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

DOE Fossil Energy R&D Projects in Pennsylvania


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's Regional Input-Output Modeling System II formula.

Siemens Westinghouse Pioneering Advanced Fuel Cells, Cleaner More Efficient Power Plants

Siemens Westinghouse Power Corporation, Pittsburgh, PA, is conducting a solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) project. Fuel cells are an environmentally clean, quiet, and highly efficient method for generating electricity and heat from natural gas and other fuels. They are vastly different from other power systems. A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that converts the chemical energy of a fuel directly to usable energy - electricity and heat - without combustion. Solid oxide fuel cells use ceramic electrolytes (yttria-stabilized zirconia) and operate at about 1,000 degrees Celsius. The solid-state nature, the potential to reform gaseous fuel within the cells, and the high operating temperatures offer advantages over other systems. The solid electrolyte eliminates problems of electrolyte containment and migration and allows for various designs. Westinghouse has been a leader in solid oxide fuel cell technology since the late 1950s.

  • High-Temperature Tubular SOFC Development - In August 1997, DOE extended the SOFC research and development effort with Westinghouse Electric Company for an additional five years. This research will provide a pathway for low-cost commercial production of tubular SOFCs. The current five-year development effort has a total value of $211.13 million, with DOE supplying $101.62 million. This extended effort will help provide a pathway toward commercial markets.

Pennsylvania Firm to Monitor Air Quality in Pittsburgh
  • Database and Analytical Tool for Ambient PM2.5 - Advanced Technology Systems (ATS) will develop a comprehensive, computer-based system to integrate air quality data collected by NETL in the Pittsburgh area into a common database. This information will be made available on the Internet on a publicly available, user-friendly system that will display, analyze and interpret the data. The system will provide accurate air quality information that will support the regulatory and policy decision-making process. DOE is funding $1.73 million of the $2.17 million project.

CONSOL Inc. Works with DOE to Reduce Pollution and Dispose of By-Products from Coal Combustion
  • Carbon Dioxide Sequestration in Coal Seams - CONSOL Inc. will evaluate the effectiveness and economics of carbon sequestration in an unmineable coal seam. This study will determine the effectiveness and costs of sequestration in this manner, which could have significant favorable implications for coal-fired power plants that can separate CO2 from exhaust gas and inject it into unmineable coal seams. This project has a total value of $13.28 million with DOE funding $8.96 million.

  • Greenidge Multi-Pollutant Control Project - CONSOL Energy Inc., South Park, PA, plans to demonstrate a multi-pollutant control system to reduce NOX, sulfur dioxide (SO2), mercury, acidic gases, and fine particles from smaller coal plants for less money than it costs to control NOx and SO2 separately.  Among the innovations CONSOL plans to install at the AES Greenidge Power Plant near Dresden, NY, is a hybrid catalytic (SCR)  and non-catalytic (SNCR) NOx reduction technology that works inside the plant's ductwork, a low-NOx combustion technology that burns coal mixed with biomass, and a circulating fluidized bed dry scrubber that is less complex and nearly half the cost of conventional systems. This project was selected as part of the Power Plant Improvement Initiative. It's valued at $32.7 million (DOE share: $14.3 million).

  • Field Trial of Mercury Capture Process - CONSOL Energy Inc. will determine the performance, operability, and economics of a low-cost method for >90% mercury control on a full-scale boiler.  DOE is providing $1.85 million of the $2.5 million project cost.

Pennsylvania Universities are Partnering in Fossil Energy Research Projects
  • Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, currently has two ongoing projects with a total value of $14.32 million (DOE share: $12.26 million):

    • Consortium for Premium Carbon Products from Coal (CPCPC) - Pennsylvania State University and West Virginia University will be charter members of this consortium, with associate members from the private sector and other universities. The goal of this consortium is to develop non-fuel uses for coal, including production of coke, low-weight/high-strength carbon fibers, and coal-derived feedstock that can be used in the production of value-added premium carbon products. DOE will fund $5.00 million of this $6.25 million project.

