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Crosscutting (Advanced) Research


NETL Crosscutting Research is aimed at developing a new generation of transformational technologies capable of improving the performance of existing and advanced fossil-based systems. Sextant provides programmatic and technical services support focusing on project portfolio analysis, milestone tracking, and project data collection. Database systems have been developed to manage the financial planning, budget execution, and automated reporting for the program management team. These systems have enabled sharing project information, which in turn, has helped streamline the business processes for quick turn assessments. The support effort also includes presentation development, conference planning and logistics, web presence development, and the creation of program outreach tools.


Site Support Services/Advanced Combustion Program Support


Sextant provides a wide array of project and program management support services to the areas of power generation with the use of fuel cells, turbines, and hybrid systems. Our support for task activities encompass research and development (R&D) program and project management: proposal evaluations, technology assessments, technical integration, solicitation support, business reviews, portfolio analysis, cost analysis, and documentation control. Other tasks include development of database applications, computer analysis, collaborative team applications, program communication plans, technology fact sheets, and automated reporting systems utilizing custom information data sets.


Carbon Capture Simulation and Storage Initiative (C2S2I)


The United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) established the Carbon Capture Simulation and Storage Initiative (C2S2I) for accelerating the commercialization of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies from the research phase to commercial development. The C2S2I project comprises three sub-projects:

  • The Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative (CCSI) will develop a modeling toolset to simulate scale-up of a broad set of new carbon capture technologies for the electric power generation industry.
  • The National Risk Assessment Partnership (NRAP) will develop a defensible, science-based quantitative methodology and platform for determining site-specific risk profiles (potential risk versus time) at a variety of anticipated storage sites.
  • The Industrial Carbon Management Initiative (ICMI) will develop technologies and simulation tools for carbon capture and storage from industrial sources.

Sextant provided project support services which included: project and document control, technical and editorial support; procurement support; scheduling; design basis including Marcellus shale modeling, and production decline and additional analyses.




The National Carbon Sequestration Database and Geographic Information System (NATCARB) is a geographic information system (GIS)-based tool developed to provide a view of carbon capture and storage (CCS) potential. NATCARB organizes and enhances the critical information about CO2 stationary sources and develops the technology needed to access, query and model, analyze, display, and distribute CO2 storage resource data. Data are generated, maintained, and enhanced locally at each Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships (RCSP), or at specialized data warehouses and public servers (e.g., USGS- Earth Resources Observation and Science Data Center (EROS), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Geography Network), and assembled, accessed, and analyzed in real-time through a single geoportal.


Sextant provided data analysis, mapping, quality assurance, and quality control of data, in the development of the Blue Pencil and Gold Screen award winning NATCARB Atlas III. Sextant also provided the creation of online Silverlight web map applications, python scripting, and Administration of the ARCSDE and ARCGIS Servers.


Visualization Modeling Working Group (VMWG)/Emergency Response Mapping


The VMWG was formed in September 2003 to improve the ability of DOE to perform quick turn-around analysis during energy emergencies. The VMWG was comprised of energy experts from several DOE Offices as well as energy infrastructure and modeling experts from many of the DOE National Laboratories. The VMWG used this technical expertise along with modeling, GIS, data libraries on past energy disruptions, and other tools to conduct this analysis. This Virtual Team consists of Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Sandia National Laboratory (SNL), and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), with the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) acting as coordinator.


Sextant significantly improved the mapping process by building a custom interface for ArcMap in .NET and VBA. This enabled the rapid delivery of emergency energy infrastructure maps for briefings at DOE headquarters. They also developed various time lapse animations of outages and restoration of energy infrastructure using KML, ARC globe, Touch Tables, and PowerPoint.


Energy Data Exchange (EDX)


The Energy Data eXchange (EDX) is an online system providing access to information and data relevant to fossil and renewable energy systems. EDX coordinates historical and current data and information from a wide variety of sources to serve as a research and rapid response tool. EDX visitors can quickly access existing information and data located within the clearinghouse. EDX contributors can upload and share existing information in a coordinated environment. In addition to its significant open-access resources, EDX also offers the option to provide limited access data in a secure forum. All data submitted is reviewed for general accuracy and completeness prior to being approved for public release.

Sextant works closely with the EDX development team to ensure that the EDX interface is intuitive and easy to use. The GIS analysts sit on a committee to review submitted spatial data prior to inclusion in the EDX.

RPSEA Benefits Analysis and Model Development


Sextant supported work on the Royalty Baseline Study that focused on development of a baseline royalty collection report for all U.S. Minerals Management Service (MMS) regions, collected in kind or cash. This Federal study applies to both Onshore as well as the Offshore Continental Shelf. Sextant performed analyses and assisted in development of text and illustrations to create a royalty baseline for the United States from 2001 – 2007 using oil and gas royalty collection data.

Sextant participated in development of the draft Implementation Plan for the RPSEA Benefits and Model Development to define the path forward for obtaining data; engaging MMS; and determining benefits associated with new R&D technologies developed through EPAct 2005 solicitations.

Energy Infrastructure and Security Support


Sextant supported NETL work with the DOE Office of Electricity Delivery & Energy Reliability (OE) and employees served as members of the Energy Infrastructure and Security Research Group (EISRG) and the NETL Coal Policy Support Working Group. These activities included the development of visualization and analysis tools related to energy infrastructure for response to energy emergencies, whether natural or man-made in the U.S., and included development of multiple visualizations for energy exercises and hurricane response.


