Designing new efficient power plants that use fossil fuels – America’s most abundant energy resource – to affordably maintain our energy dominance, economic prosperity, and quality of life is a challenging prospect because of how difficult it is to assess and measure aspects of complex energy systems. Simply put, researchers can’t crawl around inside an experimental system to observe first-hand how things work.
That’s why it was an exciting step forward when NETL joined with experts from sister National Laboratories, and researchers from two experienced and highly respected academic institutions to create a dynamic team we call the Institute for Design of Advanced Energy Systems or IDAES.
IDAES consists of experts from NETL, Sandia and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, Carnegie Mellon University and West Virginia University. Pooling skills and resources, the Institute is pioneering development of new computational tools that can be used to optimize the performance of power plants over a full range of operating conditions – both supporting the existing fleet and enabling the design and scale up of transformative advanced coal energy systems.
Computational models are used to simulate devices and understand detailed performance before designs are finalized. It’s a more cost-effective way to develop advanced devices and systems and a better way to provide decision-making tools for safer, and environmentally prudent processes for fossil energy development.
The nation’s decision makers are taking notice. This week, in our Nation’s Capital, representatives from more than 15 energy-related private companies will get together to get a closer look at IDAES and the work it has done to put more design power into the hands of the people who can use it best.
The work of IDAES is demonstrating innovative ways to develop the energy technologies we need to move the nation forward as well as showing how intense collaboration among federal and academic institutions can provide answers for a productive energy future.
Famous American computer scientist Alan Kay once said that “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.” The IDAES initiative is one-way NETL and its collaborator institutions are helping invent the future of energy technology.
As Acting Director of NETL, Sean I. Plasynski, Ph.D., builds on an extensive background in energy as he leads NETL in its mission to enhance the nation’s energy independence and protect the environment for future generations. For more information about Sean Plasynski's experience, please click here.