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The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and NETL have selected 10 projects to receive nearly $4 million in federal funding for strategic fossil energy and coal technology research and development (R&D) projects at U.S. colleges and universities.” DOE selected these projects as part of FE’s University Training and Research initiative, which seeks to develop the next generation of science and engineering professionals in the fossil energy sector. The initiative encompasses FE’s University Coal Research (UCR) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority Institutions (HBCU/OMI) programs, the latter of which aims to increase the participation of underrepresented students in such research. The selected projects will achieve the following:
NETL Director Brian J. Anderson, Ph.D., joined U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) leaders in Washington, D.C., today to formally launch the Lab’s 10-year partnership with ExxonMobil and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Per agreements announced May 8, ExxonMobil is investing up to $100 million in cooperative research and development endeavors to advance groundbreaking low-emissions energy technologies toward commercial scale. Anderson, NREL Director Martin Keller and ExxonMobil Vice President of Research & Development Vijay Swarup signed a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) and supporting agreements to execute the partnership during a public ceremony at the Forrestal Building, home of DOE headquarters. DOE Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes, DOE Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg and DOE Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Daniel Simmons were also on hand for the ceremonial signing, which marks one of the largest public-private partnerships between DOE laboratories and the private sector to date.
NETL manages a vast portfolio of carbon capture research and development (R&D) projects that are successfully reducing costs to ensure the availability of clean, reliable and affordable energy from America’s abundant domestic resources. In 2007, the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that current and projected atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, threaten the public health and welfare of current and future generations.  Carbon capture technologies reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere by capturing carbon dioxide from fossil energy-fueled power plants; however, existing technologies add additional costs for industry and consumers. NETL is leveraging cutting-edge research facilities, world-class technical expertise and strategic collaborations to develop efficient and economical solutions that make carbon capture technology viable for decades to come.
NETL is battling the destructive effects of corrosion and other risks to the natural gas pipeline infrastructure by developing fiber-optic sensor systems that can monitor vital natural gas pipelines from within. The data will provide critical information for early detection and help avoid expensive pipeline failures to maintain affordable, reliable energy for consumers. Natural gas pipelines are arteries that fuel many of the nation’s fossil-energy power plants. However, like all metals, every inch of pipe is susceptible to corrosion. According to worldwide corrosion authority NACE International, corrosion adds billions of dollars to operation and maintenance expenses each year. Amongst other benefits, mitigating these preventable costs could result in lower energy bills for consumers.
DOE Cyber
NETL’s Chief Information Officer Antonio Ferreira, Ph.D., and Kelly Rose, Ph.D., a geo-data scientist in the Lab’s Research and Innovation Center, participated in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Cyber Conference, May 14-16, 2019, in Denver, Colorado. The conference brought together the DOE enterprise, federal interagency partners, academia, international collaborators and private industry to advance cyber and information technology (IT) modernization efforts across DOE's diverse and shared missions.
NAMS Booth
NETL researchers highlighted the Lab’s robust research to develop effective membranes for post-combustion carbon dioxide (CO2) capture at the North American Membrane Society’s 28th Annual Meeting. The meeting, held May 11-15 in Pittsburgh, attracted the world’s top scientists pursuing groundbreaking membranes research. Workshops, plenary lectures, technical sessions and poster exhibits focused on this year’s theme, “Membrane Separations for Emerging Water, Energy and Health Applications.” For energy applications, membrane technologies use permeable or semi-permeable materials to selectively separate and transport CO2 from flue gases. The relative simplicity of membrane-based CO2 capture processes offers reduced capital and maintenance costs as compared to other separation technologies. NETL’s membranes research focuses on the development of low-cost, durable membranes with improved permeability and selectivity, thermal and physical stability, and tolerance to contaminants in combustion flue gas.
Exxon Story
NETL will expand key research programs aimed at advancing groundbreaking low-emissions energy technologies under a new 10-year partnership with ExxonMobil and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Per agreements announced Wednesday, May 8, ExxonMobil will invest up to $100 million in cooperative research and development aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the growing power generation, transportation and manufacturing industries. The influx of funding will allow NETL to expand research on carbon capture and storage, carbon dioxide utilization, oil and gas, enhanced oil recovery and more. Collaborative research will target breakthroughs in advanced biofuels, life-cycle assessment, process intensification, carbon capture and other emerging low-carbon technologies. The goal is to develop innovative technologies that make advanced energy systems more efficient, so they use less fuel and generate fewer emissions, or mitigate the carbon generated through safe and cost-effective means.
NETL’s Regional Workforce Initiative (RWFI) will present a webinar briefing on the 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (USEER) 1- 2 p.m. Thursday, May 30. The Webinar is free, but registration is limited. Interested persons can register here. The online event is designed to inform participants about the current state of the energy and advanced manufacturing workforce for the tri-state (Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia) and the broader Appalachian region, as well as emerging national trends. This is the first briefing on the regional and national results of the 2019 USEER. The information presented will be useful for stakeholders engaged in the planning and implementation of energy and manufacturing jobs, workforce strategies, and economic development forecasting.
Single Crystal Optical Fiber
Turbines, nuclear power plants and chemical reactors operate at increasingly higher temperatures to boost efficiency and reduce expenses. However, these extreme temperatures also create harsh environments that contribute to corrosion, oxidation and other materials challenges in monitoring advanced energy systems. NETL’s novel laser-heated pedestal growth system enables researchers to fabricate custom single-crystal optical fibers from bulk materials, such as sapphire or yttrium aluminum garnet (YAG), that can withstand ultra-high temperatures. Now, researchers are building upon that work to incorporate these specially made fibers into fully distributed sensing systems that effectively monitor temperatures, strains or other important parameters up to 1,500 degrees Celsius, or more than 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit.
NETL Deputy Director Randall Gentry, Ph.D., and NETL researcher Grant Bromhal, Ph.D., will represent the Laboratory at the 4th Annual Partnership Summit hosted by the University of North Dakota Energy and Environmental Research Center (EERC) and the EERC Foundation May 20 and 21 in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The event is designed to bring together experts from all energy sectors, along with legislators and state officials, to discuss critical energy topics. Gentry and other NETL experts will discuss the Laboratory’s role in using domestic resources to power the nation’s homes, industries, businesses, and transportation economically, while protecting our environment and enhancing our energy independence.