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Advanced Fossil Energy Technology Research

Please Note that a Letter of Intent is due Tuesday, September 08, 2015 5:00pm ET Program Area Overview Office of Basic Energy SciencesThe Office of Basic Energy Sciences (BES) supports fundamental research to understand, predict, and ultimately control matter and energy at the electronic, atomic, and molecular levels in order to provide the foundations for new energy technologies and to support DOE missions in energy, environment, and national security.  The results of BES_supported research are routinely published in the open literature.  A key function of the program is to plan, construct, and operate premier scientific user facilities for the development of novel nanomaterials and for materials characterization through x_ray and neutron scattering; the former is accomplished through five Nanoscale Science Research Centers and the latter is accomplished through the world’s largest suite of light source and neutron scattering facilities.  These national resources are available free of charge to all researchers based on the quality and importance of proposed nonproprietary experiments.   A major objective of the BES program is to promote the transfer of the results of our basic research to advance and create technologies important to Department of Energy (DOE) missions in areas of energy efficiency, renewable energy resources, improved use of fossil fuels, the mitigation of the adverse impacts of energy production and use, and future nuclear energy sources.  The following set of technical topics represents one important mechanism by which the BES program augments its system of university and laboratory research programs and integrates basic science, applied research, and development activities within the DOE.   For additional information regarding the Office of Basic Energy Sciences priorities, click here.TOPIC 14:Advanced Fossil Energy Technology Research   Maximum Phase I Award Amount:  $150,000 Maximum Phase II Award Amount:  $1,000,000 Accepting SBIR Phase I Applications:  YES Accepting SBIR Fast_Track Applications:  NO Accepting STTR Phase I Applications:  YES Accepting STTR Fast_Track Applications:  NO  For the foreseeable future, the energy needed to sustain economic growth will continue to come largely from hydrocarbon fuels. Advanced Fossil Energy technologies must allow the Nation to use its indigenous fossil energy resources more wisely, cleanly, and efficiently. These include R&D activities required to reduce the capital and operating cost and to meet zero emission targets in power systems (e.g., turbines, fuel cells, hybrids, novel power generation cycles), coal conversion (e.g., gasification) and beneficiation, advanced combustion (e.g., oxy_combustion, chemical looping, ultra super critical steam), hydrogen and fuels, and beneficial re_use of CO2. This topic addresses grant applications for the development of innovative, cost effective technologies for improving the efficiency and environmental performance of advanced large scale industrial and utility fossil energy power generation and natural gas recovery systems. The topic serves as a bridge between basic science and the fabrication and testing of new technologies. Small scale applications, such as residential, commercial and transportation will not be considered. Generally, electrochemical (SOFC excepted), microwave and plasma processes will not be considered due to high energy requirements. Applications determined to be outside the mission or not mutually beneficial to the Fossil Energy and Basic Energy Sciences programs will not be considered. Grant applications are sought in the following subtopics:  a. Shale Gas Conversion to Liquid Fuels and Chemicals With the discovery of vast quantities of natural gas available in various shale gas formations in the U.S. comes the opportunity to convert this gas, traditionally used directly as fuel, into more value added products. Traditionally, petroleum has been used to make ethylene, propylene and other building blocks used in the production of a wide range of other chemicals. We need to develop innovative processes that can readily make these chemical intermediates from natural gas.   The methane fraction can be converted into intermediates such as ethylene via oxidative coupling or reforming to synthesis gas, whereas the ethane/propane fraction can be converted into ethylene via conventional steam pyrolysis. Since methane is rather inert and requires high temperatures to activate strong chemical bonds, practical and cost_effective conversion technologies are needed. Attempts to develop catalysts and catalytic processes that use oxygen to make ethylene, methanol, and other intermediates have had little success as oxygen is too reactive and tends to over_oxidize methane to common carbon dioxide.  Recent advances with novel sulfide catalysts have more effectively converted methane to ethylene, a key intermediate for making chemicals, polymers, fuels and , ultimately products such as films, surfactants, detergents, antifreeze, textiles and others.  Proposals are sought to develop novel and advanced concepts for conversion of shale gas to chemicals based on advanced catalysts. Processes must have high selectivity and yield compared to existing state of the art. Proposals must be novel and innovative and show clear economic advantages over the existing state of the art.   Questions ? Contact: Doug Archer, douglas.archer@hq.doe.gov b. Additive Manufacturing for Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) Components Additive manufacturing (AM) which is used to create components in a layering manner to achieve intricate final shape products has been identified as a potentially attractive option for the manufacture of high temperature performance components used in SOFC technology in order to address the need for components processing that not only maintains structural integrity but also offers the ability to perform multiple functions as well. AM also enables the design and synthesis of materials whose microstructure and properties allow for the construction of such components.  