Research Efforts Since 2010
Since 2010, NETL has awarded 104 projects, a total of $33,840,649, through the University Training and Research program. A yearly breakdown is shown in Figure 3.
In FY 2019, 105 students were affiliated with the University Training and Research program. Of these students, 44 were affiliated with the HBCU-OMI program and 61 were affiliated with the UCR program.
The University Training and Research project portfolio spans a wide array of technologies, as illustrated in Figures 4-6. Half of the projects focus on sensors, controls, novel concepts, or cybersecurity research. These projects are part of the Crosscutting Research Sensors and Controls program. UTR projects in this program focus on five different research areas.
- Advanced Sensors are being developed to optimize plant performance, increase plant reliability, and increase plant availability. Current work focuses on the development of passive wireless sensors for temperature and health monitoring, metal oxide nanomaterials for fiber optic sensor platforms, and active wireless microelectromechanical sensors.
- Cybersecurity-focused projects explore emerging technologies such as blockchain and decentralized, peer-to-peer internet protocols for the purpose of securing process signal data and other information flows within distributed sensor networks for fossil-based power generation systems.
- Data Analytics projects aim to develop novel, state of the art measurement techniques from non-traditional areas such as physical or biological sciences to determine both qualitatively and quantitatively the speciation and mass distribution of arsenic and selenium, both total and with valence states, as appropriate, within coal fly ash.
- Distributed Intelligent Controls research is focused on creating advanced numerical methods for real-time modeling of energy components for the NETL HYPER cyber-physical system.
- Robotics-based Inspection technologies are being developed as an improvement over current state-of-the-art inspection methods, which are time-consuming and, in some cases, not possible due to process and safety constraints.
The remaining half of the projects are performing research relevant to Crosscutting Research’s High Performance Materials, Water Management, or Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis programs. The High Performance Materials projects focus on two research areas.
- Advanced Structural Materials are being researched through the development of experimental methods to reduce the time and cost of initial testing and screening of new alloys for high temperature, long service life fossil energy applications. In addition, novel high temperature carbide and boride ceramics are being designed and fabricated to support the development of electrodes for use in high temperature direct power extraction applications.
- Computational Materials Design efforts aim to develop models to extrapolate creep life data to 300,000 hours of operation, enable high throughput ab-initio computations of multi-component alloy compositions at elevated temperatures, and employ advanced computational techniques to address the challenge of increased material deterioration due to a shift in operational mode from baseline steady state to cycling.
UTR projects that are part of the Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis program focus on two research areas.
- Advanced Process Simulation-focused projects are developing insight into existing coal plant challenges and mitigation solutions using advanced modeling tools and leveraging high performance computing resources.
- Multiphase Flow Science is an area in which NETL has world-class expertise. NETL developed Multiphase Flow with Interphase eXchanges (MFiX), which is a suite of multiphase computational fluid dynamics code. Work in this area is implementing a general framework in MFiX for radiative heat transfer in gas-solid reacting flows.