GTI's 75th Anniversary countdown Banner #GTI75days 
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​Day #1

Friday, June 3, 2016

Today is GTI’s 75th Anniversary!

GTI was founded on June 3, 1941, with only a dozen staff and less than 5,000 square feet of space.

75 years later...we are proud to be home to an 18-acre headquarter campus that advances energy technology in metro Chicago. We are proud of our 335+ employees spanning 16 locations across the U.S. We are proud of developing 500+ products, 750+ licenses, and 1,300+ patents. And we are proud to be making a lasting impact in the global energy industry.

Thank you for participating in the #GTI75days countdown. We are very excited to celebrate this important milestone commemorating a proud past and a bright future. As the countdown comes to an end today, we’re launching a special interactive historical timeline to take you through all the good times—our 75 years of excellence. They don’t call us the “Good Time Institute” for nothing!

Launch Timeline

Photo of David Carroll at the Vail Global Energy Forum 2016 

​Day #2

Thursday, June 2, 2016

IGU leadership expands GTI’s global presence

AGA was selected to hold the Presidency of the International Gas Union (IGU) from 2015-2018, culminating with the 27th World Gas Conference (WGC) in Washington, D.C. in June 2018. Joining key North American leaders in this endeavor, GTI President and CEO David Carroll served as Vice President of the IGU from 2012-2015, and now serves as President from 2015-2018. Through this important role, we will help the global natural gas industry achieve its vision for the future as well as increase GTI’s global visibility and growth opportunities via international partners and markets.

Photo of David Carroll at the Vail Global Energy Forum 2016 

​Day #3

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

New quantification protocols for methane emissions reduction

We’re developing technologies and processes for detection, prevention, and mitigation of methane emissions, for example:

  • GTI is implementing new Emission Factors and improved estimates for activity data, based on either miles of pipeline or on annual leaks records for each utility. We’re creating information and data to promote the acceptance of the new quantification methods for compliance with EPA reporting requirements and other emission regulations.
  • We’re developing a tool that can accurately quantify emissions in the field and provide emissions data to help prioritize repairs, and be used for emissions reporting. We’re also evaluating the use of alternative technologies (such as optical gas imaging cameras) to detect and quantify leaks.
  • Researchers are performing an assessment of fugitive emissions from the natural gas system in commercial buildings for the U.S. California Energy Commission (CEC) that will quantify total building emissions.
  • Our residential methane detector program will install detectors in nearly 1,000 single and multi-family dwellings in 2016. The program will validate device performance in a real-world environment and provide statistical rigor in quantifying performance to provide data for informed decision-making on broader deployment strategies.
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    Photo of researchers testing equipment in the field for emissions analysis 

    ​Day #4

    Tuesday, May 31, 2016

    GTI international conferences cover biomass, methane emissions and shale

    tcbiomass is an international conference on thermochemical (TC) biomass conversion science that presents the latest research and innovations in the exciting field of bioenergy for the further deployment of clean energy technologies. The conference started in 2009, and continues to evolve as a biennial event attracting more than 300 attendees from across the world. The fifth event, tcbiomass2017, is scheduled to take place in Chicago in 2017.

    CH4 Connections is a conference that explores critical methane emissions issues from a host of perspectives, presenting upcoming policy decisions and the newest detection and mitigation programs and techniques in the U.S. The event will return in 2016, and move from Houston to Washington D.C., the source of recent and upcoming game-changing methane emissions decisions.

    The Shale Exchange is a workshop that provides insight on the shale revolution and its challenges, solutions, and opportunities in the U.S. and around the world. In addition to valuable sessions, participants are exposed to field operations and well site visits to see real field experiences on gas processing, well services, drilling, and hydraulic fracturing treatment operations. The next event will be held October 5-6, 2016 in Pittsburgh, PA.

    Photo of panalists at the tcbiomass conference 

    ​Day #5

    Monday, May 30, 2016

    Emerging Technology Program launched

    GTI launched the Emerging Technology Program (ETP) collaborative in 2011, partnering with utilities, manufacturers, and other stakeholders to accelerate the market acceptance of the latest end-use technologies. The program is designed to help companies identify and evaluate the most promising new products and integrated solutions and assess their suitability for future use in specific markets and utility energy efficiency programs. ETP targets technologies in the residential, commercial, and industrial markets that are "beyond development", meaning they are newly commercialized or are simply underutilized in a given market or region.

    In 2015, GTI signed a $2.2 million contract with Nicor/AGL Resources for a three-year extension of a GTI-managed end use efficiency emerging technology program.

    Photo of members attending a Emerging Technology Program meeting

    ​Day #6

    Sunday, May 29, 2016

    Producing a “drop-in” gasoline product and on-site power

    GTI’s partial oxidation gas turbine (POGT) technology was selected for development by ARPA-E as to be part of a natural gas-to-liquid fuels (GTL) process in 2012. GTI collaborated with Aerojet Rocketdyne to modify and test a compact gasifier to operate as a high-temperature, high-pressure natural gas partial oxidation reactor that would be combined with an advanced turbo-expander being designed for this application.

    Because the method produces both power and liquid fuel, it is an attractive option for associated gas now flared in oil production fields (including offshore platforms). In addition, the economic assessments also suggest that it has promise in other applications where power off-take is available. The amount of co-produced power can be controlled, allowing for flexibility as electricity demands change. Modular equipment will allow the size of the process plant to be tailored to match the amount of natural gas at the on-site location, minimizing the plant footprint.

    Photo of GTI researcher working on the PWR gasifier

    ​Day #7

    Saturday, May 28, 2016

    Ultra-high-efficiency natural gas heat pumps

    Partnering with absorption technology startup Stone Mountain Technologies and water heater manufacturer A.O. Smith, GTI has designed and demonstrated a novel gas-fired heat pump water heater through laboratory proof-of-concept testing. The system meets NOx requirements and has an Energy Factor (EF) of 1.3, over twice that of standard gas water heaters.

    In another project, an enhanced NextAire™ Multi‐Zone gas heat pump design was built to efficiently heat and cool commercial building space with substantially less electricity requirements (up to 80% reduction). It is commercially available through IntelliChoice and its qualified dealers since 2013.

    Photo of GTi researcher working on Ultra-high-efficiency natural gas heat pump equipment

    ​Day #8

    Friday, May 27, 2016

    Small-scale LNG liquefier demo wins technology merit award

    In 2007, GTI partnered with Waste Management Inc. and Linde to demonstrate a liquefaction technology to convert renewable biomethane from a landfill to liquefied natural gas (LNG) for vehicle use. The system, based on GTI intellectual property, was installed at the Altamont Landfill in California to fuel a fleet of trash haulers. It is displacing 2.5 million gallons of diesel fuel and nearly 30,000 tons of GHG emissions statewide annually.

