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NETL in Pittsburgh hosted a visit from researchers with the PPG Coatings Innovation Center, who learned about the Laboratory’s work in solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC), sensors and controls and advanced membranes and sorbents. The delegation, led by Stuart Hellring, Ph.D., was interested in exploring potential areas of common interest. PPG is a global supplier of paints, coatings, optical products and specialty materials. The PPG Coatings Innovation Center, an 86-acre complex located near Pittsburgh in Allison Park, Pennsylvania, opened in 1974. The center creates and tests sealants, adhesives, and pretreatment solutions in robotic spray booths with environmental controls for variable temperature, humidity and airflow. In addition to Hellring, the visitors from the PPG Coatings Innovation Center visitors included Terry Hart, manager of R&D government contracts, Nicolas Duarte, research associate, and Jim Peters, research manager. The PPG visit and tour of NETL’s Pittsburgh facilities was born out of interactions between Hellring and NETL personnel who attended the recent Department of Energy InnovationXLab Advanced Manufacturing Summit.
Rock Core
A team of NETL researchers conducted a high-tech examination of a 139-foot core sample taken from a Marcellus shale test well in western Monongalia County, West Virginia — research that could yield technologies and techniques to improve production efficiency and environmental performance throughout the Marcellus shale region. A rock core is a cylindrical sample obtained by drilling with a hollow steel tube known as a core barrel. In the process of coring, the sample is pushed into the tube and brought to the surface where it is removed, inspected and analyzed, commonly in a laboratory employing various equipment and techniques based on the type of data sought.
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Six college students and two professors, who participated in a mentored training program at NETL sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and designed to encourage pursuit of careers in energy industries, presented the results of their summer research projects during a technical forum held this week in Morgantown, West Virginia. The individuals were participants in the Consortium for Integrating Energy Systems in Engineering and Science Education (CIESESE) – a program that supports DOE's goal of building a continuing cadre of professionals, particularly from the Hispanic community, who are ready to take on the challenges of new energy systems – the infrastructure, technologies, and procedures used to generate, store, and distribute energy. CIESESE consists of five Hispanic-serving institutions: Universidad Ana G. Mendez – Recinto Gurabo (formerly Universidad del Turabo) under the Puerto Rico Energy Center, Miami Dade College, University of New Mexico, Recinto Universitario De Mayaguez and the University of Texas El Paso. Sandia National Laboratory and NETL are also part of the consortium.
FOA logo
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and NETL have selected five projects to receive approximately $39.9 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects under funding opportunity announcement (FOA),  Advanced Technologies for Enhanced Oil Recovery. DOE selected these projects as part of its basin-specific research strategy focused on increasing ultimate recovery and operational efficiency. “The extraordinary growth in U.S. oil and gas development is transforming the energy landscape across the world,” said Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “Developing technologies to improve enhanced oil recovery will help maximize America’s energy sources, ensuring continued American energy independence.” “Enhanced oil recovery is a critical component to maximize American energy production,” said Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg. “By increasing American oil and natural gas recovery and production, we affirm both our energy and national security.”
More than 1,000 K-12 students and their parents learned about NETL’s work to develop innovative technology solutions through hands-on educational exhibits at a recent international First LEGO League competition in Fairmont, West Virginia. First LEGO League is a global robotics competition program that helps children expand their knowledge, develop beneficial learning habits and build their confidence as they tackle research, problem-solving, coding and engineering challenges. Fairmont State University welcomed more than 1,000 participants from 11 countries and 15 U.S. states to its campus July 12-14 for the Mountain State Invitational competition, co-organized by NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation facility.
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.