CO2 Sequestration – DOE Resources

CO2 Sequestration – DOE Resources
(One of a series of UFTO Notes based in part on the recent visit to Los Alamos National Laboratory)

The Dept of Energy is very active in this arena, and is exploring a wide range of approaches, both near and long term. Here are links to various DOE and lab websites which offer a number of reports, studies, plans, and other information:


Advanced Process Concepts for Carbon Management Workshop

A invitational workshop was held last March, to identify and assess a number of advanced concepts for carbon management and to obtain industrial support for the most promising concepts. [Unfortunately, very few utility representatives attended.]

The workshop was sponsored by the Center for Applied Research in Carbon Management [CARCM, a joint effort between the National Energy Technology Lab (NETL) and Los Alamos National Lab (LANL)]. It was hosted by Texas Utilities (TXU) in Dallas on March 20 & 21, 2000 with 33 participants. Complete details and copies of the presentations are available at:


The “Summary of Breakout Sessions” provides a good overview of the conference conclusions.

Abstract: Innovative thinkers from national labs, universities, government, and industry were brought together in a workshop to develop a working definition of advanced/novel carbon sequestration concepts, assess the technical and financial risks associated with several examples, and identify new examples. Four breakout sessions discussed carbon dioxide extraction from air, coupling energy production with carbon sequestration, biological/terrestrial approaches, and by-products.

R. Tom Baker, Los Alamos National Lab

Zero Emission Coal (Los Alamos)

(One of a series of UFTO Notes based on the recent visit to Los Alamos National Laboratory)

Zero Emission Coal

Los Alamos is working to eliminate the environmental concerns associated with the use of fossil fuel, which will continue to be an important energy source well into this century. One technology the Laboratory is developing to achieve this goal is a zero emission process for converting coal and water into hydrogen, which is then converted into electricity, with virtually no emissions of pollutants. Thirteen entities with interests in coal production and energy generation have teamed up to form the Zero Emission Coal Alliance (ZECA) which plans to commercialize this process within five years.

The Technology In the context of DOE’s “Vision 21” goal to eliminate environmental concerns from the use of coal. Los Alamos is developing technology to achieve a zero emission process for converting a coal and water slurry into hydrogen, which is in turn converted to electricity via a high-temperature solid-oxide fuel cell.

The new process builds on CONSOL’s CO2 Acceptor Process, which was piloted in the 1970’s. While still relying on cycling of calcium oxide (CaO) to drive the production of hydrogen, enhancements produce separate streams of hydrogen and CO2. The hydrogen is used to generate emission-free electricity and the CO2 is reacted with abundant magnesium silicates to be permanently sequestered as a solid, inert and stable mineral carbonate.

Hydrogen gas is produced from water and coal using a calcium oxide (CaO) to calcium carbonate (CaCO3) intermediary reaction. Through a subsequent reaction, the calcium carbonate generated by hydrogen production is converted back into calcium oxide and a pressurized stream of pure CO2. The calcium oxide is recycled to drive further hydrogen production, and the CO2 stream is ready for easy disposal.

The hydrogen is fed to solid-oxide fuel cells to generate electric power, and the ~50% of waste heat produced by the fuel cells is not truly wasted because it is reinjected into the process to drive the calcination reaction.

The already pressurized CO2 stream is reacted with magnesium or calcium silicate mineral deposits to form geologically stable mineral carbonates. (The reaction is part of the natural geological carbon cycle; therefore, all mineral end products are naturally occurring and completely benign.) The mineral sequestration process is economically viable because the CO2 stream is non-mechanically pressurized in the hydrogen production process and the carbonation reaction is exothermic (i.e., it creates energy instead of consuming it).

In addition, the types of mineral deposits needed to carry out the reaction are abundant enough to handle all the carbon associated with the world’s coal reserves. Magnesium-rich ultramafic rocks, primarily peridotites and serpentinites, are the main candidates for mineral carbonation. Deposits distributed throughout the world, though in specific concentrated areas on each continent.

The Alliance
Thirteen entities from the United States and Canada with interests in coal production and the use of coal for electrical generation have agreed to contribute $50,000 each to form ZECA.

