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When 17th-century Dutch scientist Anton van Leeuwenhoek fashioned the world’s first real microscope by polishing lenses and positioning them in a tube that produced magnifying power, he opened doors to a new world in which people could view objects as small as one millionth of a meter. At the time, van Leeuwenhoek couldn’t have known that 350 years later, his technology would become so advanced that scientists would be using it today to tackle some of the 21st-century’s greatest challenges. Today, researchers at the National Energy Technology laboratory (NETL) use an array of microscopy tools to advance key energy research, particularly research related to fossil energy. Circe Verba, Ph.D., of the Lab’s Geology and Geospatial Analysis Team, offered insight into advanced microscopy.   “Microscopes and imaging techniques have long been vital for researchers to observe structures and quantify composition,” she said. “NETL researchers use advanced microscopy and microanalysis techniques to tackle some of the challenges facing the safe and efficient use of our nation’s fossil energy resources.”
WV Science Bowl
Nine thousand high school students, more than four thousand middle school students, and thousands and thousands of volunteers have come together to put on a competition like no other since 1991. The U.S. Department of Energy manages and sponsors the National Science Bowl, a nationwide academic competition that tests students’ knowledge in all areas of science and mathematics, each year in Washington, D.C. during the month of April. The competition is a culmination of hard work from teachers, coaches, and students from across the country to volunteers, organizers, and sponsors who put together the qualifying rounds that feed winners into the big show. Qualifying rounds for the Jeopardy-style competition are held in all 50 states, in Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, making the National Science Bowl one of the largest science competitions in the nation.
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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected six projects to receive $17.6 million in federal funding under the Office of Fossil Energy’s Novel and Enabling Carbon Capture Transformational Technologies funding opportunity announcement. This FOA will address the cost and operational challenges associated with current CO2 capture technologies that are commercially available for industry, providing for additional development to these technologies at coal-fired power plants. Some of the challenges that will be addressed include a need to improve the reliability and operational flexibility; reduce high capital costs; and reduce the high-energy penalty associated with operating existing technology.
Carbon Capture Technologies Projects
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy has selected seven projects to receive approximately $44 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development through the funding opportunity announcement, Design and Testing of Advanced Carbon Capture Technologies. These projects will advance competitive operation of our nation's fossil-based power-generation infrastructure by reducing energy consumption and capital costs associated with next-generation carbon capture systems. Specifically, the projects will target one of two areas: 1) engineering-scale testing of transformational solvent- or membrane-based carbon dioxide (CO₂) capture technologies, or 2) designing a commercial-scale, post-combustion CO₂ capture system at an existing coal-fueled generating unit.  The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the selected projects. The following four projects were selected under Area of Interest 1, Scaling of Carbon Capture Technologies to Engineering Scales Using Existing Host Site Infrastructure:
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) have selected nine projects to receive approximately $6.5 million in federal funding for Phase I of the Fossil Fuel Large-Scale Pilots funding opportunity announcement (FOA). This FOA, issued in August 2017, is a $50 million funding opportunity for projects supporting cost-shared research and development to design, construct, and operate two large-scale pilots to demonstrate transformational coal technologies. DOE has supported a range of potentially transformational coal technologies aimed at enabling step-change improvements in coal-powered systems. Some of these technologies are now ready to proceed to the large-scale pilot stage of development. The selections announced today have demonstrated technical success at the small-scale pilot stage. The FOA involves three phases, with competitive down-selections made between phases:
WVSB 2018
Morgantown High School Team 2 and Suncrest Middle School Team 2, both of Morgantown, claimed victory at the 27th annual West Virginia Regional Science Bowl held Feb. 9-10, 2018, at the West Virginia University (WVU) Mountainlair. Twenty-three teams from high schools and 21 teams from middle schools throughout the Mountain State participated in the competition, co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and WVU.  The West Virginia Science Bowl tested students’ knowledge of math and science with round-robin and double-elimination competition rounds. Middle school teams competed Feb. 9, followed by high school students on Feb. 10. This year’s West Virginia competition included welcoming remarks from Congressman David McKinley, as well as representatives from NETL and WVU. Participants also explored hands-on engineering activities and an academic information fair from institutions around the state.
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Whether designing computer models for a new combustion technology or sensors to ensure electric grid reliability, researchers at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) consistently stand at the vanguard of innovation, taking steps each day to enhance the nation’s energy foundation. Their research expertise has helped usher in a new era of U.S. energy dominance, but this position can only be sustained by ensuring that new researchers are prepared to solve the increasingly complex energy demands of the nation.
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy has announced up to $2.75 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development (R&D) projects. Future amounts are subject to congressional appropriations. This funding is available under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0001854 , Innovative Technology Development to Enhance Fossil Power Systems Operability, Reliability, and Economic Performance. Selected projects will support DOE’s Fossil Energy Crosscutting Research Program, which bridges basic R&D of innovative technologies to the successful development of ultra-clean, reliable, high-efficiency fossil energy power systems. The goal is to seek innovative R&D projects to improve the performance, cost, and reliability of fossil energy technologies. 
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy has announced up to $1.6 million in federal funding  for research and development projects under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0001842 , Support of Fossil Energy Research at U.S. Colleges and Universities Including University Coal Research (UCR) and Research by Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority Institutions (HBCU/OMI).  Future amounts are subject to congressional appropriations.
STEM Activity
As our nation expands its technological horizons and stretches the boundaries of what is currently feasible, we open doors to a future that is bright with promise. Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are the tools required to empower that promising future. Through advances in STEM, we can solve our nation’s energy and environmental challenges, maintain American competitiveness, and usher in a new era of prosperity and sustainability.   Reaching these new heights requires teamwork, dedication, and knowledge. It also requires a domestic workforce that is available and qualified for the jobs of the future. In 2017, The U.S. Department of Energy launched a new campaign to ensure a STEM-ready workforce, to take on the energy and environmental challenges of our future, to equip our nation for new jobs, and inspire the next generation of innovators. The initiative is STEM Rising and it’s a call to inspire, educate, and spark an upward trajectory to lifelong success through STEM. AnneMarie Horowitz, director of the STEM Rising program, said that DOE takes its responsibility as a STEM leader seriously.