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Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM), in collaboration with the Office of Nuclear Energy and the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Geothermal Technology Office, issued a notice of intent (NOI) for a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) expected to support front-end engineering design (FEED) studies of direct air capture (DAC) combined with dedicated storage and coupled to existing low-carbon energy. If the FOA is issued, it will support the advancement of DAC technologies that remove carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide removal is essential to addressing the hardest to decarbonize sectors to meet the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Applications must include host site letters of commitment; therefore, advanced notice is being given to support the development of these relationships. Additionally, a minimum of 20% cost share will be required and this NOI provides additional time to obtain non-federal resources. 
The June 2021 edition of RWFI E-Note Monthly provides up-to-date information about funding opportunities to launch and support workforce development initiatives in rural communities and ensure all students have access to quality programs that prioritize science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Links and submission deadlines are provided for a range of funding programs. This edition spotlights eligibility requirements and explains how to apply for funds through the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG) program. The RCDG program is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to improve economic conditions in rural areas. Another feature highlights a program to help farmers and rural small businesses determine the feasibility of using renewable energy systems (wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydro power, and hydrogen-based sources) to improve their operations.
NETL expertise in energy conversion engineering was front-and-center at the 17th International Symposium on Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC-XVII) digital meeting, held July 18-23, 2021, as NETL SOFC Technical Portfolio Lead Gregory Hackett, Ph.D., co-chaired the “Cell, Stack, and System Modeling and Simulation” session and served as moderator for a live Q&A event with conference participants. SOFCs are an important technology option for reaching decarbonization goals of carbon-free power production by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050. Electrochemical devices that convert the chemical energy of a fuel and oxidant directly into electrical energy, SOFCs produce electricity through an electrochemical reaction and not through a combustion process. They are much more efficient and environmentally benign than conventional electric power generation processes, and their inherent characteristics make them uniquely suitable to address the environmental, climate change, and water concerns associated with fossil fuel based electric power generation.
In an NETL-supported project, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the University of Kentucky (UK) are investigating ways to use carbon ore to create high-value products like carbon fiber composites for the aerospace, automotive, wind energy markets and more. The research is also helping achieve a key Biden Administration priority of environmental justice by paving the way for new clean manufacturing industries and good-paying jobs in American coal communities. “The ORNL-UK research team is using advanced multi-scale characterization techniques and high-performance computer modeling to unlock the science needed to enable competitive industrialization of carbon ore-derived carbon fibers and composites,” said NETL’s Chuck Miller, who manages the project. Carbon ore is an abundant natural resource traditionally used for thermal and metallurgical applications, but researchers across the nation are exploring its use as a feedstock for creating value-added products. Carbon fibers, for example, are used in building products, aerospace and automotive parts, rotating parts, sporting goods, and many other applications.
#NETL’s #RWFI will host the #R-AME Innovation Summer Group on July 22 to support the creation of high-tech and high-earning jobs across the Appalachia region. Find out more and register for this free virtual event here.
NETL’s Regional Workforce Initiative (RWFI) will host the 2021 Regional Advanced Manufacturing and Energy (R-AME) Innovation Group summer meeting. This meeting includes stakeholders across Appalachia, including major players in academia and industry to discuss opportunities for strengthening economic & workforce development across the region. Scheduled for Thursday, July 22, 2021, from 10:00–11:30 a.m. EDT, the R-AME meeting will feature speakers from the University of Pittsburgh, Siemens Corporation, the TEAM consortium, and Catalyst Connection. Together with RWFI, the participants will share their efforts in promoting regional entrepreneurial and technical workforce talent while providing a platform to discuss results-driven solutions.  NETL strives to serve as a bridge spanning the early stage of science and discovery to the final stage of commercial deployment by the private sector. To this end, RWFI seeks to strengthen, support and promote a regional advanced manufacturing and energy innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem, which will foster new, high- tech and high-earning jobs leading to lasting economic growth for the region. 
NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., will participate in the H2IQ Hour, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, July 21, 2021, at 12 p.m. ET, to provide an update on NETL’s hydrogen activities, including how those efforts are supporting larger diversity, equity, inclusion and environmental justice initiatives.
NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., will participate in the H2IQ Hour, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, July 21, 2021, at 12 p.m. ET, to provide an update on NETL’s hydrogen activities, including how those efforts are supporting larger diversity, equity, inclusion and environmental justice initiatives. “All our research, including our wide-ranging hydrogen efforts, is conducted with an eye toward supporting diversity, equity, inclusion and environmental and energy justice,” said Anderson, who also leads the Biden administration’s Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization, which was established in January to ensure the shift to a clean energy economy creates good-paying union jobs, spurs economic revitalization, remediates environmental degradation and supports workers in energy communities across the country. “And I’m happy to share this work with the H2IQ audience.”
The automated flash Joule heating system converts carbon-ore-based materials with a greater than 90% processing yield of 99% graphene within milliseconds while avoiding the drawbacks of other graphene production methods.
In partnership with NETL, researchers at Rice University are studying how an advanced conversion process called flash Joule heating (FJH) can inexpensively produce high-value graphene from carbon ore using scalable technology, producing a valuable additive for next-generation technology and advanced manufacturing methods. Composed of a single layer of carbon atoms tightly bound in a honeycomb-like pattern, graphene has incredible mechanical and electrical properties – tensile strength over two hundred times greater than structural steel and electrical conductivity greater than copper.  Graphene shows promise for a wide variety of applications including composite building materials (such as cement, concrete, and plastics), automotive and aerospace parts, batteries and supercapacitors for energy storage, or as an electrical conductor. For example, just 0.1 weight% of graphene as an additive to concrete can result in a stronger, lighter concrete material that can have a longer useful life and a reduced carbon footprint. Just 1% addition of graphene to asphalt can triple the lifetime of a road.  
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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected 12 projects to receive approximately $16.5 million in federal funding for cost-shared cooperative agreements to help recalibrate the nation’s vast fossil-fuel and power infrastructure for decarbonized energy and commodity production. The selected projects will develop technologies for the production, transport, storage and utilization of fossil-based hydrogen, with progress toward net-zero carbon emissions.   
After nearly two decades of collaboration and research, the Southeast Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (SECARB) helped the country come closer to commercial deployment of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies. As one of seven of the Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships, SECARB was a $130 million program established in 2003 and managed by the Southern States Energy Board (SSEB) with the primary goals of identifying major sources of carbon emissions, characterizing the geology of a 13-state region, determining the most promising options for commercial deployment of carbon dioxide (CO2) storage technologies in the South, and validating the technology options. “The projects undertaken during this collaboration were crucial stepping stones in building confidence in large scale CO2 storage,” said Mary Sullivan, an NETL project manager with the Lab’s Carbon Utilization and Storage Team. “As NETL supports the Administration’s goal to decarbonize the U.S. economy, the contributions of SECARB provides valuable experience upon which to build going forward.”
Super Computer
According to the latest rankings by TOP500, NETL’s Joule 2.0 supercomputer remains among the most powerful in the nation, securing a position of 37th in the United States. Supercomputing is essential in achieving NETL’s mission to drive innovation and deliver solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future by ensuring affordable, abundant and reliable energy that fosters a robust economy and national security while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle. By expediting technology development through computational science and engineering, Joule 2.0 helps NETL cut costs, save time and spur valuable economic investments with a global impact. Named for the familiar unit of energy, Joule allows researchers to model energy technologies, simulate challenging phenomena and solve complex calculations using computational tools that save time and money to ensure that technology development ultimately proves successful.