The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) has announced up to $4.8 million in federal funding for research and development (R&D) projects under the funding opportunity announcement (FOA) DE-FOA-0001991, University Training and Research for Fossil Energy Applications.

This funding is part of FE’s University Training and Research initiative, which aims 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. In addition, the HBCU/OMI program aims to increase the participation of under-represented students in such research.

Projects under this initiative aim to 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, and
  • Develop early-stage technologies that increase the affordability of domestic energy resources and improving electric grid reliability and resilience.

The FOA focuses on four areas of interest (AOI):

1. Application of Novel Analytic Method(s) to Determine Arsenic and/or Selenium Concentrations in Fly Ash Waste Streams Generated from Coal Combustion – Projects selected under this AOI will investigate the development of novel measurement methodologies from the physical and/or biological sciences to qualitatively and quantitatively measure the speciation and total mass distribution of arsenic and/or selenium (including valence states, as appropriate) within coal fly ash.

2. Cybersecure Sensors for Fossil Power Generation – Projects selected under this AOI will explore emerging technologies (such as blockchain and decentralized, peer-to-peer internet protocols) that secure process signal data and other information flows within distributed sensor networks for fossil-based power generation systems.

3. Modeling Existing Coal Plant Challenges Using High-Performance Computing – Projects selected under this AOI will develop insight into existing coal plant challenges and mitigation solutions using existing (but advanced) modeling tools—including high-performance computing resources—and techniques to generate analytical results. 

4. Coal Plant Effluent Water Reuse – Projects selected under this AOI will mature advanced effluent treatment technology by improving performance or reducing costs via pathways such as process intensification, novel materials, process optimization with modeling, and advanced manufacturing. This will be done by building a packaged, modular unit that can accept cooling tower blow-down water, treat it as necessary for reuse as plant makeup water, and generate salts that have potential use as a saleable by-product.

DOE anticipates selecting up to 12 projects from this FOA. Read more details here.

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.