Phase I: ZECA is currently structured with an executive team headed by Jim Berson, Director of Planning and Business Development from Kennecott Energy/Rio Tinto, a technology team headed by Dr. Hans Ziock, senior scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and a business team headed by Alan Johnson, President of The Coal Association of Canada. The goal of Phase I is to develop a business plan and a technical plan leading to the completion of a pilot plant in a five year time frame.

ZECA has begun to proceed with Phase I. The alliance however still welcomes the participation of additional members to ensure a broad spectrum of industry participation and expertise. As alliance members, participants in Phase I have the opportunity to help guide the work conducted under the supervision of the technical and business committees, as well as the opportunity to serve or participate on those committees at their discretion.

Additional information is available online:

for technical information:
Klaus Lackner, 505-667-5694,
Hans Ziock, 505-667-7265,

for business information:
Jim Berson, 307-687-6049,
Alan Johnson, 403-262-1544,

(I have several technical papers from Los Alamos, which I can send on request.)

ELISIMS: Detailed Simulation of Power Industry (Los Alamos)

(One of a series of UFTO Notes based on the recent visit to Los Alamos National Laboratory)


“A Comprehensive, Detailed Simulation of the Electric-Power Industry: Harnessing the Los Alamos National Laboratory High-Perfomance Computing Infrastructure,”

Los Alamos is proposing to use their supercomputing capabilities to address policy analysis of utility restructuring by modeling the entire power system at an unprecedented level of detail — and breadth. Building on experience in transportation modeling**, they suggest that computer simulation at a sufficient level of detail calls for very high-performance computing: (from the abstract of a paper LA-UR-98-5920 )

——- “The electric-power infrastructure is a complex system consisting of hundreds of thousands of independent agents coupled by a dynamically constrained transmission system. Actions of the independent agents are governed by both economic objectives and constraints imposed by federal, state, and local policies. Purchasing decisions by millions of independent consumers constrained jointly by market policies and transmission-system realities will lead to unexpected emergent system behavior with potential consequences on reliability and quality.

Prior testing of energy policy is required, and this requires computer simulation. To do this at a sufficient level of detail calls for high-performance computing and the analysis and validation of emergent behavior.” ——-

The plan is ambitious: (from LA-UR-98-4952)

—— “In a nutshell, we propose to develop and deploy a comprehensive, detailed simulation of the electric industry:

– Comprehensive in that we will include the whole North American continent because that natural limit is becoming the scale of tight interconnection.

– Detailed in that we will include each significant element at the level of generators, transmission elements, varied control elements, and load distribution buses.

– Industry in that we will include the regulatory, financial, and market entities that interact with the engineering elements.

We will design a linked multi-resolution simulation hierarchy with which users may instantiate as much detail and as great a (geographic) scope as required for their particular analyses. Stability studies may require complete calculations in both scope and detail. Other studies (made cheaper by employing either the mixed resolution or a reduced scale) will be more secure with the ability to validate against the full calculations.” ——–

The goal is to capture both power flow and market dynamics together, in a way that hasn’t been accomplished before. A pilot project is underway with the California ISO to evaluate future scenarios for the structure of RTOs in the west.

A 33 page summary report (March 2000) (LA-UR-00-1572) was recently completed, which is available in pdf format:
It provides a more complete write-up of the original applications’ study and a cross-mapping to the recommendations of the DOE’s POST report (section 1.5 and Table 1 on page 11).

The program has a webpage at:

Dale Henderson, 505-665-2151,
Jonathan Dowell, 505-665-9193,

**The TRansportation ANalysis SIMulation System (TRANSIMS)

NY Times article: The Private-Sector Life of a Government Lab

RECOMMENDED READING — On the front page of (8/23) Saturday’s NY Times business section, there was an extensive article on the relationships between DOE National Labs and private industry.

August 23, 1997 The Private-Sector Life of a Government Lab By CLAUDIA H. DEUTSCH

[G] oodyear Tire and Rubber Co. wanted to predict, without weeks of test drives, how its tires would perform under various conditions. So it went to the Energy Department’s Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., for help. “Their computer models show how a nuclear weapon will react to different conditions, so why shouldn’t they show how a tire will react?” said William Sharp, president of Goodyear’s global support operations.

