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  • richardmitnick 5:20 pm on February 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , NETL   

    From DOE Pulse: “NETL invents improved oxygen carriers” 


    National Energy Technology Lab

    February 23, 2015
    Linda Morton, 304.285.4543,

    Oxygen carriers are similar in texture to
    sand. The oxygen carrier pictured here
    blends magnesium oxide and hematite.

    One of the keys to the successful deployment of chemical looping technologies is the development of affordable, high performance oxygen carriers. One potential solution is the naturally-occurring iron oxide, hematite. “Hematite is pretty cheap,” says Doug Straub, Technical Coordinator for the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s Chemical Looping Combustion (CLC) projects and the just-completed Industrial Carbon Management Initiative (ICMI). “You just dig it out of the ground and run it through a screen.” That affordability makes hematite attractive as an oxygen-carrier material, but high performance at the conditions imposed by the chemical looping process is also important. Researchers at the DOE lab are investigating how to enhance hematite-based oxygen carriers so they can stand up to high reactor temperatures. Oxygen carriers also need to be resilient in the face of frequent impacts with reactor walls, with each other, and (in coal-burning reactors) with coal particles. Researchers are also improving oxygen carriers so that they more completely combust the fuel.

    Their work has paid off. Dr. Ranjani Siriwardane (who leads the CLC oxygen carrier research) and Dr. Duane Miller (a chemical engineer at NETL) have invented an oxygen carrier that pairs magnesium oxide with hematite. During a pilot-scale run through NETL’s fluidized bed reactor last year, their carrier showed better performance than carriers that contained just natural hematite.

    What’s next? In the words of Dr. Siriwardane, “this is a big scale-up problem,” and that scale-up can be difficult. The quantities of carriers used at the laboratory scale are small, and techniques for preparing them are easier to control. But, as Dr. Siriwardane explains, “some of the techniques we use for lab-scale preparations are not practical for large-scale preparations, where different techniques and equipment are used. Finding the proper production techniques for our carriers that still deliver the required performance is a big challenge.” However NETL researchers are clearly up to the challenge: when Drs. Siriwardane and Miller applied for the patent for their magnesium-oxide-and-hematite carrier, they had about 100 grams of material, just enough for a lab-scale run. Since then, they have worked with NexTech Materials, a commercial materials vendor, to prepare a 400-pound batch of the carrier for the pilot-scale test.

    In addition to the hematite-based carrier, NETL is also exploring alternative carrier materials, with the goal of optimizing carrier performance and affordability for specific chemical looping applications. A second carrier developed by Drs. Siriwardane and Hanjing Tian (formerly of NETL but now a West Virginia University faculty member) relies on manmade materials instead of natural hematite. Made of copper oxide, iron oxide, and alumina, it too is ready for pilot-scale testing.

    The oxygen carriers that NETL invents to enable CLC could have applications beyond electricity generation. CLC is also useful in industrial steam production, says Dr. Miller, and can be used for the production of hydrogen or syngas from methane. NETL scientists continue research to discover and develop carriers for such real-world applications with the expectation that the energy technologies they enable will one day be very green and very, very affordable.

    See the full article here.

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  • richardmitnick 10:29 am on January 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    From DOE Pulse: “Initiative aims to speed carbon capture technology” 

    January 2, 2012
    Submitted by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory

    “The Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative (CCSI) is a partnership among five DOE national laboratories (NETL, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Pacific Northwest), industry, and various academic institutions that are working together to develop state-of-the-art computational modeling and simulation tools to accelerate the commercialization of carbon capture technologies from discovery to development, demonstration, and ultimately, widespread deployment at hundreds of power plants. CCSI is part of DOE/NETL’s comprehensive carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) research program, part of the President’s plan to overcome barriers to the widespread, cost-effective deployment of CCS within 10 years.”

    See the full post here.


  • richardmitnick 9:25 am on August 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , NETL   

    From NETL: “Novel NETL Alloy Improves Coronary Stents” 

    Platinum/Chromium Alloy Enables Thinner, More Flexible Designs

    [Pretty impressive for an energy lab. But, that’s typical for our wonderful D.O.E. labs and the Office of Science.}

    Jenny Hakun
    August 3, 2011

    “A new alloy developed by a team of researchers, including metallurgists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), is helping cardiologists and their patients at home and abroad. The novel platinum-chromium (PtCr) alloy is being used by Boston Scientific Corporation (Natick, Mass.) to manufacture coronary stents that are more flexible and conformable than existing stents, and more visible on x‑ray. The result: easier placement by the doctor and more safety for the patient.

    A coronary stent is a small, expandable mesh tube that is placed in a narrowed or weakened coronary artery, allowing the passageway to stay open. Every year coronary stents save thousands of lives by expanding diseased arteries and allowing blood to flow freely.