    The Altamont facility is the largest biomethane to LNG facility in the world. In 2009, Climate Change Business Journal (CCBJ), a leading business research publication for the climate change industry, awarded GTI and partners a "Technology Merit" award for the Altamont Landfill project. The project was also recognized by the U.S. EPA as one of the Landfill Methane Outreach Program winning Projects of the Year for their innovation in generating renewable energy and reducing GHG emissions.

    Photo of Small-scale LNG liquefier equipment

    ​Day #9

    Thursday, May 26, 2016

    Production of high-octane renewable gasoline from woody biomass

    With support from the U.S. DOE, GTI and Haldor Topsoe developed an integrated process for thermochemical conversion of woody biomass into green gasoline. The innovative process, called Topsoe Improved Gasoline Synthesis (TIGAS), converts syngas into fuels and chemicals by fully optimizing pilot-scale gasification, syngas cleanup, and syngas conversion processes.

    TIGAS pilot scale testing takes place all under one roof at GTI’s state-of-the-art gasification campus. For the first time, there is an integrated biorefinery producing high-octane transportation fuels—from wood supply to the fueling station. In 2013, the team completed commissioning and shakedown, and by 2014, the TIGAS process produced 92-octane renewable “drop-in” gasoline for fleet testing and 10,000 gallons of biogasoline. In 2015, the green-gasoline blend was registered by EPA as an approved motor fuel.

    Photo of TIGAS tanks located at GTI's Des Plaines Campus

    ​Day #10

    Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    Addressing source energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions

    GTI launched the Carbon Management Information Center (CMIC) to help address issues and opportunities in carbon emission controls, and provide information and tools to help build awareness that natural gas is a key element of the carbon solution.

    In 2011, GTI and CMIC provided important technical information regarding the benefits of source energy—which measures energy consumption from the point of origin to the point of use and includes energy losses that occur with conversion and distribution—and greenhouse gas methodologies. Later that year, the U.S. DOE announced a statement of policy adopting full-fuel-cycle measures of energy use in its Energy Conservation Standards Program used for national impact analyses.

    Did you know: In 2009, source energy—“full fuel cycle” analysis— was included in the final version of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), published in the spring of 2012. GTI also worked with the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to include source energy in a suite of major building standards.

    Photo of Neil Leslie speaking at a conference about GTI's Carbon Management Information Center (CMIC)

    ​Day #11

    Tuesday, May 24, 2016

    FIR technology makes a lasting impact

    The forced internal recirculation (FIR) technology boosts efficiency and cuts NOx emissions. The FIR burner demonstrated ultra-low NOx and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions from natural gas combustion without catalytic combustion, external flue-gas recirculation, or energy efficiency penalty. The burner can be applied to a wide range of boilers including those used in the paper, chemical, petroleum, food, and steel industries. In 1999, a commercial prototype was installed on a watertube boiler at Miller Brewing Co plant in California. The Super Boiler is the most notable application, occurring around 2005. Over 65 FIR burners had been installed in firetube boiler applications by commercialization partner, Johnston Boiler Company, by the end of 2015. GTI is currently working on an advanced design that will be field demonstrated in 2016.

    Photo of GTI researcher testing a boiler using a forced internal recirculation (FIR) burner

    ​Day #12

    Monday, May 23, 2016

    Minimizing environmental impact and maximizing efficiency of hydraulic fracturing

    In an $18 million project funded by the U.S. DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and numerous operators and service companies, GTI is collaborating with hydraulic fracturing experts on a Hydraulic Fracturing Test Site (HFTS). The project is targeting horizontal shale wells to reduce and minimize potential environmental impacts, demonstrate safe and reliable operations, and improve the efficiency of hydraulic fracturing.

    Eleven wells were drilled and completed at a Laredo Petroleum Inc. (LPI) Permian basin field in west Texas. Field data acquisition and environmental and microbiological research tasks to monitor air and water quality at the HFTS have been completed. A one-of-a-kind through-fracture core was drilled through the hydraulic fractures at the test site, providing a core sample where the physical properties of the fractures can be observed. A comprehensive hydraulic fracturing data set has been collected, unlike anything ever captured before. It is providing a first-ever look at how induced underground fractures spread, and will fundamentally alter the understanding of hydraulic fracture propagation, modeling, and effectiveness.

    Photo of equipment at GTI's Hydraulic Fracturing Test Site at the Laredo Petroleum Inc. (LPI) Permian basin field in west Texas

    ​Day #13

    Sunday, May 22, 2016

    GTI expands its portfolio in the last decade

    GTI International, a subsidiary of GTI, combines capital, technical expertise, infrastructure, and access to GTI’s global network of partners and customers, advanced laboratories, unrivaled training, and resources to help companies expand and grow. We are partnering and investing in the best ideas within the energy industry that align with our overall mission. Meet the companies that are impacting the world:

  • Bki is a professional energy services and consulting firm serving energy efficiency, energy supply, and alternative transportation markets. With offices in Oakland, LA and West Sacramento, CA, Bki works chiefly on energy efficiency program design, development, implementation, and consulting. Acquired in 2016.
  • CDH Energy is a professional services firm located in Cazenovia, NY, specializing in monitoring and evaluating energy technologies related to building efficiency, industrial processes, distributed generation (DG), combined heat and power (CHP), fuel cells, and solar power performance. Acquired in 2014.
  • Davis Energy Group (DEG) is a California-based professional R&D and energy consulting firm that serves the residential and commercial markets. A pioneer in the use of energy modeling to optimize building performance, DEG has applied this skill to develop and refine energy standards for California and to support programs such as California’s zero net energy initiatives. Acquired in 2015.
  • Enovation Partners is a consulting firm that works with senior management teams in the energy and infrastructure sectors on high-impact strategies, evaluation of new technologies, assessment of the regulatory landscape, and navigation of the business environment of a rapidly changing market. Launched in 2013.
  • Fisher-Nickel (FNI) is a California-based professional services firm with deep expertise in commercial kitchen energy efficiency and appliance performance testing. Their capabilities are a very good complement to GTI’s RD&D, emerging technology, and training efforts. Acquired in 2014.
  • LocusView is a tech start-up company that brings advanced geospatial technology and services to the natural gas industry to reduce O&M costs and ensure regulatory compliance. Launched in 2014.
  • Map of the locations of GTI subsidiaries

    ​Day #14

    Saturday, May 21, 2016

    PE plastic pipe research program

    Polyethylene (PE) plastic pipe was introduced in the 1960s for use as gas mains and services, but gas utilities needed to be sure it could last as long or longer than cast iron or steel pipe, and that installation, handling, and repair did not create problems for service crews or impose major costs.

    GTI carried out more than 20 years of research to confirm the suitability of PE plastic pipe. This lightweight, durable, easy-to-work-with material is less expensive than steel pipe. Examples of GTI technologies in 2000 include: a field failure reference catalog to help diagnose pipe failures; guidelines to ensure high-quality joining of pipe segments and components; optimized methods to ‘squeeze off’ gas flow in an emergency; instruments for rapid inspection of heat-fused pipe joints; software to forecast life expectancy or select optimum PE pipe materials; guidance on transport and use of large-diameter coiled PE pipe, and a cost-effective alternative to straight pipe sections.

