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FOA Announcement
The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy and NETL have announced approximately $110 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development (R&D) projects under three funding opportunity announcements (FOAs).Approximately $75M is for awards selected under two FOAs announced earlier this fiscal year; $35M is for a new FOA. These FOAs further the Administration’s commitment to strengthening coal while protecting the environment. Carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) is increasingly becoming widely accepted as a viable option for fossil-based energy sources—such as coal- or gas-fired power plants and other industrial sources—to lower their carbon dioxide ( CO2) emissions.
NETL K-12 STEM Education & Outreach program lead Ken Mechling served as a co-presenter at the Energy “Train the Trainer” Teacher Workshop in the Ridgway School District in Ridgway, Pennsylvania, Aug. 15.
NETL K-12 STEM Education & Outreach program lead Ken Mechling served as a co-presenter at the Energy “Train the Trainer” Teacher Workshop in the Ridgway School District in Ridgway, Pennsylvania, Aug. 15. During the workshop, educators and administrators learned more about topics surrounding energy and ways to incorporate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) learning into the classroom. Seneca Resources Company LLC, Apex Energy LLC, NETL and the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project teamed up to provide the workshop for teachers in grades 4-12, as well as administrators. During the workshop, Mechling shared STEM ideas with teachers to use with students during the school year. They also listened to speakers in the energy industry, shared energy resources and ideas with one another, investigated partnership opportunities and discussed ways to integrate energy and STEM career education into fun lessons for students.
SPE Logo
NETL oil and gas research successes and expertise are on display today and tomorrow at the Society of Petroleum Engineers’ (SPE) Liquids-Rich Basins Conference-North America in Midland, Texas. The event highlights advancements in technology, operations and best practices with a focus on innovative techniques and tactics that drive the production of energy from liquids-rich formations. The conference will also focus on emerging opportunities that will drive sustainability of North American plays. NETL has long been involved with technology innovations that led to the current level of oil and gas production activity in the U.S. such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.
NCC Logo
NETL Director Brian Anderson will discuss the Lab’s recent innovations in coal-related technologies with experts from across the country during a keynote speech Thursday, Sept. 12, at this year’s annual National Coal Council fall meeting.   The meeting gives NETL the opportunity to showcase its world-class expertise in coal technology and inform experts on current research activities and goals, as well as learn from industry presentations. Anderson’s presentation will emphasize the Lab’s commitment to advancing next-generation power plants, upgrading the existing fleet and reducing both water use and the cost of carbon capture to make coal-fueled power generation more environmentally and economically sound. One NETL advancement in the area of carbon capture includes identifying advanced membrane materials that cut carbon capture costs, which boosts the viability of the nation’s coal-fired power fleet to meet America’s growing energy needs. Another NETL-led project is assessing water treatment technologies that produce fresh water from brine used in energy operations, which facilitates water reuse to increase efficiency and reduce consumption.
Microstructures
NETL researchers are using the Lab’s cutting-edge computational tools to model thousands of simulated microstructures as they seek to boost the performance and longevity of energy-efficient, near-zero-emission solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). SOFCs can efficiently convert a variety of abundant domestic fuels — including coal and natural gas — into clean power via electrochemical reactions. SOFCs are highly efficient and produce far less carbon dioxide, require very little water and use less fuel while providing the same amount of electricity, compared to today’s combustion-based fossil energy technologies. One of the primary obstacles to widespread commercialization of SOFCs is degradation, a gradual decline in performance that limits a fuel cell’s lifespan. Several suspected contributors to performance degradation are tied to the microstructural composition of the positive and negative electrodes, which are stacked on either side of an electrolyte within an SOFC to facilitate chemical reactions.
Coal Conference
Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg and NETL Director Brian J. Anderson, Ph.D., highlighted the Lab’s work to develop innovative fossil energy solutions at the recent 2019 International Pittsburgh Coal Conference. The conference, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering, was held Sept. 3-6 at the Westin Convention Center Hotel in Pittsburgh. This year’s theme, “Clean Coal-Based Energy/Fuel and the Environment,” was central to NETL’s mission to discover, integrate and mature technology solutions that enhance the nation’s energy foundation and protect the environment for future generations. Winberg discussed energy production and policies during his plenary talk Sept. 4. Anderson addressed attendees Sept. 6, when the plenary session focuses on environmental issues. He reviewed the history of clean-coal technology development and expounded on the environmental impacts of clean coal utilization.
Clark
NETL employees were on hand to facilitate power restoration as Hurricane Dorian threatened the East Coast in recent weeks. Three employees were deployed to regions expecting impacts from Dorian ahead of the hurricane’s arrival, while a fourth employee provided virtual assistance. All four employees contribute their time and expertise as part of the Emergency Support Function (ESF) #12 program, which aids the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as part of the United States National Response Framework. NETL supports ESF #12 by maintaining a team of regional coordinators who cover FEMA regions spanning 36 states in the continental United States, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The participating employees primarily belong to NETL’s Energy Technology Development Directorate, with one from the Energy Conversion Engineering Directorate. In response to Dorian, these four joined other officials at regional response coordination centers for FEMA Regions II, III and IV and state emergency operations centers in Florida and North Carolina, where they served as Energy Unit Leaders.
Brian Anderson
NETL hosted a comprehensive meeting Aug. 26-30 to showcase cutting-edge research in four key areas aimed at developing novel technological solutions to America’s energy challenges. The inaugural Carbon Capture, Utilization, Storage, and Oil & Gas Technologies Integrated Project Review Meeting, “Addressing the Nation’s Energy Needs Through Technology Innovation,” is the Lab’s first annual meeting to combine four interrelated Office of Fossil Energy research programs into one event. Held at Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center, the meeting offered attendees a valuable opportunity to share in the knowledge and insights gained from more than 200 research projects sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage, and Oil and Natural Gas programs.
ORM
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill — which released 130 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days — put a spotlight on the urgent need for improved system-wide knowledge and advanced computational tools to predict and prevent future spills as oil and gas operations continue to expand into new territory. To address the unique challenges associated with offshore hydrocarbon exploration, researchers from NETL’s Geo-Analysis & Monitoring Team created the Offshore Risk Modeling (ORM) suite to evaluate and reduce the risk of oil spill events. Consisting of eight digital modeling and visualization tools, the ORM suite represents more than six years of development, innovation and validation, resulting in a robust suite of advanced tools that are easily accessible for use by researchers and operators. The suite provides a comprehensive framework for future predictions, analyses and visualizations surrounding oil spill scenarios to better inform offshore drilling efforts, which works to make extracting critical resources safer while ensuring environmental protection.
RWFI
NETL’s Regional Workforce Initiative (RWFI) will present a one-hour webinar addressing the potential for an Appalachian ethane storage hub at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 12. The webinar is free, but participants must register here.