time Wellbore Monitoring for Kick Detection USPN 10,253,620

Research is currently active on the patented technology titled, "Kick Detection at the Bit Using Wellbore Geophysics." This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Simplified, Cost Effective Process for Extracting Lithium from Natural Brines USPN 10,315,926

Research is active on the development and refinement of a process for the extraction of lithium from natural brines. This invention is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Polymeric Sorbent for Use in CO2 Capture and Separation USPN 10,323,125

Research is active on the design, synthesis, and use of polymeric sorbents for gas separation applications. This invention is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.