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DOE selects 8 new advanced coal projects for funding by University Coal Research Program

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected eight new projects to further advanced coal research under the University Coal Research Program. The selected projects are intended to improve coal conversion and use and will help propel technologies for future advanced coal power systems.

The selections will conduct investigations in three topic areas—computational energy sciences, material science, and sensors and controls—and will be funded at a maximum of $300,000 for 36 months. The Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) will manage the projects, which include ultra-clean energy plants that could co-produce electric power, fuels, chemicals and other high-value products from coal with near-zero emissions and substantial increases in efficiency.

The selections mark the 32nd round of the Department’s longest-running coal research program. Since the program’s inception in 1979, nearly 1,820 students have worked alongside their professors in more than 700 federally funded research projects valued in excess of $134 million.

A summary of the topic areas and the selected projects follow.

Topic Area 1: Computational Energy Sciences: Multiphase Flow Research Multiphase flow is prevalent in fossil-fuel processes, appearing in processes such as coal gasifiers, reactors used for sorbent-based carbon dioxide (CO2) capture, and emerging technologies that help with efficient CO2 separation. Projects under this topic will develop frictional flow models for gas-solids applications and explore uncertainties inherent in models used to describe gas-solids reactors.

  • Princeton University, Princeton, NJ. The Princeton University team will implement and validate a new rheological model for dense granular phase in MFIX, a computer code developed at NETL for describing the hydrodynamics, heat transfer, and chemical reactions in fluid-solids systems. The team will develop a more rigorous treatment of boundary effects and will construct a more detailed model for particle-phase stress. The results of their work will be important in understanding dense flow behavior in large-scale processes. (DOE Share: $300,000)

  • University of Colorado, Boulder, Colo. This study will focus on the clustering instabilities that occur in the risers of circulating fluidized beds and affect system performance. A number of systems will be examined to quantify the type, onset, evolution, and steady-state characteristics of the instabilities and to isolate the mechanisms leading to them. Results are expected to provide critical information for improving the reactor efficiency in energy production systems. (DOE Share: $300,000)

  • Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. In a three-pronged approach, the Iowa team will develop an uncertainty quantification (UQ) procedure that will be implemented in MFIX for the investigation of uncertainty as it applies to various parameters in bubbling fluidized beds and riser flows. The team anticipates that the project will result in a practical UQ tool capable of being applied to complex models such as those used in multiphase gas-particle flow simulations. (DOE Share: $299,998)

Topic Area 2: Material Science: Computer-Aided Development of Novel New Materials for Energy Conversion from Coal. Novel materials that can withstand high temperatures and extreme environments are dominant themes in materials development for efficient energy systems. Basic requirements such as elevated melting temperatures, high oxidation and corrosion resistance, and the ability to resist creep encompass some of the most challenging problems in materials science. This topic area focuses on the development of computational tools and simulations that will reliably predict properties of materials in advance of fabrication and the development of new materials with high performance potential for fossil-energy systems.

  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis. The goal of this project is to enable the full integration of a new high-temperature protective coating technology that provides both environmental and thermal protection in advanced combustion systems for fossil-fuel energy generation. The new technology is expected to provide an increase of 200–400 °C in material operating temperature beyond the limitation of current nickel-based superalloys. (DOE Share: $300,000)

Topic Area 3: Sensors and Controls. Power plants have a number of sources where heat and other forms of energy are lost through the system. Research in this topic area will focus on ways to harvest lost energy, such as waste heat, within a power plant and use the power to operate the instruments and sensors that monitor plant performance. Investigations will also explore new approaches to embedding wireless sensors into power systems that operate under extreme conditions (500–1,300 °C) and enabling the sensor signal to be transmitted to an external receiver.

  • State University of New York (SUNY), Albany, NY. The goal of this project is to develop cost-effective sensing technologies able to function in harsh, high-temperature operating environments. SUNY investigators intend to develop a photo-detector and a chemical sensor tailored to emissions of interest that will sense a passive light source with sufficient energy in the selected wavelength. (DOE Share: $300,000)

  • University of Washington, Seattle, Wash. The proposed research will explore a novel class of “n”-type thermoelectric oxides that are stable at high temperature in the coal-fired flue gas environment. These, together with the already well established “p” type thermoelectric oxides, can be used to make highly efficient thermoelectric devices for waste heat recovery in coal-fired power and industrial plants. (DOE Share: $299,956)

  • University of Central Florida, Orlando, Fla. The University of Central Florida will develop an accurate and robust wireless passive high-temperature sensor for in situ measurement of strains inside turbine engines in coal-based power generation systems. The proposed sensor will aid in the development of advanced sensor technologies for commercial use that will contribute to higher energy efficiency, increased reliability, and decreased pollution. (DOE Share: $299,162)

  • University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah. Researchers at the University of Utah will develop novel sensors and measurement and assessment methods that can be used to improve the management of refractory materials within the harsh gasification environment. The benefits will include improved process availability and safety, prevention of costly repairs caused by refractory failure, and extending the service life of the refractory. (DOE Share: $300,000)



Using local coal to cleanly produce fuels/electricity/chemicals etc would be very beneficial for USA's economy because it would create local jobs and reduce GHG, pollution and oil imports. Why wasn't it done 30+ years ago?


30 years ago oil was $14 per barrel and Carter was urging people to support the Synthetic Fuels Corporation with no success. When Congress tells a President to forget it that is it. Reagan completely killed it off in 1986.


