NETL Researchers Using Supercomputers to Repurpose CO2 into Fuel Building Blocks

October 26, 2020

Oct. 26, 2020 — National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) researchers such as Dominic Alfonso are using advanced computational tools to repurpose carbon dioxide (CO2) from a waste product into chemical building blocks to manufacture fuels and a range of high-value items.

The work undertaken by Alfonso and other members of NETL’s Computational Materials and Engineering Team focuses on recycling CO2 generated by fossil energy plants and other industrial sources into chemicals, alcohols, acids and syngas, which are used to manufacture fuels, polymers and fertilizer.

“For more than a century, we have used fossil fuels to produce our electricity and for a variety of other purposes. However, when we extract energy from fossil fuels, we create CO2, the primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities,” Alfonso said.

“We can address this issue by using CO2 from factories and power plants as a chemical feedstock. Waste CO2 emissions can become something you can recycle into valuable products, providing a strong financial incentive to reduce the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere,” he added.

Alfonso’s research is dedicated to advancing the development of CO2 recycling through electrochemistry. In the presence of electricity, CO2 molecules and protons from splitting water molecules react on an appropriate catalyst to form chemical building blocks for hundreds of useful products.

Whereas traditional reaction processes often require high temperatures and pressures, electrochemistry can be conducted at near room temperature and ambient pressure using electricity from a renewable energy source such as wind, solar or geothermal, which makes the process more efficient and environmentally benign.

NETL researchers use a variety of cutting-edge experimental and computational techniques to understand and optimize catalysts and open new doors to CO2 conversion. The type of chemical building blocks to be produced by recycling CO2 is also determined by the identity and characteristics of the catalyst.

Nanometallic-based catalysts are especially effective because their high surface area can dramatically increase catalytic activity. The ability to identify low-cost, abundant and high-activity catalysts that can guide the reaction toward making only the desired product is the challenge that NETL is addressing through advanced computer modeling and simulations.

NETL’s goal is to discover precise catalyst recipes. Researchers want to know what types of catalysts work best to selectively and efficiently turn CO2 into specific chemical compounds. A major objective of nanocatalyst research is to create efficient catalysts that have high stability and long lifespans by controlling the size, shape, surface composition and electronic structure.

“When it comes to improving a catalyst’s performance, one of the key things is how to make them more selective, so they generate just the target product and nothing else,” Alfonso said.

Tools such as NETL’s Joule 2.0 supercomputer are used as platforms to simulate experiments and develop models to identify active sites and understand how the reactions proceed.

Supercomputing is essential in achieving NETL’s mission to discover, integrate and mature technology solutions that enhance the nation’s energy foundation and protect the environment for future generations. By expediting technology development through computational science and engineering, Joule 2.0 helps NETL cut costs and save time. “Joule is our workhorse,” Alfonso said.

A patent developed by Alfonso, a co-inventor, and NETL researchers Douglas Kauffman, Christopher Matranga, Paul Ohodnicki, Xingyi Deng, Rajan Siva, Rongchao Jin and Chenjie Zeng defined a method to control and isolate differentially charged gold (Au25) nanocatalyst clusters from a mixed solution.

The invention (USPN 10,385,726) was significant because charge specific Au25 clusters have demonstrated the ability to convert CO2 to carbon monoxide (CO) with 99-plus percent efficiency. CO is a feedstock in the production of chemicals ranging from acetic acid, which is used in many household cleaning products, polycarbonate plastics and methanol, which is used in thousands of everyday products, including fuels, paints, adhesives, fertilizers and windshield fluid.

Gold is one of the most selective catalysts for electrochemically converting CO2 into CO, but its expense is a major drawback. Meanwhile, cheaper copper catalysts typically show poor product selectivity and produce a larger variety of chemicals with lower efficiency.

In a research study, NETL’s gold-copper alloy nanocatalysts demonstrated four to eight times higher performance than state-of-the-art gold nanocatalysts on a precious metal basis. NETL research combined effective expertise in experimental catalyst testing, computational modeling and synchrotron-based X-ray characterization to obtain an atomic-level understanding about how the catalyst structure and surface groups sustained selective CO2 conversion.

“The bottom line is we are paving the way to developing less-expensive CO2 utilization catalysts that can convert CO2 into useful products society needs while dramatically reducing the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere,” Alfonso said.

DOE’s Carbon Utilization Program aspires to develop technologies to transform CO2 and other carbon byproducts and wastes into valuable products in an efficient, economical and environmentally friendly manner. Research and development activities address the challenges and potential opportunities associated with integrating a CO2 utilization system with various power and industrial plants or carbon capture systems, such as waste heat integration, wastewater reduction, flue gas contaminant reduction and reduced energy demand.

