New catalyst opens door to CO2 capture in coal-to-liquids process

World energy consumption projections expect coal to stay one of the world’s main energy sources in the coming decades, and a growing share of it will be used in CT—the conversion of coal to liquid fuels (CTL). Researchers from the National Institute of Clean-and-Low-Carbon Energy in Beijing and Eindhoven University... Details →


West Virginia University (WVU) researchers are opening a new facility to capture rare earth elements (REEs) from acid mine drainage (AMD) from coal mining. Through a collaborative research and development program with the US Department of Energy (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), WVU is opening the Rare Earth Extraction... Details →


Bloomberg NEF forecasts falling battery prices enabling surge in wind and solar to 50% of global generation by 2050

Wind and solar power generation will surge to almost 50% of world generation by 2050 (“50 by 50”), supported by precipitous reductions in cost, and the advent of cheaper and cheaper batteries that will enable electricity to be stored and discharged to meet shifts in demand and supply, according to... Details →


The Australian, Japanese and Victorian governments and a consortium of companies have launched the pilot of an innovative supply chain that will deliver liquefied hydrogen from the Latrobe Valley in Australia to Japan. The Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) project will convert brown coal from the AGL Loy Yang mine... Details →


DOE awarding $6.5M to 9 large-scale Phase I pilot coal projects

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) have selected nine projects to receive approximately $6.5 million in federal funding for Phase I of the Fossil Fuel Large-Scale Pilots funding opportunity announcement (FOA). This FOA, issued in August 2017, is... Details →


Four rare earth elements (REEs) recovery projects managed by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) (earlier post) have made significant progress in the development of a domestic supply of REEs from coal and coal by-products by successfully producing REE... Details →


Air Products to acquire Shell’s coal gasification technology business and patent portfolio for liquids (residue) gasification; coal-to-fuels in China

Air Products will acquire Royal Dutch Shell’s Coal Gasification Technology business as well as Shell’s patent portfolio for Liquids (Residue) Gasification. Financial terms are not being disclosed, and the acquisition is expected to close in the coming months. As a leading industrial gas company, Air Products has extended its onsite... Details →


OSU team developing chemical looping technology to convert fossil fuels and biomass to syngas while consuming CO2

Engineers at The Ohio State University are developing technologies that have the potential to convert fossil fuels and biomass economically into syngas for conversion into useful products including methanol, gasoline and electricity without emitting carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. In the first of two papers published in the journal Energy... Details →


India is the third-largest steel producer in the world after China and Japan, having surpassed other large steel-making countries such as the United States, Russia, and South Korea over the previous decade, according to the World Steel Association. In 2016, about 57% of India’s steel was produced using electric-based methods—the... Details →


DOE Lab, partners find high concentrations of rare earth elements in American coal basins

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has found high rare earth element (REE) concentrations in coal samples taken from the Illinois, Northern Appalachian, Central Appalachian, Rocky Mountain Coal Basins, and the Pennsylvania Anthracite region. These highly concentrated samples are greater than 300 parts per million... Details →


Although China and India remain the world’s largest consumers of coal, a new University of Maryland-led study found that China’s sulfur dioxide emissions fell by 75% since 2007, while India’s emissions increased by 50%. The results suggest that India is becoming, if it is not already, the world’s top sulfur... Details →


DOE to award up to $36M for design and testing of advanced carbon capture technologies for coal-fired power generation

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $36 million (DE-FOA-0001791) to continue the development of carbon capture technologies to either the engineering scale or to a commercial design, with an eye to reducing fossil fuel power plant emissions. DOE is currently targeting transformational technologies that by 2030... Details →


DOE invests $17.4M in projects to advance recovery of rare earth elements from coal and coal byproducts

The US Department of Energy (DOE) selected four projects to move on to a second phase of research in their efforts to advance recovery of rare earth elements (REE) from coal and coal byproducts. (Earlier post.) DOE will invest $17.4 million to develop and test REE recovery systems originally selected... Details →


Coal-tar-based pavement sealant a major source of PAH contamination in Milwaukee streams

Runoff from pavement with coal-tar-based sealant is the primary source of toxic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to streambed sediments in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, according to a US Geological Survey and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District open-access study published in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Pavement sealant is a black, shiny liquid... Details →


At CES 2017, Honda will showcase what it calls a future technology path toward a redefined mobility experience. The exhibit will include the NeuV, a concept automated EV commuter vehicle equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) called the “emotion engine” that creates new possibilities for human interaction and new value for... Details →


Global carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels did not grow in 2015 and are projected to rise only slightly in 2016, marking three years of almost no growth, according to researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Global Carbon Project. Decreased use of coal in China is... Details →


2010 and 2015 LCOE ranges for solar and wind technologies. Source: IEA/NEA. Click to enlarge. The cost of producing electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar has been falling for several years. A new report, a joint project by the International Energy Agency and the Nuclear Energy Agency,... Details →


The EMS (Earth and Mineral Science) Energy Institute at Penn State has developed a conceptual novel process configuration for producing clean middle-distillate fuels from coal with some algal input with minimal emissions. The Institute was involved for about 20 years in a project intended to develop a coal-derived jet fuel;... Details →


