Spring 2017 Newsletter Volume 1

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Welcome to UCFER

UCFER group pix

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 is focusing 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 mllion dollar project was awarded by the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). 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. Dr. Chunshan Song, director of Penn State’s Energy Institute in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and Distinguished Professor of Fuel Science and Professor of Chemical Engineering, is the principal investigator and director of UCFER.

The Five Core Competency Areas

Dr. Grace Bochenek, director, National Energy Technology Laboratory, speaking at  the UCFER Inaugural Meeting at Penn State in May 2016.

Dr. Grace Bochenek, director, National Energy Technology Laboratory, speaking at  the UCFER Inaugural Meeting at Penn State in May 2016.

  • 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 advanced energy systems such 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

Inaugural UCFER Meeting

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

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

Dr. Grace Bochenek, director, National Energy Technology Laboratory, and Dr. Chunshan Song, director, UCFER, and director, EMS Energy Institute, Penn State

Dr. Grace Bochenek, director, National Energy Technology Laboratory, and Dr. Chunshan Song, director, UCFER, and director, EMS Energy Institute, Penn State

Representatives of the Coalition universities and DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory met on May 19, 2016, to kick off the University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research (UCFER).

The meeting with NETL, attended by representatives of eight of the nine member universities involved, including Technical Advisory Council Members, was to discuss the vision, mission, and direction of UCFER, and for the UCFER Operations Management Team (OMT) to discuss the logistical operation of UCFER.

The primary objectives of the meeting were to:

List of Participants for UCFER Inaugural Meeting, May 2016

From DOE NETL:

  • Dr. Grace Bochenek, Director, National Energy Technology Laboratory
  • Dr. Cindy Powell, Acting Executive Director, Science & Technology Strategic Plans & Programs, National Energy Technology Laboratory
  • Dr. Madhava Syamlal, Senior Fellow, Computational Engineering, Technical Director for UCFER, National Energy Technology Laboratory
  • Dr. Sydni S. Credle, Project Officer for UCFER, National Energy Technology Laboratory
  • Ms. Heather Quedenfeld, Acting Associate Director, Coal, Technology Development & Integration Center, National Energy Technology Laboratory
  • Dr. R. Paul Detwiler, Chief Counsel, National Energy Technology Laboratory
  • Ms. Denise Riggi, Deputy Chief Financial Officer, Finance & Acquisition Center, National Energy Technology Laboratory

University Representatives:

  • Princeton University - Dr. Yiguang Ju
  • Texas A&M University - Dr. M. Nazmul Karim
  • University of Kentucky - Dr. Rick Honaker
  • University of Southern California - Dr. Kristian Jessen
  • University of Tulsa - Dr. Mohan Kelkar
  • University of Wyoming - Dr. Paul Dellenback
  • Virginia Tech - Dr. Roe-Hoan Yoon

From U.S. Energy Association:

  • Mr. Barry Worthington, Executive Director, United States Energy Association

From Penn State:

5th U.S.-China Symposium on CO2 Control

The 5th U.S.-China Symposium on CO2 Emission Control Science and Technology
The 5th U.S.-China Symposium on CO2 Emission Control Science and Technology

Dr. Chunshan Song attended the 5th U.S.-China Symposium on CO2 Emission Control Science and Technology, which was co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and held in Hangzhou, China, during June 4-7, 2016. Song was invited by DOE to give a presentation on DOE NETL-supported CO2 capture and conversion research at Penn State. He presented an invited lecture titled “Solid Molecular Basket Sorbent with High Capacity for Selective CO2 Capture and Catalytic Conversion.” Song also took this opportunity to introduce UCFER at this meeting to the researchers in the U.S. and China. He presented one slide as an outline of UCFER at this meeting. Several U.S. DOE officials attended this meeting including:

UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre Biannual Meeting

Dr. Chunshan Song’s presentation on DOE-NETL UCFER at UK CCS Biannual Meeting during September 14-15, 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland Photo by Kit Carruthers of UKCCSRC

Dr. Chunshan Song’s presentation on DOE-NETL UCFER at UK CCS Biannual Meeting during September 14-15, 2016 in Edinburgh, Scotland

Photo by Kit Carruthers of UKCCSRC

By the invitation of Professor Jon Gibbins at the University of Sheffield, director of UK Carbon Capture and Storage Research Centre (UKCCSRC) and with the approval of NETL, Dr. Chunshan Song attended the UKCCSRC’s Edinburgh Biannual Meeting on September 14 -15, 2016, and gave an invited plenary presentation on UCFER to the attendees. The title of his presentation was “University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research (UCFER) Funded by US DOE NETL – Vision, Mission and Operation.” Professor Jon Gibbins gave an enthusiastic introduction for Song and the presentation on the UCFER was well received by the attendees in UK.

During the trip Song also visited the UKCCSRC and toured the carbon capture facility (UKCCSRC PACT facilities) both in Sheffield, England. While there Song also attended the 14th International Conference on Carbon Dioxide Utilization at the University of Sheffield.

 

UCFER Inaugural Request for Proposals

On April 22, 2016, UCFER released its inaugural request for proposals to its nine-member coalition. The RFP closed on June 17, 2016. A total of 39 proposals were received and reviewed by the UCFER Technical Advisory Committee and its Executive Council. Funding available for this round of proposals was $1.925 million and the total funding requested was $7.66 million. The following chart summarizes the number of proposals submitted per subtopic area and the amount requested.

RFP 2016-01 Total Topic Area Funding Requested

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

Converting CO2 and Methane to Fuels by Enhanced Plasmonic Effects in a Nanotemplated Catalyst Plasma Project Reactor -  (Princeton University, 18-month project, $199,631)

Collaboration with NETL a Key Component of UCFER

Dr. Madhava Syamlal of NETL discusses collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Mathews of Penn State.

Dr. Madhava Syamlal of NETL discusses collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Mathews of Penn State.

The University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research has been established to advance basic and applied fossil energy research through mechanisms that promote collaboration among the Department of Energy and the universities that are members of the coalition through the coordination of research and the sharing of data. This collaboration between university and NETL scientists is one of the most important objectives of the UCFER. Consequently, NETL held a video conference for interested faculty from each member university on May 26, 2016 to discuss the types and scope of collaborations for each research topic area in the first request for proposals. The purpose of the webinar was to set the framework for the first and subsequent solicitation rounds.

University researchers were encouraged to submit questions about the types of collaboration that NETL would view as feasible and worthwhile before and after the video-conference. NETL sent its responses to the researcher who posed the question, and the UCFER Operations Management Team posted the responses on the UCFER members-only website where all coalition members can view them.

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