    GTI’s research on PE pipe has saved the gas industry more than $500 million since 1994, and its research on this important element of the U.S. gas delivery system continues today.

    Photo of GTi researcher inspecting PE plastci pipe in our labs

    ​Day #15

    Friday, May 20, 2016

    Novel IH2® technology converts biomass into transportation fuels

    IH2® is a thermochemical process that promises to be a very cost-effective route to produce liquid transportation fuels from renewable resources. The process converts non-food biomass feedstocks—such as wood, agricultural residues, algae, and aquatic plants—directly into gasoline, diesel and jet “drop in” fuels for less than $2.50/gallon with greater than 60% reduction in GHG emissions (and the finished product doesn’t need upgrading!)

    GTI signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement for the technology with CRI Catalyst Company, Shell’s catalyst business. In 2015, CRI Catalyst announced that Shell India Markets Pvt Ltd (SIMPL) will install a 5 metric ton per day IH2® technology demonstration plant on the site of SIMPL’s new Technology Centre in Bangalore, India.

    Photo of GTi researcher viewing liquid transportation fuel made from IH2 Process

    ​Day #16

    Thursday, May 19, 2016

    GTI initiates a new biogas program to evaluate suitability for introduction into natural gas pipelines

    Renewable gas produced from non-traditional sources can provide significant benefits including cost-effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing available resources. An initiative launched by GTI established parameters for evaluating the suitability of biomethane products derived from dairy waste and landfills for safe and proper introduction into existing natural gas pipelines and to assure compatibility with existing supplies.

    In 2007, GTI initiated a biogas program, focused on sampling from digesters, analyzing gas composition, and establishing a National Guidance Document for pipeline quality biogas from dairy operations. GTI then implemented a similar gas testing and quality program for biogas/biomethane derived from landfills and waste water treatment plants and made a report, Guidance Document for the Introduction of Landfill-Derived Renewable Gas into Natural Gas Pipelines, publicly available in 2012.

    Photo of GTi researching testing dairy waste for the Biogas Program

    ​Day #17

    Wednesday, May 18, 2016

    GTI established the IGRC conference series

    The International Gas Research Conference (IGRC), the premiere global forum devoted to gas R&D, was conceived by GRI (predecessor of GTI), with the International Gas Union (IGU), the American Gas Association (AGA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as co-sponsors. The first conference was held in June 1980 in Chicago and was attended by 500 attendees. GTI played a leading role in organizing the event until 2008, when primary responsibility transitioned to the IGU. The next IGRC will take place in Rio, Brazil in 2017.

    Learn more about IGRC

    International Gas Research Conference (IGRC logo

    ​Day #18

    Tuesday, May 17, 2016

    First patent was issued in 1950

    “Method of Carbonizing Coal with Iron Oxide,” issued in 1950 as U.S. Patent No. 2512076.

    In the 1960s, GTI was awarded its highest number of patents at 146. Today, we have over 1,300 patents. These patents showcase our employees, builds and maintains our reputation, provides a basis for licenses and royalty agreements that generates revenue for our organization, and demonstrates real market value.

    Photo of IGT employees reviewing newly awarded patent  in 1950

    ​Day #19

    Monday, May 16, 2016

    First full year of operation for Catoosa facility

    Year 2000 marked the first year of operation for GTI’s E&P Technology Testing Center at Catoosa—a cost-effective, confidential proving ground for downhole technology. Several technologies tested at Catoosa were aimed at cost reduction: expandable casing, coiled-tubing drilling, high-data-rate measurement while-drilling systems, new drill-bit designs, multi-lateral wellbores, and use of fiber optics to gather downhole information.

    More about the history of Catoosa: Situated on 80 acres near the town of Catoosa (18 miles northeast of Tulsa), the Catoosa facility was acquired in 1999 by GRI (predecessor of GTI) from BP Amoco. Catoosa helped oilfield service companies as well as major and independent gas producers leverage their R&D resources, and also give manufacturers a way to "test -drive" new concepts and products. The uniquely diverse geology at the site, which encompasses virtually all common subsurface formation types within a depth of 3,000 feet from the surface, allowed companies to test tools that could be used in formations virtually worldwide.

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    Photo of a Drilling Rig at the Catoosa Test Facility

    ​Day #20

    Sunday, May 15, 2016

    Demonstration of NGV engines

    With UTD funding, GTI was able to secure several million dollars of state of California grants to assist Cummins Westport, Inc (CWI) develop the most impactful and utilized natural gas engine in the market today. The 8.9L Ultra-Low Emissions NGV has sold more than 27,000 engines for transit, refuse-collection, and regional hauling applications since introduction in 2007.

    Continuing a highly successful 25-year relationship with Cummins and Cummins Westport Inc. (CWI), GTI and UTD went on to support other collaborative engine development efforts.

    A Cummins Westport 11.9-liter 400-HP NGV engine (ISX12G) has seen rapid market adoption since introduction in 2013 in the large truck, refuse, and bus market.

    A new Cummins Westport 6.7L 260-HP engine (ISB 6.7) will commercially launch in 2016 for use by fleets such as UPS and FedEx, as well as various medium-duty vehicle uses such as shuttle and school buses, and transit and vocational vehicles.

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    Photo of a 8.9 Liter Ultra Low Emmissions Natural Gas Vehicle Engine

    ​Day #21

    Saturday, May 14, 2016

    Codes and standards for residential carbon monoxide alarm performance

    Between 1992 and 1998, carbon monoxide (CO) alarm sales skyrocketed, but unfortunately, their growing popularity was accompanied by increased numbers of false alarms driven by major performance issues, even though the devices had met standards and been approved. GTI analyzed data on false/nuisance alarms, verified device performance, and worked with AGA, UL and others to push for a tougher UL standard, which was established in 1998. In 2002, GTI released a report detailing its findings and recommendations and included guidelines for quality assurance sampling and testing of CO alarms to insure their reliability.

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    Photo of a residential carbon monoxide detectors from the 1970s andd 1980s

    ​Day #22

    Friday, May 13, 2016

    Significant energy and water savings from a novel steam generation system

    GTI led a $4.7 million Super Boiler project that integrated several novel technical concepts to achieve extraordinarily high efficiency and low emissions in a steam generation system. The design combined an ultra-low NOx burner with a novel heat and water recovery device, known as the Advanced Heat Recovery System (AHRS) featuring the Transport Membrane Condenser (TMC). In July 2006, a 300 horsepower high-pressure steam Super Boiler was installed at Specification Rubber Products, and it ran 24 hours a day, five days a week with excellent results. After more than 6,000 hours of operation, fuel to steam efficiency was consistently in the 93-94% range, and NOx levels were less than 9 ppm. Annual gas savings averaged nearly 13%.

