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Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) announced plans to make $8 million in Federal funding available for cost-shared research, development, and testing of technologies that can utilize carbon dioxide (CO2) from power systems or other industrial sources for bio-mediated uptake by algal systems to create valuable products and services. Funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002403, Engineering-Scale Testing and Validation of Algae-Based Technologies and Bioproducts, will support the goals of DOE’s Carbon Utilization Program. The primary objective of carbon utilization technology development is to lower the near-term cost of carbon capture through the creation of value-added products from the conversion of carbon dioxide.
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has announced up to $15 million in federally funded financial assistance for cost-shared research and development projects under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002402, Carbon Capture R&D: Bench-Scale Testing of Direct Air Capture Components (TRL 3) and Initial Engineering Design for Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Systems from Air (TRL 6).
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Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) announced plans to make $160 million in federal funding available to help recalibrate the Nation’s vast fossil-fuel and power infrastructure for decarbonized energy and commodity production. The funding, for cost-shared cooperative agreements, is aimed to develop technologies for the production, transport, storage, and utilization of fossil-based hydrogen, with progress towards net-zero carbon emissions.
The eXtremeMAT team will provide a webinar presentation Thursday, Jan. 21 to American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) committee members, providing information and feedback including how eXtremeMAT’s work may impact ASME standards in the future.  The presentation, “Accelerating the Development of Extreme Environment Materials,” will summarize the team’s recent advances to develop physics-based models to predict long-term alloy performance in harsh service conditions and to detail a strategy proposed by eXtremeMAT for using these models to accelerate the qualification of alloys. Initiated in 2018, the eXtremeMAT consortium, led by NETL with support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its Office of Fossil Energy, leverages the unparalleled materials science and engineering expertise and capabilities available within the DOE national laboratory complex to accelerate development of affordable and durable materials for extreme environment service. eXtremeMAT aims to develop, validate and integrate advanced models to predict how microstructure and composition of certain steels affect alloys designed for harsh service environments.
An NETL-supported project at the University of North Dakota (UND) to economically extract strategically important rare earth elements (REE) has shown that lignite is a potential domestic source of these vital minerals using a process that also produces valuable by-products and takes advantage of existing mining infrastructure. REE have been designated as critical minerals by the U.S. Department of the Interior due to their unique properties, which are essential and often non-substitutable in a variety of consumer goods, energy systems and defense applications. With China largely controlling the global production and value chain, the U.S has begun moving to generate domestic supplies of these critical resource, a task NETL has supported with its partners in academia such as UND. During UND’s work, researchers simplified an acid-leaching REE extraction process to a single step for economic benefit.
Energy trends are changing, which means the nation’s energy infrastructure must change too, including the designs of transformational power technologies like ultra-supercritical steam plants and supercritical carbon-dioxide power systems. To operate efficiently at higher temperatures and pressures, power plants of the future will need new affordable materials that can deliver both superior corrosion and creep resistance. These alloys can operate in many industrial environments such as such as gas turbines or chemical processing plants without sacrificing the typical lower cost, formability and weldability of conventional high-temperature materials. Such systems will increase efficiency, lower costs and reduce emissions from fossil-fired power cycles, ensuring affordable and reliable energy for the nation well into the future.
R and D
Scientists from NETL were invited by book editors from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and Honeybee Robotics to include a chapter focusing on a portion of its research program related to Environmental Drilling as part of the recently released book “Advances in Terrestrial Drilling: Ground, Ice, and Underwater.” The book details the latest drilling and excavation principles and processes for terrestrial environments. Many years of research by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in this area is detailed, including NETL’s offshore research, as the focus of the book’s seventh chapter, “Environmental Drilling / Sampling and Offshore Modeling Systems.”
By completing its “first fire” of a new natural gas infrastructure system, the National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC) is paving the way for testing of carbon capture technologies using actual natural gas-derived flue gas starting in early 2021. This achievement marks a significant milestone for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) NETL-sponsored facility as it expands the variability of carbon capture technologies for natural gas power generation, in addition to coal-fired power plants. NCCC’s natural gas carbon capture infrastructure at Alabama Power’s Plant Gaston in Wilsonville, Alabama, includes a natural gas-fired boiler, flue gas cooler, condenser and blower. The natural gas boiler is in addition to the current capability of providing actual coal-fired flue gas from an operating pulverized coal plant. This system offers significant advantages for carbon capture technology developers to demonstrate and scale up technologies, including expanded testing windows and more flexibility.
Journal of Structural Geology
A novel geospatial data method developed by NETL researchers for modeling and predicting geologic structural complexity within the subsurface has been published in the Journal of Structural Geology. By helping to develop better tools and techniques to predict the storage and behavior of carbon dioxide, natural gas and other resources within the subsurface, NETL’s innovative research is enabling hydrocarbon extraction efforts to operate cheaper and more efficiently while leaving a lighter environmental footprint. The data science method developed by the Lab aims to improve predictions in areas both with and without high-resolution subsurface data through the development of a knowledge-data framework and leveraging the Spatially Integrated Multivariate Probabilistic Assessment (SIMPA) tool and methodology. The process of developing the data framework puts data sets into spatial arrays suitable for both the software’s processing capabilities and the fuzzy logic modeling system within the SIMPA tool.
Turbine Blade
NETL scientists are advancing the development of high-entropy alloys (HEAs) that can withstand significantly higher temperatures and extreme stress to enable gas turbines to run with greater efficiency. The development of these durable materials will not only enable industrial gas turbines to generate cleaner electricity using abundant domestic energy sources, they also may be used to manufacture the stronger components needed to build next-generation aviation turbines (jet engines) that require less fuel and produce fewer emissions. As part of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) Ultrahigh Temperature Impervious Materials Advancing Turbine Efficiency (ULTIMATE) program, NETL is partnering with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Carnegie Mellon University to advance the development of structural materials that can withstand the highest temperatures in a turbine, as well as the extreme stresses imposed on turbine blades.