A federal weapons laboratory might seem an unlikely partner for a tire maker, but with the Cold War over and military spending shrinking, Sandia is putting out the welcome mat to private industry. And U.S. corporations, which have emerged in this era after downsizing as far more willing to turn to outside sources, are lining up to tap into its technology storehouse.

They are using Sandia to develop new manufacturing processes, to run what-if simulations on new products, to solve environmental problems. In the process, they are helping Sandia move beyond its once single-minded focus on the arms race.

For example, a consortium of 17 casting and forging companies, recognizing that few young engineers were joining their industry, asked Sandia to help it simplify software so that employees who were not engineers could create and test new casting equipment. “None of us have the time or money to do this ourselves,” said Robert Kervick, chief executive of Komtek, a casting company in Worcester, Mass.

And Motorola asked Sandia to run reliability tests on computer chips without using the standard chemical cleaning agents — the chlorofluorocarbons that destroy the atmosphere’s ozone layer. “Customers feel more comfortable buying a product whose reliability is verified by a government lab,” said James Landers, a manager in Motorola’s Space and Systems Technology Group.

For Sandia, the money pouring in from its corporate partners helps keep many of its 7,642 employees — about 800 fewer than two years ago — gainfully employed. But the real winner, Sandia insists, is the U.S. economy. “National security starts with economic security, and that means helping our industries compete,” said Paul Robinson, Sandia’s president.

Sandia (pronounced san-DEE-uh) is not the only Energy Department lab sounding that theme. Although documents emerged last week indicating that some of the labs, including Sandia, are still hard at work on new or modified designs for nuclear arms, private-sector projects are nonetheless occupying an ever-larger share of their time.

Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, Lawrence Livermore — the heart, lung and brain of the Manhattan Project’s atomic bomb and its progeny — all have been accelerating their industrial endeavors since 1989. That was when Congress removed many of the legal impediments that had kept them from transferring intellectual property or licensing technologies to private industry.

Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, N.Y., which is grappling with environmental problems caused by the leak of radioactive tritium from a research reactor’s storage tank, is looking to commercialize its medical and environmental technologies.

In the last eight years the labs have written more than 3,000 Cradas — the acronym for cooperative research and development agreements — that spell out who pays for what, and how the results can be used. Some call for companies to foot the entire bill in return for proprietary rights to anything that is developed.

But more typically, the labs chip in some cash, retain the rights to the resulting technology and give the corporations that contributed several years of free, exclusive use.

The federal labs, even when shrouded in secrecy, have always intermingled with industry. Many of them have been managed by private corporations — under contract to the Energy Department and its predecessors — for several decades. Sandia, for one, was run by AT&T for nearly 44 years and is now managed by Lockheed Martin.

But while all of the labs are devoting more time and resources to projects in the private sector, the effort seems most crucial at Sandia. Unlike Oak Ridge, which has always been a multipurpose energy lab, Sandia’s raison d’etre has always been the arms race.

And Sandia, which designs the non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons, also is responsible for stockpiling spare parts and for maintaining the existing supply of nuclear weapons. So, unlike Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos, which design and develop nuclear warheads, its duties have not lessened much with the end of the Cold War.

Even so, Sandia’s operating budget is slowly being whittled away. It was down almost $50 million this year, to about $1.28 billion, and Sandia expects it will drop to $1.1 billion in 1999. And a lot of those cuts have come out of the money available for use as matching funds for industrial projects.

In 1995, Sandia got about $100 million from the government for those purposes; it received $56 million last year and $20 million this year. Warren Siemens, Sandia’s director of technology partnerships, doubts it will rise above that again. “Apparently Congress has said, ‘Oops, this is corporate welfare,”‘ Siemens said.

So, while most of the laboratories are looking for ways to apply their existing technologies to corporate use, Sandia is the most willing to develop new processes for industry, with the hope that the companies will kick in most of the costs.

