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As one of the nation’s most stable and prevalent sources of electricity, coal has reliably powered the country for more than 100 years and will continue to be an important part of the U.S. energy mix for the foreseeable future. However, the nation’s coal-fired power plant fleet has faced increasing retirements in recent years, threating the long-term viability of this critical energy source. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and NETL are working to overcome these challenges by laying the groundwork to develop the coal plants of the future through DOE’s Coal FIRST (Flexible, Innovative, Resilient, Small, Transformative) initiative.
During his career with NETL, U.S. Army veteran Jimmy Thornton has worked tirelessly to advance new technology development for Fossil Energy (FE), and that remains true today with current efforts to investigate uses for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for FE technology development. Born in Kentucky and growing up in Campbells Creek, Thornton joined the U.S. Army at the encouragement of his high school baseball coach who was an Army Reserve drill instructor. Trained as an infantryman and entering service in early 1983, Thornton was stationed in Germany, where he completed French Commando School in Givet, France. Leaving active service in 1987, Thornton joined the Kentucky National Guard while studying at Eastern Kentucky University, and he later transferred to the West Virginia National Guard after accepting a professional internship with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in Morgantown in 1988. Commissioned as an officer in 1992, he served with the 201st Field Artillery and was deployed to Iraq in 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The world’s largest operating post-combustion carbon dioxide (CO2) capture system Petra Nova celebrates its third anniversary Jan. 10, 2020. The project, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and administered by NETL, is demonstrating how carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies can economically support the flexibility and sustainability of fossil fuels at commercial scale. Owned and operated by NRG Energy Inc. and JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration Corporation, Petra Nova is located southwest of Houston Texas and applies carbon capture technology to an existing unit at the coal-fired W.A. Parish Generating Station. Commencing operation in 2017, the Petra Nova project addresses capture and beneficial reuse of CO2 from coal-based electricity production. The project uses an advanced amine-based process to capture CO2, which is then compressed, dried, and transported for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) at the West Ranch Oil Field in Jackson County, Texas, to boost oil production.
The carbon footprint created by industry and other human activity in Big Sky Country — the area stretching across the Great Plains and into Canada — can be reduced using technology pioneered by NETL and partners at a leading research university. Work completed as part of the NETL-backed Plains CO2 Reduction (PCOR) Partnership demonstrates not only the ability to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, it also enhances the efficiency of oil production, an important consideration to bolster domestic energy production. PCOR is one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) seven Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships (RCSPs), which have been laying the groundwork since 2003 for large-scale geologic storage of CO2 in the United States as a means of mitigating effects of climate change while still allowing for the efficient and affordable use of fossil fuels for energy production.
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and NETL have announced approximately $6.3 million in federal funding for research and development projects under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002193, University Training and Research for Fossil Energy Applications. This FOA will encompass two separate university programs, each with its own requirements and restricted eligibility. The two programs are the University Coal Research Program and the Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority Serving Institutions (HBCU/MSI) Program. Projects under this FOA will support early-stage, fundamental research that advances the science of coal technologies, while also helping to train the next generation of energy researchers, scientists, and engineers at U.S. colleges and universities. The HBCU/OMI program aims to increase the participation of underrepresented students in such research. This FOA will focus on four areas of interest (AOI) as follows: AOI 1: Quantum for Energy Systems and Technologies AOI 2: Novel Sensors and Controls for Flexible Generation
Washington and Jefferson College Center for Energy Policy and Management Tour
Members of Washington & Jefferson College of Energy Policy and Management visited NETL Morgantown Wednesday Jan. 8 to tour various facilities on campus and familiarize themselves with the Lab’s mission along with the tools and technologies being pursued to accomplish it. The W&J Center for Energy Policy and Management brings together scientists, industry leaders, elected officials, advocates and citizens with the goal of fostering the development of a national energy policy that has a place for all energy sources, minimizes environmental impact and promotes economic growth. Center Director Corey Young, along with Research Specialist Max Clark and Community Outreach Coordinator Linda Ritzer, attended the tour which was preceded by discussions and overviews for both organizations to familiarize with each other. Located in western Pennsylvania, the heart of Appalachia’s natural gas boom, Washington & Jefferson College has stated an interest in shale gas development as well as other advanced energy technologies, and further discussions with NETL representatives highlighted possibilities of future collaboration.
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy has announced up to $15 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002186, Novel Concepts for the Utilization of Carbon Dioxide from Utility and Industrial Sources. This FOA seeks applications that propose to develop and test technologies that can utilize carbon dioxide (CO2)—from power systems or other industrial sources—as the primary feedstock to reduce emissions and create valuable products to offset the cost of capture. The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the projects, which will support DOE’s Carbon Utilization Program. The FOA focuses on three areas of interest (AOIs): AOI 1: Synthesis of Value-Added Organic Products
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and NETL have selected 16 projects to receive nearly $25 million in federal funding for cost-shared projects to advance natural gas infrastructure technology development. DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy will provide federal funding for these projects. These projects aim to develop tools, methods, and technologies to cost-effectively enhance the safety and efficiency of the Nation’s natural gas production, gathering, storage, and transmission infrastructure. “This Administration is committed to providing cost-effective, responsible technologies to advance natural gas operations across the United States,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. “With the U.S. positioned as the world’s top producer of natural gas, DOE is proud to be a global leader in gas technology R&D. These projects will further our impressive growth in this field, growing our economy and jobs, while finding new solutions to continue lowering our energy-related emissions.”
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Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and NETL have announced up to $20 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA), Extreme Environment Materials for Power Generation The projects will support FE’s Crosscutting Research program , which has a unique ability to identify needs and foster technology development across many applications. The projects will target material challenges that apply to both coal- and gas-based steam cycle components. By focusing on both new and existing applications, the program is intended to improve cost, performance, and reliability of fossil power generation and also enhance the competitiveness of the Nation’s high-temperature materials supply chain in the global marketplace.
NETL Expands Efforts to Find Abandoned Wells that Leak Greenhouse Gas
NETL’s Natalie Pekney, Ph.D., knows that locating abandoned oil and gas wells — which can leak methane, a potent greenhouse gas — is no walk in the park even with the assistance of state-of-the-art technology. For starters, there are an estimated 1.2 million abandoned oil and gas wells nationwide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many wells were drilled decades before it was necessary to obtain permits, making it difficult to find them using public records and maps. Additionally, many of these wells were never plugged or sealed when production ceased. Pekney, NTEL Technical Portfolio Lead, and her colleagues recently took a different approach to organize a field campaign to northeastern Oklahoma, a region with a long tradition of oil and gas drilling. For six days in November, a team of NETL scientists, relying largely on information gleaned from various databases, traveled through mostly publicly owned lands, by vehicle and sometimes on foot, to locate abandoned wells and collect methane emission measurements from them.