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NETL’s Tom Tarka chats with Ramaco Carbon Chairman and CEO Randall Atkins during a tour at the Pittsburgh site. NETL and Ramaco signed an umbrella cooperative research and development agreement that allows them to collaborate on projects that use coal as a manufacturing feedstock for high-value products.
Technology transfer is critical to research and development efforts at NETL and across the country, as it ensures that emerging innovations move from the laboratory to the marketplace for the greatest impact. Partnerships with businesses, entrepreneurs, universities and others facilitate technology transfer by bridging the gap between research and commercialization. The necessity for collaboration puts NETL in a key position within the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Lab Partnering Service (LPS). Launched in July 2018, LPS helps potential investors/partners navigate the vast economic opportunities within the DOE complex by providing a single online access point for information from all 20 national labs and facilities. The LPS website enables users to connect with technology experts at relevant DOE national labs and facilities, learn about partnership possibilities and search technologies and patents available for licensing. Inquiries are routed to each lab’s Technology Transfer Office, which assists in answering questions and/or directing them to the appropriate individual within the DOE laboratory system.
CESMII
NETL’s work in designing transformative advanced energy systems through a partnership of academic institutions and U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories — known as the Institute for the Design of Advanced Energy Systems (IDAES) — and its innovations in the field of sensor development has drawn the attention of the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII). Haresh Malkani, Ph.D., chief technology officer of CESMII, visited NETL in Pittsburgh Wednesday to learn more about the Laboratory’s work and discuss potential areas of mutual interest like sensor development and IDAES activities. CESMII, launched in 2016, is the ninth institute in the Manufacturing USA network. Its focus is the research and development of technologies and solutions that can capture, share and process the increasing amounts of information available at manufacturing facilities. These technologies are expected to enable dramatically improved process control and operation, and enable benefits such as improved energy efficiency, equipment reliability and productivity gains, as well as related improvements in safety and quality in manufacturing processes. 
Journal of Physical Chemistry C
NETL research that created a new copper-gold alloy that can selectively convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into carbon monoxide (CO) — a breakthrough that could impact a $3.4 billion global market for methanol and other synthetic fuels — has landed on the cover of a prestigious national scientific journal. An article about the research appeared as the cover story in the Dec. 13, 2018, Journal of Physical Chemistry C. The manuscript was titled “Selective Electrocatalytic Reduction of CO2 into CO at Small, Thiol-Capped Au/Cu Nanoparticles.” A catalyst is a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change. Nanomaterial-based catalysts are especially effective because their high surface area can dramatically increase catalytic activity. A major objective of nanocatalyst research is to create catalysts that have high selectivity, high activity, low energy consumption and a long lifetime by controlling the size, shape, surface composition and electronic structure.
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and NETL have issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) for a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to complete at least two front-end engineering and design (FEED) studies for commercial-scale carbon capture systems on coal and natural gas power plants. DE-FOA-0002058, Front-End Engineering and Design Studies for Carbon Capture Systems on Coal and Natural Gas Power Plants, will support FE’s Carbon Capture Program. FE anticipates that the FOA will support at least two projects. The objective of the planned FOA is to competitively solicit and award research and development (R&D) projects for FEED studies of at least two commercial-scale carbon capture power projects for retrofit at an existing domestic coal-fired power plant and for a coal or natural gas plant that generates carbon dioxide suitable for utilization or storage.   
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and NETL have announced up to $6.0 million in federal funding for research and development (R&D) under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0001993, University Turbine Systems Research (UTSR). The FOA seeks to solicit and competitively award university-based R&D projects that address and resolve scientific challenges and applied engineering technology issues associated with the performance and efficiency of combustion turbines in fossil fuel power generation. Projects will support DOE’s University Turbine Systems Research program. This FOA focuses on five areas of interest (AOIs).
FOA
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and NETL have announced up to $9.5 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development (R&D) under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0001992, Maximizing the Coal Value Chain. This FOA seeks to develop innovative uses of domestic coal for upgraded coal-based feedstocks used to produce power, make steel, and make high-value products—ultimately creating new market opportunities for coal. These projects will support FE’s Advanced Energy System Program, and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage them. This FOA focuses on three areas of interest (AOI): 1. Improved Domestic U.S. Coal Feedstocks for Power Production and Steel-Making – Projects under this AOI will test technologies that can produce an upgraded coal fuel from run-of-mine domestic coal to increase the value of coal as a power plant fuel or for steel production for domestic and international markets. There are two subtopics:
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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is one of the largest supporters of technology transfer within the federal government, and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), as one of DOE’s 17 national labs, strives each day to mature technology solutions to the nation’s energy challenges. “NETL faces tech transfer challenges – like any national lab,” said NETL’s Technology Transfer Program Manager Jessica Lamp. “This is because DOE and other public funding may only support research and development efforts up to an early technology readiness level. The funding can expire before the technology is matured to a point where a business will enter into a cooperative R&D agreement or license the technology.” To overcome this challenge, DOE created the Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF).  As it is currently implemented, TCF is a nearly $20 million funding opportunity that can help mature promising energy technologies with the potential for high impact. The funds are matched with contributions from private partners with the goal of technology commercialization.
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Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and NETL announced up to $88 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects enhancing technologies for oil and natural gas recovery under two separate funding opportunity announcements (FOAs). The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the projects selected under both FOAs. “Technology and innovation gave us the shale revolution that’s transformed the energy landscape here in America and around the world,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.  “This research and development will allow us to continue building on those successes and expand the advancement of both our conventional and unconventional oil and gas resources.”
NETL Hosts W.Va. Manufacturers to Discuss Regional Workforce Initiative
A delegation of visitors from the West Virginia Manufacturers Association (WVMA) and the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) learned more about NETL’s Regional Workforce Initiative (RWFI) during a tour and visit to the Laboratory’s Morgantown site. NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., said that energy and advanced manufacturing jobs support millions of direct and indirect jobs in the US economy. “Helping to build a trained workforce is a critical component of a vibrant economy,” he said. “Our Regional Workforce Initiative works to identify skills and training gaps that hamper creation of energy and advanced manufacturing jobs. Then, RWFI helps provide opportunities to leverage federal activities that can bolster an effective workforce infrastructure in the Appalachian region.” He said the West Virginia visitors toured NETL facilities and held talks to learn more about how NETL’s work connects economic development stakeholders to activities within the Laboratory, the Department of Energy and other federal agencies in support of economic development activities that are related to energy and advanced manufacturing.
NETL-Led Computational Modeling Project Offers Potential to Cut Carbon Capture Cost
An ambitious computational modeling project led by NETL identified membrane materials that will make carbon capture more affordable for coal-fired power plants, reducing the cost to less than $50 per metric ton of carbon dioxide (CO2) removed. NETL’s Jan Steckel, Ph.D., worked with Chris Wilmer, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, and NETL colleagues Olukayode Ajayi, Ph.D., and Samir Budhathoki to model the cost of carbon capture for more than 1 million hypothetical mixed matrix membrane (MMM) materials using powerful computational tools. Their work is highlighted in the latest edition of the high-impact journal Energy and Environmental Science.