Right now, for example, Sandia is working with a consortium of electronics companies on a project to miniaturize certain types of semiconductor chips to handle 30 times more functions than they typically do now. It is collaborating with numerous manufacturers on ways to cast tools directly from powdered metals.

And it is encouraging industry to tap into its supercomputer — a machine that Sandia says is 300 times more powerful than Deep Blue, IBM’s chess-playing champion — not only to answer questions about products and processes but also to suggest what questions should be asked.

“We hold the record for speed of computing,” Siemens said. “We have great strength in microelectronics, and these are exactly the areas companies look to for help in making products more reliable.”

Progress in convincing industry to chip in has been slow. Five years ago, about $9 million of Sandia’s funds came from industry. Last year corporations provided $27 million. But Siemens thinks private funding will hit $35 million this year, and soar to $100 million by 2000.

And Sandia wants more from industry than simply money. Since it can no longer afford to hire many new researchers, it must rely on industry to keep abreast of new technologies.

Moreover, industrial projects often have implications for the military. “It’s a lot cheaper to maintain an Air Force whose planes need less rebuilding or repairing,” said Gernant Maurer, vice president of technology for Special Metals Corp., a maker of nickel-based superalloys that is part of a consortium working with Sandia to develop defect-free alloys for engine aircraft.

Similarly, weapons and satellites are loaded with semiconductor chips. “Our nation’s defense systems rely on semiconductors, and it would not be great if they had to buy all those chips from overseas,” said Chris Daverse, manager of national resources for Sematech Inc., a nonprofit research consortium of semiconductor makers and equipment suppliers, which has signed on for numerous projects to develop lower-cost production methods and contamination-free chips.

Sandia’s new reliance on industry comes at an opportune time. Companies have grown more comfortable with the idea of outsourcing all kinds of tasks, so letting outsiders work on their research is not as radical as it would have been in the do-it-yourself ’80s. Moreover, many have formed strategic alliances with suppliers and competitors, which has made them less averse to sharing their technologies with others.

“The thinking is, it is better to get half the rights to a product that is first to market, than all the rights to one that comes in late,” said Mary Good, a former undersecretary of commerce who helped set up a project for the auto industry and several national laboratories to develop a fuel-efficient car.

If repeat business is a sign of satisfaction, the corporations that have tried it clearly believe they have gotten their money’s worth. Goodyear, which has completed four cooperative projects in which it used computer modeling to predict how different tread designs and materials would perform, just signed on for its fifth Sandia project. It is aimed at analyzing and improving rubber processing technology.

A deal between Delphi Saginaw Steering Systems, an arm of General Motors Corp., and Sandia to develop better finishing processes for auto parts has metamorphosed into a Detroit-wide project to develop electronic controls for industrial heating and hardening processes.

“We’ll save tens of millions just by eliminating destructive testing,” said James Farago, Delphi’s supervisor of controls engineering. “And we’re going to get better insights into the materials we use.”
Copyright 1997 The New York Times Company

Industrial Ecology Simulation Exercise

Subject: UFTO Note – Industrial Ecology Simulation Exercise
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997
From: Ed Beardsworth

| ** UFTO ** Edward Beardsworth ** Consultant
| 951 Lincoln Ave. tel 415-328-5670
| Palo Alto CA 94301-3041 fax 415-328-5675

Industrial Ecology Simulation Exercise

UFTO has received an invitation (see below) to an event on May 20-22, in which senior executive strategic planners and thinkers will participate in a simulation exercise in Industrial Ecology (IE). IE is a new and emerging field which views industrial activities and the environment as an interacting whole, rather than as competing forces. The focus will be long range and strategic, rather than on near term details or specifics.

The program is part of a series of “Prosperity Games” intiated under the auspices of the National Research Council, in its effort to define “Research Priorities for the 21st Century.” The National Forum on Science and Technology Goals sees linkage to societal environmental goals as key.

Ref: Environmental Science & Technology/News, Vol 31, no. 1, 1997, pp
20-21, 26
Also see:

For information about Prosperity Games, see:

The organizers, which include representatives from Sandia, Livermore and Los Alamos, would welcome having someone from the utility industry attend, since “resource providers” (includes energy) is a category of player they’ve already identified.