    In 2008, the TMC, used to capture sensible and latent waste heat and water vapor from exhaust flue gases, won a Chicago Innovation Award. Cannon Boiler Works commercialized the technology as the Ultramizer® in 2010.

    Photo of a researcher inspecting part of the Transport Membrane Condenser

    ​Day #23

    Thursday, May 12, 2016

    GTI acquires Aerojet Rocketdyne energy assets

    In July 2015, GTI acquired the assets of Aerojet Rocketdyne's energy systems portfolio, including 158 patents and patent applications, intellectual property (IP), physical assets, and technologies that span across the spectrum of gas and oil production, gasification, gas-to-liquids, power generation, and hydrogen generation. To accommodate new staff and capabilities, GTI opened a new office in Los Angeles, CA.

    GTI has worked closely with Aerojet Rocketdyne for 10 years, hosting the development of their compact gasifier for coal and natural gas conversion, which has now been rebranded as the R-GAS™ process. The technology offers 15-30% lower product cost and reduced water usage, high energy conversion efficiency, consuming up to 25% less oxygen in the process, and 15% to 25% lower cost for electricity generation and chemicals production, compared with existing entrained flow gasification technologies.

    Aerojet Rocketdyne logo

    ​Day #24

    Wednesday, May 11, 2016

    Bringing new high-efficiency natural gas equipment and appliances to a $550 billion commercial foodservice market

    GTI pioneered the use of modulating burner technology in commercial foodservice by introducing a line of conveyor pizza ovens manufactured by Avantec to the market. The technology reduced the temperature variations in the oven from a range of 100ºF to less than 2ºF, saving energy and improving the quality of the food. The technology was the basis of a paper and presentation awarded as Best Presentation at the 2005 International Appliance Technical Conference.

    A compact gas-fired countertop steamer offers enhanced cooking rates while providing energy savings and reduced water consumption. It was the first gas-fired boilerless steamer with an Energy Star rating, commercially available from Market Forge. It received a prestigious Kitchen Innovations™ (KI) Awards from the National Restaurant Association in 2008.

    Photo of researcher testing a commercial foodservice conveyor pizza oven

    ​Day #25

    Tuesday, May 10, 2016

    OTD and UTD collaborative programs launched

    In response to FERC funding ending in 2004, a new approach for collaborative RD&D on topics of concern to Local Distribution Companies (LDCs) was created. The new approach brought together interested parties to reduce the time and investment required to get new technology to market (see GTI’s collaborative research programs).

  • Operations Technology Development (OTD) was established in May 2003 to facilitate voluntarily funded, collaborative research on issues relating to gas operations and infrastructure, with a focus on reducing operating costs, enhancing safety, and increasing the operating efficiency of natural gas distribution systems. 14 gas utilities created OTD to support the development of gas-operations-related technologies, and they chose GTI to manage the program. OTD is now led by 24 members who serve over 45 million natural gas consumers in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Utilization Technology Development (UTD) was launched in early 2004 to address end use issues of interest to the gas industry, including technology development and demonstration activities targeted to the residential, commercial, and industrial market segments. UTD has grown to 17 members who serve over 37 million natural gas consumers in the Americas and Europe.
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    Photo of the Operations Technology Development and Utilization Technology Development logos

    ​Day #26

    Monday, May 9, 2016

    Formed new trenchless technology company, Starline

    GTI is involved with keyhole technology and many tools and technologies aimed at minimizing excavations as well as reducing costs of distribution-system repair and operation.

    In 1999, GTI allied with the Karl Weiss Company of Germany to form Starline Trenchless Technology LLC (Starline tt)—a joint venture providing pipe rehabilitation technologies for the U.S. natural gas industry. Flexible, cured-in-place (CIP) lining systems are used to rehabilitate aging steel and cast-iron natural gas pipes. Starline tt products are marketed and installed in North America by Progressive Pipeline Management (PPM).

    Did you know: GTI has a Keyhole Consortium that promotes the use of trenchless techniques for system installations, repairs, and rehabilitation that substantially decrease excavation and restoration costs while reducing public inconveniences and increasing safety. Some of the most significant keyhole developments include information on the establishment of keyhole standards, keyhole cameras, and service installations.

    Photo of a the inside of a pipe with trenchless technolgy equipment inside

    ​Day #27

    Sunday, May 8, 2016

    Micro-seismic hydraulic fracture mapping a key technique

    GTI’s hydraulic fracturing work went beyond just analytical models to establish a scientific basis—researchers developed diagnostics and ran lab experiments in the field to determine where a fracture goes (propagates), how far it goes, and what parameters control its destiny. One of GTI’s shallow coalbed methane wells was mined back, so pictures of the actual fractures were taken as the seams were exposed, providing amazing validation.

    A key technique, FracSeisSM microseismic hydraulic fracture mapping for fracture diagnostics, was developed by GTI to help gas producers plan and conduct effective and economical hydraulic fracturing operations. It is available as a suite of services from Pinnacle Technologies.

    Photo of a hydraulic fracturing equipment

    ​Day #28

    Saturday, May 7, 2016

    Award-winning hardware and tools

    GTI has a long history of developing gas distribution technologies that reduce risks and energy delivery costs and enhance efficiency. Commercializing new technology has always been an important objective, and researchers developed many new tools from 1990-2000 by closely engaging with utilities and leading manufacturers, for example:

  • The Optical Methane Detector (OMD) from Heath Consultants Inc. uses a utility van to improve productivity of tracking down leaks from buried gas mains. The system topped the list of ‘1998’s Hottest New Products and Services’ compiled by Gas Utility and Pipeline Industries magazine.
  • Moving through the pipeline, GTI’s elastic wave vehicle, commercialized by Pipeline Integrity International, was the first “smart pig” to use ultrasound technology to inspect the pipe and detect stress-corrosion cracks.
  • The GridBoss software, commercialized by Fisher Controls International, is an automated pressure-control system for district regulators that improves safety, cuts labor costs and leakage, and improves metering and overall system accuracy. In 2000, the GridBoss won an “R&D 100" Award from R&D Magazine.
  • Another “R&D 100” technology award winner, GTI’s steerable guided mole, commercialized by TT Technologies Inc., is a low-cost technology that creates precise underground pathways for new distribution pipe installation by eliminating costly trenching, excavation, and restoration.
  • The Magic Box became part of the Mueller Co product line in 2000. The technology facilitates repair and replacement of pipe all while the line is at operating pressure and flowing.
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    Photo of a researching testing a guided mole

    ​Day #29

    Friday, May 6, 2016

    Gas-fired high-efficiency furnace revolutionizes the home heating market

    The Pulse Combustion Furnace was the first major change in gas furnace design in over two decades, and resulted in significant gains in efficiency, delivering operating efficiency that exceeded 96%. GTI funded development and field testing, and Lennox Industries, Inc commercialized it. It became one of Lennox’s most successful products, which led the company to introduce a lifetime warranty covering the heat section of all Pulse furnaces ever made. Over one million units were sold between the early 1980s and mid-1990s. Although the unit is no longer for sale, follow-on 90%+ efficiency units by Lennox and other manufacturers now make up over 25% of new furnace sales.

