NETL’s innovative work to develop energy technology solutions closely aligns with the Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment (RAPID) Manufacturing Institute’s core mission: Develop groundbreaking technologies to boost energy productivity and efficiency.
Those mutual interests brought RAPID CEO William Grieco and Chief Technology Officer Jim Bielenberg to the Lab’s Morgantown site Thursday, Jan. 31, to explore possibilities for collaboration. They were joined by RAPID member John Hu, Ph.D., of West Virginia University, and RAPID colleagues Ignasi Palou-Rivera and Fereshteh Farzad.
Established in December 2016, the RAPID Manufacturing Institute is the 10th Manufacturing USA institute created by the U.S. Department of Energy in an effort to double America’s energy productivity by 2030. RAPID facilitates the development of breakthrough technologies that enhance energy productivity and efficiency via industrial modular chemical process intensification (MCPI), which involves combining multiple process steps — such as mixing, reaction and separation — into single, more complex and intensified processes. The institute is operated by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) in partnership with the Savannah River National Laboratory and the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Grieco, Bielenberg and associates met with NETL Director Brian Anderson and other Lab officials during their visit and learned about NETL’s Radically Engineered Modular Systems (REMS) applications. The REMS concept expedites technology development at a lower cost by reducing component size for added flexibility. NETL is developing small-scale modular designs to convert coal into clean synthesis gas for affordable production of electricity, high-value chemicals, hydrogen, transportation fuels and other useful products.
The RAPID Manufacturing Institute delegation also toured NETL’s Chemical Looping Reactor Facility, Multiphase Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling Visualization Lab, and Reaction Analysis and Chemical Transformation (ReACT) facility. The one-of-a-kind ReACT facility, constructed in 2018, offers researchers novel tools to advance the science of chemical reactions and energy conversion, supporting NETL’s work to boost power cycle efficiency and enable more power generation for less fuel and fewer emissions. The facility offers unique opportunities to aid the RAPID Manufacturing Institute, which counts intensified process fundamentals and chemical and commodity processing among its technology focus areas.
NETL strives to discover, integrate and mature technology solutions that enhance the nation’s energy foundation and protect the environment for future generations. Efforts to achieve that mission require top-notch facilities, such as ReACT, and valuable partnerships with entities like RAPID, which expedite technology transfer to boost efficiency, cut costs and ensure responsible stewardship of the environment to meet America’s growing energy needs.