If someone from your company is interested, contact Dr. Marshall Berman at Sandia, as indicated in the attached letter, at 505-843-4229; e-mail:


March 24, 1997

We invite you to participate in an Industrial Ecology Prosperity Game at the Hyatt Dulles Hotel in Herndon, Virginia, beginning at 4:00 PM on May 20 (includes dinner), and ending at 5:00 PM on May 22, 1997.

This event is a high-level executive simulation in which you will join with your peers from industry, government and academia to explore how IE might be used to help our nation meet its economic and environmental goals. In this simulation, you will explore the current real world and create exciting alternative futures.

Industrial Ecology is an emerging field recently identified as one of six “Research Priorities for the 21st Century” by the National Research Council. Thus, this game is especially timely. IE views industrial activities and the environment as an interactive whole, and potentially offers a way to meet both economic and environmental goals, rather than pitting one against the other. This Prosperity Game will explore the IE concept, the potential benefits of applying IE, roles for various organizations in making IE a reality, and collaborations needed to realize the benefits of IE.

Prosperity Games are an outgrowth of move/countermove and seminar war games. They are executive-level interactive simulations that explore complex issues in a variety of economic, political, and social arenas. The simulations are high-level exercises of discretion, judgment, planning, and negotiating skills; they are not computer games. The specific objectives of this game are to:
– Develop an understanding of what Industrial Ecology is.
– Develop an understanding of how Industrial Ecology can help meet the needs of the stakeholders and the nation.
– Explore the role of government in an integrated Industrial Ecology effort.
– Identify and initiate follow-on activities to promote findings and policies generated in the game.

Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia National Laboratories are sponsoring this Prosperity Game to explore the roles of industry, government, universities, and laboratories in this exciting new field. Players have been invited from all stakeholder groups, including the labs, universities, industry, Congress, local governments, foreign governments, DOE, other federal agencies, the US public, and finance. Three scenarios will be used to provide context and focus for the players to explore the actions required to create the desired future; they will address the global and national environment, as well as a local focus on the Rio Grande border region.

To date, fifteen Prosperity Games have explored issues in electronics manufacturing, environmental technology, global economic competitiveness, university business school education, diversity and cultural change, biomedical technologies, entrepreneurship, and the future of the national labs.

In addition to the specific objectives of the sponsors, players benefit directly from the general objectives of all Prosperity Games:

– Develop partnerships, teamwork, and a spirit of cooperation among industry, government, laboratory and university stakeholders.
– Increase awareness of the needs, desires and motivations of the different stakeholders.
– Bring conflict into the open and manage it productively.
– Explore long-term strategies and policies.
– Provide input for possible future legislation.
– Stimulate thinking.
– Provide a major learning experience.

Please join us in exploring the opportunities presented by this simulation and in sharing its present and future benefits with your peers.

For additional information about the game, please contact Dr. Marshall Berman (505-843-4229; e-mail:, or Dr. Kathleen Schulz (505-845-9879; e-mail: Information about meeting arrangements is available from Gladys Shaw at 505-843-4227; Please fax the enclosed form to 505-843-4228 by April 10, 1997 to confirm your attendance at the game.

Supercritical CO2 and flyash

Subject: UFTO NOTE — Supercritical CO2 and flyash
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 1997 18:06:44 -0800
From: Ed Beardsworth <>

| ** UFTO ** Edward Beardsworth ** Consultant
| 951 Lincoln Ave. tel 415-328-5670
| Palo Alto CA 94301-3041 fax 415-328-5675

Supercritical CO2 turns flyash into valuable products, toughens common materials

UFTO has established contact with a small company in Reno NV, Materials Technology Ltd., which has patented a process that uses supercritical CO2 to harden and seal concrete, and turns wastes like fly ash and sludge into materials which are strong, fireproof and waterproof.

Los Alamos National Lab has been actively testing the process for use in radioactive waste storage, and is issuing a press release today, January 20, citing its remarkable simplicity and tremendous implications and wide ranging applications. Stories may appear in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere in the national press. Also see Scientific American, November 96, page 40, for a good overview of the technology.

Basically, SC CO2 has zero surface tension, and soaks completely through materials, effecting chemical and structural changes instantly that otherwise can take centuries (e.g., in the case of concrete–which hardens gradually over time).

The company met recently with top officials at DOE and received an enthusiastic response. UFTO has developed close contacts with the principals, who are looking for utilities to work with them. (One concept is to co-locate production of these materials at power plants, and use their ash and CO2.)

I have additional information. You can also contact them directly, or browse their Web site at

Contact: Roger Jones, Materials Technology Ltd. Reno NV 702-852-2320, fax 702-852-3035

Bulletin #6 – NREL Visit, UFTO Meeting, Sandia, Los Alamos

UFTO Bulletin #6

March 21, 1995

To: UFTO Subscribers

. . in this issue: . . . . . . . . .

NREL Visit, UFTO Meeting, Sandia, Los Alamos

1. On Thursday March 9, we had an all day nonstop series of follow-up presentations and discussions with NREL staff, on all aspects of their programs. Everyone found the day to be very valuable, including the NREL folks, who appreciated the chance to present their work and to learn a bit more about what the industry is up to. Our group was the first of its kind that NREL had ever encountered, and the sessions gave them some important new perspectives.

2. On Friday 3/10, we had our own group meeting, to discuss the UFTO program and ways it could be made more effective. Every UFTO member utility was represented except for Wisconsin Electric (Graham Siegel made his own visit to NREL a few weeks ago.) A draft “Proceedings” is attached, subject to any comments that attendees might want to offer. (Please send me comments ASAP, along with copies of your notes or “trip report” if any!).

3. The next week, I went to Sandia and Los Alamos for more “drinks from a fire hose”. Once again, there appears to be some very exciting opportunities for utilities in what these labs are doing, and a strong interest on their part in getting closer to utilities.

A few highlights are outlined in an attachment. There are some very significant ground floor opportunities, some of which are quite new, unannounced, and time-sensitive.

4. One key issue keeps coming up. The labs want to know if we’re serious, and if there’s a real possibility that we (you) are prepared to do business with them in some concrete way, if the right kind of technology opportunity comes along. They’re understandably wary of all the time it takes for them to host visitors, unless there’s a reason to think something will come of it.

I’ve indicated that we (you) are interested, motivated, and serious, and that if the technology is right, “anything is possible,” ranging from substantial funding under a Crada or work for others agreement, to hosting demos, to investments in new ventures.

As you review the various “deals” I report to you, be thinking not only if the technology is interesting, but also what kinds of resources you’d be prepared to bring to the table, and what kind of business arrangement you’d want. Let’s show the labs we mean business.

PS: If any of you are looking for a better way than Dialog to search for technology information, particularly from government sources, give me a call. I’ve got a recommendation for you.

NOTE: The current domestic UFTO membership comprises approximately 1/6 of the total U.S. electric utility industry! And the international participation amounts to about 1/7 of the U.S. industry.

(Thanks to Janie Farrington at PSI/Cinergy for the figures.)



Ashland Oil has demonstrated proof of concept in their labs, and has funding committed for a production installation. What’s missing is the piece in the middle — the intermediate scale demonstration R&D. Sandia Labs has made a proposal to DOE/Fossil to fund the government side of a CRADA with Ashland, but with budget cuts, it’s possible the funds might not be available.

The technology makes it possible to convert low grade hydrocarbon feedstocks (or fossil fuels) directly into Hydrogen and Carbon Monoxide (separate streams!) while sequestering impurities, even producing elemental sulfur. There is no stack, and no emissions.

Ashland wants this technology for its refineries, to deal with the sour crude it often has to deal with, to produce hydrogen, and to handle refinery “bottoms”, which are a costly disposal headache.

As a Hydrogen producer, HYMELT is estimated to be 30% cheaper than steam reforming, when using the same feedstock, i.e. fuel gas. It is much cheaper still, when the cost of the feedstock is removed, and a waste stream is used instead.

In case DOE doesn’t come up with the money, Ashland has asked Sandia to begin looking discretely for a partner interested in other fields of use, and who could put up $800k/year for 3 years, leveraging the many $ millions that Ashland has spent and committed.

We are the first to hear this story. Please handle with discretion, and do not discuss outside your company.

Contact is Al Sylwester, Sandia Tel # 505-844-8151

or call me

Ed Beardsworth 415-328-5670


Diamond Like Coatings (DLC) on Large Objects

with Plasma Source Ion Implantation.


Based on an invention at the Univ of Wisc from the early 80’s, Los Alamos has developed the capability to cost-effectively put DLC on large objects of arbitrary shape without preheating, and with a high degree of intrinsic adherence. It is the subject of a $14 million crada with GM for automotive applications.

DLC has been viewed almost entirely as a means to prevent wear . However, Los Alamos recently published a paper showing a many-fold improvement in corrosion resistance (done for a neutrino detection experiment!).

This could fulfill a personal vision of mine of many years that diamond coatings would be a major breakthru for turbine blades, or any component subject to wear or corrosion. The only utility interest to date has been by EPRI, to prevent fouling of nuclear power plant venturis, but funding isn’t available!

Los Alamos hadn’t been thinking in terms of other utility industry applications until we spoke. A joint development effort with utilities, Lawrence Berkeley Lab and possibly a vendor would be a brand new initiative. Los Alamos is already active in setting up “vertical consortia” to apply this technology in other industries, and would be very interested in working with us.

Please call me if you’re interested in pursuing this.

Ed Beardsworth 415-328-5670



Both Sandia and Los Alamos seem to have a hand in this program to build a SMES unit that would be about 10x larger than Superconductivity, Inc.’s unit, and smaller than the B&W/Anchorage device. The application is Power Quality for industrial customers, and/or at the substation level — on the order of 10’s of MW for seconds. This is seen as a development project, not a research one, with the goal to learn if such a device is the solution to an industry problem.

CRADA negotiations are underway with one utility already, however there may be (and I feel there ought to be) a way for other utilities to participate, if only by providing modest funding for a seat at the table.

Please call me if you’re interested in pursuing this.

Ed Beardsworth 415-328-5670


PEM Fuel Cell


Los Alamos has the oldest ongoing program in PEM, and some key breakthroughs in lowering the cost (by reducing the Pt catalyst requirement, and new designs and fabrication methods), and overcoming sensitivity to impurities. They also are working with an unidentified major company who’s supplying a new membrane, different from Dupont or Dow’s, and less expensive.

They believe PEM can “leapfrog” the high temperature fuel cell technologies (MC, SO) in stationary applications, which will be much easier than mobile ones (the conventional view of where PEMs belong). At least 10-15 companies large and small are working on PEM in one form or another (not just Ballard!). Los Alamos has lab units at 100 sq. cm. reliably demonstrating their technology.

There is no utility “user group” for PEM, and one is needed. We can be instrumental in forming one with Los Alamos, the other labs, and their other industrial partners. There’s also the obvious opportunity to stake out a piece of this very interesting nontraditional approach to fuel cell technology.

This group was initially wary of spending time on visitors unless it could lead to something. After I described the strategic interest utilities have in fuel cells and the new kinds of business initiatives utilities are taking, the PI offered to prepare a brief discussion paper, outlining their ideas and how utilities could participate.

Please call me if you’re interested in pursuing this, and want a copy of the paper when I receive it. Ed Beardsworth 415-328-5670


Catalytic Reduction of NOx

by microwave assisted chemistry


Los Alamos has demonstrated at lab scale a means to remove NOx from a simulated gas stream, and need to implement it at a utility or factory/process that generates NOx.

Carbonaceous material first adsorbs the NOx, and then the bed is purged by heating it with microwaves with O2 (an adsorb/desorb cycle).

One interesting implication– with this capability to remove NOx, it may be possible to operate boilers at higher temperature, for better overall optimal performance.

This was internally funded at the lab, and DOE/Fossil is interested.

Contact is Ed Joyce, 505-665-2964