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Zenyatta Ventures Ltd says that it has made progress on its project to determine possible uses for the graphite powder produced from its mine in Albany, Canada. Experts believe that graphene could be used for a range of innovative cleantech applications, including low-cost solar cells, super computers and rapid charge batteries. However, one obstacle to its widespread use is the high manufacturing cost for high-quality graphene.  A lower-cost approach is to use high-purity natural graphite. The goals of the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada Collaborative Research and Development (NSERC CRD) project, run by Dr Aicheng Chen, Professor of Chemistry at Lakehead University are: to characterize the physical and chemical properties of Zenyatta’s Albany graphite, to understand its electrochemical behaviours, to modify the graphite for practical applications and to develop advanced carbon nanomaterials such as graphene from the Albany graphite. Since the beginning of the project  Dr. Chen and his research group report significant advances in the characterization the material graphite and the development of new materials from it for practical applications.  Initial results indicate that high quality graphene oxides can be produced from Albany graphite at a laboratory scale, which can in turn be converted to graphene via a simple reduction process.  Preliminary graphene yields of approximately 98% from Zenyatta’s Albany graphite emerge from these tests. ‘From an analytical perspective, the Albany graphite meets all the stringent requirements for a high-quality product, encompassing high-purity, crystallinity, thermal stability, and high surface area,’ said Dr. Chen. ‘Interestingly, the crystallinity found in Zenyatta’s Albany graphite was greater than that of commercially available graphite samples which were also tested for comparative purposes. These initial studies indicate that there are great potential opportunities for the utilization of this product in multiple practical applications. For example, these graphite derivatives will be explored for their medical, energy and environmental technology applications.’ This story uses material from Zenyatta, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.

« LLNL team finds hydrogen treatment improves performance of graphene nanofoam anodes in Li-ion batteries | Main | UMTRI: Average US new vehicle fuel economy in October drops to 25 mpg » In a boost to technology transfer, Sandia National Laboratories has launched a program that lets researchers consult for companies that license their Sandia work. There is a need for this. We hear often in the business community that it would help a lot if our people could consult on their inventions. Licensees, especially small businesses, really need the technical guidance to take the next steps A researcher who wants to consult for a company that licenses his or her technology must first get a green light from the labs. Work would be done on the researcher’s own time. Atherton said the availability of consulting should lead to more licensing as businesses learn they can get follow-up technical help from Sandia. The program is one of a number of ways Sandia supports technology transfer and the business community. The New Mexico Small Business Assistance (NMSBA) program lets for-profit companies team with Sandia researchers free of charge to solve technical challenges. In 2014, Sandia provided $2.31 million in assistance to 197 New Mexico small businesses in 27 counties. Scientists can leave Sandia to launch technology companies or expand existing ones through the Entrepreneurial Separation to Transfer Technology (ESTT) program. It guarantees reinstatement if the researcher chooses to return to Sandia within three years. The Sandia Science and Technology Park is a 340-acre technology community adjacent to Sandia and Kirtland Air Force Base where startups and mature companies can collaborate with the Labs on a variety of technologies, products and services. The park’s Center for Collaboration and Commercialization, or C3, will offer programs and services to strengthen partnerships, technology transfer and ties to the community. Companies can also contract to work with Sandia through Collaborative Research and Development Agreements (CRADA) and Strategic Partnership Projects, Non-Federal Entity (SPP/NFE) agreements.

McInnis J.,Collaborative Research and Development | Singh S.,Collaborative Research and Development | Huq I.,Collaborative Research and Development
Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change | Year: 2015

Coal is the most abundant hydrocarbon energy source in the world. It also produces a very high volume of greenhouse gases using the current production technology. It is more difficult to handle and transport than crude oil and natural gas. We face a challenge: how can we access this abundant resource and at the same time mitigate global environmental challenges, in particular, the production of carbon dioxide (CO2)? The editors of this special edition journal consider the opportunity to increase the utilization of this globally abundant resource and recover it in an environmentally sustainable manner. Underground coal gasification (UCG) is the recovery of energy from coal by gasifying the coal underground. This process produces a high calorific synthesis gas, which can be applied for electricity generation and/or the production of fuels and chemicals. The carbon dioxide emissions are relatively pure and the surface facilities are limited in their environmental footprint. Unused carbon is readily separated and can be geo-sequester in the resulting cavity. The cavity is also being considered as a potential option to mitigate against change impacts of other sources of CO2 emissions. These outcomes mean there is an opportunity to provide developing and developed countries a source of low-cost clean energy. Further, the burning of coal in situ means that the traditional dangers of underground mining and extraction are reduced, a higher percentage of the coal is actually recovered and the resulting cavern creates the potential for a long-term storage solution of the gasification wastes. The process is not without challenges. Ground subsidence and groundwater pollution are two potential environmental impacts that need to be averted for this process to be acceptable. It is essential to advance the understanding of this practice and this special edition journal seeks to share the progress that scientists are making in this dynamic field. The technical challenges are being addressed by researchers around the world who work to resolve and understand how burning coal underground impacts the geology, the surface land, and ground water both in the short and the long term. This special issue reviews the process of UCG and considers the opportunities, challenges, risks, competitive analysis and synergies, commercial initiatives and a roadmap to solutions via the modelling and simulation of UCG. Building and then disseminating the fundamental knowledge of UCG will enhance policy development, best practices and processes that reflect the global desires for energy production with reduced environmental impact. © 2015 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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