Fall 2018 Newsletter Volume 2

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Message from the Director

Dr. Chunshan Song pixWelcome to the second edition of the University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research (UCFER) newslet­ter. We have just completed the third round of proposal solicitations, about $4 million in funding was available, which was issued to the 16 member univer­sities including the seven new members who joined the coalition in 2017. Eleven projects have been awarded funding and subcontracts are being finalized with Penn State. The selected projects are briefly discussed in this issue.

In April, we held the First UCFER Technical Review Meeting at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in Morgantown, West Virginia. All 16 member universities were represented at this meeting and PI or Co-PIs for projects from the first and second round presented on their research and project status. Highlights from the presentations and outside contributions to the projects are included in the newsletter.

Welcome to UCFER

UCFER TAC & NETL leaders

Penn State is leading the University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research (UCFER) that will advance basic and applied research for clean and low-carbon energy based on fossil fuels in support of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) mission. UCFER focuses on research that will improve the efficiency of production and use of fossil energy resources, while minimizing the environmental impacts and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Through a nationwide open competition, the six-year, $20 million project was awarded by the DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in 2015. Penn State, along with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, Texas A&M University, University of Kentucky, University of Southern California, University of Tulsa, University of Wyoming and Virginia Polytechnic and State University, are the founding members of the coalition. In February 2017, Carnegie Mellon University, Louisiana State University, The University of North Dakota, The Ohio State University, University of Pittsburgh, The University of Utah, and West Virginia University were added to the Coalition. The principal office of the UCFER is located at Penn State’s University Park campus. The principal investigator and director of UCFER is Dr. Chunshan Song who also serves as director of Penn State’s Energy Institute in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, is a distinguished professor of fuel science and professor of chemical engineering.

The Five Core Competency Areas

Chunshan Song, director, University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research

Chunshan Song, director, University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research

  • Geological and Environmental Systems, consisting of research on geomaterials, fluid flow in geologic media, and geospatial and strategic field monitoring.
  • Materials Engineering and Manufacturing, consisting of research on the design, development, and deployment of advanced functional and structural materials for use in extreme service environments.
  • Energy Conversion Engineering, consisting of the evaluation, integration, control, and performance modeling of processes and components for developing innovative energy conversion processes and transformational technologies.
  • Systems Engineering and Analysis, consisting of analysis and design of such advanced energy systems as power plants, energy markets, and energy-environment interactions.
  • Computational Science and Engineering, consisting of research involving high-performance computing and data analytics that enable the generation of information and insights through the integration of experimental data and engineering analyses.

First UCFER Technical Review Meeting

left: Steven Winberg, assistant secretary for fossil energy, U.S. Department of Energy.  center: Sean Plasynski, acting director, National Energy Technology Laboratory.  right: Dr. Neil Sharkey, vice president for research, Penn State

left: Steven Winberg, assistant secretary for fossil energy, U.S. Department of Energy. 

center: Sean Plasynski, acting director, National Energy Technology Laboratory. 

right: Dr. Neil Sharkey, vice president for research, Penn State

left: Bryan Morreale, executive director, research & innovation center, National Energy Technology Laboratory.  center:  John Wimer, associate director, strategic planning, National Energy Technology Laboratory.  right:  Randall Gentry, deputy director and chief research officer, science & technology strategic plans and programs, National Energy Technology Laboratory.

left: Bryan Morreale, executive director, research & innovation center, National Energy Technology Laboratory. 

center:  John Wimer, associate director, strategic planning, National Energy Technology Laboratory. 

right:  Randall Gentry, deputy director and chief research officer, science & technology strategic plans and programs, National Energy Technology Laboratory.

The University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research (UCFER) hosted its first annual technical review meeting on April 16 and 17, 2018, at the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL) Morgantown, West Virginia site. Participants from partner universities were invited to join NETL leaders and researchers to conduct Coalition business, review ongoing projects, and discuss future possibilities for collaboration to tackle critical challenges in important fossil energy research areas.

DOE Technical Director, Dr. Madhava Syamlal provided opening remarks followed by welcoming remarks from Dr. Sean Plasynski, acting director, NETL.

“Collaboration with academia is a key part of NETL’s success and impact,” Plasynski said, noting that 33 percent of NETL’s research investment funding in the current fiscal year went to university partners through a variety of academic programs in addition to UCFER.

Plasynski also emphasized the three E’s of energy usage and research—effective resource development, efficient energy conversion and environmental sustainability.

First UCFER Technical Review Meeting Speakers

“A Low-Cost Technique for In-Situ Stresses and Geomechanical Properties Measurement Based on Leak-Off Tests and Caliper Log” by Shunde Yin from the University of Wyoming.

“A Novel Point Process Filtering Paradigm for Modeling and Inversion of Microseismic Monitoring Data during CO2 Storage” by Behnam Jafarpour from the University of Southern California.“Integration of Geophysical and Geomechanical Modeling to Monitor Integrity of Carbon Storage” by Birendra Jha (for Fred Aminzadeh) from the University of Southern California presentation.

“Integration of Geophysical and Geomechanical Modeling to Monitor Integrity of Carbon Storage” by Birendra Jha (for Fred Aminzadeh) from the University of Southern California.

“Fundamental Studies on the Reaction Mechanisms of Oxygen Carriers for CLC/CLOU of Solid Fuels” by Richard Yetter from Penn State.

2018 Executive Council Election

In 2018, Mohan Kelkar’s, from the University of Tulsa, term on the Executive Council ended. Nominations and election of new member of the EC was held in March and April of 2018. Richard Horner from the University of Wyoming was elected to a two-year term on the EC. He joins Director of UCFER Chunshan Song, Roe-Hoan Yoon from Virginia Tech, and NETL’s Sydni Credle and Syamlal Madhava on the EC. We thank Mohan for his service to UCFER’s Executive Council.

UCFER Second Round of Solicitations

On July 22, 2016, UCFER released its second request for proposals (RFP) to its nine-member Coalition. The RFP closed on September 16, 2016. A total of 25 proposals were received and reviewed by the Technical Advisory Council, Core Competency Board, external reviewers, and the Executive Council. A total of $8.16 million was requested by the 25 proposals, while only $2.08 was available to fund projects. The following chart summarizes the funding requested for each topic area.

Topics E-G funding levels

UCFER recommendations were provided to NETL for funding consideration. The following six projects were approved for funding:

Fundamental Studies on the Reaction Mechanisms of Oxygen Carriers for CLC/CLOU of Solid FuelsPenn State, 24-month project, $400,000

Chemical looping combustion (CLC) is a technology currently under consideration for coal combustion with CO2 capture.

In CLC, an oxygen carrier including a metal oxide typically replaces the oxygen in the air to oxidize the fuel to CO2.

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