It seems that we are sending the wrong people to Wash. DC or are they paying back the hands that got them elected?


This is small pork compared to aerospace or oil. It's a waste since coal is about to collapse in a giant way. And people invested in coal and coal futures - except perhaps for CTL - are outta luck.


There are a lot of paybacks for campaign contributions, corruption is built into the system and is legal.

There are still a lot of coal fired power plants and Texas wants to build a bunch more. Texas has large natural gas reserves but they chose coal, probably because it is cheap and they don't care who is downwind.


TXU, Reliant, Dynowatt - all Texas companies poised to go out of business in the next 10 years unless they start planning a strategy to utilize E-Cat technology. To be investing in coal to supply energy 20 years from now is certain BK.

These big utils can either accept the idea that energy is going to be virtually free in the near future and make money selling appliances delivering that energy - or go out of business.

My guess is they'll not see the light;)

HarveyD is going to be virtually free in the near future...

There will be no such thing.

Capturing/storing solar and/or harnessing/storing wind, almost unlimited free/clean energies do not come free. The final 24/7 cost is still much higher than fossil fuel polluting power plants and will be so for a few more decades.


He keeps referring to cold fusion, I will believe it when I see it on a large scale.


Harvey needs to accept the disclosure of over-unity excess heat systems as recently acknowledged by both MIT and NASA's Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell.

Harvey, it is pointless to stay stuck on mechanical energy devices (combustion engines, wind turbines) when we have twenty years of laboratory proof of LANR-CF type energy. This is not going away and it will not be delayed 20 years - since on small scale it is ready right now. 10-25kW reactors producing 2.3-5.5X input energy operate in labs daily. Rossi has a partner in U Bologna and is building 10kW units. Black Light's Dr. Mills just gave a lecture at the FCHE Conference - read it and know the near future:

Of course solar/PV has a role to play - but much diminished in face of new physics. 13-20% efficiency cannot compete with systems able to produce 200-400% efficiency. Energy game over.


Were it only so!
pardon my skepticism but i'll believe it when i see it, Reel.
I put more faith in "clean coal", which ain't much.


No amount of hype nor promotion is going to make it happen. I am a promoter of natural gas for big rigs, cellulose bio fuels and synthetic fuels, but that will not make it happen.


What we are eliminating is the calculated LACK of promotion over the last 20 years. The overt and covert suppression of positive science and experimental results. Those days are over gents. Why? Because the old school has lost control of information.

And with free flow of data via internet and cell phone and text messages and sat phones and Skype and Google Talk and VOIP and VPN, and enterprise networks - no agency, government or covert operation can contain the flow.

Panasonic has announced manufacturing of residential CHP FC appliances in Europe. Ceres Power in Sussex UK is hosting the UK Business MP at a brand new CHP manufacturing facility. In only a matter of time will a US manufacturer announce their play (Bloom is already in.) These are the businesses that will seed the new LANR-CF technology. They will make $$BB. The market is $$TTs.

It is happening right now. Resistance is useless.


Hey danm - I honor your skepticism! It's healthy. But um, in keeping with the political climate, would you mind if I call you a "Denier?"


Rossi denied others the opportunity to measure the heat output of his E-Cat. I guess that makes Rossi a denier too, as well as a fraud.


Oh dear ole EP reveals HE is the Denier now! Deny your favorite climate agency? NASA?? NASA's Chief Scientist Dennis M. Bushnell (M.S., FASME, FAIAA, FRAS) says LANR-CF " capable of, by itself, completely changing geo-economics, geo-politics, and solving climate issues."

Don't like NASA now? Can we deny NASA GIS too?? How about MIT physicist Peter Hagelstein PhD on Lattice Assisted Nuclear Reactions:

Or EP, are you confirming your role in life as a professional denier and AGW fanboy?? Fraud?


Some people like to criticize but offer no solutions of their own. They sit back and wait for an opening to have their shot at poking holes. This is not constructive, it is not a search for the truth.


Likely EP cowers in his mom's basement working as a paid operative for the Intergovernmental Panel for Disinformation. Hopefully it's only a temporary affliction;)


As I've been working to keep my 2+ acres from being overwhelmed by vegetation and getting things prepared to have the Hobie Cat pulled up on shore here, Reel's projection had me laughing too hard to respond for days. I decided to take a break and write while listening to ATC and pouring a bunch of iced tea down my throat (heat wave here).

Hey, Reel, move your computer out from under the cold-water pipes in your mom's basement; they'll sweat and ruin it with condensation. More later.


I'm back. Water's cold, but good.

Reel's "chief scientist" does not appear to be a working scientist. He's more of a PR guy. A real scientist would say a lot about the shortcomings of the test data that Rossi has allowed (like this reality check by Pete Ekstrom of Lund University). NASA's Bushnell is certainly right when he says "LENR technology by itself could potentially solve all of our energy and climate problems."

(Hilariously, Reel keeps mis-spelling it "LANR".)

What Bushnell doesn't say is what everyone should be thinking: if "LENR" is just measurement error or a fraud, it's not a solution to anything.

I wouldn't be surprised if Rossi is being bankrolled by fossil fuel interests, who are trying to suck all the oxygen out of the room to prevent any backlash from developing against the foolish anti-nuclear movements of Germany et al. If they prevent Flibe Energy from getting anywhere, it will be money well-spent.

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