    Photo of a researching testing a Pulse Combustion Furnace

    ​Day #30

    Thursday, May 5, 2016

    EPA backs new computer-based emissions model

    In 1998, the U.S. EPA proposed new regulations requiring control of dehy emissions, which stem from equipment used to remove unwanted moisture from raw natural gas. GTI played a major role in shaping those regulations and developed information that resulted in less costly methods to evaluate dehy emissions and the effectiveness of dehy emission controls. The software GRI-GLYCalc for estimating air emissions from glycol units was an important result of that work—it is referenced in the EPA standard as an acceptable method for estimating both dehy emissions and control efficiency.

    Photo of a GRI/GTI software CD-ROM

    ​Day #31

    Wednesday, May 4, 2016

    GTI invented a 3-D rendering platform for “fracking”

    GTI’s hydraulic fracturing research began as early as 1983, leading to “proof-of-concept” experiments at its first hydraulic fracture test site (HFTS) in the Rocky Mountains. A multitude of leading-edge breakthrough technology was verified at this test site, laying the foundation for the work being conducted today.

    A decade of what GTI learned was embodied in products like the FRACPRO computer-based design and analysis tool in 1993 that helped design and predict the behavior of hydraulic fractures. It includes real-time monitoring of fractures and creates a dynamic, 3-D view of the process so an operator can adjust parameters on the fly to get maximum value from every gallon of fracture fluid pumped. FRACPRO, available from CARBO Ceramics Inc., is still being used by the industry today.

    Photo of a researcher using FRACPRO for natural gas well simulation

    ​Day #32

    Tuesday, May 3, 2016

    Our educational offerings expanded in the 1950s

    In 1952, GTI broadened its educational offering with an industrial education program that was designed to provide supplementary training for individuals already employed in the gas industry. GTI also initiated its first home study course on natural gas production and transmission to offer “continuing education” or refresher courses for industry employees.

    Photo of a students entering the IGT building in the 1950s

    ​Day #33

    Monday, May 2, 2016

    IGT and GRI merged to form GTI (as we know it!)

    In April 2000, Gas Research Institute (GRI) and the Institute of Gas Technology (IGT) joined forces to form Gas Technology Institute (GTI) to meet industry needs of competitive technology and expand its technical capabilities and facilities.

    By combining the strengths of IGT’s research performance with GRI’s expertise in project management and industry network, a powerful new organization geared to meet the needs of a more competitive, deregulated energy industry was created. Employees from GRI's former offices in Chicago relocated to the IGT facility in nearby Des Plaines, IL.

    Photo of a submerged combustion melting (SCM) unit

    ​Day #34

    Sunday, May 1, 2016

    Submerged combustion melting benefits the U.S. economy and environment

    A wide range of glasses were successfully melted in the submerged combustion melting (SCM) unit in 2005, and a follow-on project evaluated the means to provide rapid conditioning of glass. Three years later, the first commercial SCM plant began initial start-up operation and the technology demonstrated the potential to consume less energy and lower emissions at 80% lower capital cost while meeting the same range of glass quality and production rates as traditional methods.

    In 2011, Indiana Melting & Manufacturing (IMM) in La Porte, Indiana, is the first commercial U.S. plant to use this GTI-licensed SCM technology to perform waste vitrification, producing a glass abrasive material from waste dust, material that is normally sent to a hazardous-materials landfill.

    Photo of a submerged combustion melting (SCM) unit

    ​Day #35

    Saturday, April 30, 2016

    RENUGAS® biomass gasification technology is highly adaptable

    GTI’s patented RENUGAS® is a biomass gasification technology that provides fuel gas for both low-pressure and high-pressure power generation, or as a syngas producer for fuel gas, liquid fuels, hydrogen, or substitute natural gas applications. The fluidized-bed technology is amenable to a wide-range of fuel choices and is versatile in size and configuration, so it can be adapted to meet many needs.

    In 1992, Andritz/Carbona constructed and tested a 15 MWth high-pressure RENUGAS pilot plant in Tampere, Finland that can process biomass and coal at 80 ton/day. In 1994, the RENUGAS process was licensed to Enviropower Inc. and a 100 ton/day bioenergy demonstration plant was constructed in Maui, Hawaii. In 2000, the RENUGAS process was selected for use in converting tons of biomass and wood wastes to fuel gas at a Kentucky industrial park and at Boise Cascade Corp. paper mills.

    Photo of researchers discusssing renugas

    ​Day #36

    Friday, April 29, 2016

    Efficient, clean and cost-competitive space conditioning equipment

    Much of GTI’s research during the mid-1980s was focused on heat pumps for commercial and residential applications. Offering energy cost savings and greater efficiency, new gas-fired appliances helped to claim a portion of a growing market biased toward electric energy services. Verifying durability and performance were key factors in helping with market adoption.

    In residential space conditioning, 29 utilities participated in a nationwide field test of a triple integrated appliance—a unitary heating, cooling, and water heating system for multifamily buildings. GTI also sponsored prototype testing of a gas-fired heat pump system in small commercial buildings.

    A pulse combustion space heater was developed combining the advantages of many available space heaters while eliminating most of their drawbacks. The heater is based on the same principle used in the successful pulse combustion furnace. A 12 unit field test was initiated in late 1983, and the technology was later commercialized by Empire Comfort Systems. It sold it in their product line for some time, until it was replaced with another lower-cost 90% efficiency condensing gas space heater that they still currently sell.

    Photo of a Pyrocore Radiant Burner used in a commercial application

    ​Day #37

    Thursday, April 28, 2016

    Innovative burner offers low emissions and high efficiencies

    The radiant burner was one of GTI’s most promising technologies that provided high heat flux and uniform heat distribution for a wide variety of residential, commercial, and industrial applications. It was developed by Alzeta Corporation and introduced to the market by York-Shipley, Inc. as the Pyrocore Radiant Burner for firetube boilers.

    In 1986, the burner was selected by R&D magazine as one of the “100 most significant technological advances” that came to market in 1985.

    Photo of a Pyrocore Radiant Burner used in a commercial application

    ​Day #38

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016

    Early unconventional gas collaboration

    From the 1980s through the 1990s, GTI made huge strides in advancing unconventional gas production processes. In 1980, GTI launched a new collaborative research model that brought together experts from industry and academia with significant investments from the Department of Energy (DOE) and GRI (predecessor of GTI). Strong industry involvement in field experiments and validation on industry wells was critical to the success of the program targeting U.S. gas shales.

