Tagged: TRL-Technology Readiness Level Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • richardmitnick 11:07 pm on April 24, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "How Techno-economic Analysis Can Improve Energy Technologies", DAC-direct air capture, , Hanna Breunig, TRL-Technology Readiness Level   

    From DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (US) : “How Techno-economic Analysis Can Improve Energy Technologies-Hanna Breunig” 

    From DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (US)

    April 22, 2021
    Julie Chao
    (510) 486-6491

    For new energy technologies, the time elapsed from when a breakthrough is made in a laboratory setting until when it is validated, scaled up, piloted, and then widely commercialized can be years or even decades. But in the race to avoid the most damaging impacts of climate warming, the need for negative emissions technologies is urgent.

    Negative emission technologies, or NETs – also referred to as carbon removal technologies – remove carbon dioxide from the air or other sources or enhance natural carbon sinks, such as forests and soil. Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoiding the most catastrophic impacts of climate change will require the use of NETs by the middle of this century.

    Berkeley Lab researcher Hanna Breunig Credit: Marilyn Sargent/Berkeley Lab.

    At the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), researchers like Hanna Breunig, who specializes in techno-economic analysis, have been working with scientists for years on energy technologies such as hydrogen and biofuels. Now they’ve rolled up their sleeves to dig in deep on emerging negative emissions technologies, helping the scientists to make their innovations more competitive and impactful.

    Q. What is your background and expertise?

    My doctorate is in civil and environmental engineering, and in my PhD thesis I looked at CO2 injection underground and CO2 utilization in industry. I worked with [Berkeley Lab scientists] Thomas McKone, Jens Birkholzer, and Curt Oldenburg to understand the potential scale, cost, and impacts of CO2 conversion and sequestration options.

    At Berkeley Lab there’s been a real push to couple the researchers working on fundamental science with people like myself who are familiar with market analysis, technology deployment, and scenario modeling. Integrating techno-economic analysis in the research and development can not only help the science to make a competitive impact, it can help in comparing technologies and deciding what to invest in. I don’t just think about the costs. I also think about the lifecycle implications. You want to know that any negative emissions technology being deployed can lower CO2 concentrations while not creating unacceptable impacts in other categories, such as the generation of criterial air pollutants.

    Q. Can you give me an example of how your analysis might guide the R&D?

    I’ve been working with [Berkeley Lab materials scientist] Jeff Long on his metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs [read about A Sponge to Soak Up Carbon Dioxide], for hydrogen storage. He’s also looking at MOFs for direct air capture (DAC) of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The real thing he wanted to understand is how do you connect material discovery and design with very practical engineering principles to make an impact on the cost. It’s takes sophisticated techno-economic analysis to connect and translate information among these different disciplines to guide the research and development.

    For example, on the DAC technology, my research can determine the importance of having a system that releases the CO2 very easily after capture at mild conditions, or having a system that can adsorb tons and tons of CO2 in one cycle. There are often trade-offs between capital investment versus operation costs, but MOFs are famous for their tunability, and perhaps both challenges facing DAC can be overcome.

    Q. Interesting. How would you evaluate those trade-offs? What kind of analyses do you do?

    In a first pass, I create almost black-box process models, where I start at a very high level and model the novel technology component based on known material properties and fundamental engineering principles. This is a valuable exercise as we rarely have prototypes or pilot systems to guide us. From this black-box model we can understand the number of MOF-filled units needed for a given target capture of CO2, the energy needs, and all the necessary infrastructure around it – the compressors, the refrigeration units. Then, depending on where I assume the DAC systems is deployed in the United States, I can estimate the cost of the electricity or heat source and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with that energy. Comparing the cost and emissions from energy consumption with the capital cost of the system helps me reach some preliminary conclusions before doing a deeper dive on the DAC process models.

    I also do a sensitivity analysis. I might tweak, for example, how would that material perform in theory if its adsorption looks like this; how does that affect costs compared to if its kinetics changed a little bit? And the scientists would help guide me in that sensitivity analysis to say, okay, here’s a low and high number of what we see in our research or what’s even theoretically possible. That way I’m tinkering with my model in very reasonable ways.

    Q. At what point in their research do you start working with scientists?

    If you’re familiar with the “technology readiness level” scale, where TRL 1 is conceptual and TRL 9 is a system is launched and successful in real-world conditions, I can do techno-economic analysis for every single one of those. Even at TRL 10 there’s troubleshooting, or you enter a new policy landscape and the developers want to understand their next decision. And at the concept level, it can be simply helping scientists start to assess the practicality of different designs or figure out what existing technologies their system would even be competing against. So, it’s almost more like a market analysis and engineering design exercise at this stage.

    Q. Are there any special considerations when doing techno-economic analysis for negative emissions technologies as opposed to other energy technologies?