Sextant utilized multiple databases: Platts/RDI (CoalDat, GasDat, PowerDat, PowerMap and NewGen); Ventyx Velocity Suite; USACE Waterborne Commerce and Commodity Flow; EIA Electricity Utility Customers, Gas Supply and Disposition, and Petroleum Supply Reporting System; FERC Electric Utility Annual Report; Mineral Management Service Oil and Gas Production; Louisiana and Texas State Oil and Gas Production; ESRI ArcGIS; MapInfo Professional GIS; and others.

  • Developed relational data reporting systems for Gulf of Mexico (GOM) production wells and platforms and compared production to gas company electronic bulletin board operational capacity values. Using this data, a predictive model was created to estimate gas production shut-in during hurricane storm events.
    Performed studies on coal imports and analysis of regional generation based on those imports. Additionally, coal exports were studied and trends for future exports were determined using U.S. Census and Velocity Suite data.
  • Provided support for the design of the Energy Response Center (ERC) at OE headquarters. This included creation of a conference room with video and audio teleconference capabilities and upscale video capabilities to serve as a high level unclassified briefing room.
  • The design included multiple plasma and LCD displays, and multiple computer workstations in a control room. STS maintains and operates ESRI ArcGIS software to generate graphics for visualization, and to generate KML output for Google Earth. Google Earth is also used to display Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Verde Tool, a "near real time" visualization of the continental U.S. (CONUS) transmission grid status.
  • During the hurricanes Gustav and Ike the ERC was used as an operations center, as well as a briefing room for DOE Secretary Bodman. Daily briefings were also provided to the White House and FEMA. Sextant worked with the NETL Visualization and Modeling Working Group (VMWG) to produce a new KML animation showing the impact of hurricanes Gustav and Ike on GOM natural gas production, and the restoration of power in Texas.

STS developed the Energy Infrastructure Library based on a database application for capturing information on critical energy system assets. Supported the collection and preprocessing of qualitative assessment using open source and proprietary data. The database structure provided freeform collection of plant information to rapidly generate quick response reports for emergency impact assessments based on senior government management requests. The system provided prepackaged two page factsheets with addition detailed information addressing the operational impacts and disruption analysis assessments.


RPSEA Benefits Analysis and Model Development


Sextant provides support to the Office of Systems, Analyses, and Planning (OSAP) for analyses and visualization of electricity infrastructure within the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) regions and subregions. This support includes the data acquisition and analysis of electricity infrastructure (i.e. power plants, substations, transmission lines, etc.) and the fuels required to generate power as well as any associated infrastructure assets (i.e. gas pipelines; intermodal transportation assets including rail, barge, lake/ocean vessel, truck or belt; mines, waterways; etc.).


This activity provides in-depth data acquisition and analysis for a capacity margin studies related to NERC regions, with an emphasis on coal as the primary fuel, comparing planned build information to NERC electricity supply & demand (ES&D) database information. Ventyx’s Energy Velocity Suite is used to generate the supply portion of the analysis by mining data on existing capacity and future builds. Additionally, Velocity Suite and other data sources are used to examine infrastructure dependencies. The analyses categorize new plants, particularly coal-fired, based on likelihood of being constructed.


Sextant first performed capacity margin analysis for NERC’s Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc. region, assessing capacity margins from third-party data sources to the NERC long-term reliability analysis. A similar breakdown was performed for the Rocky Mountain Power Authority sub-region. The analysis categorized new power plants based on likelihood of construction.


Sextant created an MS Access database to join NERC Electricity Supply & Demand data with Velocity Suite capacity and generation data for the United States. Two Crystal Xcelsius dynamic dashboard models were developed using this data: 1) a Capacity Margin Analysis Model dashboard model was developed to look at U.S. continental NERC region capacity margins based on Velocity Suite capacity and NERC ES&D net internal demand for each region; and 2) a Gas Exchange Model for Alternate Fuel Reduction was developed to integrate NERC capacity and generation on a regional basis and allow the user to reduce the amount of electricity generation by fuel (targeting coal) in out years and predict the associated increase in natural gas required to support the construction of combined cycle gas plants for replacement. Both models allow dynamic user input to look at what-if scenarios.


Sextant also drafted a white paper titled "A Dashboard Approach for the Characterization of Capacity Resources by U.S. NERC Region" that characterized capacity and generation by NERC region in the United States. The report provides detail for canceled power plants since 2006 and summarizes all planned coal plants through the year 2020.


EPACT Resource and Technology Assessment, Knowledge Management Database (KMD)


Sextant supported the NETL Office of Research and Development (ORD) in design and creation of the Knowledge Management Database (KMD). The purpose of this system is to create a repository of information on the NETL/SCNGO Research Program. Program elements include: the RPSEA consortium research; NETL complimentary R&D; OSAP benefits and analyses; and traditional oil and gas research. The KMD was developed to support EPAct 2005, Subtitle J, Section 999. This legislation created the Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and Other Petroleum Resources Program that is managed by the NETL.


Sextant developed the Design Requirements Specification document for the KMD and provided specifications for system software and hardware. The KMD integrates, but is not limited to, data/databases, graphic images, reports, experimental data, an ArcGIS server, videos, animations, high-resolution photos, and “expert systems” or models. The system is envisioned as a “one stop” shop, and will include all related oil and gas research previously performed at the NETL.