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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 NEWS
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.
NODE WORKS
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.
REE
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.
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and NETL have selected 12 projects to receive approximately $44.5 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development (R&D) under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), Advanced Technologies for Recovery of Unconventional Oil & Gas Resources. “Improving the recovery efficiency from oil and natural gas plays is critical to maximizing U.S. energy production,” said Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg. “These projects will help expand our ability to do that and, in the process, help strengthen our energy, economic, and national security.” The projects fall under two areas of interest as follows:
ASME Turbo Expo
NETL experts attended the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Turbomachinery Technical Conference and Exposition — also known as the Turbo Expo — in Phoenix, Arizona, June 17-21 to support finding new solutions to today’s energy challenges. The three-day annual exhibition attracts the industry’s leading professionals and key decision-makers whose innovation and expertise help shape the future of the turbomachinery industry. At the expo, NETL showcased its capabilities by displaying its research and development competencies and exploration into coal-fueled turbine-based power systems to attendees. The conference featured over 300 paper sessions with more than 1,000 papers and more than 80 panel, tutorial and lecture sessions. Richard Dennis, a member of the NETL’s Efficient Energy Conversion team, chaired panel sessions surrounding important issues relevant to the turbomachinery industry. Topics ranged from discussing the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Turbines Program to future trends and opportunities in turbomachinery and clean energy technology.
NETL Reaction Engineering team member Jonathan Lekse, Ph.D.
NETL’s work with oxygen carrier technology is making waves in the alternative energy field. The Lab’s material research is cutting costs while maximizing efficiency and contributing to America’s future in clean energy while working to mitigate environmental impact. Specifically, NETL is exercising its world-class expertise through the investigation of special materials known as metal oxides, which are important due to their unique properties and energy applications. These oxides can serve multiple purposes as oxygen carriers, which provide oxygen during gasification.
2019 Northeast Petrochemical Exhibition and Conference
Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy (FE) Steven Winberg and National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., spoke at the 2019 Northeast Petrochemical Exhibition and Conference June 20, 2019, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Winberg and Anderson joined more than 1,000 world-class experts, industry-leading CEOs and innovation service providers to discuss challenges and developments in the northeast region. FE and NETL have a long history of advancing and maturing technologies beneficial to the petrochemical industry, such as the development of a new catalyst that can selectively convert syngas into light hydrocarbon compounds. NETL has also worked to advance carbon capture technologies, which can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide that enters the atmosphere as a result of industrial processes like petrochemical production. In his remarks, Anderson focused on carbon capture research, specifically technology readiness in advanced manufacturing.
NETL Research Team’s Rapid Kick Detection Technology Granted Patent
An NETL research team was recently granted a patent for their groundbreaking invention for rapid kick detection, which results in safer drilling operation and significant cost savings for both consumers and operators by providing real-time updates of downhole conditions to aid in maintaining control of an oil or gas well. Kelly Rose, Ph.D., ORISE research fellow Brian Tost and University of Southern California professor Fred Aminzadeh were awarded the patent for their invention “System for kick detection during a drilling operation” April 9. Click here to view. During hydrocarbon exploration, limited information on subsurface environments can result in unexpected changes, which can cause “kicks,” or a sudden entry of water, gas, oil or other formation fluid into a wellbore during drilling.