The success of carbon capture, carbon recycling and carbon utilization initiatives, which NETL has advanced in partnerships with industry and top research universities, is critical to ensure a cleaner environment while continuing to use the nation’s abundant coal and natural gas resources to produce reliable and affordable electricity.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory develops and commercializes advanced technologies that provide reliable and affordable solutions to America’s energy challenges. NETL’s work supports DOE’s mission to advance the national, economic and energy security of the United States.

More info: https://netl.doe.gov/node/10179


Source: NETL

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

Exascale Climate Model Used to Examine the Climate Consequences of Nuclear War

December 3, 2020

Often, we can tend to examine global crises in isolation – however, they can have surprising feedback effects on one another. The COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, has led to a small global decrease in emissions, and cl Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Natural Compounds, Identified via HPC, Move Forward in COVID-19 Therapeutic Testing

December 2, 2020

Nearly six months ago, HPCwire reported on efforts by researchers at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) to identify natural compounds that could be useful in the fight against COVID-19. At the time, the resear Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

AWS Reveals Gaudi-based EC2 Instances Coming in 2021

December 2, 2020

Amazon Web Services has a broad swath of new and bolstered services coming for customers in 2021, from the implementation of powerful Habana Gaudi AI hardware in Amazon EC2 instances for machine learning workloads to cus Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss

AWS Goes Supersonic with Boom

December 2, 2020

Supersonic flights are a Holy Grail of commercial aviation, promising halvings of international flight times. While commercial supersonic flights have operated in the past, high costs for both airlines and passengers led Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

VAST Data Makes the Case for All-Flash Storage; Do you Agree?

December 1, 2020

Founded in 2016, all-flash storage startup VAST Data says it is on the verge of upending storage practices in line with its original mission which was and remains “to kill the hard drive,” says Jeff Denworth, one of Read more…

By John Russell

AWS Solution Channel

Add storage to your high-performance file system with a single click and meet your scalability needs

Many organizations have on-premises, high-performance workloads burdened with complex management and scalability challenges. Scaling data-intensive workloads on-premises typically involves purchasing more hardware, which can slow time to production and require high upfront investment. Read more…

Intel® HPC + AI Pavilion

Intel Keynote Address

Intel is the foundation of HPC – from the workstation to the cloud to the backbone of the Top500. At SC20, Intel’s Trish Damkroger, VP and GM of high performance computing, addresses the audience to show how Intel and its partners are building the future of HPC today, through hardware and software technologies that accelerate the broad deployment of advanced HPC systems. Read more…

HPC Career Notes: December 2020 Edition

December 1, 2020

In this monthly feature, we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high-performance computing community. Whether it’s a promotion, new company hire, or even an accolade, we’ Read more…

By Mariana Iriarte

AWS Reveals Gaudi-based EC2 Instances Coming in 2021

December 2, 2020

Amazon Web Services has a broad swath of new and bolstered services coming for customers in 2021, from the implementation of powerful Habana Gaudi AI hardware i Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss

AWS Goes Supersonic with Boom

December 2, 2020

Supersonic flights are a Holy Grail of commercial aviation, promising halvings of international flight times. While commercial supersonic flights have operated Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

VAST Data Makes the Case for All-Flash Storage; Do you Agree?

December 1, 2020

Founded in 2016, all-flash storage startup VAST Data says it is on the verge of upending storage practices in line with its original mission which was and remai Read more…

By John Russell

HPC Career Notes: December 2020 Edition

December 1, 2020

In this monthly feature, we’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest career developments for individuals in the high-performance computing community. Whether it Read more…

By Mariana Iriarte

The Present and Future of AI: A Discussion with HPC Visionary Dr. Eng Lim Goh

November 27, 2020

As HPE’s chief technology officer for artificial intelligence, Dr. Eng Lim Goh devotes much of his time talking and consulting with enterprise customers about Read more…

By Todd R. Weiss

SC20 Panel – OK, You Hate Storage Tiering. What’s Next Then?

November 25, 2020

Tiering in HPC storage has a bad rep. No one likes it. It complicates things and slows I/O. At least one storage technology newcomer – VAST Data – advocates dumping the whole idea. One large-scale user, NERSC storage architect Glenn Lockwood sort of agrees. The challenge, of course, is that tiering... Read more…

By John Russell

Exscalate4CoV Runs 70 Billion-Molecule Coronavirus Simulation

November 25, 2020

The winds of the pandemic are changing – for better and for worse. Three viable vaccines now teeter on the brink of regulatory approval, which will pave the way for broad distribution by April or May. But until then, COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing across the U.S. and Europe... Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Azure Scaled to Record 86,400 Cores for Molecular Dynamics

