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Title Date Posted Sort ascending Patent Information 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.

High-Performance Corrosion-Resistant High-Entropy Alloys U.S. Patent Pending

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) developed designs, manufacturing processes, and corrosion property validations of new high-performance corrosion-resistant high-entropy alloys that are superior to and less expensive than existing alloys and demonstrate improved resistance to corrosion, including pitting corrosion in harsh environments and sea water.

Challenge
Metals and alloys used in sea water or acidic aqueous environments are prone to various forms of corrosion, including pitting and/or crevice corrosion because of the presence of aggressive salt, such sodium chloride (NaCl). Pitting and crevice corrosion can serve as initiation sites for developing cracks that will lead to catastrophic failures of the metallic components. The current solution to this problem is to coat the metals with nickel (Ni)-based superalloys such as Hastelloy® C276. Hastelloy®, which is very expensive.

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.

Regenerable Non-Aqueous Basic Immobilized Amine Slurries for Removal of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) from a Gaseous Mixture U.S. Patent Pending

The innovation represents a BIAS particle sorbent suspended in a non-aqueous fluid carrier (slurry) that is capable of CO2 sorption, is easy to incorporate into established power plants, and can minimize energy and infrastructure requirements.

Challenge

Carbon sequestration can reduce the emissions of CO2 from large point sources and holds potential to provide deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Amine-based solid sorbents are effective and economical agents for CO2 capture from gaseous mixtures. However, because of the high concentration of CO2 in many feed streams, a large quantity of the gas often reacts with the sorbent exothermically to produce excessive heat, which must be removed from the sorbent to prevent temperature instability within the reactor and to eliminate potential degradation of the sorbent. Reducing the damage to sorbents with this technology and method can increase efficiency and reduce replacement costs faced by 

Efficient Process for Converting Methane to Syngas U.S. Patent Pending

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.

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.

Laser Ignition Technology U.S. Patent Pending

This technology uses composite lasers to produce multiple temporal ignition pulses, which can be used to improve the efficiency of both laser ignition systems for natural gas fueled engines as well as laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) sensors. 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-fueled engines help to reduce transportation and energy costs, fuel consumption and harmful emissions compared to conventional gasoline engines. One reason for these improvements is because combustion in a natural gas fueled engine takes place in what is called a lean burn mode, in which fuel is burned with excess of air. However, this lean burn mode may lead to unnecessary misfire when the ignition spark occurs but fails to properly ignite the fuel and air mixture.

Novel Tri-Metallic Ferrite Oxygen Carriers Enhance Chemical Looping Combustion 9,797,594

A patented technology invented at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory enhances chemical looping combustion by providing tri-metallic ferrite oxygen carriers that offer greater durability and better reactivity than traditional oxygen carriers. Tri-metallic ferrite oxygen carriers also eliminate agglomeration issues, improve reduction rates, and offer similar costs when compared to traditional oxygen carriers, with convenient preparation using readily available materials. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from NETL.

Challenge

Chemical looping combustion (CLC) is a promising technology for coal-derived energy production that involves combusting fuel in nearly pure oxygen to simplify carbon capture. In CLC systems, oxygen is introduced to the system via oxidation-reduction cycling of an oxygen carrier. Traditional oxygen carriers such as CuO, Fe2O3, NiO, and CoO have disadvantages including low reactivity (Fe2O3), low melting point and high agglomeration (CuO), and health and environmental concerns (NiO). The development of new oxygen carriers with enhanced performance characteristics is required for successful deployment of coal CLC processes.

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.