Office of Fossil Energy

U.S. Department of Energy Invests $ 2.4 Million to Support Training of the Next Generation of Energy Scientists

June 14, 2017

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy has selected seven colleges and universities to receive $2.4 million for projects that advance fossil fuel technologies and also provide educational and research training opportunities. The projects were selected through the University Coal Research (UCR) Program and the Historically Black Colleges & Universities and Other Minority Institutions (HBCU/OMI) Program. 

These programs are intended to help educate the next generation of scientists and engineers while advancing innovative and fundamental research focused on coal-based, fossil energy resources. The HBCU/OMI program has the additional goal of increasing the participation of under-represented populations of students in such research. Descriptions of the selected UCR projects follow:

Expedited Real Time Processing for the NETL HYPER Cyber-Physical System — Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Corporation (Atlanta, GA) will evaluate computational approaches to improving hybrid performance related to the coupling of novel hybrid power generating systems. Developing a better understanding of system coupling will lead to improved efficiency of hybrid power systems. DOE funding: $399,676.

Applying Anodic Stripping Voltammetry to Complex Wastewater Streams for Rapid Metal Detection — Researchers at the University of California at Riverside (Riverside, CA) will focus on the development of a portable electrochemical sensor capable of remotely and accurately measuring low concentrations of heavy metals in complex aqueous streams, such as municipal wastewater, that can then be used as power plant makeup water. The new method is anticipated to reduce analytical costs and increase the frequency of measurements, enabling heavy metal contamination to be detected in near real-time. DOE funding: $397,001.

An Accelerated Creep Testing (ACT) Program for Advanced Creep Resistant Alloys for High Temperature Fossil Energy (FE) Applications — Researchers at the University of Texas at El Paso (El Paso, TX) will focus on developing a database for accelerated creep tests for metallic materials. Advanced power plants require materials with high-temperature creep strength (the ability to resist deformation over long times due to applied stress), corrosion resistance, and thermal fatigue resistance. When completed, the publicly available software package will allow material scientists to experimentally screen candidate materials more quickly, reducing the time required for new metal fabrication. DOE funding: $400,000.

Implementing General Framework in MFIX for Radiative Heat Transfer in Gas-Solid Reacting Flows — Researchers at the University of Wyoming (Laramie, WY) will develop computational models for evaluating heat transfer in the gas-solid multiphase flows encountered in energy processes. Defining the interaction between these phases is critical to understanding and predicting the performance of energy system devices that use multiphase flow. DOE funding: $400,000.

Descriptions of the selected HBCU/OMI projects follow:

The Novel Hybrid Ab Initio Model of High Performance Structural Alloys Design for Fossil Energy Power Plants — Researchers at Florida International University (Miami, FL) will develop novel computational tools to efficiently design and predict the performance of multicomponent alloys for use in fossil energy power plants. The ability to improve an alloy’s physical properties will result in the development of more durable materials with extended functional lifespan in advanced high-temperature power plants. DOE funding: $249,722.

Large-Scale, GPU-Enhanced DFTB Approaches for Probing Multi-Component Alloys — Researchers at the University of California at Riverside (Riverside, CA) will employ advanced computational techniques—density functional tight binding (DFTB) coupled with graphics processing unit (GPU) enhancements—to evaluate the performance of multicomponent alloy compositions at the molecular level. Development of this new computational capability will provide accurate, efficient, and reduced cost assessment of alloy structural performance at operational conditions used in fossil energy power plants. DOE funding: $250,000.

Flue Gas Desulfurization Wastewater Treatment, Reuse, and Recovery — Researchers at the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM) will conduct laboratory-based studies and computational modeling aimed at developing a novel, full-scale treatment process for high-salinity flue gas desulfurization (FGD) wastewater. The technology resulting from this work will be relevant to reducing the water usage of the FGD process, recycling treated wastewater, and using waste heat to improve process performance. DOE funding: $249,536.

The Office of Fossil Energy funds research, development, and demonstration projects to reduce the risk and cost of developing advanced technologies to effectively use the nation’s fossil energy resources. To learn more about the programs within the Office of Fossil Energy, visit the FE website or sign up for FE news announcements.  More about the Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory can be found on the NETL website.  Information on additional FE funding opportunities can be found here.