Laboratories & Facilities
GTI Energy’s 18-acre headquarters in metro Chicago (10 minutes from O’Hare Airport) is home to a flexible combination of specialized labs with equipment for design, testing and analysis of advanced energy technologies. Investments are constantly made here, updating equipment to ensure state-of-the-art facilities that provide a stimulating environment for our specialized scientists and engineers.
Pilot-Scale Gasification Campus
These highly instrumented facilities, offering innovative sampling and analytical systems and comprehensive diagnostic capabilities to support parametric testing, assure that we and our clients have fully developed operating procedures and performance characteristics for commercial plants. Their flexibility provides independent or integrated systems testing. They are also available to outside users for pilot scale process testing.
- Flex Fuel Test Facility
The Henry R. Linden Flex-Fuel Test Facility (FFTF) evaluates gasification processes integrated with downstream syngas clean-up at nominally 1 ton/hr of coal or biomass feed rate to facilitate the commercialization of advanced technologies. It is home to the Aerojet Rocketdyne (AR) pilot-plant-scale advanced compact gasifier acquired by GTI in July 2015.
- Advanced Gasification Test Facility
A five-story facility integrated with process equipment in the FFTF houses advanced gasifier, gas processing, and syngas conversion systems to allow feed-to-product process development testing.
- Acid Gas Treating Pilot Plant (AGTPP)
The AGTPP is used for acid gas cleaning via solvents in a standalone mode for sour natural gas evaluations or integrated with the pilot-scale gasification test platforms at GTI for syngas treatment. The system can be used with many different chemical and physical solvents to treat up to 1.25 MMscfd.
Thermochemical Conversion Laboratory
Within this laboratory, GTI develops and evaluates, on a pre-pilot scale, thermal and catalytic processes for converting coal and biomass feedstocks into liquids and gases.
IH2® Technology Pilot-Scale Plant
GTI’s IH2® Pilot-Scale Plant operates extended test campaigns to characterize and optimize process conditions to produce a range of distillate fuels (gasoline, diesel and jet fuel) from a variety of biomass resources, including wood, agricultural residues, algae, aquatic plants, and municipal waste.
Gas Processing Laboratory
This lab houses several unique setups to assess materials properties (e.g., membranes, solvents, catalysts, and adsorbents) and their efficacy in process configurations to separate and capture components such as H2S, CO2, and trace contaminants from gas streams.
Hot Gas Cleanup Laboratory
The lab aids researchers and clients in the evaluation of a broad range of materials to remove reduced sulfur compounds, hydrogen chloride, and trace metals; to decompose ammonia; to hydrolyze hydrogen cyanide; and to design gas cleanup systems. This is GTI’s primary laboratory for evaluating sorbents for potential use in cleaning up the hot gas produced by a gasifier.
Environmental and Chemical Research Services (ECRS) Laboratory
- Analytical Chemistry Laboratory
GTI Energy’s Analytical Chemistry Laboratory gives the energy industry a depth of customized support unavailable in typical commercial laboratories. It provides complete laboratory services for natural gas, biomethane/biogas, renewable natural gas, coal, liquid fuels, and other materials for the natural gas and power generation industries, as well as for numerous municipalities and utilities. Our capabilities incorporate modern instrumental techniques and traditional referee methods providing highly accurate determinations. Advanced analytical capabilities include gas chromatography coupled with atomic emission and mass spectral detectors. This laboratory is accredited by A2LA in compliance with ISO/IEC 17025 on certificate 2139-04.
- Environmental and Microbiology Laboratory
State-of-the-art microbiological research and testing services provided in this lab integrate molecular genetics techniques to areas such as pipeline microbial corrosion prevention and treatment, microbial characterization, molecular biology, and anaerobic digestion studies. Our microbial corrosion testing service uses quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) testing to directly detect and quantify (without prior growth) corrosion-causing microorganisms typically found in pipes, production wells, and other equipment. Our lab is one of only a few laboratories in the world that offers accredited DNA testing for microbial corrosion-causing microbe populations and is the first U.S. lab to receive A2LA accreditation for microbial corrosion testing services (certificate 213-04). This technique can be applied in the natural gas, petroleum, chemical, water, produced water and wastewater industries.
Materials Analysis and Characterization Laboratory (MACL)
This lab focuses on the fundamental properties and characteristics of materials. Forensic analysis of polymers, metals, and composites gives the ability to better understand failures before they become much larger problems. Standard and customized tests are conducted to determine density, thermal properties, tensile strength, compression, mechanical properties, and other characteristics. Advanced equipment such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is used for microstructural examinations and chemical composition determination. A temperature- and humidity-controlled room conditions specimens to ASTM specifications prior to testing. This laboratory is accredited by the A2LA in compliance with ISO/IEC 17025 on certificate 2139-01.
