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Pittsburgh MOU Bridge
A collaborative NETL-led effort to transform Pittsburgh’s energy infrastructure and establish the Steel City as a “Clean Energy City of the Future” will receive the 2019 State and Local Economic Development Award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium (FLC) for Technology Transfer. Previously a recipient of the same award from FLC’s Mid-Atlantic Region, NETL’s City of Pittsburgh Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) team was selected for the national honor from applicants throughout FLC’s network of more than 300 federal laboratories, agencies and research centers across the country. The award will be presented to team members at an April 24 ceremony in Orlando, Florida. City of Pittsburgh officials and NETL representatives signed the MOU on July 17, 2015, building upon a long history of collaboration. The MOU aims to modernize Pittsburgh’s aging infrastructure by implementing an innovative “grid of microgrids” concept that capitalizes on five existing energy districts and the city’s unique geographic features to supply local residents with clean, reliable and cost-effective power.
Sporian’s ultra-high temperature probes were installed for testing at Southwest Research Institute's Pressurized High-Temperature Flow Facility.
Developing turbines and other advanced energy systems that can operate at extremely high temperatures boosts efficiency, thereby cutting operating costs and offering potential savings for consumers. Monitoring is critical to ensure that these complex systems run safely and effectively, with minimal downtime; however, the necessary ultra-high temperatures also introduce challenges in developing sensors that can withstand such harsh environments. A recently completed NETL-managed project with Colorado-based Sporian Microsystems, Inc., produced smart temperature sensors that can operate up to 1800 degrees Celsius as well as pressure sensors that operate at temperatures up to 1600 degrees Celsius for improved performance in monitoring gas turbines, combustion systems and more. Extensive testing in relevant environments shows that the developed sensors offer the potential for greater durability, functionality and reliability at a more affordable price than existing alternatives.
Tech Transfer Entrepreneurship Week Image
Entrepreneurs often play a critical role in the evolution of NETL technologies, shepherding emerging innovations from the laboratory to the marketplace. Entrepreneurs invest in technology transfer initiatives that stimulate the economy, expedite access to the Lab’s energy technology solutions and expand their reach for maximum benefit. As the U.S. celebrates National Entrepreneurship Week, NETL recognizes the many valued entrepreneurs who contribute to the Lab’s success by accelerating innovation. Their sometimes-risky work advances society by sharing new ideas, tools and products with the potential to change the world. Recognizing the challenges of commercialization, the U.S. government empowered entrepreneurs with the 1980 enactment of the Bayh-Dole Act, which simplified technology transfer by allowing small businesses and others to license inventions created with federal funds.
Students learning STEM
The coming decades will usher great opportunities for high-paying jobs in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) industries, but if too few candidates enter the STEM education pipeline, those jobs could go unfilled. That is why it so important to reach out to today’s elementary and middle school students and get them excited about STEM careers. This outreach is especially relevant for underserved and underrepresented populations because the math and science proficiency of these students typically falls below the national average, making a STEM job sometimes seem out of reach. NETL’s STEM Education Outreach Team strives to change that mindset by traveling to “at-risk” K-6 elementary and middle schools around the Lab’s Morgantown, West Virginia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania sites to bring stimulating “hands-on, minds-on” activities that make the students feel like they are part of the STEM conversation.
Petroleum Refinery Life Cycle Inventory Model
NETL recently led a technical team that updated a petroleum refinery life cycle model that provides information on environmental impacts of petroleum refineries. A manuscript detailing the work has been published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology and is available here. Tim Skone, lead of the NETL Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) Team, explained that the study updates the Petroleum Refinery Life Cycle Inventory Model (PRELIM) to provide a more complete environmental life cycle inventory, which can be translated to environmental impacts for consideration as part of LCA studies. PRELIM is an established, freely available, open-source tool for estimating energy use by and greenhouse gas emissions from petroleum refining. PRELIM allows users to explore the sources of emissions within refineries, which are predominantly associated with energy demands such as process heat, electricity, hydrogen production, and catalyst coke burn-off within the process units.
NETL's Anderson to Deliver CMU Scott Institute for Energy Innovation Distinguished Lecture Feb. 19
National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., will deliver a talk about the Laboratory’s fossil energy research as part of the 2019 Carnegie Mellon University Scott Institute for Energy Innovation Distinguished Lecture Series at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19 at the Marquis Conference Room at 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh. The event is free but registration is required.
NETL-Supported Scaleup of Nickel Superalloy Component Manufacturing Processes for Advanced Ultrasupercritical Technology Moves Forward
The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), in partnership with Energy Industries of Ohio Inc., is set to scaleup the fabrication of components made from advanced nickel superalloys, that will help bring advanced ultrasupercritical (AUSC) power plant technology to the level of readiness for commercial-scale demonstration. Conventional coal-fired power plants, which generate steam to drive a power generation turbine, operate with efficiencies varying from 32 to 42 percent, depending upon the age and design of the plant. AUSC power plants can potentially operate at temperatures and pressures higher than current state-of the-art coal-fired power plants —  about 25 percent more efficient than the average U.S. coal-fired power plant fleet, and 10 percent more efficient than state-of-the-art coal-fired power plants. AUSC power plants would require less coal per megawatt-hour, resulting in lower emissions, and lower fuel costs per megawatt.
 National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) holds its Winter Policy Summit in the Nation’s Capital today through Wednesday to consider potential policy initiatives.
Experts from the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) — the only U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory dedicated to fossil energy research — will offer research input when the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) holds its Winter Policy Summit in the Nation’s Capital today through Wednesday to consider potential policy initiatives. NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., said participation in external events like the NARUC Winter Summit is important for the Laboratory because it offers the opportunity to provide important data and research results to individuals who can use that information to develop policy in the energy arena.
Science bowl winners
Morgantown High School (Team 1) and Suncrest Middle School (Team 1), both of Morgantown, claimed victory at the 28th annual West Virginia Regional Science Bowl (WVSB), organized and co-sponsored by NETL. The event was held Feb. 8-9, 2019, at the West Virginia University (WVU) Mountainlair in Morgantown, West Virginia. Twenty-four teams from high schools and 24 teams from middle schools throughout the Mountain State participated in the competition, which was also co-sponsored by WVU. The WVSB tested students’ knowledge of math and science with round-robin and double-elimination competition rounds. Middle school teams competed Feb. 8, followed by high school students on Feb. 9. This year’s 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.
STEM Students
Toss-up question, mathematics: How many students nationwide compete in regional Science Bowls each year? The correct answer is more than 9,000 high school students and 4,500 middle school students. Hundreds of those students compete at the West Virginia and Western Pennsylvania Regional Science Bowls, organized and co-hosted each year by NETL to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. These fast-paced, quiz-style events help middle and high school students expand their science and math knowledge, build teamwork skills, and learn how to excel under pressure as they compete for a spot in the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl. Described as “a competition like no other,” more than 290,000 students have participated in the National Science Bowl throughout its nearly 30-year history. NETL Director Brian J. Anderson, Ph.D., is among them. His first exposure to the Lab was as a Science Bowl participant at what was then known as the Morgantown Energy Technology Center, a predecessor to NETL.