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Available Technologies

Title Sort ascending Date Posted Patent Information Opportunity
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.

Novel Bimetallic Oxygen Carriers for Use in Chemical Looping Combustion USPN 9,557,053; USPN 10,030,204

Research is currently active on the technology titled, "Metal Ferrite Oxygen Carriers for Chemical Looping Combustion of Solid Fuels." This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

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.

Nano-Structured Nobel Metal Catalysts for Hydrocarbon Reforming USPN 9,132,416

Research is active on the technology, titled "Nano-Structured Nobel Metal Catalysts Based on Hexametallate Architecture for the Reforming of Hydrocarbon Fuels." This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Moisture Removal from Flue Gas for Enhanced Co2 Separation USPN 8,889,589

Research is active on the patented technology titled, "Method of CO2 Removal from a Gaseous Stream at Reduced Temperature." This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL).

Mixed Matrix Membranes with Improved Gas Separation Properties USPN 9,597,643

Research is active on the technology titled, "Surface Functionalization of Metal Organic Frameworks for Mixed Matrix Membranes." This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Microwave Diagnostics and Passive Sensors for Pipeline, Well-Bore, and Boiler-Tube Monitoring U.S. Patent Pending

The invention is a system and method for monitoring the interior of metallic tubular structures like pipelines, well-bores, and boiler-tubes using an integrated wireless system. The technology uses a combination of the pipe or tubular structure as a wave guide, integrated radio frequency (RF) patch antennas, integrated passive surface acoustic wave (SAW) sensors, and data analytic methodologies. The technology is available for licensing from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

Safety and longevity are major concerns in fossil fuel industries and other technologies that use long metallic tubular structures like gas pipelines, well-bores, and boilers. Real time monitoring of the tubular structures for multiple variables within them, including but not limited to corrosion, leaks, and mass flow, is crucial to ensure safety and cost-effective maintenance in timely manner. Conventional techniques for investigating the state-of-health and operational conditions of tubular structures use non-destructive acoustic-based techniques, which are limited by the ability to interpret the data because, as an indirect measurement, requires models to be made of the infrastructure under investigation.

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.

 

Methods of Reforming Hydrocarbon Fuels Using Hexaaluminate Catalysts USPN 8,142,756

Research is currently active on the technology "Methods of Reforming Hydrocarbon Fuels Using Hexaaluminate Catalysts." The technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Method to Improve Steel Creep Strength by Alloy Design and Heat Treatment USPN 9,181,597; USPN 9,556, 503

Research is active on the development and refinement of metallurgical processes for improving alloy performance under extreme operating conditions found in fossil energy power plants. These inventions are available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.