    Working with about 40 other organizations, GTI’s first collaborative unconventional gas program documented regions with the greatest potential and developed guidebooks, simulators, and other tools to explore options for fracturing a coal formation and optimize all aspects of coalbed methane (CBM) operations.

    Photo of a tailgate meeting at a natural gas drilling site

    ​Day #39

    Tuesday, April 26, 2016

    Field skills training for safe, effective on-the-job performance

    In 2013, GTI developed 77 course modules for a new Natural Gas Field Skills Training Program to lead safe, effective performance by workers involved in natural gas construction, operations, and maintenance. A new tablet learning tool was also developed, containing company-specific procedures, standards, drawings, and work practices, to deliver information to workers in the field in a digital, mobile environment. National Grid is using these to promote consistent practices and train contractor crews on both fundamental processes and company-specific requirements.

    Photo of a tablet with Field Skills information on screen

    ​Day #40

    Monday, April 25, 2016

    NGV research expands rapidly

    In 1991, GTI supported development of a multitude of NGV engines and vehicles that could penetrate gasoline use and meet stringent vehicle emission standards. GTI also pioneered advances in composite materials and high-strength metal alloys for lighter-weight, on-board cylinders to store CNG safely at higher pressure.

    For the next decade, GTI drove fueling infrastructure technology, and helped to design and install over 30 NGV fueling stations in Illinois and five other states, and helps with development of a vehicle refueling system for residential and commercial use. R&D and commercialization efforts in the early 1990s lead to significant market penetration of NGVs, for example:

  • First truck (Chrysler, 1994) and first automobile (Ford, 1996)
  • Deere, Cummins, DDC engines
  • First truck (Ford, 1997) and first automobile (Honda, 2000)
  • Ford Crown Victoria
  • Translator conversion kit
  • Factory built bifuel vehicles, Chrysler Corp
  • Mack Trucks, Inc. refuse hauler powered by the new E7G natural gas
  • Deere PowerTech 8.1-liter natural gas engine for bus and heavy-duty truck applications
  • Dodge Caravan, Caravan C/V, and the Plymouth Voyager
  • Ford F-Series bi-fueled NGV pick-up truck
  •  

    Did you know: GTI has contributed to the growth in NGV use from about 25,000 vehicles in 1992 to more than 110,000 in 2002 and approaching 160,000 in 2016.

    Photo of a Ford F-Series bifuel pick-up truck

    ​Day #41

    Sunday, April 24, 2016

    Methane DeNOx: an award-winning innovative environmental technology

    The 1990s was said to be “the decade of the environment.” Virtually every major city in the U.S. was out of compliance with EPA ozone and carbon monoxide standards. With “environment” on the top of everyone’s agenda, GTI concentrated its efforts on alternative fuels and NGVs, cogeneration, and the disposal of the ever-growing volumes of sewage waste.

    In 1990, GTI researchers studied the feasibility of retrofitting the Methane DeNOx process to commercial municipal waste combustors in the U.S. and Japan. The field tests proved it an economic NOx reduction technology for stoker boilers firing coal, municipal solids waste, or wood. It is available from ESA Environmental Solutions in North America and TAKUMA CO., LTD. in Japan. The technology won a R&D 100 Award for innovation from R&D Magazine and an Environmental Prize from the Japan Environmental Agency.

    Photo of the Methane DeNOx process in a commercial municipal waste combustor

    ​Day #42

    Saturday, April 23, 2016

    GTI gas burner technology saves the industry millions

    GTI has made significant contributions to the strong market position of gas in the industrial sector. As a proven technology developer, we have more than 65 patents on high-efficiency, low-NOx burners and systems to control emissions. Our innovative burners reduce emissions and increase heat transfer at a low cost in a variety of applications.

    GTI developed more than a dozen advanced gas burner systems, tailored for use in specific process furnaces and heaters as well as in boilers for generating process steam or onsite electric power. These burner systems provided higher efficiency (which reduces operating cost), improved product quality, and lower emissions than competing systems.

    For example, GTI applied infrared (IR) radiant-burner technology to paper drying and paint drying/curing as an alternative to electric IR systems. Incorporating advanced materials, gas IR systems based on GTI technology saved users approximately $400 million between 1995 and 2002.

    One of the most successful GTI-developed burners on the market is the PrimeFire® 400 high-luminosity burner, an oxygen natural gas system that increased heat transfer rate and reduced NOx emissions by 50%. The “High Lum” is based on an IGT patent. Combustion Tec Division of Eclipse™, Inc. licensed the technology and began marketing the burner to the glass industry in 2003, and there have been over 200 systems sold around the world.

    Photo of a Radiant Burner

    ​Day #43

    Friday, April 22, 2016

    Helping Chicago go green by cleaning up vehicles in the metro area

    GTI is working to advance the number of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles on the road. In 2010, GTI and the City of Chicago received a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Cities grant of $15 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Through the efforts of the Chicago Area Clean Cities (CACC) Coalition, the funds launched a new initiative, Clean Fuels Across Chicago.

    The original $15 million in federal funding served as leverage for $24 million in investments by the 19 project partners. The project deployed 400 clean vehicles and 225 alternative fueling stations throughout the Chicago metro area. In addition, the project reduced CO2 emissions by 18,000 tons, saved 7.5 million gallons of gasoline, and provided $8 million in fuel savings. We’re “changing our fuels to change the future!”

    Photo of a ngv cars and trucks in Chicago

    ​Day #44

    Thursday, April 21, 2016

    SMP and an era of environmental research

    In response to government cutbacks in the 1980s, GTI turned to membership to build greater support for the gas industry’s technology base and meet future needs by founding the Sustaining Membership Program (SMP), focused on collaborative research. In 1985, the program collected its first membership dues (52 companies pledged $2.3 million/year).

    Two important environmental patents came out of SMP by the late 1980s. The SOLCON Digester is an anaerobic digestion process that performs more efficiently with feed materials having a high solids content. In a test at Walt Disney World, the digester performed 80% conversion of biomass to methane. The Methane Enrichment Digester technology produces utility-grade gas from a pilot-scale anaerobic digester. The process demonstrated successful results for renewable energy production, delivering 95% methane while reducing the cost of upgrading by more than 65%.

    Today, SMP has evolved and now develops an array of new technologies, product concepts, and related solutions in natural gas delivery, energy utilization, environmental science, and renewable energy. The program develops the technology through "proof of concept," the point at which the most promising technologies are continued through short- to mid-term R&D programs.

     

    Photo of a Walt Disney in field discussing the anaerobic digestion process

    ​Day #45

    Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    Biomass conversion a hot topic

    A modern environmental movement grew at state and national levels in the 1970s. Various interest groups exerted political pressure to clean up America's air, water, and land, which had been despoiled by the carbon-based manufacturing and transportation economies during the previous century. The National Environmental Policy Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Clean Air Act kicked off a decade in 1970 of environmental policy-making.

