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Texas Visit
A team of petroleum engineering researchers from Texas Tech University visited NETL in Morgantown, West Virginia, to discuss potential collaborative efforts focused on technologies associated with recovery of oil and gas from the Permian Basin and carbon dioxide (CO2) capture, storage and use in enhanced oil recovery. The Permian Basin, an 86,000 square mile sedimentary basin located in western Texas and southeastern New Mexico, has produced oil for more than 80 years, and it is still one of the largest petroleum-producing basins in the U.S. Oil reserves in the Permian Basin are estimated at 4.2 billion barrels and it contains an estimated 22% of U.S. oil reserves. The region has the biggest potential for additional oil production in the country, containing 29% of estimated future oil reserve growth. The Texas Tech delegation, led by Marshall Watson, Ph.D., chairman of the Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering, visited regional research universities in conjunction with its NETL stop. The mission of Watson’s department is to conduct research for the safe and efficient development, production and management of petroleum reserves.
NETL is sharing its computer-aided design expertise this week at one of the world’s premier international conferences — 2019 Foundations of Computer-Aided Process Design (FOCAPD), an event devoted to promoting stronger industrial-academic collaboration in process and product design. NETL has a long history of developing innovative computer-aided design capabilities. NETL received an R&D 100 Award for its Advanced Process Engineering Co-Simulator (APECS) and the Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative’s (CCSI) Toolset. Most recently, NETL’s Institute for the Design of Advanced Energy Systems (IDAES) is pushing the frontiers of modeling and optimization for the development and design of innovative advanced energy. David Miller, NETL’s senior fellow for process systems engineering, leads IDAES and is a featured speaker during the five-day event.
NETL joined West Virginia University and Ohio State University in 2014 to create the Marcellus Shale Energy and Environmental Laboratory (MSEEL) — a test well project intended to improve natural gas production efficiency and minimize environmental impacts at hydraulic fracturing sites throughout the Marcellus Shale region. Five years and a long list of accomplishments later, MSEEL continues to yield new knowledge with an additional test well that is helping researchers discover and disseminate technical knowledge that will assist the nation in maintaining its energy security and improving the competitiveness of the oil and gas industry, all while protecting the environment.
President Donald J. Trump has announced that three NETL researchers are on a list of distinguished individuals set to receive the highest honor the U.S. government can bestow to outstanding scientists in the early stages of their research careers. NETL’s Doug Kauffman, Ph.D.; Shiwoo Lee, Ph.D.; and Jordan Musser, Ph.D., were selected to receive the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) in recognition of their contributions to the advancement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and for outstanding community service as demonstrated by scientific leadership, public education and community outreach. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy coordinates the PECASE with participating departments and agencies of the federal government. To be eligible for a PECASE Award, an individual must be a U.S. citizen, national or permanent resident.
A team led by NETL and Carnegie Mellon University’s Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation and consisting of experts from national laboratories, academia and private industry, have released a report summarizing information presented in a workshop called “Real-Time Decision-Making for the Subsurface.” The report is available here.
FOA Logo
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and NETL have selected six projects to receive approximately $14.7 million in federal funding for Phase II of funding opportunity announcement (FOA), Fossil Fuel Large-Scale Pilots. DOE has supported a range of potentially transformational coal technologies aimed at enabling step-change improvements in coal-powered systems. Some of these technologies are now ready to proceed to the large-scale pilot stage of development. The technologies selected for Phase II are similar to or are components of the Coal FIRST Initiative. These technologies could support future design and construction of the next generation of coal fired power plants that are flexible, resilient, economical, and emit near zero emissions, including carbon dioxide. “Coal-fired plants provide a significant source of electrical power in the United States,” said Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg. “This R&D will enable the United States to have a high-efficiency, low-emissions coal fleet that will continue to provide stability to the power grid.”
NETL researchers with expertise in converting coal into innovative advanced materials and products are sharing their insights with research colleagues from private industry, other national laboratories and academia at the Ramaco Research Rodeo (R3) in Sheridan, Wyoming. Ramaco Carbon is a vertically integrated coal technology company that combines coal resources with advanced research and modern manufacturing techniques to develop new products from coal — including carbon-fiber parts for vehicles and airplanes, carbon-based building materials, medical technology devices and more. For the past two years, the company has sponsored a research showcase known as R3. NETL, which launched a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with Ramaco in 2018 designed to discover ways to use coal to manufacture high-value products, has been a participant in the R3 event.
Dave Berry
As part of its ongoing effort to develop an advanced manufacturing strategy, the NETL site in Morgantown, West Virginia hosted a visit by representatives of the Tri-State Shale Coalition – a West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio initiative designed to maximize downstream manufacturing opportunities from the extraction of shale gas in the region. Tom Esselman and Pat Getty of the Tri-State Shale Coalition met with NETL staff to discuss advanced manufacturing related to the petrochemical industry. The coalition has been working to elevate four focus areas in the region: transportation and infrastructure, research and innovation, workforce and education, and marketing and promotion. An analysis in May 2017 by the American Chemistry Council projected the region could see investment in petrochemicals and derivatives of more than $32 billion and in plastic products of more than $3 billion.
Nodeworks inside of MFiX, being used to create and run 100 cyclone simulations. When NETL recently upgraded its supercomputer Joule, tripling its CPUs and increasing its computational powers by eight-fold, the Lab bolstered one of its most valuable research competencies — computational science and engineering (CSE). NETL’s CSE directorate works with many of the research programs at the lab, especially those that focus on energy conversion engineering by simulating a variety of combustion and gasification processes to ultimately design more efficient energy systems that can deliver affordable and reliable power to consumers.
Rare earth elements (REEs) are critical to advanced technology products like cell phones, airplanes, defense systems and many other applications. Because the U.S. imports most of the REEs it uses, research to reduce the cost of environmentally safe recovery processes from domestic sources is critical. Acid mine drainage, which is a waste from coal mining, is a potential domestic source for REEs. Treatment of coalfield mine drainage to recover REEs can be accomplished with chemicals or through natural processes that concentrate the elements for recovery. A team from NETL, the Department of Geology and Environmental Science at the University of Pittsburgh, and Hedin Environmental Inc. of Pittsburgh evaluated REE-enriched solids produced from domestic coal mine drainage treatment systems. In an article published in the International Journal of Coal Geology in May, the team reported that coalfield mine drainage treatment systems that use natural processes like limestone beds and flow ponds to solidify waste and then recover embedded REEs are more effective and environmentally friendly than conventional treatment systems that use chemicals.