    Without systems analysis to guide deployment, a negative emissions technology could be very expensive or worse, very ineffective. There are a number of different negative emissions technologies beyond DAC, but I will focus on that since I’ve used that as my example. If you run DAC on an electricity grid that’s powered by natural gas and coal, it’s estimated that you’re actually emitting more CO2 than what is captured. But if you’re running DAC using renewable electricity, then you will emit less CO2 than what is captured. So, if you say your technology costs $500 to capture a ton of CO2, but a half ton is emitted due to energy consumption, we’re actually only offsetting half a ton. So now it’s $1,000 to offset a ton. That’s the kind of discussions that I can help add real numbers to.

    Secondly, what you do with that captured CO2 is important. Converting it to another chemical product or storing it underground has an energy penalty associated with it. So, there’s a host of issues around the lifecycle that can be case-specific and therefore very challenging to communicate.

    Finally, we need to consider logistics. We need to know where the CO2 is being captured. Without this piece, it is hard to model the supply chain and answer questions around whether it make sense to store it or convert it onsite or transport that CO2 to a location where you can do something with it. We can’t allocate all of our limited renewable energy resources to negative emissions technologies, so we will need to be prudent about where we deploy DAC based on those renewable energy resources, as well CO2 sources and CO2 sequestration options. So, I’m going to be thinking very critically about the supply and also the coupling of these systems. While a lot of these technologies are rising up in technology readiness level, the coupling of them is very early stage.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Bringing Science Solutions to the World
    In the world of science, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (US) is synonymous with “excellence.” Thirteen Nobel prizes are associated with Berkeley Lab. Seventy Lab scientists are members of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors for a scientist in the United States. Thirteen of our scientists have won the National Medal of Science, our nation’s highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research. Eighteen of our engineers have been elected to the National Academy of Engineering, and three of our scientists have been elected into the Institute of Medicine. In addition, Berkeley Lab has trained thousands of university science and engineering students who are advancing technological innovations across the nation and around the world.

    Berkeley Lab is a member of the national laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy through its Office of Science. It is managed by the University of California (UC) and is charged with conducting unclassified research across a wide range of scientific disciplines. Located on a 202-acre site in the hills above the UC Berkeley campus that offers spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, Berkeley Lab employs approximately 3,232 scientists, engineers and support staff. The Lab’s total costs for FY 2014 were $785 million. A recent study estimates the Laboratory’s overall economic impact through direct, indirect and induced spending on the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area to be nearly $700 million annually. The Lab was also responsible for creating 5,600 jobs locally and 12,000 nationally. The overall economic impact on the national economy is estimated at $1.6 billion a year. Technologies developed at Berkeley Lab have generated billions of dollars in revenues, and thousands of jobs. Savings as a result of Berkeley Lab developments in lighting and windows, and other energy-efficient technologies, have also been in the billions of dollars.

    Berkeley Lab was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, a UC Berkeley physicist who won the 1939 Nobel Prize in physics for his invention of the cyclotron, a circular particle accelerator that opened the door to high-energy physics. It was Lawrence’s belief that scientific research is best done through teams of individuals with different fields of expertise, working together. His teamwork concept is a Berkeley Lab legacy that continues today.

    A U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory Operated by the University of California .

    University of California Seal

  • richardmitnick 5:41 am on October 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Bringing robotic and human spaceflight closer together is critical for humankind's space future, , , DSOC-Deep Space Optical Communications, FLT-Flight Laser Transceiver, JPL's Table Mountain Facility, , , School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU, STMD-NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, The mission plans launch in 2022 and arrival at Psyche between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter in 2026, TRL-Technology Readiness Level   

    From JPL-Caltech: “Deep Space Communications via Faraway Photons” 

    NASA JPL Banner


    October 18, 2017
    Gina Anderson
    NASA Headquarters, Washington

    Andrew Good
    Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

    Written by Leonard(?)

    May 23, 2017
    Artist’s Concept of Psyche Spacecraft with Five-Panel Array
    This artist’s-concept illustration depicts the spacecraft of NASA’s Psyche mission near the mission’s target, the metal asteroid Psyche. The artwork was created in May 2017 to show the five-panel solar arrays planned for the spacecraft.
    The spacecraft’s structure will include power and propulsion systems to travel to, and orbit, the asteroid. These systems will combine solar power with electric propulsion to carry the scientific instruments used to study the asteroid through space.
    The mission plans launch in 2022 and arrival at Psyche, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, in 2026. This selected asteroid is made almost entirely of nickel-iron metal. It offers evidence about violent collisions that created Earth and other terrestrial planets.
    Mission: Psyche. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State Univ./Space Systems Loral/Peter Rubin

    Deep Space Communications via Faraway Photons
    The Deep Space Optical Communication (DSOC) device will beam high data rates to a telescope at Palomar Mountain, California. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

    Caltech Palomar 200 inch Hale Telescope, at Mt Wilson, CA, USA

    A spacecraft destined to explore a unique asteroid will also test new communication hardware that uses lasers instead of radio waves.