Outdoor Infrastructure Testing Facility
Multi-acre, controlled soil bed (sand, clay, rock, etc.) provide unique capabilities to evaluate all buried infrastructure systems. Research and evaluations include: pipe locating, leak detection, pinpointing, migration, and greenhouse gas emissions. Systems can be tested for corrosion resistance and coating performance. This outdoor facility has been used for: keyholing, lining, splitting, locating, low- and high-pressure testing, and other technologies.
Indoor Infrastructure Testing Facility
A series of environmentally controlled large-bay (25’ high) labs with 5-ton overhead cranes provide the capability to fully evaluate metallic, polymer, and composite piping systems. This includes full-scale burst, hydrostatic, cyclic, and accelerated testing period. The same testing can be applied to evaluate all applicable joining systems and appurtenances.
GTI Fabrication Facility
The GTI Fabrication Facility has the capabilities you need to turn your ideas into working prototypes. We have CNC machining, MIG and TIG Welding, Plasma Cutting, PLC Programming and CAD/CAM support software.
Soil & Pavement Facility
This facility provides a wide range of services and capabilities for utilities infrastructure and pavement restoration research. It allows for performance evaluation, development, and cost-analysis studies of new materials and technologies related to utility installations and pavement restoration practices. It includes both indoor and outdoor test sites and contains various types and sizes of buried gas pipes, backfill materials, and pavement sections.
Sensors and Automation Laboratory
Key activities here focus on sensors/technologies for a smart energy infrastructure, with an emphasis on operational needs. Major areas of expertise include automation, remote monitoring, and controls. Capabilities include tools and equipment for embedded system development, automation, sensor and signal conditioning; data acquisition technologies and digital signal processing; and data communication systems and wireless communication technology. We also have the ability to construct electronic prototypes.
Advanced Modeling and Analysis Facility
GTI has the capability to develop predictive models that describe the behavior of systems with complex interactions and estimate the underlying event probabilities for these models. We accomplish this using a variety of probabilistic methods and other appropriate techniques integrating our full slate of state-of-the-art analyses and Finite Element Method (FEM) software.
Our knowledge of these software tools—along with detailed material science, chemical and physics expertise—enable the simulation of stress, heat transfer, fluid dynamics, micro-fluidics, porous flow, chemical kinetics, electromagnetics, acoustics, geo-mechanics, seismic and many other physical phenomena for comprehensive sensitivity analyses. GTI has extensive leading-edge software, laboratories, databases, and data visualization tools that are useful in calibrating constitutive models, validating simulation results, and analyzing and viewing data in the correct context.
GIS/GPS Mobile Application Lab
Realizing the gas industry’s developing requirement to capture and record precise location data and accurate gas network attribute data, GTI has created the GIS/GPS Mobile Application Lab. Utilizing the latest real-time, high-accuracy GPS receivers paired with readily available smart phones and tablet computers, GTI develops mobile applications based on industry-leading GIS technology to efficiently and effectively capture infrastructure data, build functional geometric networks and integrate GIS data in real-time web-based applications.
GTI Vintage Pipe Library
GTI has a vintage pipe library with samples that primarily go back to the 1950s and 60s—but our oldest sample dates back to 1931! This collection reflects a variety of materials used throughout the decades that have been tested to determine their baseline steel chemistry, yield strength, tensile strength, impact resistance, elongation, hardness, and other characteristics.
From this information, a comprehensive database that identifies specific material microstructures and other attributes that are known to increase likelihood of failure has been developed and continues to grow.
The ability to characterize material properties – particularly yield strength – of in-service pipelines without taking the line out of service or removing samples significantly reduces the cost of complying with existing and pending federal regulations. Backfilling records with material-property information (such as yield strength and toughness) also improves integrity management through system knowledge that allows for enhanced modeling and analysis.
This data is being integrated into GTI’s threat algebra methodology to provide greater understanding of failure mechanisms in pipelines and deliver critical information to assist operators in efforts to predict asset performance, calculate system risk, and maximize safety.
Integrated Systems Lab
GTI established this dedicated residential lab where we perform system-level whole-building and microgrid component research integrating electric, renewable, and gaseous fuels along with energy storage and other energy efficiency technologies to form the basis for connected energy systems.
Residential/Commercial Appliance and Equipment Laboratory
This facility is designed to foster the development and advancement of natural gas appliances and equipment, including improvements in efficiency, safety, performance, cost, and emissions. We have specialized expertise in residential space conditioning and water heating, with a focus on traditional equipment such as furnaces, boilers and HVAC systems; water heaters (advanced tank and tankless products); and cooking equipment for both residential and commercial food service applications.
