Photonics center receives $1.1 million DOE award

November 15, 2002

Blacksburg, Va., November 2002 -- The Center for Photonics Technology (CPT) at Virginia Tech has received a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for continued development of sensors for use in the production of electricity from coal.

Anbo Wang, CPT director, and Gary Pickrell, associate director, lead the six-year project, which began in 1999. Wang and his colleagues are developing single-crystal sapphire-based high-temperature sensors that can operate reliably in the high temperature and corrosive environment of integrated gasification and combined cycle (IGCC) plants.

Developed by government and industry under the Clean Coal Technology program, IGCC plants convert coal into electricity. This happens in two ways: by converting the coal into a combustible gas, which generates electricity by powering a gas turbine; and by using the gas turbine exhaust to produce steam to drive a steam turbine, which also generates electricity. This process has been demonstrated to have a high thermal efficiency, with significant reductions in carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur emissions. Another advantage of IGCC plants is their ability to make use of a wide range of feedstocks, including coal, biomass, and wood wastes.

Coal gasifiers must be operated at temperatures high enough for the ash in the coal to melt and become fluid, but not so high as to damage the gasifier. In some areas of a coal gasifier the temperature can reach as high as 3500 degrees Fahrenheit. The sensors that CPT will develop with DOE funding will be based on single-crystal sapphire, which has been shown to be an excellent material for such high-temperature applications due to its high melting point, superior transparency, and ability to resist corrosion.
The CPT is a research and education center of the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (

For technical information, contact Anbo Wang at (540)231-4355; email

PR CONTACT: Liz Crumbley (540)231-9772

Virginia Tech

Related Electricity Articles from Brightsurf:

Mirror-like photovoltaics get more electricity out of heat
New heat-harnessing 'solar' cells that reflect 99% of the energy they can't convert to electricity could help bring down the price of storing renewable energy as heat, as well as harvesting waste heat from exhaust pipes and chimneys.

Engineers use electricity to clean up toxic water
Powerful electrochemical process destroys water contaminants, such as pesticides. Wastewater is a significant environment issue.

Considering health when switching to cleaner electricity
Power plants that burn coal and other fossil fuels emit not only planet-warming carbon dioxide, but also pollutants linked to breathing problems and premature death.

Windows will soon generate electricity, following solar cell breakthrough
Semi-transparent solar cells that can be incorporated into window glass are a 'game-changer' that could transform architecture, urban planning and electricity generation, Australian scientists say in a paper in Nano Energy.

Static electricity as strong as lightening can be saved in a battery
Prof. Dong Sung Kim and his joint research team presented a new technology that can increase the amount of power generated by a triboelectric nanogenerator.

To make amino acids, just add electricity
By finding the right combination of abundantly available starting materials and catalyst, Kyushu University researchers were able to synthesize amino acids with high efficiency through a reaction driven by electricity.

Using renewable electricity for industrial hydrogenation reactions
The University of Pittsburgh's James McKone's research on using renewable electricity for industrial hydrogenation reactions is featured in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A's Emerging Investigators special issue.

Water + air + electricity = hydrogen peroxide
A reactor developed by Rice University engineers produces pure hydrogen peroxide solutions from water, air and energy.

Producing electricity at estuaries using light and osmosis
Researchers at EPFL are working on a technology to exploit osmotic energy -- a source of power that's naturally available at estuaries, where fresh water comes into contact with seawater.

Experimental device generates electricity from the coldness of the universe
A drawback of solar panels is that they require sunlight to generate electricity.

Read More: Electricity News and Electricity Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to