    By 1978, the area of non-fossil fuels received considerable attention with the development of a first-of-a kind experimental farm in the deep ocean for growing kelp—a large, fast-growing seaweed—as a renewable source of methane. Kelp was chosen because of its potentially high conversion, its environmental compatibility, its relative abundance, and potential for low cost. Work on the thermal conversion of woody biomass and specially grown grasses also began in the late 1970s.

    Photo of a scuba diver

    ​Day #46

    Tuesday, April 19, 2016

    Oil shale research goes back six decades

    GTI established a strong foundation for major oil shale research in 1957 to convert oil shale to gas and oil (syngas), which later resulted in the development of the HYTORT process in the mid-1970s.

    In 1975, GTI completed construction of a process development unit for advanced testing of a new oil shale hydrogasification/liquefaction process. The program continued for a few years and the moving-bed hydroretorting technology was patented and named HYTORT. This was the first feasible technology for processing eastern U.S. oil shale. The process showed that more than 400 billion barrels of oil may be recoverable from resources in only six eastern states, a resource that was never considered among major U.S. energy reserves.

    In 1980, a new company, Hycrude Corporation, was formed to commercialize the HYTORT technology for the production of crude oil from both Western and Eastern shales. Phillips Petroleum Company agreed to jointly develop the HYTORT process with Hycrude.

    Photo of a lab technician working in a GTI lab

    ​Day #47

    Monday, April 18, 2016

    Peat research at GTI started in the 1970s

    GTI did an admirable job planning and executing major programs in conversion technologyes, including peat, which consists of partially decomposed plant and vegetable matter that has accumulated in a water-saturated environment, giving it up to 90% water by weight. The PEATGAS program began in 1974, and bench-scale tests indicated that peat was much more reactive than coal and could be converted at excellent efficiencies to high-quality synthetic natural gas (SNG). Developments in the late 1970s included tests in a process development unit (between lab-scale and pilot-scale) and led to large-scale trials.

    Photo of a prototype internal rotary compression mechanically removes water from peat

    ​Day #48

    Sunday, April 17, 2016

    Impressive facilities in the Chicago area

    GTI’s 18-acre headquarters in metro Chicago (10 minutes from O’Hare Airport) is home to a flexible combination of specialized labs—from small- to large-scale—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.

    Did you know: In one example, over $95 million has been invested on GTI’s main campus to build highly instrumented facilities for advanced gasification, gas processing and downstream end-use technologies. The Flex-Fuel Test Facility (FFTF), dedicated in 2003 to Dr. Henry R. Linden, is designed to evaluate the gasification of coal and biomass and the performance of advanced gas-cleanup technologies. In 2006, an Acid Gas Treatment Pilot Plant was added to advance sulfur removal and carbon capture in conjunction with gasification of coal. A 5-level, 75-foot-tall Advanced Gasification Test Facility (AGTF) was built in 2008 to house pilot-scale gasification and gas processing systems for integrated process development.

    Photo of GTI's Des Plaines headquarters

    ​Day #49

    Saturday, April 16, 2016

    Domestic energy supply issues led to the opening of our D.C. office

    In the 1970s, gas shortages and being held hostage by foreign oil forced the federal government to initiate programs aimed at increasing supply and/or decreasing consumption. GTI was ideally positioned to take advantage of this political climate and assume a lead role in many of the programs of interest to Washington. With high involvement in federal programs, GTI required constant liaison and interactions with appropriate agencies in the nation’s capital, so a Washington, D.C. office was opened in 1973.

    Today, GTI still has a national office presence as well as 15 additional locations spanning the U.S.

    Photo of a US court house

    ​Day #50

    Friday, April 15, 2016

    GTI reached its highest employment rate in the 1970s and shattered records with exceptional growth

    Employment doubled to 236 in 1971, and then peaked at 647 in 1980. From a financial standpoint, this was GTI’s most successful decade with revenue that grew to an all-time high of nearly $258 million.

    Photo of IGT campus on Chicago's southside 1970s

    ​Day #51

    Thursday, April 14, 2016

    Gas flow, transmission and distribution systems

    Much of GTI’s work in the 1950s dealt with gas flow and determining pipeline efficiency. Such information was important for evaluating the effects of adding an incremental load to a system, determining the advisability of a pipeline cleaning program, and providing a basis for the design of additional facilities. Odorant fading studies, internal surface coatings for gas transmission pipes, a study of gas distribution leakage problems, and the start of work on sonic leak pinpointing were among GTI’s transmission and distribution projects.

    Did you know: The 1950-1960s was a time of extensive construction of natural gas pipelines (thousands of miles). Advancements in metals, welding, and pipe building during WWII made pipeline construction more economically attractive. After the War, the nation built its pipeline network and natural gas became a widely used home fuel. Today, the U.S. pipeline network (laid end-to-end) could stretch to the moon and back twice!

    Photo of researcher testing the  commercial prototype sonic gas leak pinpointers 1983

    ​Day #52

    Wednesday, April 13, 2016

    GTI sponsored the first horizontal well in the Barnett shale

    GTI played a key role in developing hydraulic fracturing and microseismic technologies that are widely used to this day. We worked with George Mitchell and Mitchell Energy to drill the Stella Young well in the Barnett Shale in 1991—a novel well drilled at a high angle, rather than vertically, then stimulated with new technology. The well produced three times more gas than any other well up to that time!

    Who is George Mitchell? George Mitchell, former head of Mitchell Energy, is a pioneer in drilling and completion technologies for extracting gas from shale that ultimately created the shale gas revolution. Known as the “Father of the Barnett Shale”, he enabled viable production through the first successful application of horizontal drilling, micro-seismic imaging and hydraulic fracturing applied to the Barnett Shale.

    Photo of sunsetting at a natrual gas well site 1986

    ​Day #53

    Tuesday, April 12, 2016

    We’ve been in the LNG game since the early 1950s

    GTI worked on a series of liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in 1953 to determine the properties of LNG and LNG storage in novel containment vessels. One particularly interesting project dealt with the use of a certified-standard natural gas to calibrate calorimeters and specific gravity instruments.

    By the 1960s, GTI operated a substantial LNG program and international interest on the topic led to us sponsoring the “1st International Conference on LNG” (LNG1) and publishing its proceedings. The event was held in Chicago in April 1968 and was attended by 750 people from 16 countries. Since 1968, there has been an LNG conference and exhibition every three years, alternating between exporting and importing countries, and attracting thousands of attendees. Hosted jointly by GTI, International Gas Union (IGU), and International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR), the LNG X series has grown into the most important and significant global LNG event.

    LNG18 actually starts today in Perth, Australia—known as the “World’s Largest Global LNG Event”! Follow #LNG18 and learn more about GTI’s 2016 LNG offerings at gastechnology.org/LNG18.

