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NETL, University of Pittsburgh Sign MOU on Infrastructure Sensor Development

NETL and the University of Pittsburgh have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to explore areas of cooperation in the field of novel sensors for infrastructure monitoring. Such sensors are essential to ensuring the optimum operation of existing and new energy technologies while driving economic development.
“This MOU presents an exciting opportunity for both the Lab and our academic partners at Pitt to combine our strengths in pursuit of common goals,” said NETL’s David Alman, associate director, Materials Engineering & Manufacturing. 
“Both of our organizations will leverage our capabilities to support the acceleration of technology innovation, solutions, workforce development and industry engagement for emerging sensor technologies to ensure reliability, resilience and sustainability of energy and other infrastructure,” Alman said.
NETL has established state-of-the-art capabilities and strong expertise in various sensor technologies leveraging optical fiber-based, microwave/wireless sensor and electrochemical sensor platforms, including sensitive
materials synthesis, sensor fabrication, custom interrogators, sensor testing, sensor scaling-up and artificial intelligence-enhanced data processing.
The University of Pittsburgh has decades of experience and research in fundamental studies of functional sensing materials, thin film coating deposition through a variety of techniques including advanced material characterization instrumentation and integrated capabilities for materials and tool development in fiber optic and passive wireless sensor technologies.
Collaboration between NETL and the University of Pittsburgh resulted in the two organizations winning an R&D 100 Award last year. Also known as the Oscars of Innovation, the R&D 100 win was awarded for developing cutting-edge optical fiber sensor technology that provides unprecedented measurement capabilities in environments previously thought impossible to probe
For this new MOU, NETL and the University of Pittsburgh will explore opportunities for collaboration and opportunities to pursue funding for collaborative research projects, with the goal of identifying opportunities to enable a research development and demonstration path from fundamental studies to sensor fabrication and demonstration. 
“The emphasis is on collaboration and building on an outstanding record of research impact in the area of sensors,” said Professor Paul Ohodnicki, one of the University of Pittsburgh’s leads on this MOU. “In addition to achieving technical advances in sensors, an important outcome with be workforce development,” Ohodnicki said.  
The anticipated benefit from such opportunities will be advancement of real-time monitoring technologies for a wide range of applications, including power generation, energy transportation, power grid, civil structures and renewables. The two parties anticipate facilitating meetings, technical forums and workshops, and engaging other organizations.
NETL is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory that drives innovation and delivers technological solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By leveraging its world-class talent and research facilities, NETL is ensuring affordable, abundant and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.