University of North Texas

UNT Insider | July 2012 issue | Researcher to develop materials for clean coal technologies

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Researcher to develop materials for clean coal technologies

From a UNT News Service press release

Rajiv Mishra

Rajiv Mishra

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced that UNT is one of only nine universities to receive a research project grant to support innovation and development of clean coal technologies.

Rajiv Mishra, a professor of materials science and engineering, received the two-year, $300,000 grant to develop high performance materials for use in high-temperature applications at coal-fired energy plants. Next generation materials would allow these plants to operate at higher temperatures, which makes coal combustion more efficient, and in turn, results in lower emissions.

Mishra's grant was part of a $2.7 million investment by the energy department and the White House to leverage a broad range of domestic resources to advance cheaper technologies for coal-fired energy.

UNT will partner with the University of Idaho to develop new computationally designed nickel-chromium alloys that could be used in high temperature applications in coal plants. Previously, Mishra studied aluminum alloys that could retain high performance at high temperatures. Mishra will use modern characterization and computational modeling tools in what he calls a "materials by microstructural design" approach to develop viable materials.

"It is an issue of discovery versus design. The steel and nickel-based materials being used in coal plants today have evolved over the last 50 or 60 years, but now we have a better understanding of the physics involved with developing high temperature materials," Mishra says. "The computational techniques available today allow us to predict materials that will be successful, efficient and economical."

The University of Idaho will oversee the experimental side of the project, developing and testing materials based on the computational findings of Mishra and his team. The grant also emphasizes the importance of training future energy engineers and scientists, and will fund two UNT graduate students.

The Texas Engineering Experiment Station at Texas A&M University also received funding through this initiative. The other universities to receive funding are Ohio State University, the University of Tennessee, Dartmouth College, the University of Toledo, Southern Illinois University, Indiana University and Brown University.

Alyssa Yancey with UNT News Service can be reached at

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July 2012

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