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

DOE Fossil Energy R&D Projects in Virginia


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 formula.

Companies Investigating Gasification, Power Plant Sensors, CO2 Recovery and Sequestration
  • CO2 Sequestration in Deep, Unmineable Coal Seams - Advanced Resources International (ARI), Arlington, VA, has received $2.6 million from DOE for a $7.4 million project that will demonstrate a CO2 sequestration process in deep unmineable coalbeds using existing technology. The project will help evaluate and verify the potential of storing CO2 in these coalbeds. Data will be collected from coalbeds located in northwest New Mexico and southwestern Colorado to develop a model that will assess the potential to sequester CO2 in this type of geological formation. Once the project is complete, the model will be transferred to industry for use in screening potential geological sequestration options.

  • Gasification Interagency Agreement - Mitretek Systems, Inc., McLean, VA, is performing systems studies for three technology areas: gasifcation, hydrogen, and coal-to-liquids. This is project is part of an interagency agreement with the Department of Interior. DOE is fully-funding this project valued at $4.4 million.

  • Optical Sensors for Fossil Fuel Plants - Prime Research, LC, Blacksburg, VA, is exploring the full potential of optical sensors based on modifed sapphire fibers for use in advanced, high-temperature, fossil fuel power generation systems. This project is valued at $1.35 million (DOE Share: $1.30 million).

Universities Play Key Role in DOE's Coal and Power Research
  • The Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Blacksburg, VA, is home of six projects that will establish and develop a center for advanced separations, improve coal fines recovery, and improve the operation of temperature sensors for advanced power systems, develop electrical converter for fuel cells and evaluate reforesting mined lands. The projects have a combined total value of $23.7 million (DOE share: $18.18 million).

    • Crosscutting Technology Development at the Center for Advanced Separation Technologies - Virginia Tech has received $12.0 million from DOE for a $15.0 million project that will be used by the recently established Center for Advanced Separation Technologies to develop technologies that can be used by the U.S. mining industry to meet the objectives the center was established for that include: creation of new products, reduction of production costs, meeting environmental regulations and developing technologies that can help the U.S. mining industry increase its energy efficiency.

    • Advanced Carbon Recovery/Dewatering System - The cost of cleaning fine coal is approximately three times higher than that of coarse coal. In addition, fine coal often contains higher concentrations of impurities and higher moisture content. Most utilities will not accept a high moisture content coal product because it causes handling problems at their plants. The combination of high costs and the adverse impact of its properties makes it more economical for coal companies to discard their fine coal in abandoned and active ponds. This leads to the discarding of approximately 20 to 30 million tons of fresh fine coal each year. In this $4.85 million project (DOE share: $3.10 million), Virginia Tech researchers will help improve the value of fine coal by reducing the excess moisture (i.e., dewatering) that it acquires during recovery and processing operations. The dewatering technologies under development will help improve the ability to handle fine coal recovered from production processes or waste ponds, making it more marketable.

    • A Single-Crystal Sapphire Optical Fiber Sensor - Virginia Tech scientists are developing a single-crystal sapphire fiber sensor that will operate at temperatures up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The sensor will provide real time monitoring and measurement of the temperature in gasification processes. Unlike other ceramic materials, single-crystal sapphire is expected to show superior corrosion resistance in gasifiers. University scientists will investigate three designs and will select the most optimal for further development and testing. DOE is contributing $1.19 million to the $1.49 million project.

    • DC/DC Converter for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells - Virginia Tech has received $1.09 million from DOE for a $1.36 million project that will: (1) develop a nominal 48/400-V DC/DC converter as the standard interface between the solid-oxide fuel cell source and the load side DC/AC inverter; and (2) advance high power DC/DC converter technology with high efficiency soft switching and high performance digital controlled techniques.

    • Optical Fibers for Gas Sensors - Virginia Tech has received $600,000 from DOE for a $750,000 project that will develop novel modified fiber materials for high temperature gas sensors based on evanescent wave absorption in standing hole optical fibers. Very few sensors are commercially available for high temperature (e.g., 1000?C) and harsh environment monitoring of gases such as NOx, SOx, CO, H2, O2, CH4, NH3, etc., which are present in coal and coal-derived syngas applications.  These sensors suffer from a number of major limitations including rather limited accuracy, extremely short lifetimes and unexpected failure, and intensive maintenance.

    • Optical Fiber Sensor Instrumentation - Virginia Tech has received $200,000 from DOE for this $250,000 project that will result in an accurate and reliable fiber optic sensing systems for slagging coal gasifiers. A silica-based fiber sensor head, suitable for operation up to 800-900? will be utilized for monitoring refractory wear and a sapphire-based fiber sensor head provide temperature data from inside the gasifier.  This data is critical to maximize both conversion efficiency and refractory lifetime.

  • Attrition-Resistant Fischer-Tropsch Catalysts - Hampton University, Hampton, VA, is developing an iron-based, highly selective and attrition-resistant Fischer-Tropsch catalyst. The Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) reaction provides a way of converting coal-derived synthesis gas (CO+ H2) to liquid fuels. Since the reaction is highly exothermic, one of the major problems in control of the reaction is heat removal. Recent work has shown that the use of slurry bubble column reactors (SBCRs) can largely solve this problem. The use of iron-based catalysts is attractive not only due to their low cost and ready availability, but also due to their high water-gas shift activity which makes it possible to use these catalysts with low H2/CO ratios. However, a serious problem with the use of iron catalysts in a SBCR is their tendency to undergo attrition. This can cause fouling/plugging of downstream filters and equipment; makes the separation of catalyst from the oil/wax product very difficult, if not impossible; and results in a steady loss of catalyst from the reactor. DOE is contributing $200,000 to this $218,000 project.

Nonprofit to Develop CO2 Sequestration Tools
  • Tools and Technologies for Cost-Effective CO2 Sequestration - The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA, is using a group of partnership pilot projects to help refine the tools and methodologies that will verify and measure the amount of CO2 sequestered by forests and other terrestrial systems. The primary activities of the project include: improving the accuracy and measurement of carbon inventories using geographic information systems (GIS) and aerial photography; developing models to estimate the amount of CO2 offset by terrestrial systems; evaluating and standardizing carbon monitoring methods and procedures; assessing various land use options for sequestering CO2; and developing a model that will quickly screen project ideas based on estimates of cost and CO2 avoided or removed. DOE is funding $2.51 million of the $3.14 million total project value.

VA Company Liquefying Coal Mine Methane
  • Liquefaction of Coal Mine Methane - Appalachian-Pacific Coal Mine Methane Power Co., LLC, Arlington, VA, is liquefying coal mine methane in a pilot-scale demonstration. The process will demonstrate a cost-effective and efficient method useful for recovering coal mine methane without introducing any additional environmental concerns. The $11.0 million project (DOE share: $4.61 million) will help develop a transportation market for liquefied natural gas along the I-79 corridor in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

 Page owner:  Fossil Energy Office of Communications
Page updated on: May 06, 2007 

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