Energy Research Center Receives Two Funding Awards from the Department of Energy

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Lehigh’s Energy Research Center (ERC) was recently awarded two Department of Energy (DOE) funding awards. The first $500,000 DOE award is to a team that consists of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Lehigh University, Customized Energy Solutions and Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. This project aims to improve operating efficiency and system reliability of power plants in the context of plant connectivity to the electrical grid.

The project, Techno-Economic and Deployment Analysis of Fossil Fuel-Based Power Generation with Integrated Energy Storage, will include a techno-economic analysis of integrated fossil power plant-energy storage options for quantification of projected benefits to operating efficiency and costs, emission reductions, and revenue from participation in the ancillary services market. Four Energy Storage options will be investigated, thermal energy storage, liquid air (cryogenic) energy storage, hydrogen energy storage and battery energy storage in combination with super-capacitors.

Dr. Carlos Romero, Principal Research Scientist and Director of the ERC will lead the Lehigh team in collaboration with Dr. Nenad Sarunac from UNCC. Dr. Romero is a member of Lehigh’s Institute for Cyber Physical Infrastructure and Energy (I-CPIE). Other team members from Lehigh include Dr. Shalinee Kishore, Iaccoca Chair Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Associate Director of I-CPIE, Dr. Alberto J. Lamadrid L., Associate Professor of Economics and I-CPIE member, and Zheng Yao, Research Scientist at the ERC.

In partnership with the Energy Research Company (ERCo) of NJ, the ERC-ERCo team was awarded a $250,000 DOE Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) project to begin developing an instrument to measure in real-time toxic heavy metals in power plant impaired water effluent streams. The project, Real Time Monitoring of Selenium Species, Mercury, and Arsenic in Coal-Fired Power Plant Wastewaters, will develop a technology called C4, which will result in an automated, accurate, rapid and low-cost analyzer of total selenium, selenite, selenate, mercury, and arsenic in wastewater from power plants.

This project fulfills a need brought on by Environmental Protection Agency regulations which will limit the amount of these elements that can be released into lakes and rivers: no practical technology exists to facilitate compliance with these regulations and optimize in real time wastewater treatment processes. The ERCo team will be lead by Mr. Robert De Saro.  The Lehigh team includes Dr. Romero and Zheng Yao, as well as Dr. Arup SenGupta, P.C. Rossin Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and I-CPIE member.

Active since 1972, Lehigh’s ERC is one of the longest standing centers of its kind in the U.S. The ERC became affiliated with I-CPIE in 2018 and plays a key role in advancing several of the the institute’s research thrusts—including the Energy-Water Nexus research thrust, which recognizes the mutual interdependence of water and energy systems and Energy, Power, and Resources Technologies research thrust, which addresses the ongoing fundamental changes in energy supply and energy systems. Romero notes, “these new DOE projects will be impactful for both the ERC and I-CPIE, supporting research and development activities at the ERC while forwarding I-CPIE’s research thrusts in energy storage and the energy-water nexus.”


Energy Storage Alernatives (Hussein, I., DOI:10.5772/52220, Jan.2013)
C4 Pretreatment Concept for Measuring Trace Elements in Wastewater