    • Refinery Intergation Study - The immediate driver and broad objective of the overall program is to develop an advanced thermally stable jet fuel for the U.S. Air Force which is required for advanced fighter aircraft.  The specific objective of this Penn State project is to develop and provide data and information needed to integrate direct coal conversion processes into an existing refinery to commercially and economically produce the advanced thermally stable jet fuel (JP-900) and the associated other refinery-produced fuels (e.g., gasoline, diesel).  Total project cost is $8.07 million (DOE Share: $7.26 million).

  • Reducing Freshwater Consumption in Coal-Fired Power Plants - Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA is developing technologies to reduce freshwater consumption in a cooling tower of coal-based power plants so that one can significantly reduce the need of make-up water.  The specific goal is to develop a scale prevention technology based an integrated system of physical water treatment and a novel filtration method so that one can significantly reduce the need for the water blowdown, which accounts for approximately 30% of water loss in a cooling tower. DOE is providing $450,000 of the $562,000 project cost. 

  • An Integrated Modeling Framework for Carbon Management Technologies - Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, will develop a framework to model the costs and performance of carbon sequestration technologies for electric power plants. The model will take into account not only the avoided carbon emissions, but also the indirect impacts on criteria air pollutants plus toxic and solid wastes. The uses for this model will be twofold. It will be able to assess sequestration costs and options at the local, regional or national level, and it will be used to identify the technology R&D options with the highest potential payoffs. DOE will fund $717,000 of the $896,000 total project value.

  • University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, has two ongoing projects with a total value of $1.36 million (DOE share: $1.02 million):

    • Mercury Speciation in Coal-Fired Power Plants - The overall goal of this $533,000 project (DOE share: $400,000) is to obtain a fundamental understanding of the catalytic reactions that are promoted by solid surfaces present in coal combustion systems and develop a mathematical model that will describe key phenomena responsible for the fate of mercury in coal-combustion systems. This objective will be accomplished through carefully combining laboratory studies under ultra high vacuum conditions and under realistic process conditions using simulated flue gas with mathematical modeling efforts. Modeling studies will be used to facilitate understanding of key aspects of the proposed reactions and aid experimental work to reach maximum understanding of these complex processes.

    • Water Reuse in Power Plants - The overall research objective of this $823,000 study (DOE share: $617,000) is to assess the potential of using three different impaired waters, namely, secondary treated municipal wastewater, passively treated coal mine drainage, and ash pond effluent, as cooling water in coal-based thermoelectric power generation.  This study is designed to assess geographic proximity, pretreatment requirements, available quantities and regulatory and permitting issues that are relevant for application of these impaired water in cooling systems, as well as key design and operating parameter that would ensure successful use of these impaired waters without detrimental impact on the performance of the cooling system (e.g., heat rejection capacity, corrosion and scaling issues). 

Early Entrance Co-production Plant (EECP) and Clean Fuels Projects Led by Waste Management and Processors, Inc. and NETL
  • Early Entrance Co-Production Plant (EECP) - Waste Management and Processors, Inc., Gilberton, PA, is leading a team of 19 industry partners, along with NETL, in a project to prove the feasibility of the early entrance co-production plant (EECP) concept. The EECP process can co-produce electric power and synthetic fuels chemicals from the IGCC process using coal as feedstock. The project will develop process designs for the EECP plants at a greenfield site and at the existing Gilberton Power Station. The objective is to prepare a preliminary EECP engineering design after reviewing conceptual designs, and performing necessary R&D. This $13.76 million project will receive $7.55 million in cost sharing from DOE.

  • Gilberton Coal-to-Clean Fuels and Power Project - Waste Management and Processors, Inc., Gilberton, PA, was awarded a $612.48 million (DOE share: $100.00 million) project to design, construct, and demonstrate the first clean coal power facility in the United States using coal waste gasification as the basis for clean power, thermal energy, and clean liquid fuels production. The Gilberton plant will gasify the coal wastes (anthracite culm) to produce a synthesis gas of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. Electric power and steam will be produced, and then a portion of the synthesis gas will be converted into synthetic hydrocarbon liquids via a catalytic chemical process known as FT synthesis.

