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Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute Investigates NETL Collaboration Potential

NETL’s work in designing transformative advanced energy systems through a partnership of academic institutions and U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories — known as the Institute for the Design of Advanced Energy Systems (IDAES) — and its innovations in the field of sensor development has drawn the attention of the Clean Energy Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII).

Haresh Malkani, Ph.D., chief technology officer of CESMII, visited NETL in Pittsburgh Wednesday to learn more about the Laboratory’s work and discuss potential areas of mutual interest like sensor development and IDAES activities.

CESMII, launched in 2016, is the ninth institute in the Manufacturing USA network. Its focus is the research and development of technologies and solutions that can capture, share and process the increasing amounts of information available at manufacturing facilities. These technologies are expected to enable dramatically improved process control and operation, and enable benefits such as improved energy efficiency, equipment reliability and productivity gains, as well as related improvements in safety and quality in manufacturing processes. 

CESMII, which is backed by $70 million in funding from DOE’s Advanced Manufacturing Office with matching funds from the private sector and local and state organizations, maintains interest in advanced sensors, real-time big data analytics and control systems, standardized open software and communication platforms, advanced high-fidelity modeling, and first-of-kind application toolkits for smart manufacturing.

The NETL-led IDAES effort was also formed in 2016 to develop new process systems and engineering capabilities that accelerate the development of a broad range of advanced fossil energy systems. The Institute consists of experts from NETL, Sandia and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, Carnegie Mellon University and West Virginia University. Pooling skills and resources, the Institute is pioneering development of new computational tools that can be used to optimize the performance of power plants over a full range of operating conditions, supporting the existing fleet and enabling the design and scale up of transformative advanced energy systems.

A key thrust of IDAES centers on advancing simulation-based engineering approaches to designing new energy systems. Creating new effective energy technologies and processes can be lengthy and costly because experimental scientists are often unable to observe and measure aspects of design research. Simulation-based engineering uses advanced computational tools at multiple scales to accelerate development and deployment of fossil fuel technologies.

Meanwhile, NETL’s work in sensor development is making available new classes of sensors and measurement tools that manage complexity; permit low cost monitoring; and enable real-time optimization of fully integrated, highly efficient power-generation systems.

NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., said collaborating with organizations with similar research interests is a priority for the Laboratory. The consortium includes nearly 200 partners from 30 states, including representatives from academia, industry, and the non-profit community.

NETL’s David C. Miller, technical director for the IDAES project, and Paul Ohodnicki, Ph.D., of the Laboratory’s functional materials team who specializes in sensor development met with Malkani.