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NETL’s Richard Dennis, a leader in the field of advanced turbine development, will receive two prestigious awards at this year’s American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Turbomachinery Technical Conference & Exposition, also known as Turbo Expo 2021. The ASME International Gas Turbine Institute will present Dennis with its 2021 Industrial Gas Turbine Technology Award. He also will receive the ASME Dedicated Service Award during the virtual conference and exhibition, which is set for June 7-11. “These are well-deserved honors for Rich, whose expertise has enabled NETL to advance the development of next-generation turbine technology to produce clean, affordable and reliable supplies of electricity using the nation’s abundant fossil energy resources in an environmentally friendly manner,” said NETL Director Brian J. Anderson, Ph.D.
The Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) selected NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., for its prestigious Laboratory Director of the Year award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to support technology transfer activities in the NETL organization and the communities it serves. FLC is the formally chartered, nationwide network of over 300 federal laboratories, agencies and research centers that fosters commercialization best practice strategies and opportunities for accelerating federal technologies from out of the labs and into the marketplace. Since Anderson was named NETL director in 2018, his leadership has significantly advanced the Laboratory’s partnerships and technology transfer. He has eagerly and effectively communicated to industry stakeholders with clear and compelling messages of NETL’s vision for technology development and transfer and NETL’s technical research capabilities. In addition, Anderson’s leadership and advocacy led to increased production of NETL intellectual property and related request for licenses and other development agreements.  
Funding opportunities to prepare workers for rewarding careers in the energy sector and other high-tech industries are among the many items featured in the January 2021 edition of RWFI E-Note Monthly. This first newsletter of the new year is one not to miss. It’s packed with information about programs to spur economic recovery in communities that have experienced sharp job losses, as well as initiatives to develop the needed talent in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to support advanced manufacturing and other emerging industries across the Appalachia and other regions. Important announcements in this edition of RWFI E-Note Monthly include:
A project team supported by NETL has successfully drilled a 9,745-foot-deep stratigraphic test well in the Paradox Basin of Utah and extracted a greater-than-expected amount of whole core rock samples from the subsurface. The material will now be analyzed to better understand the region’s geology, especially the role of natural fractures, and identify optimum strategies to recover oil from the sizable Cane Creek resource play. “It was a tremendous way to start 2021,” said John R. Duda, associate director, Technology Development Center, NETL. “This was the first time that such extensive continuous whole core rock samples were extracted from deep within the subsurface in the unconventional Cane Creek play.”
NETL’s water-energy research and development (R&D) activities are now the focus of a new quarterly newsletter set for release later this month. Additionally, the recent launch of the Lab’s Water-Energy Research homepage further highlights NETL’s capabilities and competencies across a broad spectrum of water-energy topics directed at enhancing the nation’s fossil energy infrastructure while protecting the environment. The newsletter will feature water-energy project highlights, spotlights of the Lab’s researchers, upcoming water-energy conferences and more. It will cover the width and breadth of the Lab’s in-house and extramural water-related activities across NETL’s crosscutting, carbon capture and storage, oil and gas, critical minerals and rare earth element recovery, modeling and analysis, coal byproduct and other programs. The inaugural January 2021 edition highlights funding opportunities and recently awarded research projects, journal publications and work being carried out in support of the National Alliance for Water Innovation.
carbon Capture
An NETL-supported project to develop a transformational carbon capture technology will culminate in an engineering-scale test campaign at Norway’s Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM), potentially paving the way for future coal-fired power plants to support cost and performance goals for fewer carbon emissions set by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The Non-Aqueous Solvent (NAS) technology, which is being developed by RTI International researchers with support from DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and NETL, could substantially reduce energy consumption in carbon capture operations at coal-fired power plants compared to other solvent-based technologies, such as the monoethanolamine (MEA) process.
NETL and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) have announced five finalists for the Advanced Welding Workforce Initiative (AWWI), a partnership to invest approximately $1 million in education and training for advanced technical workers in Appalachia. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy High Performance Materials Program provided $750,000 to AWWI to prepare a new generation of welders to manufacture and service high-temperature alloy components in advanced coal- and natural gas-fueled electric generating stations. Such plants operate at significantly higher temperatures and pressures, which increases efficiency and lowers emissions of carbon dioxide and requires the use of superalloys that can withstand the harsh conditions. Skills to be acquired through AWWI training will also be broadly applicable for positions in Appalachia’s emerging aerospace, aviation, automotive and petrochemical industries, which will require welders and other technicians with expertise in working with high-performance materials.
Several NETL researchers recently were named recipients of the Secretary’s Honor Awards, the highest internal, non-monetary recognition that U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) employees and contractors can receive for their service and contributions to the department’s mission and to the nation. A total of 32 Honor Awards were announced. NETL’s Christopher Matranga received the Secretary of Energy’s Excellence Award. Matranga’s work has brought national and international recognition to NETL by advancing technologies to find new and improved applications for domestic coal that will strengthen the U.S. economy, improve the environment and promote energy independence for America. Two teams that included NETL researchers received the Secretary of Energy Achievement Award. Those researchers were Randy Gentry, a member of the Science and Technology Risk Matrix Team, and Greg Hackett and Daniel Maloney, members of the Integrated Energy Systems Team.
NETL has named Kelly Rose, Ph.D., to serve as interim technical director for the Lab’s Science-Based Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Institute (SAMI), a joint institute led by NETL for advancing cutting-edge AI and ML computational technologies to drive innovative solutions for effective, environmentally sustainable fossil energy resource recovery and utilization. Established in 2020, SAMI builds off NETL’s unique strengths in science-based modeling and research data curation and management capabilities. It also capitalizes on NETL’s world-class capabilities in high-performance and other scientific computing capabilities to address fossil energy research in areas such as improving the performance, reliability and efficiency of the existing coal-fired fleet; beneficiating carbon ore and fossil energy byproducts; driving break throughs in advanced materials design and discovery; optimizing the recovery of oil and gas resources; and reducing the cost and risk of carbon capture utilization and storage.
FOA Logo
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has announced $28.35 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development projects under the Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002404, Advanced Processing of Rare Earth Elements and Critical Minerals for Industrial and Manufacturing Applications. The U.S. imports more than half of its annual consumption of 31 of the 35 critical minerals (CM). The U.S. has no domestic production for 14 CMs and is completely dependent on imports to supply its demand. CM are used in the manufacture of high-tech devices, national defense applications, and green growth-related industries. One of these CM, rare earth elements (REE) are the 15 elements in the lanthanide series shown in the periodic table. Scandium and yttrium are included in the manufacture of cell phones, LED screens, solar panels, energy infrastructure, defense technologies, and other essential high-tech applications. The U.S. currently imports 80% of its REEs directly from China, with remaining portions indirectly sourced from China through other countries.