Mechanical engineer and National Energy Technology Laboratory research fellow Clinton Bedick, who recently earned his doctorate degree from West Virginia University, is helping move oxy-combustion technology forward, allowing for cleaner emissions from fossil-fueled plants.

Oxy-combustion is a relatively new technology in the energy arena that could be used to safely capture and store carbon dioxide emissions from these power plants.

The novelty of this process requires continued improvement and efficiency before it becomes a reality, according to Bedick, who measures the radiative heat transfer properties present in oxy-fuel flames and then compares them to model results and scientific literature.

“This data can be used to develop the more accurate modeling tools necessary for optimizing these systems and making oxy-combustion feasible,” he said.
In addition to the hands-on research experience, the NETL fellowship has allowed Bedick a variety of professional development opportunities such as training for a simulation software package within NETL.

“The training they offered was unique in that it was a very in-depth course. The instructors really took the time to explain things in great detail and work one-on-one with people so we understood what was going on,” said Bedick. “I think those types of training experiences allow you to continue to develop new skills and improve as an engineer or scientist.”

In addition to the training, he recently presented a paper entitled “Radiative Property Measurements of Oxy-Fuel Flames” at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers conference and enjoyed the peer-review process as well as meeting with other presenters.

“Any time you have a piece of technical writing reviewed by others, you can pick up tips and learn to further develop yourself as a writer,” he said. “Most of my previous conference presentations have been in poster form, so a full conference paper presentation was good practice.”

While Bedick has a high interest in energy sciences, he also has another passion—internal combustion engines and high-performance vehicles. While this may seem unrelated to his current research, Bedick sees a correlation and is drawing from his experience as he looks toward a possible future in automotive science.

“Combustion research in the energy field has a similar feel and involves much of the same science [as an automotive application],” said Bedick. His graduate research involved diesel engine emissions, and he hopes to reenter the automotive field some day in an industry, university or national laboratory setting.

Bedick is currently a fellow in the postdoctoral research associate program, which is managed for NETL by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. As an undergraduate at West Virginia University, Bedick also participated in one of ORISE’s many internship opportunities for undergraduate students.

NETL is the only national laboratory owned and operated by the U.S. Department of Energy. Its mission is to strengthen the nation’s security, improve the nation’s environment and advance energy options that fuel the nation’s economy.