Pennsylvania Companies to Work on Multiple Energy-Related Projects
  • Materials for Hydrogen Storage - Advanced Materials Corporation, Pittsburgh, PA will design and synthesize microporous metal organic materials (MMOMs) with high hydrogen uptake.  Light-weight metals (for example, lithium and magnesium) will be incorporated into the MMOMs so as to maintain a low bulk density and promote the formation of small pores, large pore volumes and high surface areas so as to provide a large number of active sites for the adsorption of hydrogen. The ultimate goal of the modeling is to help in identifying MMOMs that will be capable of storing much higher weight fractions of hydrogen than current materials. DOE is providing $547,000 of the $683,000 total project cost. 

  • Mercury Capture Technology - Breen Energy Solutions, Pittsburgh, PA will demonstrate the feasibility of a low cost device to enhance the inherent mercury oxidation kinetics at higher temperatures. It is envisioned that this technology will become the first layer of compliance technology for mercury control, analogous to Low-NOx Burners/Overfire Air for NOx control.  A secondary objective of this project is to demonstrate the in-situ generation of water-activated carbon using pulverized coal as a low cost alternative to powdered activated carbon injection systems. Testing will take place at the Babcock & Wilcox Research Center in Alliance, Ohio. The Small Boiler Simulator (SBS) will be used for these demonstration tests. DOE is providing $587,000 of the $734,000 total project cost.

  • Coal Waste Slurry Reburn Project - Breen Energy Solutions, Pittsburgh, Pa will investigate and conduct short-term field tests of the use of waste coal, in the form of coal fines from coal washing plants, as an alternative energy source and as a means of multi-pollutant control. Breen Energy Solutions will field test these technologies at an operating coal-fired boiler near New Castle, PA.  The main focus of this project will be the use of waste coal fines as the carbon source; however, some testing will be conducted using pulverized coal in conjunction with or instead of waste coal fines for conversion efficiency comparisons. DOE is providing $462,000 of the $653,000 total project cost.

Universities Developing Advanced Oil and Natural Gas Production Technology
  • The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, is working on two projects that are developing advanced drilling and oil well stimulation technology, and forming a stripper well and natural gas storage consortium to promote technology. The four projects have a combined value of $14.09 million (DOE share: $10.8 million).

    • Stripper Well Consortium - DOE is providing $7.40 million of the $9.19 million total cost for the development of a stripper well industry-driven consortium. The consortium will focus on improving domestic oil and gas stripper well performance and economics by partnering with industry, trade associations, state agencies, and academia.

    • Natural Gas Storage Technology Consortium - DOE is providing $3.4 million of the $4.9 million total cost for the creation of a Gas Storage Technology Consortium (GSTC) that will provide a means to accomplish industry-driven, research and development designed to enhance operational flexibility and deliverability of the Nation's gas storage system, and provide a cost-effective, safe, and reliable supply of natural gas to meet domestic demand.  The consortium focuses on research needs and priorities as defined by the storage industry.  The consortium approach maximizes interaction between the individual operators and provides an effective method for technology transfer for data/information generated under the consortium research projects.

  • Evaluation of CO2 Thickening Agents - The University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA will focus on other methods decreasing the viscosity of CO2. Highly carbon dioxide-soluble compounds capable of associating in CO2 and forming large viscosity-enhancing macromolecules will be designed, synthesized and evaluated in an attempt to provide the oil industry with the first economically viable CO2 thickening agent. DOE is contributing $800,000 to this $1.02 million project.

Pennsylvania Company Creates Liquid Fuels

Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., Allentown, PA, is developing advanced gas processing technologies to produce synthesis gas, which can then be converted into alternative fuels.

  • Ceramic Membrane Reactor Systems - This is an eight-year, three-phase project to develop a ceramic membrane and reactor for converting natural gas to liquid fuels. Ceramic membranes could sharply reduce the cost of converting natural gas to transportation-grade liquid fuels and premium chemicals. The membrane could also offer a way to produce much-less-expensive hydrogen from natural gas. This $119.3 million cost-shared project is receiving $44.8 million from DOE.

 Page owner:  Fossil Energy Office of Communications
Page updated on: June 04, 2007 

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