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NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., and other Lab personnel will exchange information and ideas with industry, universities, investors and end-use customers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) InnovationXLab Artificial Intelligence (AI) Summit Oct. 2-3, at the historic Drake Hotel in Chicago. The AI Summit, hosted by Argonne National Laboratory, will convene industry leaders from the energy, transportation, manufacturing and health care sectors, public officials and researchers from DOE national laboratories to discuss how advanced AI tools and machine learning (ML) techniques can support business transformation and drive economic growth. The continued leadership of the United States in AI is of paramount importance to maintain economic and national security, and events such as the InnovationXLab AI Summit are highlighting how business and industry can leverage the power of DOE’s national laboratories and AI to enrich the lives of Americans.
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More than two dozen NETL researchers will showcase innovative advances in materials science and technology this week at one of the nation’s premier technical meetings and exhibitions for materials science, engineering and application. The 2019 Materials Science and Technology (MS&T) Conference begins Sept. 29 and continues through Oct. 3 in Portland, Oregon. More than 3,000 scientists, engineers, students, suppliers and business leaders are expected to attend to discuss the latest scientific advances and future of materials science and technology. Twenty-five Lab researchers are slated to share their work among the 2,000-plus presentations at the conference. Their presentations will cover specific technical accomplishments within several topical areas including advanced materials for harsh environments, materials using microwaves and magnetics, thermodynamics of materials in extreme environments, substrate protection for corrosion prevention, phase transformations in ceramics and more. NETL’s Michael Gao is a program organizer for several sessions focused on phase stability and diffusion kinetics.
Oxygen Carriers
NETL researchers tested the more durable oxygen carriers at the Lab’s Chemical Looping Reactor in Morgantown, West Virginia. A recently improved NETL oxygen carrier based on low-cost minerals demonstrated a ten-fold increase in durability compared to previous iterations. This record-breaking accomplishment represents a significant step toward the commercialization of chemical looping combustion (CLC), an advanced fossil energy technology capable of delivering affordable and dependable power to the nation while reducing environmental impacts due to CLC’s more streamlined carbon dioxide (CO2) capture capability.
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and NETL have selected four projects to receive approximately $4.6 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development (R&D). The projects will accelerate the development and commercialization of treatment technologies that reduce waste water that is being injected into disposal wells and increase water supplies for reuse. These projects are supported through funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002004, Low-Cost, Efficient Treatment Technologies for Produced Water. This R&D effort supports the Water Security Grand Challenge, a White House-initiated, DOE-led framework to advance transformational technology and innovation to meet the global need for safe, secure, and affordable water. In particular, this FOA advances the Grand Challenge’s goal to transform the energy sector’s produced water from a waste to a resource.  
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NETL representatives are putting a spotlight on the Laboratory’s ongoing research efforts focused on developing efficient energy-related technologies at the 9th Annual Pennsylvania Energy Efficiency Conference this week in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The event is presented by Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance (KEEA) and its partners and brings together the energy efficiency industry’s most prominent players for two days of valuable networking and discussions about policy, emerging technology trends, and the future of energy efficiency. State, regional and national experts will speak on a variety of energy efficiency technologies and topics. The conference is a natural venue for NETL. One of the Laboratory’s key goals is to develop more ways to get more energy out of the nation’s energy assets, extending natural resources, reducing emissions, and ensuring that the nation can benefit from low-cost energy while protecting the environment.
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NETL Federal Project Manager Maria Reidpath highlighted federal programs designed to promote the transfer of innovative energy technologies into the marketplace at this week’s Energy Storage and Building Efficiency Conference. The Tech Belt Energy Innovation Center (TBEIC) hosted the conference Sept. 23-24 in Warren, Ohio, for manufacturers, utilities, investors, entrepreneurs, academia and others across Ohio, the Midwest and Appalachia. The agenda included sessions on how to use advanced energy storage technologies to improve buildings’ energy efficiency and facilitate technology transfer. TBEIC is an Ohio-based energy incubator that aids technology startups in the energy industry by providing mentoring services, facilitating business relationships and more. NETL hosted TBEIC for a visit to NETL in March 2019, and the conference offered an opportunity to further engage with TBEIC and its regional stakeholders.
NETL’s work with solid oxide fuel cells is enhancing the nation’s electric grid by generating combustion-free power with minimal environmental impact. The Lab is now extending its research vision to develop reversible solid oxide cells, which can alternately either generate power or produce clean-burning fuel. Solid oxide cells operate in two modes: fuel cell mode and electrolysis mode. Solid oxide cells operating in fuel cell mode are known as solid oxide fuel cells, or SOFCs, while solid oxide cells operating in electrolysis mode are known as solid oxide electrolysis cells, or SOECs. SOFCs convert chemical energy from a fuel directly into electrical energy. A fuel source such as hydrogen, natural gas or syngas is fed into the cell, and electricity, water and/or CO2 are produced as byproducts. Since SOFCs produce electricity through an electrochemical reaction and not through a combustion process, they are much more environmentally friendly than conventional electric power generation methods due to higher efficiencies, reduced water usage and reduced CO2 emissions.
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Recognized from Sept. 23-27 this year, National Clean Energy Week celebrates advancements in technology that mitigate negative environmental impacts while enhancing the nation’s energy foundation. NETL’s ongoing energy research exemplifies this message by providing technological solutions to the nation’s energy challenges and supporting common-sense solutions that address America’s current and future economic and energy needs. The Lab’s groundbreaking research focuses on developing commercially viable technologies that address a range of energy challenges, including effective resource development, efficiency energy conversion, and results-oriented environmental sustainability.
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Today, the U.S. Department of Energy and NETL have announced 32 winners for $56.5 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development (R&D) projects for advanced coal technologies and research under six separate funding opportunity announcements (FOAs). The projects further this Administration’s commitment to strengthening clean coal technologies and cover a range of topics, including carbon capture, utilization, and storage; rare earth element recovery; coal to products; crosscutting coal R&D; steam turbine efficiency; and advanced materials. “The Department of Energy is committed to advancing technologies that will allow us to meet our energy needs in an environmentally responsible way,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “We will continue our commitment to investing in research, development, and demonstration initiatives to drive these innovative clean coal technologies forward.”       “We are excited about the transformative potential of these projects. Advancing this coal R&D is paving the way for future technology innovation and integration,” said Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg.
U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb (17-PA), Chairman of the House Science, Space & Technology Energy Subcommittee, was joined by U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, (9-OH), Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, on Tuesday, Sept. 17, on a visit to the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in Pittsburgh for briefings and a tour of key research laboratories. Kaptur’s Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee has jurisdiction over funding for the Department of Energy (DOE) and other key government agencies. Lamb serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and chairs its Energy Subcommittee with jurisdiction over DOE research, programs, and laboratories. He also serves on the Subcommittee on Environment. NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., hosted the visit.