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Carbon Capture
A first-of-its-kind suite of tools developed by NETL researchers is enabling better decision-making regarding the economic challenges of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) and helping stakeholders to effectively evaluate the costs of implementing these technologies in electric power and industrial plants. The new tools and resources offer a step toward widespread implementation of CCUS technologies, which is an important strategy for mitigating CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-based power generation and industrial sources.
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.
Carbon Capture Event
NETL will host its first comprehensive annual project review meeting to showcase cutting-edge research under four Office of Fossil Energy research programs aimed at developing novel technological solutions to America’s energy challenges during a weeklong session Aug. 26-30 in Pittsburgh. The inaugural Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage, and Oil and Gas Technologies Integrated Project Review Meeting, “Addressing the Nation’s Energy Needs Through Technology Innovation,” will be held at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. All interested parties are welcome to participate; registration is required.
Photos courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory. NETL researchers studying the chemical conversion of carbon dioxide (CO2) into useful products are using powerful X-rays available at U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) facilities to shed light on the process. A team of NETL research staffers — including Douglas Kauffman, Thuy-Duong Nguyen-Phan, Christopher Marin and Congjun Wang — was recently awarded highly competitive, proposal-based experiment time at Brookhaven National Laboratory’s (BNL) National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS II) X-ray facility in Upton, New York. With help from BNL Staff Scientist Eli Stavitski, the team conducted advanced X-ray characterization techniques Feb. 18-19 to study materials that chemically convert CO2 into value-added products.
Journal of Physical Chemistry C
NETL research that created a new copper-gold alloy that can selectively convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into carbon monoxide (CO) — a breakthrough that could impact a $3.4 billion global market for methanol and other synthetic fuels — has landed on the cover of a prestigious national scientific journal. An article about the research appeared as the cover story in the Dec. 13, 2018, Journal of Physical Chemistry C. The manuscript was titled “Selective Electrocatalytic Reduction of CO2 into CO at Small, Thiol-Capped Au/Cu Nanoparticles.” A catalyst is a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change. Nanomaterial-based catalysts are especially effective because their high surface area can dramatically increase catalytic activity. A major objective of nanocatalyst research is to create catalysts that have high selectivity, high activity, low energy consumption and a long lifetime by controlling the size, shape, surface composition and electronic structure.
NETL researchers are creating more efficient and environmentally benign electrochemistry technologies that turn carbon dioxide ( CO2) and excess energy back into valuable chemicals and fuels. One of the challenges associated with power plant economics is excess energy generation. Fossil fuel power plants can’t simply be turned off and on as demand increases or decreases. This picture becomes more complicated when renewables are added to the grid because wind and solar don’t generate a steady supply of power; it’s intermittent as weather conditions vary throughout the day. As a result, over-supply of energy becomes an issue. Storing electricity is not practical because of high costs, low-efficiency and poor reliability of methods for retaining energy that is generated during off peak hours. That’s where electrochemistry comes in. As its name suggests, “electrochemistry” uses electricity to do chemistry. Electrochemistry research is one way NETL researchers are transforming the reaction science landscape. As NETL researcher Doug Kauffman explained, “we’re basically moving electrons around to make chemistry happen.”
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.
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:
Funding Opportunity Announcement
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy has announced up to $13 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development (R&D) projects under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0001849, Novel Methods for Making Products from Carbon Dioxide or Coal. The Office of Fossil Energy seeks to develop novel, marketable products using carbon dioxide (CO2) or coal as a feedstock.  Projects are sought for technologies that show: a positive life-cycle analysis; the potential to generate a marketable product; and significant advantages when compared to traditional products.  The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the projects. There will be three areas of interest as follows: AOI 1: Lab-Scale CO2 Conversion
The U.S. Energy Department’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has selected seven projects to receive $5.9 million to focus on novel ways to use carbon dioxide (CO2) captured from coal-fired power plants.  In addition to federal funding, each project will also include non-federal cost share of at least 20 percent. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a commodity chemical used in many commercial applications, such as enhanced oil recovery (EOR) and production of chemicals, fuels, and other products. The selected research projects will directly support FE’s Carbon Storage program’s Carbon Use and Reuse research and development portfolio.  This portfolio will develop and test novel approaches that convert CO2 captured from coal-fired power plants to useable products.  The projects will also explore ways to use captured CO2 in areas where high-volume uses, like enhanced oil recovery, may not be optimal or the use could partially offset the cost of carbon capture technologies.