DOE selects 7 gasification projects for funding; focus on reducing cost of coal conversion

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has selected seven projects to receive funding through NETL’s Gasification System Program. This program supports a wide range of research and development activities aimed at improving fuel and product versatility, efficiency, and economics of gasification processes. The projects conducted through... Details →


DOE selects 16 research projects for more than $19M in funding to advance Solid Oxide Fuel Cell technology

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has selected 16 solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology research projects for a total of more than $19 million ($19,358,915) in funding. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, NETL issued two funding opportunities announcements (FOAs) to support programs that enable the... Details →


The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a funding opportunity (DE-FOA-0001202) that will award an estimated $20 million to projects quickly to develop bench scale and pilot scale projects for recovering Rare Earth Elements (REE)—a set of seventeen chemical elements in the periodic table and key components of electronics... Details →


Kyoto team develops two-stage process for direct liquefaction of low-rank coal and biomass under mild conditions

Researchers at Kyoto University in Japan have proposed a novel two-stage process to convert low-rank coals or biomass wastes under mild conditions to high-quality liquid fuel. A paper describing the process, which combines a degradative solvent extraction method they had developed earlier with the liquefaction of the resulting soluble, appears... Details →


China’s shift toward alternative fuels in order to cut its reliance on imported oil is creating large opportunities, notably in natural gas vehicles (NGVs) and in the conversion of coal to ethanol, according to a new report from Lux Research. China is seeking to reduce its imports of oil from... Details →


DOE awarding about $16M to four projects for advanced gasification systems; focus on coal

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected four projects to receive funding for next-generation gasification systems. Awardees will receive approximately $16 million to advance the gasification process, which converts carbon-based materials such as coal into syngas for use as power, chemicals, hydrogen, and transportation fuels. Gasification plants have the... Details →


Preparation procedure for the BN-GQD/G nanocomposite. Credit: ACS, Fei et al. Click to enlarge. A team at Rice University has created a hybrid material combining graphene quantum dots (GQDs) and graphene platelets that can—depending upon its formulation—outperform platinum as a catalyst for fuel cells. The material showed an oxygen reduction... Details →


DOE to award $9M to promote consensus on future fossil energy technologies

The US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy will award $9 million over five years to organizations to assist it in building domestic and international consensus on future fossil energy technologies (DE-FOA-0001111). The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) anticipates two awards being made: the first for $7 million in... Details →


Click to enlarge. In its sixth sales-weighted analysis of emissions from 8 major automakers’ 2013 model year vehicles, the Union of Concerned Scientists’ (UCS) latest Automaker Rankings report found that Hyundai-Kia unseated Honda as the “Greenest Automaker.” Honda came in second, with Toyota, Nissan, and Volkswagen in a three-way tie... Details →


DOE soliciting projects in advanced coal gasification for high carbon-capture power production and/or liquid fuels

The US DOE is soliciting (DE-FOA-0001051) projects for up to $10 million in awards to target technological advancements to lower the cost of producing hydrogen and/or high-hydrogen syngas from coal for use in 90% carbon capture power generation and/or gasification-based liquid (transportation) fuel production: methanol or diesel. Liquid fuel production... Details →


KHI’s view of a “CO2-free hydrogen chain”. Source: KHI. Click to enlarge. The Nikkei reports that Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd. (KHI) will build the first ocean-going ships to carry liquefied hydrogen (LH2), with plans for a demonstration test by 2017 in which liquefied hydrogen will be shipped from the state... Details →


EPA proposes CO2 emission standards for new fossil fuel-fired power plants

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed Clean Air Act standards to reduce CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel fired power plants (electric utility generating units, EGUs). For purposes of this rule, fossil fuel-fired EGUs include utility boilers, IGCC units and certain natural gas-fired stationary combustion turbine EGUs that generate electricity... Details →


DOE issues $13M funding opportunity for advanced coal gasification systems for power or fuels

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0000784) for up to $13 million to support the development of advanced coal gasification systems. DOE anticipates making 5 awards under the FOA. There will be three (3) Areas of Interest (AOIs) under the FOA. The first two—Coal... Details →


Senators Sanders, Boxer propose legislation to institute GHG price on large stationary sources and remove support for fossil fuel industries

Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced legislation that would set an escalating fee on greenhouse gas emissions from large stationary sources to fund investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies and also provide rebates to consumers to offset increases in energy prices. The legislation also proposes... Details →


Celanese TCX production process. Click to enlarge. Celanese Corporation has entered into a Joint Statement of Cooperation to advance the development of fuel ethanol projects with Pertamina, the state-owned energy company of Indonesia. Pertamina will collaborate exclusively with Celanese jointly to develop synthetic fuel ethanol projects in the Republic of... Details →


Scanning electron micrograph of wood being decayed by the white rot fungus Punctularia strigoso-zonata. (Robert Blanchette, University of Minnesota) Click to enlarge. Coal deposits—the fossilized remains of plants—were formed during a 60-million year period from around 360 to 300 million years ago. A team of 71 researchers from 12 countries,... Details →