Due to the limitations in terms of spatial control and high reproducibility of microstructures involving traditional screen printing, slurry pasting, and dip coating methods, there has been of late an increasing interest in inkjet printing and other direct_write additive processes. Grant applications are sought for research and development to innovate AM techniques and to design and generate SOFC structures and components with functionality and characteristics that exceed the performance requirements of state of the art materials and manufacturing processes.  Approaches of interest include, but are not limited to additive manufacturing techniques to engineer preferred architectures or microstructure of a material system that possesses enhanced physical, electrical and thermal properties for high temperature SOFC applications.  Techniques for SOFC interconnect coating and electrode infiltration are not of interest.  A complete description of the manufacturing process required to achieve the proposed architectures should be provided to facilitate analysis of potential cost entitlements and implementation complexity. Applications can focus on individual components; however, a clear plan must be presented that outlines how entire SOFC cell or stack architectures would be fabricated, implemented, and perform.  Questions ? Contact: Patcharin Burke, patcharin.burke@netl.doe.gov c. CO2 Capture from Low Concentration SourcesDOE has a large program associated with capture carbon from higher concentration CO2 sources including both coal combustion and coal gasification units.  However, there are other sources associated with coal power systems, resource recovery, and emissions mitigation where the concentration of the CO2 is smaller but collectively these can represent a large quantity of CO2 emissions. In response to the environmental concerns and prevailing market conditions facing the coal industry, the DOE is seeking technologies to address CO2 capture from coal_related sources producing low concentration CO2 emissions.  Some technologies (materials and processes) may have inherent advantages when capturing CO2 at these lower concentrations.   Grant applications are sought for cost_effective CO2 capture technologies that mitigate CO2 from coal relevant gases with CO2 concentrations of <1 vol% and also highlight the size and relevance of the targeted low concentration market.  The objective is to initiate R&D of applied cost_effective CO2 capture solutions for low concentration (<1 vol%), coal_relevant CO2 sources.  Technology proposed in this topic area may include, but is not limited to: coal_relevant lifecycle GHG emissions such as those from mining operations; approaches that are part of hybrid CO2 capture/conversion process and CO2 “polishing” steps that address the lower concentrations of residual CO2 resulting from less than 100% capture.  Applicants that have already identified a low CO2 concentration market and successfully completed proof_of_concept analytical studies and simulations showing a pathway towards the aggressive Fossil Energy performance goals either as part of earlier DOE or non_DOE supported efforts should apply.   Questions ? Contact: John Litynski, john.litynski@hq.doe.gov d. Modifications to Existing Alloys that Promote Corrosion and / or Erosion Resistance in Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Based Power Cycle ApplicationsThere has been an increase in interest over the past several years in supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) cycles for power generation. These cycles offer the potential for increased efficiency over Rankine cycles with inherent capture of carbon dioxide using oxy_fuel combustion of natural gas or coal derived syngas as the heat source.  The application of sCO2 cycles to commercial power generation necessitates the development of new technologies in several areas, especially materials that are used in high pressure and temperature conditions under which sCO2 based power cycle applications operate.  The severe conditions occurring at both high pressures and temperatures up to 20_25 MPa and 550_700? C and higher, respectively can impose high levels of stress and severe challenges to the integrity of materials that are used in the sCO2 system, especially in terms of corrosion and erosion resistance.  Although many super alloys that are classified into three main categories based on their major compositional element (nickel_, iron_nickel_, and cobalt_base alloys) are generally considered to be thermally stable at temperatures below 1500?C, little is known about material compatibility with CO2 under supercritical conditions.  Grant applications are sought for research and development to understand and develop corrosion and erosion resistance of sCO2 candidate materials in order to prevent unexpected deterioration of components or decline in efficiency. Approaches of interest include, but are not limited to investigations of:  The effects of protective or non_protective oxide layers induced from additive alloying elements on corrosion and erosion resistance of candidate materials and the corresponding dependence on temperature and pressure at a range of operating conditions.   The kinetics of oxide growth in an effort to build accurate models of corrosion mechanisms in materials used in sCO2 applications in order to predict corrosion and service life of alloys under relevant operational conditions.  Questions ? Contact: Seth Lawson, seth.lawson@netl.doe.gov e. OtherIn addition to the specific subtopics listed above, the Department invites grant applications in other areas that fall within the scope of the topic description above.             Questions ? Contact: Doug Archer, douglas.archer@hq.doe.gov

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