Office of Fossil Energy

Energy Department Announces $4M for University Training and Research Projects

May 22, 2019

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has selected 10 projects to receive nearly $4 million in federal funding for strategic fossil energy and coal technology research and development (R&D) projects at U.S. colleges and universities. The projects are supported through funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0001991, University Training and Research for Fossil Energy Applications.

DOE selected these projects as part of FE’s University Training and Research initiative, which seeks to develop the next generation of science and engineering professionals in the fossil energy sector. The initiative encompasses FE’s University Coal Research (UCR) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority Institutions (HBCU/OMI) programs, the latter of which aims to increase the participation of underrepresented students in such research. The selected projects will achieve the following:

  • Educate and train the next generation of scientists and engineers to fill critical fossil workforce gaps
  • Advance innovative and fundamental research focused on coal-based, fossil energy resources
  • Develop early-stage technologies that increase the affordability of domestic energy resources and improve electric grid reliability and resilience.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the projects, which fall under four areas of interest as follows:

1. Application of Novel Analytic Method(s) to Determine Arsenic and/or Selenium Concentrations in Fly Ash Waste Streams Generated from Coal Combustion

Characterization of Arsenic and Selenium in Coal Fly Ash to Improve Evaluations for Disposal and Reuse PotentialDuke University (Durham, NC) plans to investigate the chemical forms of arsenic and selenium in coal fly ash and improve methods of characterization. This project will establish high-throughput characterization methods for arsenic and selenium species in coal fly ash and enhance understanding of how coal combustion parameters influence leachable arsenic and selenium contents from fly ash.  
DOE Funding: $400,000
Program: UCR

Elucidating Arsenic and Selenium Speciation in Coal Fly AshesGeorgia Tech Research Corp. (Atlanta, GA) intends to systematically characterize arsenic and selenium speciation within coal fly ashes, using synchrotron X-ray spectroscopic and microscopic techniques to develop a comprehensive correlation and searchable database for coal source/type, generation condition and arsenic/selenium speciation and mobility.  
DOE Funding: $399,706
Program: UCR

2. Cybersecure Sensors for Fossil Power Generation

A Novel Access Control Blockchain Paradigm for Cybersecure Sensor Infrastructure in Fossil Power Generation SystemsCarnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA) aims to design, characterize, and demonstrate a breakthrough secure blockchain protocol for fossil power generation systems. This protocol will enhance cybersecurity for machine-to-machine interactions; infrastructure for secure data logging for sensors; decentralized data storage; and second-layer technologies for high-volume machine-to-machine interactions.  
DOE Funding: $400,000
Program: UCR

DOE Funding: $400,000

Program: UCR

Secure Data Logging and Processing with Block-chain and Machine LearningFlorida International University (Miami, FL) plans to develop a novel platform for secure data logging and processing in fossil fuel power generation systems. The platform will integrate emerging blockchain and machine learning technologies to ensure the integrity, reliability, and resiliency of power systems during cyberattacks.  
DOE Funding: $400,000
Program: HBCU/OMI

Blockchain Empowered Provenance Framework for Sensor Identity Management and Data Flow Security in Fossil-Based Power PlantsOld Dominion University (Norfolk, VA) intends to develop a blockchain-based provenance platform that would track data flow traffic from sensors deployed in fossil-based power plants and detect identity violations, unauthorized communication and process integrity violations. The project will provide a trusted framework with integrity assurance that is resilient against cyberattacks.
DOE Funding: $400,000
Program: UCR

Incorporating Blockchain/Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Technology into a Software-Defined Networking (SDN)-Enabled Cybersecurity System to Safeguard Fossil Fuel Power Generation SystemsThe University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, ND) aims to construct a test bed and study the functionality and performance of prototype blockchain/P2P-enhanced, SDN-enabled cybersecurity protection systems for safeguarding the operations of fossil fuel power generation systems. 
DOE Funding: $399,778
Program: UCR

3. Modeling Existing Coal Plant Challenges Using High-Performance Computing

The Application of Inconel 740H Alloy for Enhancement of Operational Flexibility of Power PlantsNorth Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (Greensboro, NC) plans to design a replacement header for an existing coal-fired power plant using an advanced alloy. They will also conduct an advanced computational study using computational fluid dynamics and machine learning to investigate the fatigue damage accumulation in the header under cyclic loading.
DOE Funding: $400,000
Program: HBCU/OMI

Probing Particle Impingement in Boilers and Steam Turbines Using High-Performance Computing with Parallel Central Processing Units (CPUs) and Graphics Processing Units (GPUs)University of California (Riverside, CA) intends to develop a GPU-enhanced computational approach for predicting damage rates of headers and turbines under different cycling modes. This work will provide insight into existing coal plant challenges using advanced modeling tools. 
DOE Funding: $400,000
Program: HBCU/OMI

An Integrated Approach to Predicting Ash Deposition and Heat Transfer in Coal-Fired BoilersThe University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, ND) aims to develop an advanced online technology to predict, monitor, and manage fireside ash deposition that allows for more efficient operations under a range of load conditions. Functional relationships for predicting ash deposition and nitrogen oxide formation will be integrated into predictive tools.
DOE Funding: $399,238
Program: UCR

4. Coal Plant Effuent Water Reuse

Produced Water and Waste Heat-Aided Blowdown Water Treatment: Using Chemical and Energy Synergisms for Value CreationThe West Virginia University Research Corporation (Morgantown, WV) intends to develop a blowdown water treatment process using produced water and waste heat to maximize water reuse and saleable byproduct generation while reducing the chemical and energy footprints of the treatment.
DOE Funding: $400,000
Program: UCR

The Office of Fossil Energy funds research and development projects to reduce the risk and cost of advanced fossil energy technologies and further the sustainable use of the Nation’s fossil resources. To learn more about the programs within the Office of Fossil Energy, visit the Office of Fossil Energy website or sign up for FE news announcements. More information about the National Energy Technology Laboratory is available on the NETL website.