World primary energy consumption grew by 2.5% in 2011, close to the historical average. Oil remains the world’s leading fuel, but its 33.1% share of consumption is the lowest on record. Coal’s market share of 30.3% was the highest since 1969. Source: BP. Click to enlarge. Global energy consumption grew... Details →


Flow diagram of coal tar hydrogenation process. Credit: ACS, Kan et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers in China report the production of gasoline and diesel from coal tar via an optimized catalytic hydrogenation using two serial fixed beds, the first with a hydrofining catalyst of MoNi/γ-Al2O3 and the second with... Details →


Overview of the Bluegas catalytic coal methanation process. Click to enlarge. GreatPoint Energy and China Wanxiang Holdings have officially closed their investment and partnership agreement which was highlighted during an official signing ceremony between senior US and Chinese government officials in 2012. As part of the transaction, GreatPoint Energy has... Details →


Updated NETL study provides more detailed economic and environmental assessment of coal-to-liquids and CTL with modest biomass

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has released a follow-on study to its 2009 evaluation of the economic and environmental performance of Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) and CTL with modest amounts of biomass mixed in (15% by weight) for the production of zero-sulfure diesel fuel. (Earlier post.) The new study expands upon... Details →


US DOE to award up to $3M for coal-biomass-to-liquid projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to a total of $3 million to projects (1) to develop and to test novel technologies for the economical and environmentally-sustainable conversion of coal-biomass feedstocks to liquid transportation fuels (CBTL) and (2) to assess concepts and evaluate the feasibility of building... Details →


The Pew survey found a 10 percentage point shift in favor of expanded fossil fuel production from March 2011 to March 2012. Data: Pew Research Center. Click to enlarge. As fuel prices rise, a new Pew Research Center survey has found that 52% of Americans now say the more important... Details →


President’s Jobs Council recommends an “All-in” energy strategy; from fossil fuels and pipelines, to efficiency, renewables and vehicle electrification

In its 2011 year-end report, Road Map to Renewal, the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness (Jobs Council) made a number of recommendations to create jobs in the short run and improve US competitiveness over the long term. Very broadly, the report lays out an agenda to “Invest in Our... Details →


Update on Celanese plans for commercialization of TCX hydrocarbons-to-ethanol process; scale and economics

Celanese Corporation, developer of a hydrocarbons-to-ethanol production process derived from its acetyl technology (earlier post) announced plans in June to enter the industrial ethanol market in China by revamping the market entry strategy to allow the company to enter 6-12 months sooner than originally planned. (Earlier post.) In a recent... Details →


DOE to award up to $14M to 6 new projects to advance IGCC with carbon capture technology for coal-fired plants

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award up to $14 million to six projects aimed at developing technologies to lower the cost of producing electricity in integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) power plants using carbon capture. The selected projects are intended to improve the economics of IGCC plants and... Details →


The TCEP would integrate coal gasification, combined-cycle power generation, CO2 capture, and urea production. CO2 capture and shipment via pipeline shown at top. Click to enlarge. Summit Power Group, LLC and Blue Strategies, LLC have signed a 15-year CO2 offtake agreement with Whiting Petroleum Corporation for some of the CO2... Details →


Terminal voltages measured at 750 °C as a function of time for the cells with (blue line) and without (red line) BaO/Ni interfaces operated at a constant current density of 500 mA cm-2 with wet CO (with ~3 v% H2O) as the fuel. Yang et al. Click to enlarge. Using... Details →


Celanese is projecting that its new TCX ethanol process will drive substantial incremental revenue and growth opportunity. Source: Celanese. Click to enlarge. As it announced during its investor conference earlier this week, Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, has increased its 2013 earnings growth objectives to adjusted... Details →


New nickel-based catalyst could lead to more efficient production of biomass-derived fuels and chemicals

Chemists at the University of Illinois report the development of a nickel-based homogeneous catalyst that could more effectively support the production of fuels and chemical feedstocks from biomass as well as improved liquefaction of coal. A paper on their work is published in the current issue of Science. The catalyst... Details →


RAND study concludes use of alternative fuels by US military would convey no direct military benefit; recommends energy efficiency instead

If the US military increases its use of alternative jet and naval fuels that can be produced from coal or various renewable resources, including seed oils, waste oils and algae, there will be no direct benefit to the nation’s armed forces, according to a new RAND Corporation study. Any benefits... Details →


GSI/UNEP conference report finds fossil-fuel subsidy reform “complex” and challenges “sobering”; ~1% of global GDP spent on fossil-fuel subsidies

Although momentum behind reforming subsidies for fossil fuels (for both consumers and producers) worldwide has gained significant momentum during the past few years, and although the benefits of subsidy reform seem evident, countries’ experience of reform and the challenges involved are “sobering”, according to a recently published report from a... Details →


Celanese signs MOU with Wison for coal-derived syngas for ethanol production in China; transaction value approx. $815M

Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Wison (China) Holding Co., Ltd., a Chinese synthesis gas supplier, for the production of certain feedstocks used in Celanese’s advanced ethanol production process. (Earlier post.) Wison plans to invest in a coal gasification unit... Details →


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