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Super Computer
According to the latest rankings by TOP500, NETL’s Joule 2.0 supercomputer remains among the most powerful in the nation, securing a position of 37th in the United States. Supercomputing is essential in achieving NETL’s mission to drive innovation and deliver solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future by ensuring affordable, abundant and reliable energy that fosters a robust economy and national security while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle. By expediting technology development through computational science and engineering, Joule 2.0 helps NETL cut costs, save time and spur valuable economic investments with a global impact. Named for the familiar unit of energy, Joule allows researchers to model energy technologies, simulate challenging phenomena and solve complex calculations using computational tools that save time and money to ensure that technology development ultimately proves successful.
Four scientists at NETL are inspiring girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at GirlCon 2021, an international tech conference aiming to empower the next generation of female leaders. Natalie Pekney, Alexandra Hakala, Circe Verba and Madison Wenzlick are slated to present at several sessions throughout the conference to share their career stories, offer tips for working in energy and address challenges girls may face in pursuing STEM. The conference, held virtually this year from June 27-30, features breakout, professional development and keynote sessions from numerous companies and backgrounds to promote networking and building connections. Attendees have the chance to personally connect with companies from countless career paths and gain mentorship from women in both college and the workforce.
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NETL’s Energy Data eXchange (EDX) has served as a virtual platform for the public curation of research data and tools for more than a decade, bringing together researchers from across the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM). Now, as the Biden Administration begins the transition to a clean energy economy, the data and models available through EDX are helping shape this new future where federal leadership will partner with power plant communities to create good-paying union jobs, spur economic revitalization, mediate environmental degradation and support energy workers.
MLEF Students and Brian Anderson
NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., spoke today to interns who will be participating in this year’s Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship (MLEF) at several locations across the country, including NETL. The mission of the MLEF program is to strengthen a diverse pipeline of future science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals, and mentors involved with the program have offered guidance to several hundred of the best and brightest students from across the nation since its inception. The MLEF program was created in 1995 with the goal of improving opportunities for underrepresented and minority students in STEM fields. The 10-week fellowship, open to undergraduate and graduate students, offers a unique research experience for the next generation of STEM professionals. “Seeking diverse viewpoints and perspectives has always been foundational for how NETL develops solutions to our nation’s toughest energy challenges,” Anderson said. “We are committed to acknowledging and valuing the strength of diversity, and the MLEF program is a great opportunity to gain insights from students and increase opportunities for students with a variety of backgrounds.”
Student participants chosen across three internship programs will gain valuable research experience under NETL mentors as part of the Lab’s 2021 summer internship initiative. Interns from the Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship (MLEF), Consortium of Hybrid Resilient Energy Systems (CHRES) program and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office (EERE-AMO) Energy Storage Internship Program will spend 10 weeks conducting research virtually and receiving guidance from their mentors as they gain experience to become the next generation of energy innovators. Participants include science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) majors who will get one-on-one mentorship experiences collaborating with NETL’s world-class scientists and engineers.
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management today announced that it has selected the West Virginia University Research Corporation to receive $5 million for the research and development of an advanced component that can improve the ability of thermal power plants to generate highly-flexible, low-carbon power from traditional, renewable, and nuclear energy.   The component—an additively-manufactured graded composite transition joint (AM-GCTJ)—will aim to join different metals within thermal power plant parts so they can better withstand the numerous stresses and extreme changes in weather that come from cold and warm startups, fast-load ramping, and frequent shutdowns that are typically associated with thermal power  plant operations.
In support of NETL’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority Institutions (HBCU-OMI) program, the Lab consistently engages new organizations such as Morgan State University (MSU), which is developing robust high-temperature sensors that will unlock higher power plant efficiencies as part of their first‑ever collaboration with NETL. “Higher efficiencies are key to reducing carbon emissions,” said Maria Reidpath, who manages the MSU project. “As a result, accurate temperature monitoring is critical to achieving these goals. That is why the MSU work is so important — the team is developing much-needed temperature sensors and making sure they will survive in the extreme environments of advanced power generation systems.” The sensors under development at MSU are ceramic-based, super-high temperature thermocouples that are corrosion resistant and erosion resistant up to 1800 degrees Celsius and 1000 PSI. The ceramic thermocouples are as economical as traditional metal-based thermocouples while providing the ability to work under extreme conditions in the same ways as more expensive optical and acoustic sensors.
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After taking first place in their respective regional Science Bowl competitions, Princeton Senior High School (Princeton, West Virginia) and Franklin Regional High School (Murrysville, Pennsylvania) competed in the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Science Bowl® high school preliminary rounds Saturday, May 22. Unfortunately, neither team advanced to the elimination rounds. The National Science Bowl is a nationwide competition held annually to promote science and technology in education. High school students compete as teams in an action-packed quiz bowl format to answer questions on science, math and engineering. Across the country, 5,740 high school students competed on 1,184 teams from 796 schools over the weekend. First-place winners of regional competitions competed in three preliminary rounds, with the top 32 teams advancing to the elimination rounds. All events were held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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U.S. Department of Energy Funds Projects to Recycle, Treat Water at Power Plants Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) selected two projects to receive nearly $2 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development under funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002399, Water Management for Thermal Power Generation. In the U.S., a power generation energy transition toward lower carbon intensity technologies is underway. This decarbonization may come in many forms, including carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) or optimizing asset utilization through water treatment and heat rate improvements. To enable a low-carbon future that minimizes environmental impacts, additional innovation is needed to reduce the freshwater intensity of power generators. Other innovations can provide additional treated non-traditional water (for example, brackish groundwater) for low-carbon purposes such as hydrogen production and carbon capture and storage.
NETL’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority Institutions (HBCU-OMI) program has enabled more than 40 groundbreaking energy research projects since 2010. Two such projects, which were selected under the most recent University Training and Research funding opportunity announcement, have the potential to bolster NETL’s world-renowned Multiphase Flow with Interphase eXchanges (MFiX) software suite through the development of machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques for computational fluid dynamics code (CFD). “MFiX is the world’s leading open-source design software for multiphase flow systems,” said Sydni Credle, NETL’s technology manager for University Training and Research. “The software is continuously being updated, and emerging ML and AI techniques hold the promise of enabling more accurate simulations and faster development of clean energy technologies.”