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The United States Research Impact Alliance (USRIA), a technology development incubator based in Morgantown, West Virginia, will receive $1 million to accelerate NETL-supported clean energy and manufacturing projects to market and stimulate the formation of new businesses to help reach the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. The funding allocation, announced during U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm’s recent visit to NETL-Morgantown, will support USRIA and its Identification, Maturation, Productization, Alignment, Collaboration and Transition (IMPACT) technology accelerator process, which matures federally funded technologies that have the potential to address climate change and empower underserved communities
Four scientists at NETL are inspiring girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at GirlCon 2021, an international tech conference aiming to empower the next generation of female leaders. Natalie Pekney, Alexandra Hakala, Circe Verba and Madison Wenzlick are slated to present at several sessions throughout the conference to share their career stories, offer tips for working in energy and address challenges girls may face in pursuing STEM. The conference, held virtually this year from June 27-30, features breakout, professional development and keynote sessions from numerous companies and backgrounds to promote networking and building connections. Attendees have the chance to personally connect with companies from countless career paths and gain mentorship from women in both college and the workforce.
As the nation and world strive to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) associated with the energy ecosystem, NETL is leveraging its world-class expertise and facilities to drive innovation and deliver solutions. NETL researchers are designing and developing novel materials, devices and processes that will become a viable, affordable part of technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As opposed to point-source carbon capture (such as capture from power plant or industrial plant emissions), direct air capture (DAC) is the process of capturing carbon directly from the atmosphere. DAC is envisioned as a process to help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from technologies where point-source capture is difficult. DAC involves the capture of CO2 from air where it is present at only ~400 parts per million (ppm).
Those interested in learning about the Biden administration’s Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization can do so during the upcoming American Coal Council “Coal Q&A” webinar. The American Coal Council’s Coal Q&A webinar series is a longstanding virtual educational forum for addressing important issues affecting the coal industry. Scheduled for 2-3 p.m. EDT Thursday, July 1, NETL Director Brian Anderson will be the featured presenter. A longtime resident of West Virginia with extensive expertise in regional innovation and coal and energy technology development, Anderson also serves as the IWG executive director. The webinar will touch on IWG members and what are they tasked with, identification of existing federal programs with funding available to invest in priority communities, the first IWG report, and upcoming IWG activities and work targets.
With NETL leadership and support, researchers at Battelle successfully helped to pave the way for commercial deployment of carbon capture, storage and utilization (CCUS) technologies that will reduce the effects of climate change while utilizing America’s fossil energy resources through vital research associated with the Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership (MRCSP). CCUS has been identified as one of most reliable and feasible means of addressing climate change while still maintaining the flow of energy supplies to an increasingly tech-driven and power-hungry globalized economy. The Midwest region of the U.S. in particular is undergoing a major energy transition from coal-based sources to sharply increasing natural gas. This necessitates the use of CCUS for disposition of carbon dioxide, which requires characterization, qualification and development of numerous storage sites to complement the carbon capture. These future projects also offer a major employment opportunity for workers in the oil and gas related industries.
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Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) announced $8 million in federal funding for four projects to develop and test technologies that capture and utilize carbon dioxide (CO2) from power systems or other industrial sources to create valuable products and services, biomass and bi-products. Using algae, the selected projects will develop conversion technologies to decrease emissions, helping to reach the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050. “Capturing and utilizing CO2 from sources across power and industrial sectors is critical to fighting climate change — and to creating new jobs and opportunities in hard hit communities across the country,” said Dr. Jennifer Wilcox, Acting Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. “These projects represent an important step in those efforts.”
In the continuing effort to reach the Administration’s net-zero carbon emission goals in the power sector by 2035 and the broader economy by 2050, NETL is advancing emerging carbon dioxide (CO2) capture research areas such as direct air capture (DAC) and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) by engaging in extramural collaborations with the private sector, academia and other national laboratories. “DAC with carbon storage and BECCS are both negative emission technologies,” said Krista Hill, federal project manager on the carbon capture team. “This means that carbon dioxide is both removed from the atmosphere and then geologically stored. In DAC, CO2 is pulled directly from the air, whereas BECCS involves the use of biomaterials that naturally remove CO2 during their life cycle and then are burned to generate power in systems equipped with carbon capture and storage.”
NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., will present the keynote address “Paving the Way to a Decarbonized Energy Future” at 10 a.m. ET Wednesday, June 23, during the POWERGEN+ Series: The Future of Electricity. “By undertaking a diverse mix of critical projects, NETL is leading efforts to meet the ambitious goals of the Biden Administration calling for a carbon emission-free electricity sector by 2035 and economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050,” Anderson said. “I look forward to discussing the outstanding work we are completing with our partners in industry and at leading research universities as we prepare to undergo a historic energy evolution to achieve environmental sustainability, strengthen U.S. energy security and spur economic growth,” Anderson said. Click here to register for Anderson’s virtual presentation.
In partnership with NETL, researchers at Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Rutgers, Arizona State University, OLI Systems and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are developing new sensing methods of detecting rare earth elements (REEs) contained within America’s fossil energy resources using luminescent detection. REEs include the lanthanide elements along with scandium and yttrium. These elements are used in a wide variety of strategic and economically vital industries such as energy, defense, medical technology and consumer electronics. With most existing REE supplies controlled by foreign countries, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and NETL have funded numerous research projects that will create a domestic REE supply chain using the nation’s historic energy resources. INL sought to develop a new simple, sensitive and rapid approach for detecting REEs in any kind of carbon-based solid or liquid. This approach had to be applicable to diverse chemical and mineral matrices that will effectively detect REEs in aqueous solutions at less than one part per million (ppm) and distinguish it between multiple REEs co-occurring in the same sample.
Rare Earths
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) has awarded nearly $18 million to advance eight projects to extract Rare Earth Elements (REEs) and other Critical Minerals (CMs) from materials such as coal waste materials and support revitalization in regions across the country that face economic adversity due to declines in coal and power plants communities. Each of the eight projects had previously worked with DOE to develop a conceptional design of a technology to produce at least 1-3 metric tons per day of mixed rare earth oxides or rare earth salts and other critical minerals (CMs) from mostly coal-based sources. Rare earth elements and critical minerals are vital in the construction of medical equipment, energy components, defense technologies, modern electronics and a host of other consumer goods.