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In the continuing effort to reach the Administration’s net-zero carbon emission goals in the power sector by 2035 and the broader economy by 2050, NETL is advancing emerging carbon dioxide (CO2) capture research areas such as direct air capture (DAC) and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) by engaging in extramural collaborations with the private sector, academia and other national laboratories. “DAC with carbon storage and BECCS are both negative emission technologies,” said Krista Hill, federal project manager on the carbon capture team. “This means that carbon dioxide is both removed from the atmosphere and then geologically stored. In DAC, CO2 is pulled directly from the air, whereas BECCS involves the use of biomaterials that naturally remove CO2 during their life cycle and then are burned to generate power in systems equipped with carbon capture and storage.”
NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., will present the keynote address “Paving the Way to a Decarbonized Energy Future” at 10 a.m. ET Wednesday, June 23, during the POWERGEN+ Series: The Future of Electricity. “By undertaking a diverse mix of critical projects, NETL is leading efforts to meet the ambitious goals of the Biden Administration calling for a carbon emission-free electricity sector by 2035 and economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050,” Anderson said. “I look forward to discussing the outstanding work we are completing with our partners in industry and at leading research universities as we prepare to undergo a historic energy evolution to achieve environmental sustainability, strengthen U.S. energy security and spur economic growth,” Anderson said. Click here to register for Anderson’s virtual presentation.
With NETL funding, researchers at Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Rutgers, Arizona State University, OLI Systems and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are developing new sensing methods of detecting rare earth elements (REEs) contained within America’s fossil energy resources using luminescent detection. REEs include the lanthanide elements along with scandium and yttrium. These elements are used in a wide variety of strategic and economically vital industries such as energy, defense, medical technology and consumer electronics. With most existing REE supplies controlled by foreign countries, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and NETL have funded numerous research projects that will create a domestic REE supply chain using the nation’s historic energy resources. INL sought to develop a new simple, sensitive and rapid approach for detecting REEs in any kind of carbon-based solid or liquid. This approach had to be applicable to diverse chemical and mineral matrices that will effectively detect REEs in aqueous solutions at less than one part per million (ppm) and distinguish it between multiple REEs co-occurring in the same sample.
Rare Earths
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) has awarded nearly $18 million to advance eight projects to extract Rare Earth Elements (REEs) and other Critical Minerals (CMs) from materials such as coal waste materials and support revitalization in regions across the country that face economic adversity due to declines in coal and power plants communities. Each of the eight projects had previously worked with DOE to develop a conceptional design of a technology to produce at least 1-3 metric tons per day of mixed rare earth oxides or rare earth salts and other critical minerals (CMs) from mostly coal-based sources. Rare earth elements and critical minerals are vital in the construction of medical equipment, energy components, defense technologies, modern electronics and a host of other consumer goods. 
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Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $12 million in federal funding for six research and development (R&D) projects that are advancing direct air capture (DAC) technology, a carbon dioxide removal approach that extracts carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the atmosphere. The projects, housed at universities and labs in Arizona, North Carolina, Illinois and Kansas, are creating tools that will increase the amount of CO2 captured by DAC, decrease the cost of materials, and improve the energy efficiency of carbon removal operations. When deployed, this next generation of clean energy technology will help reach the Biden-Harris Administration's goal of a net-zero emissions by 2050.
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NETL’s Energy Data eXchange (EDX) has served as a virtual platform for the public curation of research data and tools for more than a decade, bringing together researchers from across the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM). Now, as the Biden Administration begins the transition to a clean energy economy, the data and models available through EDX are helping shape this new future where federal leadership will partner with power plant communities to create good-paying union jobs, spur economic revitalization, mediate environmental degradation and support energy workers.
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) announced the selection of three projects to receive $1.5 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development (R&D) to explore how carbon-based building materials can support the Administration’s commitment to building a clean energy economy that creates good-paying union jobs and transforms disadvantaged areas into healthy and thriving communities. The selected projects will investigate the impacts of using carbon-based building materials, including opportunities to develop superior construction materials that offer lower lifecycle carbon dioxide emissions and other improved properties. Superior carbon-based building materials may also contribute to the development of a new industry—creating new jobs for communities that have disproportionately suffered adverse economic, health, environmental, and climate impacts.  The selected projects follow:
NETL researchers are using analytical tools and modeling to determine the efficiency and cost effectiveness of technologies that can pull carbon dioxide (CO2) from ambient air and help reduce greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere. “Direct air capture (DAC) systems are essentially what plants and trees do every day through photosynthesis, except DAC technology can do it much faster, with a smaller land footprint, and deliver extracted CO2 in a pure, compressed form that can then be stored underground or reused,” said Tim Fout, a member of NETL’s Energy Process Analysis Team of the Strategic Systems Analysis and Engineering (SSAE) directorate. NETL is well-positioned to lead the development of DAC technology. The Lab has been instrumental in advancing research to capture CO2 from the flue gas streams produced by power plants and other industries and store it permanently and safely in deep underground complexes and geologic reservoirs or use it as a feedstock to produce higher-value products such as chemicals and plastics.
The Dynamic Gas Turbine Combustion Test Rig in NETL's High-Pressure Combustion Facility
NETL representatives joined gas turbine researchers and industry experts at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Turbo Expo, held June 7-11, to discuss the role of advanced turbine technologies in achieving  energy production with net-zero emissions and the changing workforce dynamics brought about by the economic focus of addressing climate change amongst other turbine and energy related topics. ASME’s Turbo Expo provided a full spectrum of research and industry knowledge to truly confirm the latest market trends, technical developments, challenges, and the future state of the turbomachinery industry. The event encompassed topics spanning the entire turbomachinery industry – gas turbines, steam turbines, wind turbines, fans and blowers, Rankine cycle, and power cycles based on supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2).
Briggs White
NETL’s Briggs White, Ph.D., will focus on steps to transform the energy economy when he delivers the keynote presentation at the NETL-City of Pittsburgh Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) stakeholders meeting, set for 2-4 p.m. (ET) Thursday, June 10. The NETL-Pittsburgh MOU Partnership was launched in 2015 to transform the city’s energy system and aging infrastructure. The MOU provides an opportunity for NETL to demonstrate how technologies developed at the Lab can support safe and efficient energy use in the city. White’s presentation will focus on his current duties as deputy executive director of the Biden Administration’s Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization.