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You are here:  State-by-State Project Profiles > California

DOE Fossil Energy R&D Projects in California


Number of Projects

Total Value*
(Million $)

DOE Share
(Million $)

Job Benefits**

Coal & Power Projects





Oil & Gas Projects





*Includes DOE and private sector cost-sharing

**An average of 28.5 direct and indirect jobs per $1 million in R&D funding is used based on the Department of Commerce Regional Input-Output Modeling System formula.

California Universities Exploring Advanced Systems Analysis and Modeling, and Materials Related Issues
  • Systems Analyses of Advanced Brayton Cycles - Researchers at the University of California at Irvine will identify and assess advanced improvements to gas turbine Brayton Cycles that will lead to significant performance improvements in coal-based power systems. The designs and system studies will address integration into advanced coal based near zero emission systems (including CO2) with the ability to attain a 60% efficiency (HHV) prior to carbon separation and capture. Studies will consider options for near zero CO2 emissions and show how this would affect the turbine design, and operation and overall system performance.  DOE is contributing $863,000 to this $1.07 million project.

  • Welding Technologies for High Temperature Applications - The University of California at San Diego will develop joining technologies for high temperature alloy tubes suitable for heat exchanger applications in Rankine, Brayton, and Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle power systems concepts. Two separate techniques: inertia welding and magnetic pulse welding are proposed for butt and lap joint configurations. The materials of interest are an ODS alloy (MA956) and Ni-base alloy (IN740) alloy tubes in similar and dissimilar metal/alloy joint configurations. This research program will leverage the expertise of industrial vendors Interface Welding, Carson (CA) and Magneform Corporation, San Diego (CA). DOE is contributing $265,000 to this $340,800 project.

  • Advanced Modeling and Simulations for Fuel-Flexible Combustors - Researchers at Stanford University will determine the ability of simulation to capture fuel variability effects on turbines. Currently, combustor simulations are unable to predict such key features as flame stability and pollutant emissions. Such simulations are critical for optimizing turbine efficiency and minimizing emissions. The goal of this project is to resolve these problems and enable large eddy simulation (LES) to be used to optimize turbine design. The focus will be on enabling LES to be used as a primary tool for the design and optimization of turbine engine combustors, especially when using coal-derived hydrogen, which has variable levels of contaminants such as carbon monoxide and methane.  The resulting optimized turbine-engine design will aid in planning and construction of future turbines by predicting performance for new gasification-created fuels. DOE is fully funding this $276,000 project.

National Laboratories Developing Ways to Produce Cleaner Power, Studying Ways to Sequester Greenhouse Gases
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Berkeley, CA, is working on four projects with a total project value of $25.94 million (DOE share: $14.14 million).

    • Geological Sequestration Project (GEO-SEQ Project) - One project at LBNL is investigating CO2 sequestration in geological formations. CO2 can be sequestered in these formations by trapping it in reservoirs much like natural gas is trapped, by dissolving it in a fluid phase in the reservoir, or by reacting it with minerals and organic matter in the reservoir to form carbonate materials. LBNL has received $9.47 million from DOE for this $21.27 million project to establish a public-private research and development (R&D) partnership to deliver information and technology to enable safe and effective application of geological sequestration techniques by 2015.

    • MMV Controls - A second project at LBNL is conducting near-surface measurement, monitoring and verification for the Midwest Geologic Sequestration Consortium, a member of DOE's Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships. DOE is fully funding this $1.18 million project.

    • Metal Alloy Electrodes for SOFCs - LBNL will research the use of an alloy to replace nickel in an solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) anode. Researcher will also investigate the use of porous metallic cell support for SOFCs.  Novel sealing methods such as brazing and crimping will be explored as well as the use of wire mesh as an SOFC cell support. DOE is fully funding this $1.95 million project.

    • Low-Swirl Injectors for Hydrogen Gas Turbines - The goal of this research is to develop an ultra-low emission gas turbine combustion technology for FutureGen coal power plants. The approach is to adapt low-swirl combustion (LSC) for the turbines that burn hydrogen derived from gasification of coal. The LSC is a environmental energy technology conceived at LBNL. It is being developed for 5-7 MW industrial natural gas turbines to achieve ultra-low emission targets of less than 5 parts per million (ppm) NOx and less than 10 ppm carbon monoxide. This project is a logical extension to adapt LSC for hydrogen fuels and scale-up to the sizes of large utility gas turbines (greater than 250 MW) and meet the FutureGen goals of less than 2 ppm NOx at a turbine firing temperature of 2,500-2,600 degrees Fahrenheit. DOE is fully funding this $1.54 million project.

  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Livermore, CA, is conducting two projects with a project value of $2.36 million.

    • Geological Sequestration of CO2 - LLNL has received a fully DOE-funded contract valued at $2.02 million to work with other national laboratories, industry, and academia to optimize and lower the cost of CO2 geological sequestration technologies. Geological sequestration includes oil and natural gas reservoirs, unmineable coal beds, and deep saline formations.

    • Carbon Sequestration Reactive Transport Modeling - LLNL researchers will conduct applied reactive transport modeling to forecast long-term isolation performance for the proposed Mt. Simon/St. Peters deep saline-aquifer CO2 storage proiect. Key model results will include predicted migration paths of immiscible CO2, sequestration partitioning among solubility and distinct mineral trapping mechanisms, and permeability evolution for both the reservoir and cap rock. DOE is fully funding this $339,000 project.

  • Coal Combustion Science - Sandia National Laboratories-California (SNL-CA), Livermore, CA, is conducting an $10.3 million project (DOE share: $9.33 million) that is exploring innovative coal combustion technologies. The project researchers are examining NOx formation from char combustion, advanced combustion of pulverized coal, and pressurized combustion of pulverized coal, and developing low-cost sensors that are applicable to future energy plants. In addition, experimental facilities have been developed and are being used to collect fundamental data. This data has been used to help coal-fired equipment designers develop technologies that reduce cost, reduce emissions to comply with the Clean Air Act, and increase performance of coal-fired power plants operating on coal blends or unfamiliar coals.

California Companies Developing Clean Power Technologies
  • Fuel-Flexible Gasification-Combustion Technology - GE Energy and Environmental Research Corporation, Irvine, CA, has developed a fuel-flexible, advanced gasification-combustion (AGC) concept that produces three product streams: hydrogen (H2), CO2, and oxygen-depleted air. The $6.61 million project (DOE share: $4.69 million) will demonstrate the concept in the laboratory and on a pilot-scale. Design tools and economic analysis will be developed to enhance future scale-up of the concept. Theoretical calculations show that the process appears to produce near-zero emissions, and 93 percent based on the fuel-high heating value.

  • Mercury Control Technology - GE Energy and Environmental Research Corporation, Irvine, CA, proposes to develop a new mercury control technology in which sorbent for mercury removal is produced from coal in a gasification process in-situ at coal burning plant. The main objective of this project is to obtain technical information necessary for moving the technology from pilot-scale testing to a full-scale demonstration. A goal of the program is to achieve at least 70% mercury removal above baseline at 25% or less of the cost of activated carbon injection.  DOE is funding $289,000 of this $362,000 project.

  • Advanced Gasification Systems Development - Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne, Inc. (formerly the Boeing Company), Canoga Park, CA will apply rocket engine technology to gasifier design, allowing for a paradigm shift in gasifier function resulting in significant improvements in capital and maintenance costs. DOE is providing $7.35 million of the total project value of $9.22 million.

  • Membrane Process to Sequester CO2 - Membrane Technology & Research, Inc., Menlo Park, CA is developing high CO2 permeance, high CO2/N2 selectivity composite membranes. These membranes will be fabricated into spiral-wound membrane modules will be used to capture carbon dioxide in flue gas economically, and prepare the separated CO2 for sequestration. DOE is contributing $788,000 to this $985,000 project.

EPRI Evaluating Effects of Particulate Matter, Approaches to Mine Reclamation, and Advanced Materials
  • Health Effects of PM Exposure - EPRI is evaluating the potential adverse cardiopulmonary effects from ambient exposure to coal-fired and traffic-related particulate matter. Researchers will provide insight into toxicological mechanisms of PM-induced cardiopulmonary effects, and contribute a rich dataset of human and animal data exploring the associations between particulate matter sources and components, and health. DOE is contributing $1.52 million to this $2.09 million project.

  • Approaches to Reclaim Abandoned WV Mine Lands - EPRI will demonstrate the efficacy of a market-based approach for reclaiming abandoned mined lands (AML) and increase the quantity of AML that is reclaimed.  A market-based approach seeks to develop multiple ecological asset values on land, including water quality, carbon and species, and thus represents a new way to approach AML reclamation that goes beyond carbon sequestration value. DOE is funding $328,000 of this $410,000 project.

  • Advanced Nanostructured Coatings for Fossil Fueled Boilers - The objective of this $2.49 million (DOE share: $1.99 million) project is to develop and demonstrate nanostructured coatings through computational modeling methods that will significantly improve corrosion and erosion performance of tubing used in ultrasupercritical boiler applications.

California Organizations Combating Global Warming by Studying Ways to Sequester CO2, Improve Fuel Cell Performance
  • Feasibility of Large-Scale CO2 Ocean Sequestration - The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Moss Landing, CA, is studying the chemical, physical, and biological consequences of sequestering CO2 into the deep sea. There is currently a lack of knowledge and understanding of what the potential consequences would be of injecting CO2 into the deep sea on the ocean's biogeochemical cycles and acidity. DOE is providing $1.27 million of the $1.59 million total project value.

  • Effect of Coal Contaminants on Fuel Cells - SRI International is conducting a $557,000 project (DOE share: $445,000) to evaluate the effects of coal contaminants on solid oxide fuel cell system performance and service life.

Other California Firms Developing Technologies for the 21st Century
  • Continuous Pressure Injection System - Stamet, Inc., is working on a project that is developing a mechanical rotary disk feeder for feeding dry granular coal into systems pressurized up to 500 pounds per square inch (psi). Phase I of the project will develop a unit that feeds coal at a pressure up to 300 psi and a rate of 200 pounds per hour. Phase II will test a unit at 500 psi and a rate of 500 pounds per hour. Field-testing will be conducted at Foster Wheeler's testing facility. The $3.59 million project (DOE share: $2.89 million) hopes to improve process operating costs when the feeder is used with advanced combustion systems.

  • Coal-Based Oxyfuel System - Clean Energy Systems, Rancho Cordova, CA, is designing and demonstrating a pre-commercial oxy/syngas combustor that will enable a power generation cycle that will: 1) have zero atmospheric emissions, 2) have high thermal efficiency, and 3) be commercially viable by 2015. DOE is contributing $4.4 million to this $7.9 million project.

  • Sealing Technology for Gas Separation Devices - One critical technology essential for high-efficiency, low emission fossil energy conversion is the development of a reliable sealing that enables the hermetical joining of ceramic membranes used in high temperature gas separation to the underlying support structures (e.g. metallic body) in gas separation devices. In this project, Aegis Technology Inc., Santa Ana, CA, along with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Richland, Washington) proposes to develop a reliable, high temperature seal material for gas separation devices needed in a variety of advanced energy systems. DOE is fully funding this $100,000 project.

National Laboratories Improving Oil and Gas Production

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Berkeley, CA, is working on four projects with a combined value of $4.48 million (DOE share: $3.87 million). These projects are developing innovative methods to improve oil and natural gas production technologies.

  • Air Quality Impacts of Oil and Gas Exploration and Production - This $1.61 million DOE-funded project develops techniques to best quantify air quality impacts of oil and gas exploration and production in the Western United States. It will also measure the contribution of oil and gas production to regional haze.

  • Central California Air Monitoring - LBNL will use EPA's Community Air Quality Model with state-of-the-art emissions, meteorological, and chemical inputs to model air quality in Central California for the summer of 2000. DOE is fully funding this $250,000 project.

  • Characterization of Methane Hydrate Deposits - LBNL will characterize recoverable resources from gas hydrate deposits representing both permafrost and marine environments by means of an integrated approach involving geology, geophysics and reservoir simulation.  This research will enhance the natural gas hydrate research and development activities by bringing new numerical simulation capabilities and laboratory measurements to bear on the difficult problems of characterization and gas recovery of methane hydrate deposits. DOE is contributing $1.72 million to this $2.33 million project.

  • Studies of Offshore Hydrate-Bearing Sediments - LBNL will  combine a robust numerical simulator of hydrate behavior in geologic media with a commercial geomechanical code, thus developing a numerical code for the stability analysis of hydrate-bearing sediments under mechanical and thermal stresses.  This simulator will incorporate conventional geomechanical models, as well as new conceptual and mathematical models of fluid flow, stress analysis, and damage propogation. DOE is fully funding this $290,000 project.

California Universities Are Helping to Boost U.S. Oil Production
  • Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA, is working on three projects to improve oil recovery processes and to advance the state of the art in reservoir characterization. The projects have a combined value of $3.05 million with DOE cost-sharing $2.43 million.

    • Reservoir Characterization Using Seismic Signatures - The objective of this project is  to identify how essential rock reservoir properties, and their seismic signatures, relate to different depositional and diagenetic processes (i.e., how they vary with sediment composition, depositional environment, sedimentation rate, subsidence rate, pore pressure, temperature gradient, depth, and time).  Researchers will also demonstrate, validate, and refine the methodology for quantitative reservoir characterization on a real field dataset.  The total cost of this project is $788,000 with DOE providing $631,900.

    • Experimental Investigation and High Resolution Simulator - The goal of this project is to experimentally examine the dynamics of combustion and how they may be altered beneficially, as well as develop process simulation methodologies and capabilities that accurately resolve in-situ combustion dynamics. The total cost of this project is $1.25 million with DOE providing $1.0 million.

    • Improved Simulation Techniques - This $1.01 million project (DOE share: $800,000) will improve the capabilities of the current Compositional StreamLine Simulator (CSLS), so that it will be suitable for use in industry and laboratories for the study of realistic reservoirs and production scenarios, for a wide variety of gas injection and/or CO2 sequestration projects.

California Industrial Partners Are Hoping to Improve Oil Production, Design Advanced Equipment and Improve the Environment
  • Cost-Effective Composite Drill Pipe - Advanced Composite Products & Technology, Inc., Huntington Beach, CA, is embarking on a project to develop and commercialize a design for composite drill pipe with steel connections that is both competitive and technologically superior to current steel drill pipe. Improvements should come in extending reach in horizontal drill holes, logging and measurement capabilities while drilling, and providing enabling technology and cost savings in Gulf of Mexico deep water drilling. The $7.04 million project is receiving $5.61 million from DOE.

  • Multi-Component Sensor for Borehole Seismic Data - Paulsson Geophysics Services, Inc., La Habra, CA, is developing and testing a robust multi-component sensor that combines fiber optic and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technologies for use in a borehole seismic array.  The total cost of this project is $2.4 million with DOE contributing $1.2 million.

  • Development of Downhole Turbine Generator - Dexter Magnetic Technologies, Inc., Fremont, CA, will develop a downhole high-temperature turbine generator capable of operating at high pressures (>20,000 psi) and high temperatures (=250?C), to power equipment such as rotary steerable tools, MWD tools, LWD tools, and other components both currently commercial and those under development. DOE is contributing $494,000 to this $848,000 project.

  • Membrane Process for CO2 and Hydrogen Separation - Membrane Technology & Research, Inc., Menlo Park, CA, will develop a membrane process to recover hydrogen and separate carbon dioxide from steam methane reformer-pressure swing adsorption (PSA) plants.  The process increases hydrogen production by 5-15% while simultaneously producing a concentrated carbon dioxide stream for sequestration. DOE is fully funding this $1.22 million project.


     Page owner:  Fossil Energy Office of Communications
    Page updated on: January 29, 2008 

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