    The Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) package aboard NASA’s Psyche mission utilizes photons — the fundamental particle of visible light — to transmit more data in a given amount of time. The DSOC goal is to increase spacecraft communications performance and efficiency by 10 to 100 times over conventional means, all without increasing the mission burden in mass, volume, power and/or spectrum.

    Tapping the advantages offered by laser communications is expected to revolutionize future space endeavors – a major objective of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD).

    The DSOC project is developing key technologies that are being integrated into a deep space-worthy Flight Laser Transceiver (FLT), high-tech work that will advance this mode of communications to Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6. Reaching a TRL 6 level equates to having technology that is a fully functional prototype or representational model.

    As a “game changing” technology demonstration, DSOC is exactly that. NASA STMD’s Game Changing Development Program funded the technology development phase of DSOC. The flight demonstration is jointly funded by STMD, the Technology Demonstration Mission (TDM) Program and NASA/ HEOMD/Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN).

    Work on the laser package is based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

    “Things are shaping up reasonably and we have a considerable amount of test activity going on,” says Abhijit Biswas, DSOC Project Technologist in Flight Communications Systems at JPL. Delivery of DSOC for integration within the Psyche mission is expected in 2021 with the spacecraft launch to occur in the summer of 2022, he explains.

    “Think of the DSOC flight laser transceiver onboard Psyche as a telescope,” Biswas explains, able to receive and transmit laser light in precisely timed photon bursts.

    DSOC architecture is based on transmitting a laser beacon from Earth to assist line­ of ­sight stabilization to make possible the pointing back of a downlink laser beam. The laser onboard the Psyche spacecraft, Biswas says, is based on a master-oscillator power amplifier that uses optical fibers.

    The laser beacon to DSOC will be transmitted from JPL’s Table Mountain Facility located near the town of Wrightwood, California, in the Angeles National Forest. DSOC’s beaming of data from space will be received at a large aperture ground telescope at Palomar Mountain Observatory in California, near San Diego.

    Biswas anticipates operating DSOC perhaps 60 days after launch, given checkout of the Psyche spacecraft post-liftoff. The test-runs of the laser equipment will occur over distances of 0.1 to 2.5 astronomical units (AU) on the outward-bound probe. One AU is approximately 150 million kilometers-or the distance between the Earth and Sun.

    “I am very excited to be on the mission,” says Biswas, who has been working on the laser communications technology since the late 1990s. “It’s a unique privilege to be working on DSOC.”

    The Psyche mission was selected for flight in early 2017 under NASA’s Discovery Program, a series of lower-cost, highly focused robotic space missions that are exploring the solar system.

    The spacecraft will be launched in the summer of 2022 to 16 Psyche, a distinctive metal asteroid about three times farther away from the sun than Earth. The planned arrival of the probe at the main belt asteroid will take place in 2026.

    Lindy Elkins-Tanton is Director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University in Tempe. She is the principal investigator for the Psyche mission.

    “I am thrilled that Psyche is getting to fly the Deep Space Optical Communications package,” Elkins-Tanton says. “First of all, the technology is mind-blowing and it brings out all my inner geek. Who doesn’t want to communicate using lasers, and multiply the amount of data we can send back and forth?”

    Elkins-Tanton adds that bringing robotic and human spaceflight closer together is critical for humankind’s space future. “Having our robotic mission test technology that we hope will help us eventually communicate with people in deep space is excellent integration of NASA missions and all of our goals,” she says.

    In designing a simple, high-heritage spacecraft to do the exciting exploration of the metal world Psyche, “I find both the solar electric propulsion and the Deep Space Optical Communications to feel futuristic in the extreme. I’m proud of NASA and of our technical community for making this possible,” Elkins-Tanton concludes.

    Biswas explains that DSOC is a pathfinder experiment. The future is indeed bright for the technology, he suggests, such as setting up capable telecommunications infrastructure around Mars.

    “Doing so would allow the support of astronauts going to and eventually landing on Mars,” Biswas said. “Laser communications will augment that capability tremendously. The ability to send back from Mars to Earth lots of information, including the streaming of high definition imagery, is going to be very enabling.”

    As a “game changing” technology demonstration, DSOC is exactly that. NASA STMD’s Game Changing Development program funded the technology development phase of DSOC. The flight demonstration is jointly funded by STMD, the Technology Demonstration Missions (TDM) program and NASA/ HEOMD/Space Communication and Navigation (SCaN). Work on the laser package is based at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

    For more information about NASA’s Technology Demonstration Missions program, visit:


    For more information about NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, visit:


    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    NASA JPL Campus

    Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in the San Gabriel Valley area of Los Angeles County, California, United States. Although the facility has a Pasadena postal address, it is actually headquartered in the city of La Cañada Flintridge [1], on the northwest border of Pasadena. JPL is managed by the nearby California Institute of Technology (Caltech) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Laboratory’s primary function is the construction and operation of robotic planetary spacecraft, though it also conducts Earth-orbit and astronomy missions. It is also responsible for operating NASA’s Deep Space Network.

    Caltech Logo

    NASA image

Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc