AOI 1A: Energy-Water Nexus Implications and Opportunities of a Hydrogen Economy

Fossil Energy in the H2 Economy – A Carbon-Water-Energy Nexus Adaptive Evaluation PlatformFlorida A&M University (Tallahassee, Florida) aims to support the efficient, environmentally sound integration of fossil fuels into the hydrogen economy as a complement to renewable energy resources penetration. The primary objectives of the proposed work are to: 1) survey and document the current technologies that enable the integration of fossil fuels into the hydrogen economy, including hydrogen production, transportation, storage and use, with an emphasis on tracking their potential for carbon neutrality, the intensity of water usage and strategies to mitigate the energy-water-CO2 nexus; and 2) to develop tools to assist the planning and decision making process at regional and national levels regarding the insertion and adoption of technologies for fossil energy-derived hydrogen with reference to their water intensity, life-cycle cost, greenhouse gases and energy efficiency.

DOE Funding: $399,943; Total Value: $399,943


AOI 1B: Electromagnetic Energy-Assisted  Approaches to Convert Fossil Fuels to Low Cost Hydrogen

Multiphysics and Multiscale Simulation Methods for Electromagnetic Energy Assisted Fossil Fuel to Hydrogen Conversion — Howard University (Washington, D.C.) will develop, implement, validate and apply multiphysics and multiscale simulation methods for efficient electromagnetic (EM) energy-assisted conversion from fossil fuel to low-cost hydrogen. The objectives of the project are to develop and investigate computational methods in two major areas: 1) modeling and simulation methods for coupled multiphysical phenomena involving EM, plasma physics, thermal and fluid dynamics and quantum chemistry across multiple spatial scales from macro- and meso- scales, to microscopic scales and temporal scales, from nanoseconds to minutes; and 2) simulation-guided designs for EM energy-assisted high-throughput, high-yield and low-cost hydrogen generation from fossil fuels such as methane and methanol.

DOE Funding: $399,935; Total Value: $399,935


Harnessing Plasma Experiments with Quantum Calculations for Low-Cost Hydrogen Production — The Regents of the University of California (Riverside, California) seek to combine experiments and quantum calculations to investigate using carbon as a catalyst for the plasma-driven pyrolysis of methane for low-cost hydrogen production. The proposed investigation will: 1) harness large-scale quantum calculations to predict thermodynamics and kinetics; 2) use in situ diagnostics to characterize the interaction between plasma-activated gas-phase species and plasma-activated carbon surfaces; 3) combine experimental and computational results to gain fundamental insights into the plasma-initiated processes and improve performance in terms of hydrogen yield and energy cost; and 4) provide training opportunities to the diverse group of minority students attending the university.

DOE Funding: $400,000; Total Value: $400,000


Electric Field-Assisted Thermo-catalytic Decomposition with Regeneration: Comparisons with ReaxFF Atomistic Simulations — Pennsylvania State University (State College, Pennsylvania) aims to provide mechanistic insights for carbon surface reactions relevant to both thermo-catalytic decomposition (TCD) and regeneration reactions. Primary objectives of the project are to: 1) measure active sites parametrically with reaction conditions; 2) determine reaction rates as function of reaction conditions; 3) evaluate activation energies for comparison to active site number and type; and 4) develop atomistic simulations for TCD and regeneration reactions for applied electric fields.

DOE Funding: $399,435; Total Value: $399,435


Electromagnetic Energy-Assisted Thermal Conversion of Fossil-Based Hydrocarbons to Low-Cost Hydrogen   The University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, North Dakota) plans to make targeted improvements to the conventional thermo-catalytic hydrocarbon conversion process using an electromagnetic energy-assisted mechanism, resulting in the reduction of downtime associated with catalyst reactivation or replacement due to poisoning. The project proposes a dual research approach that uses experimental and computational tools to understand the fundamental interactions between fossil fuels and their interactions with an electromagnetic energy source.

DOE Funding: $398,969; Total Value: $398,969


Microwave-Assisted Dehydrogenation of Fossil Fuels Using Iron-Based Alumina Nanocomposites The University of Texas at El Paso (El Paso, Texas) aims to develop a microwave-assisted technology for low-cost production of hydrogen from fossil fuels. The research objectives of this project are: 1) to determine optimal parameters of solution combustion synthesis for the fabrication of iron-based alumina nanocomposites with superior catalytic activity, microwave absorptivity and ferrimagnetic properties; 2) to determine the effectiveness of the iron-based alumina nanocomposites in the microwave-assisted catalytic decomposition of tar, crude oil, diesel fuel and gasoline in terms of hydrogen selectivity and yield; and 3) to investigate regeneration of the iron-based alumina nanocomposites by microwave-assisted gasification of the formed carbon and by magnetic separation of the catalyst particles from the carbon byproducts.