November 20, 2020

A new record for HPC scaling on the public cloud has been achieved on Microsoft Azure. Led by Dr. Jer-Ming Chia, the cloud provider partnered with the Beckman I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Azure Scaled to Record 86,400 Cores for Molecular Dynamics

November 20, 2020

A new record for HPC scaling on the public cloud has been achieved on Microsoft Azure. Led by Dr. Jer-Ming Chia, the cloud provider partnered with the Beckman I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Supercomputer-Powered Research Uncovers Signs of ‘Bradykinin Storm’ That May Explain COVID-19 Symptoms

July 28, 2020

Doctors and medical researchers have struggled to pinpoint – let alone explain – the deluge of symptoms induced by COVID-19 infections in patients, and what Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Google Hires Longtime Intel Exec Bill Magro to Lead HPC Strategy

September 18, 2020

In a sign of the times, another prominent HPCer has made a move to a hyperscaler. Longtime Intel executive Bill Magro joined Google as chief technologist for hi Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Said to Be Close on Arm Deal

August 3, 2020

GPU leader Nvidia Corp. is in talks to buy U.K. chip designer Arm from parent company Softbank, according to several reports over the weekend. If consummated Read more…

By George Leopold

10nm, 7nm, 5nm…. Should the Chip Nanometer Metric Be Replaced?

June 1, 2020

The biggest cool factor in server chips is the nanometer. AMD beating Intel to a CPU built on a 7nm process node* – with 5nm and 3nm on the way – has been i Read more…

By Doug Black

Is the Nvidia A100 GPU Performance Worth a Hardware Upgrade?

October 16, 2020

Over the last decade, accelerators have seen an increasing rate of adoption in high-performance computing (HPC) platforms, and in the June 2020 Top500 list, eig Read more…

By Hartwig Anzt, Ahmad Abdelfattah and Jack Dongarra

NICS Unleashes ‘Kraken’ Supercomputer

April 4, 2008

A Cray XT4 supercomputer, dubbed Kraken, is scheduled to come online in mid-summer at the National Institute for Computational Sciences (NICS). The soon-to-be petascale system, and the resulting NICS organization, are the result of an NSF Track II award of $65 million to the University of Tennessee and its partners to provide next-generation supercomputing for the nation's science community. Read more…

Aurora’s Troubles Move Frontier into Pole Exascale Position

October 1, 2020

Intel’s 7nm node delay has raised questions about the status of the Aurora supercomputer that was scheduled to be stood up at Argonne National Laboratory next year. Aurora was in the running to be the United States’ first exascale supercomputer although it was on a contemporaneous timeline with... Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

European Commission Declares €8 Billion Investment in Supercomputing

September 18, 2020

Just under two years ago, the European Commission formalized the EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU): a concerted HPC effort (comprising 32 participating states at c Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

HPE Keeps Cray Brand Promise, Reveals HPE Cray Supercomputing Line

August 4, 2020

The HPC community, ever-affectionate toward Cray and its eponymous founder, can breathe a (virtual) sigh of relief. The Cray brand will live on, encompassing th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Top500: Fugaku Keeps Crown, Nvidia’s Selene Climbs to #5

November 16, 2020

With the publication of the 56th Top500 list today from SC20's virtual proceedings, Japan's Fugaku supercomputer – now fully deployed – notches another win, Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Texas A&M Announces Flagship ‘Grace’ Supercomputer

November 9, 2020

Texas A&M University has announced its next flagship system: Grace. The new supercomputer, named for legendary programming pioneer Grace Hopper, is replacing the Ada system (itself named for mathematician Ada Lovelace) as the primary workhorse for Texas A&M’s High Performance Research Computing (HPRC). Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

At Oak Ridge, ‘End of Life’ Sometimes Isn’t

October 31, 2020

Sometimes, the old dog actually does go live on a farm. HPC systems are often cursed with short lifespans, as they are continually supplanted by the latest and Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Microsoft Azure Adds A100 GPU Instances for ‘Supercomputer-Class AI’ in the Cloud

August 19, 2020

Microsoft Azure continues to infuse its cloud platform with HPC- and AI-directed technologies. Today the cloud services purveyor announced a new virtual machine Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia and EuroHPC Team for Four Supercomputers, Including Massive ‘Leonardo’ System

October 15, 2020

The EuroHPC Joint Undertaking (JU) serves as Europe’s concerted supercomputing play, currently comprising 32 member states and billions of euros in funding. I Read more…

By Oliver Peckham

Nvidia-Arm Deal a Boon for RISC-V?

October 26, 2020

The $40 billion blockbuster acquisition deal that will bring chipmaker Arm into the Nvidia corporate family could provide a boost for the competing RISC-V architecture. As regulators in the U.S., China and the European Union begin scrutinizing the impact of the blockbuster deal on semiconductor industry competition and innovation, the deal has at the very least... Read more…

By George Leopold

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Share This