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Doug Kauffman and Mickey Leland Intern Dana Capitano characterizing catalysts using an X-ray photoelectron spectrometer
Using an array of high-tech microscopy and X-ray diffraction capabilities, NETL researchers are discovering, developing and commercializing innovative technologies that allow the rearrangement of carbon dioxide (CO2) molecules – processes that can help protect the environment by reducing CO2 emissions and creating domestic supplies of fuels and chemicals that are used to benefit the economy. A major challenge with using the nation’s abundant fossil fuel resources to power the plants that provide electricity to factories, businesses, homes, schools and hospitals has been the dilemma of how to reduce the resulting CO2. NETL has been at the forefront of work to find answers from capturing and storing the gas to developing technologies that can burn fossil fuels more efficiently and emit less CO2.
IDAES Dr David Miller
Energy researchers from across the nation affiliated with the Institute for the Design of Advanced Energy Systems (IDAES) – a partnership of research universities and Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories led by NETL – convened a wide-ranging workshop Thursday, Nov. 1, in Pittsburgh to discuss progress and review plans for 2019 focused on new computational tools to improve the efficiency and reliability of existing coal-fired power plants and support the development of the advanced energy systems of the future. IDAES was formed in 2016 to develop new process systems engineering capabilities to accelerate the development of a broad range of advanced fossil energy systems.
FOA
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has selected 17 projects to receive approximately $18.7 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development. These projects will develop innovative technologies to generate novel, marketable products using carbon dioxide (CO2) or coal as a feedstock, potentially offering significant advantages over traditional products and creating new market opportunities for coal. The projects are supported through the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0001849, Novel Methods for Making Products from Carbon Dioxide or Coal. These projects will advance FE’s efforts to 1) improve coal as a feedstock to produce value-added by-products and 2) develop and test technologies that can use CO2—from coal-based power systems or other industrial sources—as the primary feedstock to reduce emissions and create valuable products. The coal feedstock projects will use existing pilot plants to produce an upgraded coal fuel and value-added by-products.  The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the projects, which are described below:
Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes
A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Under Secretary with key energy policy responsibilities visited the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) Pittsburgh site Tuesday, Oct. 30, to discuss the Laboratory’s national research and see cutting-edge technical facilities first-hand. NETL Acting Director Sean Plasynski, Ph.D., hosted the visit by Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes. NETL is DOE’s only national laboratory dedicated to fossil energy research and development. Under Secretary Menezes serves as the Department’s principal advisor on energy policy and a wide array of existing and emerging energy technologies. He is responsible for driving transformative energy policy, and technology solutions through coordinated planning, management and performance of the Department’s energy programs.
FOA announcement logo
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) for a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for cost-shared research and development (R&D) projects for U.S. universities to conduct early-stage combustion turbine research. The objective of the FOA is to fund R&D that addresses and resolves scientific challenges and applied engineering technology issues associated with advancing the performance and efficiency of combustion turbines in combined cycle applications (e.g., integrated gasification combined cycle/natural gas combined cycle) in fossil fuel power generation. The FOA will seek to solicit and competitively award laboratory/bench-scale R&D in the following five technical topic areas:
Image of NETL's various Data tools
As stakeholders in energy activities seek to improve resource recovery or storage, minimize risks and reduce adverse impacts, they increasingly rely on powerful computing tools that provide critical science-based predictions. NETL’s geo-data science experts have developed seven novel big and small data computing solutions now available for licensing that address comprehensive Earth, energy, environmental and engineering needs. These innovative tools offer accurate science-based data, analysis and prediction for Earth-energy applications – including big data and machine learning capabilities – to industry, governments, researchers and other stakeholders requiring research-driven data for energy operations. Among the recently trademarked and copyrighted tools:
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy is investing $4 million in federal funding for four national lab-led research and development projects to identify new concepts and technologies for producing oxygen via air separation for use in flexible, modular gasification systems.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy is investing $4 million in federal funding for four national lab-led research and development projects to identify new concepts and technologies for producing oxygen via air separation for use in flexible, modular gasification systems. These projects are supported through a Laboratory Research Call, Technical Support for Advanced Air Separation Concepts and Technologies for the Production of Oxygen, issued in June 2018. The objective is to develop air separation technologies to be used in advanced fossil energy-based modular energy systems that will make progress toward enabling cost-competitive, coal-based power generation with near-zero emissions. The air separation technologies developed could eventually find applications in coal-fed, small-scale (1-5 MWe) modular gasification-based power plants. The National Energy Technology Laboratory will manage the projects, which are described below:
Dr McMahan Gray
NETL’s McMahan Gray, a physical scientist in Pittsburgh, has been named a recipient of a 2018 Innovation Award from The Pittsburgh Business Times. The honor, to be bestowed at a special ceremony later this year, recognizes extraordinary advances that challenge conventional thinking Gray is being honored for his work developing an effective, efficient and environmentally friendly technology that can remove carbon dioxide from air, remove lead from water, and recover rare earth elements (REEs) from water and waste streams. The Pittsburgh Business Times is a popular regional publication that features local business news about Pittsburgh and provides tools to help businesses grow, network and hire. This is the second year that the publication has honored regional innovators, companies and initiatives with its Innovation Awards. A University of Pittsburgh graduate, Gray created regenerative sorbents that serve as filters.  A sorbent is a material or substance that can collect molecules of another substance by sorption – the physical and chemical process of one substance becoming attached to another.
Oil Derrick
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has approved an unsolicited proposal, titled Quantification of Methane Emissions from Marginal (Small Producing) Oil and Gas Wells, received from GSI Environmental Inc. (GSI).  The data collected from well sites in basins across the United States will help address critical knowledge gaps and support best management practices that are appropriate for marginal wells. This effort complements related DOE research and analysis projects conducted by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) to improve understanding of methane emissions and identify potential reduction strategies that can improve the operational efficiency of the Nation’s natural gas production and delivery systems.
Funding Opportunity Announcement
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has issued a Notice of Intent (NOI) for a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) for cost-shared research and development projects that will ultimately enhance the potential for deepwater enhanced oil recovery (EOR) of conventional resources. DE-FOA-0002005, Advanced Operations and Sensing Technologies to Improve Efficiency and Capabilities for EOR in Deepwater Offshore Wells, will support DOE’s offshore oil and gas portfolio. The objective of the FOA is to advance promising low technology readiness level (TRL) offshore operations and sensing technologies such as, but not limited to, those that DOE/FE previously initiated with industry under its Ultra-Deepwater Offshore Program. The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the potential projects, which will aim to increase efficiency of operations and reduce cost and complexity.