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Quantum Infromation
Projects supported by NETL in the emerging field of quantum information science (QIS) are opening doors to new technologies to better monitor operating conditions in advanced power plants and safeguard the nation’s energy infrastructure against cyberattacks. QIS, which investigates phenomena at the scale of nature’s smallest particles, is expected to profoundly change the practice of science and engineering in the coming decades. QIS technology exploits quantum phenomena for performing tasks that are impossible to do today, such as elucidating reaction mechanisms in complex chemical systems. NETL has launched an initiative for applying QIS to deliver integrated solutions to enable the transformation to a sustainable energy future.
Water Energy nexus
The spring 2021 edition of the Water Energy Nexus Newsletter is filled with updates concerning NETL’s ongoing water-energy research and related activities. The newsletter highlights the NETL Senior Fellow for Strategic Systems Analysis and Engineering and provides an overview of ProteusLib, a new, open-source library of water-specific models being created as part of the AMO-funded National Alliance for Water Innovation in coordination with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Another feature outlines NETL engagement with the Southwestern Pennsylvanian Commission’s Water Resource Center.  The commission provides technical assistance and educational resources for water resource conservation while serving as a regional information clearinghouse for water-related issues. Furthermore, the commission has expressed significant interest in the lab’s research on recovering rare earth elements and critical minerals from acid mine drainage.
Winners
NETL announced that two of its employees were honored with prestigious Excellence in Government Awards by the Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board for significant accomplishments, leadership, outreach and impact on the region and beyond. Winners of the 2021 Excellence in Government Awards were announced as part of Public Service Recognition Week, which is a nationwide public education campaign held the first full week of May each year to honor the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees. The awards program recognizes outstanding federal employees for efforts that encourage innovation and excellence in government, reinforce pride in federal service and call public attention to the broad range of services provided by federal employees. The awards were selected by an independent committee of federal executives.
CCS White paper image
NETL researchers, in partnership with industrial research institutes, universities and other organizations, co-authored a newly released comprehensive white paper providing updated costing guidelines for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, which are crucial to combatting climate change. Understanding the costs of these technologies is essential to guide research activities aiming to reduce cost and improve performance in different applications.  “In practice, the many different CCS technology options and potential CO2 sources pose challenges in establishing reliable and transparent cost estimates,” said NETL researcher and co-author of the white paper Tim Fout. “These new guidelines aim to enable more realistic and comparable assessments of economic potential and give new insights regarding the timeframe and requirements for cost competitiveness with existing or advanced technologies.”
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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $17.3 million for college internships, research opportunities, and research projects that connect talented science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students and faculty with the world-class resources at DOE’s National Laboratories. Awardees represent academic institutions from all across America—including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs)—highlighting DOE’s commitment to supporting a highly-skilled, diverse workforce that is equipped to tackle the science, energy, environmental, and national security challenges of today and tomorrow. “By investing in STEM students and faculty from diverse backgrounds, we can ignite the most creative and innovative ideas to solve our biggest problems and maximize our competitiveness,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “DOE and the Biden Administration are committed to nurturing a skilled workforce that looks like America, and these awards will help us prepare rising stars everywhere to dream up the very best solutions for our nation and our people.”
Briggs White, technology manager, NETL, will be a featured presenter at the upcoming “Hydrogen — A Renewable Reliability Gap Solution?” webinar
Briggs White, technology manager, NETL, will be a featured presenter at an upcoming webinar to discuss the role of hydrogen as an affordable, reliable and clean platform on which to decarbonize the power sector and broader economy at 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 5. White will be joined by a panel of experts who will address “Hydrogen — A Renewable Reliability Gap Solution?” The uptick of renewables, such as wind and solar power, to supply the electricity grid has raised concerns about grid reliability and the need for energy storage or low-carbon dispatchable power. Energy storage has been identified as one strategy to address scenarios that will occur when the wind stops blowing or the sun fails to shine. It can also provide a means to store energy when overly abundant and save it for long durations, if necessary, to support electricity needs. White and the panel, which will include regulatory and industry representatives, will explore how hydrogen provides another viable option to ensure grid reliability as variable renewables are used with greater frequency to decarbonize the U.S. energy sector.
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Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the selection of two projects to receive a total of approximately $99 million in federal funding. The projects will advance to Phase III (Construction/Operation) of funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0001788, Fossil Fuel Large-Scale Pilots. The FOA was released with three phases, comprised of competitive selections made between phases:
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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today awarded $19 million for 13 projects in traditionally fossil fuel-producing communities across the country to support production of rare earth elements and critical minerals vital to the manufacturing of batteries, magnets, and other components important to the clean energy economy. Facing persistent shortages in domestic supply, the U.S. has been forced to rely on imported materials, leaving clean energy technology production at greater risk of disruption. Projects will be managed by DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). “The very same fossil fuel communities that have powered our nation for decades can be at the forefront of the clean energy economy by producing the critical minerals needed to build electric vehicles, wind turbines, and so much more,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “By building clean energy products here at home, we’re securing the supply chain for the innovative solutions needed to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 – all while creating good-paying jobs in all parts of America.”
Battieries
NETL-supported research and leadership in the field of energy storage will be explored at an upcoming webinar hosted by the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation at Carnegie Mellon University. Panelists for “Batteries and the Future of Energy Storage,” which will be held at 11 a.m. ET on Thursday, May 6, include NETL’s Briggs White, technology manager, who manages the Advanced Energy Storage research program on behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy. Click here for information or to register for the webinar.
crosscutting
Scientists and engineers will make more than 60 presentations during the first half of May to highlight program areas critical to the development of an environmentally sustainable and prosperous U.S. energy future as part of NETL’s annual Crosscutting Research and Advanced Energy Systems Project Review Meeting. The annual project review showcases a broad spectrum of NETL-supported projects advancing research toward a carbon emission-free electricity sector by 2035 and economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050 while ensuring affordable, reliable energy supplies for U.S. economic growth in all regions. Although the series of presentations will continue through mid-June, the May 4-13 period is an especially busy time for the project review meeting because it features an impressive 62 sessions, all held virtually, to discuss NETL-supported projects in Gasification Systems, Crosscutting Research Water Management, Transformative Power Generation, and Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.