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Available Technologies

Title Date Posted Patent Information Opportunity Sort ascending
Metal Oxide Promoters for Improving the Reactivity and Capacity of Oxygen Carriers for the Chemical Looping Combustion Process USPN 8,807,988

This technology, titled "Metal Oxide Promoters for Improving the Reactivity and Capacity of Oxygen Carriers for the Chemical Looping Combustion Process,” provides a mixed metal oxide carrier to improve the oxygen transfer capacity and reactivity of existing carriers. Following patent approval, the technology will be available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Regenerable Mixed Copper-Iron-Inert Support Oxygen Carriers for Solid Fuel Chemical Looping Combustion Process USPN 9,523,499

This technology, "Regenerable Mixed Copper-Iron-Inert Support Oxygen Carriers for Solid Fuel Chemical Looping Combustion Process," provides a metal-oxide oxygen carrier for application in fuel combustion processes that use oxygen. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Laser Ignition Technology U.S. Patent Pending

This technology uses composite lasers to produce multiple temporal ignition pulses, which can be used to improve the efficiency of both laser ignition systems for natural gas fueled engines as well as laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) sensors. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

Natural gas-fueled engines help to reduce transportation and energy costs, fuel consumption and harmful emissions compared to conventional gasoline engines. One reason for these improvements is because combustion in a natural gas fueled engine takes place in what is called a lean burn mode, in which fuel is burned with excess of air. However, this lean burn mode may lead to unnecessary misfire when the ignition spark occurs but fails to properly ignite the fuel and air mixture.

Pyrochlore-Based Catalysts for Syngas-Derived Alcohol Synthesis USPN 9,150,476; USPN 9,598,644

This technology provides an advantageous means to convert syngas into a class of chemicals known as higher oxygenates, as well as other long-chain hydrocarbons. Research is currently active on this patent pending technology "Method of CO and/or CO2 Hydrogenation Using Doped Mixed Metal Oxides." This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Cu-Pd Hydrogen Separation Membranes with Reduced Palladium Content and Improved Performance USPN 8,608,829

This patented technology, "Cu-Pd Hydrogen Separation Membranes with Reduced Palladium Content and Improved Performance," consists of copper-palladium alloy compositions for hydrogen separation membranes that use less palladium and have a potential increase in hydrogen permeability and resistance to sulfur degradation compared to currently available copper-palladium membranes. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Researchers at NETL have identified the need for further materials performance testing to be completed for the alloy compositions described above. Performance testing would provide data related to membrane hydrogen permeability, flux, and membrane lifespan. Testing results would show the significance of the technological and economic impact of this technology compared to current hydrogen separation membrane technology. Results would also potentially validate the technology and allow for introduction into commercial industry.

The NETL Pittsburgh site has materials performance testing capabilities and is able to perform all the necessary tests. Approximately 320 hours of material performance testing is needed to test two most promising alloy compositions.

Converting Natural Gas to Valuable Chemicals with Microwave Technology U.S. Patent Pending

This novel patent-pending methane conversion technology employees microwave-assisted catalysis for chemical conversion. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

Natural gas, primarily composed of methane, is a cheap and abundant domestic resource that can be converted to a wide range of products including liquid transportation fuels and a wide range of chemical intermediates. However, traditional methods of converting methane to valuable chemicals first require it to be converted to synthesis gas.

A direct, one-step, method to convert the methane would have significant advantages over current indirect methods, including reduced costs and increased yields, but several technology barriers must first be overcome. Microwave-assisted catalyst reactions can provide a viable direct method for overcoming these barriers.

Producing Carbon and Hydrogen With NETL’s Novel Iron-based Catalyst U.S. Patent Pending

This new Iron-based catalyst will enable a one-step process to produce hydrogen - a promising energy source that is also environmentally benign - by directly converting methane. The catalyst will eliminate the need to first create syngas and then remove carbon dioxide. In addition to creating hydrogen, carbon, which is also a useful commodity is created as a by-product. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge
The traditional commercial methods of forming hydrogen from methane are based on steam methane reforming, coal or bio-mass gasification, electrolysis, and thermos-chemical processes. Some of these methods are cost-effective, but each requires that syngas first be created and the water gas shift reaction be used to convert syngas to hydrogen and carbon dioxide. From there, the hydrogen must be purified using pressure swing adsorption to separate the hydrogen for the carbon dioxide. Developing a method that avoids these intermediate steps would reduce the cost of producing valuable hydrogen.

Selective CO2 Conversion With Novel Copper Catalyst U.S.Patent Pending

This invention describes the synthesis and application of nanostructured copper (Cu) catalysts that selectively convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into carbon monoxide (CO). This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge
The electrochemical CO2 reduction reaction (CO2RR) is an appealing strategy for addressing man-made CO2 emissions because it can leverage excess renewable energy to produce carbon-neutral chemicals and fuels. However, the economic viability of large-scale CO2RR systems will depend on the ability to selectively and efficiently form desirable products. Because it is earth-abundant and can produce a variety of products, Cu is a popular CO2RR catalyst. Unfortunately, the wide product distribution of Cu introduces inefficiencies in the form of chemical separation steps.

Novel Sorbents for Radioactive Contaminant Removal From Wastewater U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes a technology that can capture radioactive contaminants from wastewater. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge

Radioactive isotopes in liquid nuclear wastes are difficult to remove through conventional methods. Solvent extraction and ion exchange have proved successful for removal, but most of these materials display low selectivity and require the use of environmentally unsafe solvents.  

Rotational Mechanical Gas Separator U.S. Patent Pending

This invention describes a technology for separating liquid and solid phase substances from a gas stream. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Challenge
The removal and sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) from gas streams has been extensively researched, and many methods of separating CO2 have been proposed. These include adsorption monoliths, membrane absorption and cryogenic distillation, but such methods require special materials and/or high maintenance. Other state-of-the-art removal techniques, such as centrifugal stratification, compress CO2 into a liquid or solid phase, then remove it from the gas stream. But during removal, the liquid/solid phases travel through flow fields and their viscous heating effects. This causes the liquid/solid phases to re-vaporize, stymieing separation efforts.