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Available Technologies

Title Sort descending Date Posted Patent Information Opportunity
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.

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.

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.

Embedded Gas and Temperature Sensors for Extreme Environments USPN 8,411,275; USPN 8,638,440; USPN 8,741,657; USPN 8,836,945; USPN 9,568,377; USPN 9,019,502; USPN 9,964,494

Research is active on optical sensors integrated with advanced sensing materials for high temperature embedded gas sensing applications. A portfolio of patented technologies are available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). Organizations or individuals with capabilities in optical sensor packaging for harsh environment and high temperature applications are encouraged to contact NETL to explore potential collaborative opportunities.

Encapsulation Method for More Durable Reactive Materials U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes a method of encapsulating reactive materials (i.e., catalyst, sorbent or oxygen carrier) within a porous, unreactive, strong outer layer to increase attrition resistance while retaining sufficient reactivity. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

Processes that involve fluidized bed or transport reactors require pellets with high attrition resistance because the pellets move continuously in the reactor during operation. Loss of pellets due to attrition contributes to high replacement costs and operational difficulties. Most processes that involve catalyst, sorbents and oxygen carriers operate in fluidized beds or circulating fluidized beds and require high attrition resistance for long-term operations. In addition, loss of reactive materials with low melting points, such as CuO, due to agglomeration is an issue. Pellets with high attrition resistance are needed to combat against loss of reactive materials.

Energy Infrastructure Monitoring using Conformal Coaxial Helical Antennas and Distributed Electromagnetic Interrogation Schemes U.S. Patent Pending

The invention is a distributed radio frequency (RF) /electromagnetic (EM) interrogation scheme that leverages distributed antennas along a coaxial cable for subsurface, pipeline, and other energy infrastructure monitoring. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge: 
In industrial and wireless sensing, the communication channel often determines the characteristics and performance of the overall sensing network. For wellbore monitoring applications, telemetry challenges are acute because of harsh environmental conditions (elevated temperature and pressure, chemical corrosives) which restrict the application of complex electronics and instrumentation. In addition, inherent absorption of electromagnetic radiation within the subsurface environment limits the potential for free space wireless power and signal delivery over distances. However, distributed wireless sensors throughout the subsurface environment could provide unprecedent visibility for monitoring and minimizing environmental impacts associated with the wellbore and ensure safe and productive operation of oil and gas recovery processes, enhanced geothermal systems and carbon storage sites.  Similar needs exist for monitoring of natural gas pipelines and other energy infrastructure for which enhanced visibility can significantly impact reliability, resiliency, and security. 
 

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.
 

Fiber Optic-Based pH Sensing In Aqueous Subsurface Environments USPN 9,975,080; Patent Pending

Research is active on the patent pending technology titled, “Plasmonic-Based pH Sensors in Aqueous Environments.” This invention is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Gas Sensing System Employing Raman Scattering USPN 8,674,306

The Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is seeking collaborative research partners and/or licensees interested in implementing a patented gas sensing system technology. The patent is jointly owned by NETL and the University of Pittsburgh, with the University handling the licensing.  NETL would work with a potential licensee and the University to license the technology.

Described in this patent is a gas analyzing sensor that characterizes gaseous fuel, exhaust gases, or other process gas streams. The sensor reports concentrations of all majority gases to 0.1% in 1 second or less, and can be used for real-time gas analysis and system control. The sensor relies on novel techniques to enhance usually weak spontaneous Raman emissions from the gases being sampled, enabling the application of Raman spectroscopy to rapid gas analysis. The invention provides a gas composition measurement system that is fast, accurate, cost effective, and capable of continuously measuring the concentrations of gases in a mixture such as natural gas, at elevated system pressures.

Heat Recirculating Cooler for Use in Fuel Gas Sulfur Removal USPN 7,442,353

Research is currently inactive on the patented technology titled, "Heat Recirculating Cooler for Fluid Stream Pollutant Removal.” This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.