    A stent is typically inserted into an opening in the artery near the patient’s groin, and gently maneuvered through the artery until it reaches the site where blood flow is restricted. Once in place, a balloon inside the tubular metal cage is inflated to expand the diameter of the stent, opening the restricted artery and providing mechanical support to damaged arterial walls.

    For decades, 316L stainless steel has been used successfully in a variety of commercially available and medically approved coronary stents. The trend in new stent designs has been to reduce stent thickness, so that the stent delivery catheter, with the stent on it, is more flexible. This allows the stent to be passed through more tortuous arterial paths, thereby facilitating treatment to obstructions that were previously untreatable by minimally invasive procedures.

    But there was a catch. As the thickness of stent walls decreased, traditional 316L stainless steel became more difficult to see on x-ray. This made it difficult for the doctor, who must place the stent in precisely the right location in the artery, to see what he or she was doing—especially when the doctor needed to insert multiple stents next to each other in a single, extended location, or go back to further expand or adjust the position of a stent after implantation.

    Enter NETL. More than 10 years ago, scientists at Boston Scientific called their colleagues at NETL wanting to know if the laboratory could help with research to improve coronary stents. Boston Scientific recognized NETL’s metallurgy capabilities and offered to fund the entire research project. Over the next decade, NETL and Boston Scientific worked together to design the PtCr alloy and develop the process methodology to produce the alloy for use as stent material.”

    Photo courtesy of Boston Scientific Corporation

  • richardmitnick 10:17 pm on May 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    From DOE Pulse: “Non-toxic nanoparticles may someday be used to fight cancer” 

    Dr. Phuoc X. Tran’s research at DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has involved laser ignition, fluid dynamics, and heat transfer, all focused on fossil fuel combustion, until relatively recently, when his interest in laser nanoparticle ablation led him into conducting research on fighting cancer. Dr. Tran has developed a method of producing novel, non-toxic gold nanoparticles for cancer treatment to replace the potentially toxic nanoparticles typically produced by current chemical methods. The process involves only water, two lasers, and gold, and uses no toxic chemicals.

    Meanwhile, Dr. Tran’s collaborator at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Ann Robertson, is trying to attach pharmaceutically active cells to the gold nanoparticles so that they can be used to deliver different drugs where they are needed most. If the gold nanoparticles were toxic, they might destroy any attached cells, interfere with the attached drugs, or cause new problems in the patient because of the presence of even trace amounts of the toxic compounds. Dr. Tran’s non-toxic nanoparticles will avoid these problems—a major advance in this field.

    See the full article here.

  • richardmitnick 6:55 pm on April 4, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: NETL,   

    DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory NETL has facilities… 

    DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has facilities in Pittsburgh, Pa.; Morgantown, W.Va.; Houston, Tex.; Albany, Ore.; and Fairbanks, Alaska. To confuse things further, NETL has projects in all 50 states, which means that its researchers are sometimes working far away from home. As an example, Kirk Gerdes, an NETL fuel cell researcher and research group leader, has spent portions of the past three summers in Alabama investigating the impact of coal-derived trace materials on solid oxide fuel cell anodes.

    You might think this teaches self-reliance, but Kirk says that ‘when you are completing a research project ‘alone’ at an Alabama coal gasification facility in August, you learn the importance of teamwork.’ Although separated from the rest of his research team at NETL’s Morgantown facility, Kirk received the dedicated support of his colleagues at every request. ‘Despite the nearly 700-mile separation, the team worked together to support the remote activity, and ultimately produced a world-class result,’ says Gerdes.

    Read tghe full article here.

  • richardmitnick 9:41 pm on February 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: NETL   

    From NETL Labs: “DOE Program Offers Participants Unique Opportunity to Gain Carbon Capture and Storage Knowledge” 

    Program for Graduate Students, Early Career Professionals Provides Intensive Hands-On Tutorial

    Future leaders and innovators in the area of carbon capture and storage (CCS) can gain a unique and intensive tutorial on the subject by participating in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Research Experience in Carbon Sequestration (RECS) program.

    Supported by the Office of Fossil Energy (FE), the program for graduate students and early career professionals is currently accepting applications for RECS 2011, scheduled for June 5-15, in Birmingham, AL, and the deadline to apply is April 15.

    An intensive science-based program, RECS 2011 will combine classroom instruction with group exercises and field activities at a geologic storage test site and visits to a power plant and the Nation Carbon Capture Center. Topics cover the range of CCS deployment issues, and participants will gain hands-on experience designing a carbon storage pilot project and analyzing carbon dioxide (CO2) capture technologies. RECS faculty is comprised of globally recognized scientists and industry leaders.”

    Interested? See the full article here.

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