DOE Funding: $400,000; Total Value: $400,000


AOI 1C: Process and Materials Co-optimization for the Production of Blue Hydrogen

Advanced Modeling and Process-Materials Co-optimization Strategies for Swing Adsorption Based Gas Separations Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) aims to formulate mathematical models and develop computational methodologies to allow the design of novel gas separation processes, along with the microporous materials they rely upon, in a co-optimization paradigm. This high-fidelity process modeling effort will be coupled with data-driven materials design methodologies, realizing a novel integrated, process-materials co-optimization framework that will be implemented within DOE’s IDAES Integrated Platform, an open-source computational platform for the modeling and optimization of advanced energy systems.

DOE Funding: $400,000; Total Value: $400,000


AOI 2: Addressing High-Temperature Materials Supply Chain Challenges

Hybrid Structured Nickel Superalloys to Address Price Volatility and Weld/Weld Repair Based Supply Chain Issues Michigan Technological University (Houghton, Michigan) seeks to use integrated computational materials engineering design strategies to solve the challenge of nickel-based alloy price volatility and welding precipitation-strengthened alloys by designing, casting, forging, welding and validating the properties of hybrid η-γ’ strengthened nickel superalloys optimized for cost and weldability. Specifically, significant reduction in cobalt to less than 5 wt.% versus 10-20% in candidate alloys for advanced energy systems is sought.

DOE Funding: $400,000; Total Value: $400,000


High-Speed and High-Quality Field Welding Repair Based on Advanced Non-destructive Evaluation and Numerical Modeling Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio) seeks to develop two enabling techniques for welding repair of creep strength-enhanced ferritic Grade 91 and 92 steel components: 1) microstructure detection using ultrasonic inspection; and 2) hardness prediction using a computational model for multi-pass, multi-layer dissimilar metal welding. The project aims to generate high-quality data from weld coupons fabricated using a high-deposition rate process based on hot wire gas tungsten arc welding and Gleeble® samples containing simulated weld microstructures, especially those with a different extent of tempered martensite.

DOE Funding: $400,000; Total Funding: $400,000


Conformal Coatings On Additive Manufactured Alloys for Improved Robustness Towards Oxidation, Erosion and Corrosion — West Virginia University (Morgantown, West Virginia) seeks to develop novel high-temperature alloys based on a well-developed nickel-based alloy (such as solid solution-strengthening Inconel 625) that further integrates additive manufacturing fabrication, creating novel nano-scale oxide precipitation for strengthened mechanical integrity and enhanced oxidation resistance. Such alloys can be applied as the structural material for the heat-exchanger operated in a supercritical carbon dioxide power system.

DOE Funding: $400,000; Total Funding: $400,000


AOI 3: 5G for Fossil-Fired Power Generation

5G Integrated Edge Computing Platform for Efficient Component Monitoring in Fossil-Fired Power Plants The University of Texas at El Paso (El Paso, Texas) aims to develop an on-demand distributed edge computing platform to gather, process and efficiently analyze the component health data in fossil-fired power plants. The leverage software will define networking and network function virtualization mechanisms of 5G to instantiate a logically separated component monitoring network slice that will be integrated with a distributed edge computing service for time-sensitive and efficient transfer of fossil-fired power plant health data. It will develop a customizable 5G-capable distributed edge computing prototype with a separate network slice for efficient plant component monitoring. In addition, extensive performance evaluation of the developed platform will be conducted by measuring several critical metrics.

DOE Funding: $400,000; Total Value: $400,000


5G-TSN Architecture Capable of Providing Real-time Situational Awareness to Fossil-Energy (FE) Generation Systems  The University of Texas at El Paso (El Paso, Texas) is focused on the delivery of an integrated 5G-TSN architecture capable of supporting fossil-fired power generation systems’ operational data, while providing the required deterministic quality of service. The proposed research will demonstrate the ability to design a 5G-TSN network capable of providing the necessary quality of service and security for measurement and control of oxy-combustor systems.

DOE Funding: $400,000; Total Value: $400,000


Enabling The Next Generation of Smart Sensors in Fossil Fired Power Plants using Cellular 5G Technology  Ohio University (Athens, Ohio) aims to study and report on the benefits of 5G wireless cellular technologies for fossil-fired power plants. The project will primarily focus on demonstrating the effectiveness of 5G cellular embedded, cloud and edge computing-based sensors specific to fossil-fired power plants, needed where harsh, noisy radio frequency conditions are evaluated.

DOE Funding: $399,481; Non-DOE Funding: $15,000; Total Value: $414,481