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NETL’s K-12 STEM Education & Outreach team engaged students during several day-long visits at area elementary schools, conducted an educational energy workshop for teachers, assisted in a cybersecurity competition and aided two preliminary West Virginia Science Bowl (WVSB) regional qualifying events in November. The team’s efforts to promote the value of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education across several platforms each month generates interest in STEM topics and provides opportunities for the next generation of scientists, problem-solvers and critical thinkers. WVSB Regional Education Service Agency (RESA) Areas I-IV Regional Competitions (Institute, West Virginia; Athens, West Virginia) – The K-12 STEM Education & Outreach team provided support services to local RESA area Science Bowl coordinators at several WVSB qualifying competitions Nov. 1 and Nov. 16. The events serve as the WVSB preliminary competition to qualify teams from former RESA areas I-IV for the 2020 WVSB high school regional tournament. The events were held at West Virginia State University and Concord University.
Energy Conversion systems
From developing energy conversion systems that use abundant fossil energy resources to produce power, fuels and chemicals, to developing and using advanced energy analysis models to support decision-making, NETL continues to aggressively pursue its mission to discover, integrate and mature technology solutions to enhance the nation’s energy foundation and protect the environment for future generations. NETL researchers had a productive year, underscored by forward-looking innovation and technology development. Here’s a look at a few of our leading-edge successes from 2019. Moving Advanced Sensors toward Commercialization An NETL-developed sensing technology designed to enable more flexible operation of gas-fired power plants advanced toward commercialization as part of a partnership with turbine manufacturer Solar Turbines Incorporated.
materials Engineering and Manufacturing
NETL’s world-class work in materials engineering and manufacturing designs, develops and deploys advanced materials for use in energy applications and extreme service environments. In 2019, a number of significant developments yielded promising results that support NETL’s mission of creating technologies that secure and enhance the nation’s energy foundation for future generations. Functional Materials The Lab’s functional materials research aids in developing technologies that can perform unique functions or exhibit properties not usually found in nature. This expands their number of uses and finds new purposes for materials already in use in the energy industry. For example, NETL researchers developed a cost-effective method to produce quantum graphene dots from domestic coal supplies that are useful in a range of energy applications and products such as sensors, solar cells and more. The dots are only a few hundred atoms in diameter, but their unique size imparts optical and electronic properties to coal-based derivatives that aid in manufacturing processes.
David Miller
David Miller, Ph.D., Senior Fellow for Process Systems Engineering at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), was among the elite researchers selected for the 2020 cohort of the Oppenheimer Science and Energy Leadership Program (OSELP). Miller joins 17 other nominees from different U.S Department of Energy (DOE) national labs and academic institutions around the nation. The backgrounds and roles of the cohort are diverse and include technical group leaders, a department head, center director, division director, among others. Miller and the other participants will have a rare opportunity to study the national lab system in its entirety, engage deeply with senior leadership as well as essential academic and industry partners, while exploring innovative ways to improve collective research enterprises. The 2020 cohort will join a growing network of Oppenheimer Fellows committed to furthering the mission of DOE and the labs.
Materials Engineering
Researchers at NETL have tapped big data to expedite the development of stronger boilers, turbine components and other metallic equipment to improve the efficiency and reliability of coal-burning power plants. Results of a recent study by a team of NETL researchers and their collaborators at Case Western Reserve University show that an approach called materials data analytics can be used to significantly shorten the development time of specialized alloys needed for next generation energy applications. Materials data analytics (MDA) organizes raw data to identify patterns and draw conclusions, as well as establish statistical models and develop software tools that can predict materials with superior mechanical properties. Creation of large datasets in materials science has transformed the way research is done by providing opportunities to identify complex relationships and to extract information that will enable new discoveries.
NETL Booth
NETL highlighted its Joule 2.0 supercomputer and innovative applications to advance fossil energy research at this week’s SuperComputing 2019 (SC19) conference in Denver. Chief Information Officer Antonio Ferreira and other Lab personnel attended the conference Nov. 17-22 at the Colorado Convention Center. This year, NETL participated alongside the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) 16 other national laboratories as part of the DOE booth. The exhibit demonstrated the value of high-performance computing in providing clean, reliable and affordable energy to meet America’s needs.
A new NETL report provides cost and performance analyses that are important inputs toward meeting the projected demands of future power markets. The report, “Cost and Performance Baseline for Fossil Energy Plants, Volume 1: Bituminous Coal and Natural Gas to Electricity,” presents an independent assessment of the cost and performance of select fossil energy power systems — integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC), pulverized coal (PC), and natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) plants, both with and without 90% carbon capture. Thirteen power plant configurations are analyzed, including seven IGCC configurations, four PC power plant configurations, and two state-of-the-art turbine-based NGCC power plant configurations. Robert James, of NETL’s Energy Process Analysis Team, said the report’s analyses provide important information for technology development and decision-making.
NETL welcomed approximately 100 students, mentors and volunteers to the Lab’s Morgantown, West Virginia, site Nov. 16 for the 2019 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) CyberForce Competition™. Sponsored by DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response and coordinated by Argonne National Laboratory, the competition leverages the people, research and capabilities of DOE’s national laboratory complex to inspire and develop the next generation of energy sector cybersecurity professionals who will help defend and bolster the nation’s critical energy infrastructure and ensure our energy security. NETL was among 10 DOE laboratories hosting regional CyberForce events. University of Maryland, Baltimore County was the national winner, while Baldwin Wallace University from Berea Ohio. won first place among the teams competing regionally at NETL. A total of 106 teams competed nationwide.
Career Fair
The Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Pittsburgh District, will sponsor a Federal Agency Career Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, in the William S. Moorhead Federal Building, Room 1310, 1000 Liberty Ave., downtown Pittsburgh. NETL representatives and recruiters from 12 other federal agencies and offices will attend. Federal agencies are seeking individuals with academic degrees (professional track) or trades and craft skills (wage grade/technical track) to fill a range of opportunities, from internships to full-time positions. All are welcome. Registration is not required. The following agencies and offices are scheduled to participate in this free, exhibit-style event:
computational science
NETL’s Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) directorate underpins much of the Lab’s research by generating information and analysis beyond the reach of physical experiments alone. CSE develops science-based simulation models, mathematical methods and algorithms and software tools required to address the technical barriers that often hinder development of next-generation fossil energy technologies. Through the integration of experimental information and computational sciences, scientists and engineers can efficiently simulate multitudes of technology variations to save time, money and materials. CSE work enabled advancements in several areas of NETL research in 2019, including significant achievements in multiphase flow science and carbon capture technology development.