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Brian and UCFER Hands
NETL leadership and experts, including NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., joined representatives from 11 universities as they gathered virtually to discuss project successes during the 2021 University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research (UCFER) Annual Technical Review Meeting this week. NETL Deputy Director and Chief Technology Officer Sean Plasynski, Ph.D., kicked off the second day of the meeting with opening remarks, proceeded by an administrative update from UCFER DOE Project Officer Omer Bakshi. “UCFER has provided significant results since its inception six years ago,” Bakshi said. “To date, 18 of the 43 funded projects have been completed, and 25 are ongoing. The presentations we saw this week confirmed that the research of our partner universities will continue to lead to important breakthroughs for the decarbonization of the economy.”
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Point-Source Carbon Capture Can Filter At Least 95% of Emissions from Natural Gas and Industrial Operations, Help Meet Biden Administration Climate Goals  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $45 million in funding for 12 projects to advance point-source carbon capture and storage technologies that can capture at least 95% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions generated from natural gas power and industrial facilities that produce commodities like cement and steel. These research and development, front-end engineering design and engineering-scale projects are a part of DOE’s efforts to deploy a portfolio of innovative solutions to help achieve the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and a 100% clean electricity sector by 2035.
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Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) announced nearly $7 million in funding for seven projects that will develop coal-based filaments or resins for additive manufacturing and advance research and development (R&D) of coal-derived graphite. This investment supports the development of new and safe uses for coal-wastes, which in turn will spur the creation of good-paying jobs in frontline communities as the nation transitions to 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. In order to extract the full economic value from coal wastes in a sustainable way, innovation is needed. The National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL) Carbon Ore Processing Program seeks to address and deliver solutions to this challenge by supporting novel technologies that produce valuable products from coal waste-derived sources through laboratory- and pilot-scale R&D.
Several collaborative projects are under way at #NETL and its partner labs to develop advanced air separation technologies that can produce bulk oxygen that is needed to make clean hydrogen fuel.
NETL researchers, and project partners at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory, are developing advanced air separation technologies that produce oxygen, a valuable gas that can be used to make hydrogen fuel, a much-needed commodity for transitioning to a clean power sector.  Air separation technologies separate atmospheric air into its primary components, nitrogen and oxygen, which can be used for valuable commercial supplies, industrial applications, manufacturing and more.  The projects NETL and its collaborators are advancing are actively addressing climate change by reducing CO2 emissions via clean hydrogen generation in oxygen-blown, gasification-based plants with carbon capture and storage.  Clean hydrogen can be generated from biomass and coal wastes in this manner with zero carbon emissions. The hydrogen can be used as a clean fuel in turbine applications. 
NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., will welcome representatives from 11 universities for the virtual 2021 University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research (UCFER) Annual Technical Review Meeting Oct. 5-6, 2021. “Partnerships like UCFER help the Lab leverage its connections, resources and expertise to develop critical carbon management technologies,” Anderson said. “The dedication of our University partners across UCFER to our mission is an inspiration when we see the innovations from see the best and brightest minds from universities across the country.” During the two-day event, researchers for selected active projects will give virtual presentations on technologies spanning topics that will include carbon capture, carbon storage, crosscutting research, carbon ore processing, fuel cell technologies, gasification systems, coal and coal-biomass to liquids, natural gas technologies, and rare earth elements.
NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., highlighted how research efforts have supported the development of new ways to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into useful products during the 3rd International Conference on Carbon Recycling. Held in a virtual setting Oct. 4, participants at this year’s International Conference on Carbon Recycling included a mix of government, energy producer, and small business representatives that are united in their support of carbon conversion efforts, which is a key technology for realizing carbon neutrality. The conference also served to strengthen cooperation and share information between stakeholders from multiple countries around the globe. Anderson was a speaker on the panel, “Technologies for the Future, Expectation by Investment,” that highlighted NETL supported research and development projects putting CO2 to economic use.
NETL presented the computational research of one of its Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship (MLEF) research associates into direct air capture during the High Performance Computing for Energy Innovation (HPC4EI) Manufacturing Day, held virtually Friday, Oct. 1. Under the guidance of research advisor Samir Budhathoki and mentor Jan Steckel at NETL, MLEF research associate Tiernan Baucom presented “Computational Study of MOFs for Direct Air Capture Using Flexible Force Fields.” Increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and disruptive climate changes have made the need for carbon capture technology more urgent than ever. While point source capture from power plants and industrial plants is a priority, most climate models predict that to avoid the most damaging effects of climate change, a large amount of carbon will need to be removed directly from the atmosphere. Metal organic framework (MOF) materials, which are porous crystalline materials, show potential for use in direct air capture technologies due to their promising gas sorption properties.  
NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., joined U.S. Department of Energy Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy and Carbon Management Jennifer Wilcox in highlighting the Lab’s research into carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen power technologies that could be keys to success in America’s unfolding energy transformation during the 2021 Shale Insight conference. Held in Pittsburgh from Sept. 28-30, Shale Insight included a Technology Showcase. Attending it as an exhibitor allowed NETL to review emerging technologies that will create value, reduce costs and generate competitive advantages to address Appalachian Basin shale industry challenges and support science-based technologies and decisions that will benefit all stakeholders.
Taking a leading role NETL, in collaboration with Oregon State University (OSU) and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), is exploring how high-temperature carbon dioxide (CO2) degrades power plant building materials — research that could lead to the development of supercritical CO2 power plants that could help decarbonize the nation’s power sector. CO2 generated from electricity production represents 25% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Revolutionary technologies will be required to decarbonize electricity production while simultaneously making electricity more affordable and accessible for all Americans. One promising approach is to use extremely hot carbon dioxide in place of steam to drive a turbine and produce electricity in future power plants.
NETL Director Brian Anderson joined U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Fossil Energy & Carbon Management Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Jennifer Wilcox and NETL Research & Innovation Center Director Bryan Morreale in facilitating an exchange of ideas to leverage the nation’s fossil energy industries in creating clean hydrogen for decarbonization of the nation’s economy. NETL and the Gas Technology Institute (GTI) jointly hosted a virtual workshop from Sept. 27-28 titled “Enabling an Accelerated and Affordable Clean Hydrogen Future - Fossil Energy Sector’s Role.” The goal of this event was to gather and share ideas on how to validate and advance the role of the fossil energy sector as an economic means to rapidly deploy hydrogen pathways to decarbonized energy systems. Though there have been many hydrogen-themed conferences and workshops recently, the NETL-GTI event was unique in its focus on the fossil energy sector and in its goal of fostering dialog among the participants to accelerate deployment of hydrogen.