The PG&E Food Service Technology Center (FSTC), a fuel-neutral scientific testing facility in San Ramon, California is operated by GTI’s subsidiary, Frontier Energy. The facility performs equipment test services for manufacturers and end-users to determine the energy and performance characteristics of foodservice equipment and produces reports and documentation.
Within this facility, researchers develop and evaluate advanced steam and power technologies for industrial and large commercial application and combustion systems for use industrial process heating products and systems.
CHP and Renewable Energy Laboratory
GTI's CHP and Renewable Energy laboratory contains multiple types of low- to medium-temperature solar thermal technologies and associated end use equipment such as tank and tankless natural gas water heaters, boilers, space conditioning equipment and other technologies that can enable investigation of integrated or hybrid energy systems using solar thermal.
The lab provides technology solutions to the natural gas vehicle (NGV), hydrogen, and other alternative fueled transportation system sectors, with an emphasis on vehicles, fueling infrastructure, and safety. GTI has extensive capabilities and facilities for working with high-pressure and cryogenic natural gas and hydrogen, plus other novel combustible energy sources.
Reciprocating Engine Test Center
The test center is used for laboratory-scale development and evaluation of advanced combustion technologies for reciprocating engines, including waste heat recovery, recycling and novel cycles.
Fuel Cell Laboratories
GTI performs research on high-temperature (molten carbonate and solid oxide) fuel cells. Our laboratories include all the materials processing, fabrication, and testing equipment necessary for fabricating related components.
We also perform research on low-temperature proton exchange membrane (PEM), direct methanol, and alkaline fuel cell power systems. We have extensive experience making and testing fuel cell stacks through a vertically integrated in-house stack prototyping process, and we have also developed specialty systems such as bio fuel cells.
Our expansive testing facilities house multiple fuel cell test stations to test single cells and components, two stations for multi-cell stacks up to 5 kW, and one 12 kW test station; and fuel processor test bays that allow operational testing of prototypes from 50 watts to 25 kW capacities.
In addition, we have test stations for the evaluation of new catalyst formulations over a wide range of operating conditions with electrochemical instruments, FTIR, high temperature/high pressure TGA, a high-resolution microscope, and several high-temperature ovens. Vibro-mill and ball-mill systems are used to develop nano-size particles.
Membrane Development Facility
GTI has the equipment and expertise to develop a variety of membranes, such as organic polymer membrane, zeolite membrane, metal alloy membrane, high temperature ceramic membrane, and combination membranes. We have a strong focus on high-performance and low-cost materials, looking particularly at gas and water purification membranes, membranes for hydrogen clean-up and purification, as well as methane storage.
We have extensive investments in fabrication equipment including casting machines and lines; calenders; ovens; screen printing; and coating equipment for membrane production. We have an automatic continuous conveying system for pilot production and can scale up for material production. We also provide materials testing services to outside organizations.
Hydrogen Testing and Storage Laboratory
GTI has extensive facilities for working with high-pressure, cryogenic, and other novel combustible energy sources, including compressed hydrogen (up to 14,000 psig). We are able to design a variety of testing platforms to meet specific customer needs.
Our hydrogen storage laboratory has three advanced Sievert test systems coupled with a dynamic high-temperature/high-pressure TGA to obtain precise hydrogen storage capacities of materials of interest.
We offer a unique facility for conducting controlled testing, data collection, and evaluation of technolo-gies and products under a range of temperature conditions in a Class I, Division 2 electrically classified test lab that can be modified for specialized testing of combustible gases.
The large-scale environmental chamber (3,000 ft3) can be used for controlled and extreme temperature testing programs. It has a range of precision instrumentation including pressure transmitters, temperature measurement devices, and flow meters that is networked into a high-speed data acquisition system to capture multiple channels of information.
The environmental chamber includes a full-size hydrogen high-pressure cascade storage system. Hydrogen production, purification, and compression equipment capable of providing high pressure gaseous hydrogen for testing at fuel-cell quality purity and up to 14,000 psig is available.
Development of materials for hydrogen storage and storage using adsorbed natural gas (ANG) technology to lower the cost of light-duty hydrogen fuel cell or natural gas vehicles are also primary areas of effort at GTI.
Water Treatment Laboratory
GTI has expertise in developing membranes for water purification. Our water treatment laboratory has four test units to treat diverse water sources, such as brackish water, seawater, and well water. Analytical tools, such as HPLC and GC, are coupled with the units.