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analysis
A new NETL report provides cost and performance analyses that are important inputs toward meeting the projected demands of future power markets. The report, “Cost and Performance Baseline for Fossil Energy Plants, Volume 1: Bituminous Coal and Natural Gas to Electricity,” presents an independent assessment of the cost and performance of select fossil energy power systems — integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC), pulverized coal (PC), and natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) plants, both with and without 90% carbon capture. Thirteen power plant configurations are analyzed, including seven IGCC configurations, four PC power plant configurations, and two state-of-the-art turbine-based NGCC power plant configurations. Robert James, of NETL’s Energy Process Analysis Team, said the report’s analyses provide important information for technology development and decision-making.
Winners
NETL welcomed approximately 100 students, mentors and volunteers to the Lab’s Morgantown, West Virginia, site Nov. 16 for the 2019 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) CyberForce Competition™. Sponsored by DOE’s Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security and Emergency Response and coordinated by Argonne National Laboratory, the competition leverages the people, research and capabilities of DOE’s national laboratory complex to inspire and develop the next generation of energy sector cybersecurity professionals who will help defend and bolster the nation’s critical energy infrastructure and ensure our energy security. NETL was among 10 DOE laboratories hosting regional CyberForce events. University of Maryland, Baltimore County was the national winner, while Baldwin Wallace University from Berea Ohio. won first place among the teams competing regionally at NETL. A total of 106 teams competed nationwide.
Career Fair
The Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board, in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Pittsburgh District, will sponsor a Federal Agency Career Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, in the William S. Moorhead Federal Building, Room 1310, 1000 Liberty Ave., downtown Pittsburgh. NETL representatives and recruiters from 12 other federal agencies and offices will attend. Federal agencies are seeking individuals with academic degrees (professional track) or trades and craft skills (wage grade/technical track) to fill a range of opportunities, from internships to full-time positions. All are welcome. Registration is not required. The following agencies and offices are scheduled to participate in this free, exhibit-style event:
computational science
NETL’s Computational Science and Engineering (CSE) directorate underpins much of the Lab’s research by generating information and analysis beyond the reach of physical experiments alone. CSE develops science-based simulation models, mathematical methods and algorithms and software tools required to address the technical barriers that often hinder development of next-generation fossil energy technologies. Through the integration of experimental information and computational sciences, scientists and engineers can efficiently simulate multitudes of technology variations to save time, money and materials. CSE work enabled advancements in several areas of NETL research in 2019, including significant achievements in multiphase flow science and carbon capture technology development.
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NETL has issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) for a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for cooperative agreements to competitively solicit and award projects that will focus on materials research, development, testing and validation to enhance the domestic materials supply chain and the reliability of the existing fossil power generation fleet.  Notice of Intent for DE-FOA-0002192, Extreme Environment Materials for Power Generation, will support DOE’s Crosscutting Research Program. It is anticipated that projects will fall under two areas of interest (AOIs). AOI 1: Addressing Fatigue Failures at Dissimilar Metal Joints in High-Temperature Steam-Cycle Components This AOI will focus on development of innovative materials or materials processing technologies that improve the cyclic durability of joined materials and components, reduce the time and cost associated with repairing and upgrading components and address barriers to deployment of mature joining technologies through demonstrating and documenting their value in a realistic environment.
Future of Work
The NETL Regional Workforce Initiative will present a free Future of Work Webinar from 1 to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 21. This online event will explore how rapid technology and societal changes have affected workforce training and created significant challenges in various industries, including the energy and advanced manufacturing sectors. The webinar is free, but registration is required. Interested persons can register for the webinar here. Presenters from the RAND Corporation will discuss the company’s report “A System that Works — Reimagining the Workforce Development and Employment System for the 21st Century and Beyond.” The report is based on a RAND study that found the American workplace has changed profoundly over the past 40 years and described how it continues to evolve. Employers continue to need workers with industry-specific knowledge. But they also increasingly value such skills as effective communication and critical thinking to facilitate teamwork and meet expectations of ongoing innovation.
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NETL has issued a Request for Information (RFI) for energy storage opportunities and research needs that could lead to advances in energy storage technologies. Areas of interest include fossil-fueled electricity generating units, fossil-fueled poly-generation facilities and suitable fossil-fueled industrial applications.  Advances in storage technology capable of improving the overall performance, reliability, and flexibility of these plants will enable our nation to continue to extract maximum economic value from its fossil-fueled energy system assets. More specifically, FE is interested in gathering information relevant to the three following technical areas:
Power Lines
NETL will develop four projects to protect the nation’s power grid and ensure reliable access to electricity. Funding for the NETL work and other projects was allocated as part of the Grid Modernization Initiative, a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program to improve access to secure sources of energy now and in the future. Project proposals were submitted as part of the 2019 Grid Modernization Lab Call. Nearly 90 projects were submitted for evaluation. Project winners, which were announced Thursday, Nov. 7, will share approximately $80 million to be used over three years.
FOA Announcement logo
NETL announced today up to $4.5 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development (R&D) projects for fossil power plants. The projects fall under an amendment to funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0002001.000001, Crosscutting Research for Coal-Fueled Power Plants. This amended FOA aims to develop advanced dry cooling technologies suitable for fossil power plants. Dry cooling is used to cool and condense steam in a thermoelectric power plant; however, costs and performance, particularly under hot conditions, remain a challenge. DOE will support projects that bring down costs and increase performance of dry cooling so it can be widely used and reduce water demand associated with power generation. While this FOA requires cooling technologies to be applicable to coal power plants, it is anticipated that most will also be applicable to natural gas-fired power plants as well.
STEM
NETL’s K-12 STEM Education & Outreach team members facilitated active learning experiences at several elementary schools throughout September and October, fostering the next generation of energy experts through engaging activities involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects. Additionally, ambassadors from the Lab’s STEM Ambassador program provided information about careers in energy to spread the Lab’s mission to secure and enhance the nation’s energy foundation while protecting the environment. The Education & Outreach team brings exciting “hands-on, minds-on” programs to students located near NETL’s three sites in Morgantown, West Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Albany, Oregon. The program seeks to stimulate students’ and teachers’ interest in STEM and deliver important STEM content, as well as enhance children’s critical thinking skills and provide options for older students seeking careers in STEM.