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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.
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).