    Photo of stage at LNG6 conference 1983

    ​Day #54

    Monday, April 11, 2016

    Sulfur removal was a dominant research area in the 1940s

    Most U.S. gas companies still distributed manufactured gas made from coal and oil in the 1940s, so it’s no surprise that GTI’s earliest projects involved research into the composition of fuel gases, the utilization of manufactured gas byproducts, and the development of improved gas production processes.

    Sulfur removal work was well underway by 1944 to identify and remove the organic sulfur components of manufactured and natural gas. This important project was established as the first study to be undertaken by GTI, financed jointly with AGA, the Rochester Gas and Electric Corp., and the Institute.

    Did you know: From the 1940s to 1960s, the gas industry was totally transformed from a “supplier of manufactured gas” to a “distributer of natural gas”.

    Photo of molten salt carbonate fuel cell terminals in 1983

    ​Day #55

    Sunday, April 10, 2016

    First national methane emissions inventory

    A GTI-EPA study published in 1996 was one of the first industry efforts to develop a national methane emissions inventory and it established national emission factors (EFs) focused on cast iron and unprotected steel pipe. Individual natural gas utilities often use these EFs in their methane emissions reporting to the EPA, though that was not the intention of the study.

    Photo of workering doing a methane inventory

    ​Day #56

    Saturday, April 9, 2016

    A business strategy to commercialize its inventions

    In the early 1960s, GTI became involved in management consulting work, and also saw increasing opportunities to attempt commercialization of its patents. Gas Developments Corporation (GDC), Inc., a wholly-owned for-profit subsidiary, was formed to commercialize technology throughout the world. The subsidiary built a sizable international clientele by the end of the 1960s.

    For example, in 1968, GDC entered into negotiation with a Swedish company to commercialize the Munters Environmental Control System (MEC). This climate-control and air-conditioning system was pursued under the name of Solar-MEC (more recently, Thermal-MEC). GTI also developed a self-cleaning gas-fired oven in research for The Tappan Company through GDC, Inc. subsidiary.

    Photo of Munters Environmental Control System 1973

    ​Day #57

    Friday, April 8, 2016

    Tech start-up, LocusView Solutions

    GTI launched subsidiary LocusView in 2014 to help bring advanced mobile geospatial technology and services to the natural gas industry. LocusView’s technology is the result of industry-funded programs to develop next generation tools to ensure regulatory compliance, improve integrity and public safety, and reduce O&M costs.

    With sponsorship from Operations Technology Development (OTD), GTI developed an asset lifecycle tracking technology that maps new construction with comprehensive tracking and traceability data for materials, fittings, and fusions. The technology is part of the 3-GIS Mobile 2.1 platform and integrates with high-accuracy GPS and barcode scanning in real-time. The technology is now marketed as LocusMap through LocusView.

    Photo of molten salt carbonate fuel cell terminals in 1983

    ​Day #58

    Thursday, April 7, 2016

    We’re a pioneer in fuel cell research

    GTI became a pioneer in fuel cells in the 1950s, first with phosphoric acid fuel cells, then with molten carbonate fuel cells (MCFC). GTI achieved many breakthroughs in performance, stack life, and manufacturing techniques, and received three patents within the first decade, including our IMHEX design which makes multicell stacks practical—an absolutely crucial requirement for large power output. By the 1980s and 1990s, fuel cells became a dominant research program at GTI.

  • MCFC: Several utilities became sponsors of low-temperature MCFC development in the 1960s, enabling GTI to expand its fuel cell research with advanced laboratories and become a world leader in this technology. By the 1980s, we demonstrated that lower-cost copper-based anodes are feasible, with performance comparable to that of nickel-chromium materials. This important advancement allowed GTI to establish a subsidiary, M-C Power Corp., to commercially scale-up and further the MCFC technology.
  • Phosphoric acid fuel cells: ONSI Corporation, a subsidiary of International Fuel Cells Corporation, introduced a 200 kW phosphoric acid fuel cell in 1991—which incorporated technology advancements developed and tested by GTI—into the commercial building and light industrial plant market for clean power generation. The fuel cell offers 36-40% electrical conversion efficiency, and by-product heat is recovered to reach an overall efficiency of 72-80%. In just a year, over 60 units were ordered.
  •  

    Did you know: A fuel cell is a device that transforms the chemical energy of a fuel and oxidant into electricity. It is similar to a battery in that both have electrodes, an electrolyte, and positive and negative terminals. A fuel cell, however, does not store energy or undergo and irreversible chemical change. Instead, the fuel and oxidant are supplied continuously from the outside, and the fuel cell produces electricity as long as it receive these reactants. It is quiet, highly efficient, and non-polluting source of power.

    Photo of molten salt carbonate fuel cell terminals in 1983

    ​Day #59

    Wednesday, April 6, 2016

    GRI founded in 1976

    With the 1973-1974 oil embargo came the realization that a major national effort would be needed to assure adequate, secure, and environmentally acceptable supplies of all forms of energy. It became obvious that the technological base of the industry had to be broadened substantially if the many benefits of maintaining gas as the largest domestic energy source were to be realized.

    The gas industry decided there was a need for an overview organization to manage research for the entire industry. With the development of 5-year research program that would authorize funding of $2.3 billion, the creation of Gas Research Institute (GRI), a predecessor of GTI, was approved by the Federal Power Commission (FPC) and AGA. GRI was incorporated in Illinois as a not-for-profit, scientific research corporation on July 8, 1976. Dr. Henry Linden, the head of the IGT for 17 years, became the first President of GRI (1977-1987).

    Did you know: GRI amassed an impressive record in its 24 years, delivering about $8.50 of benefits for every dollar it spent. GRI delivered 458 products and technical services and secured more than 600 patents. GRI’s first commercial product was the ladle heater (trademarked as the THERMECON) under a licensing agreement with The Cadre Corp in 1980. The device heats ladles used to transport molten metals and is specifically designed to recycle heat during a firing cycle, which can reduce the amount of gas needed by 50-82%.

    GRI headquarters in 1993

    ​Day #60

    Tuesday, April 5, 2016

    Installed first hydrogen fueling station in IL

    In 2006, GTI’s integrated hydrogen fueling system and HydroFill algorithm were licensed to GreenField Compression for market introduction. By 2008, GreenField had manufactured a number of hydrogen dispensers that were delivered to various locations around the world.

    The natural gas-to hydrogen fueling station with the technology was installed at GTI headquarters. It was the first ever (and still only) hydrogen fueling station in the state of Illinois back in 2007. The hydrogen station was used to fuel a Hyundai Tucson hydrogen fuel cell vehicle as it made its way across the U.S. in September 2011 as part of a cross country PR event by Hyundai.

    With Texas Commission on Environmental Quality funding, GTI worked with the University of Texas at Austin to put the first hydrogen fuel cell bus on the road in the state and install the first permanent hydrogen fueling station.

    Hyundai Tuscon hydrogen fuel cell vehicle refueling at GTI's Hydrogen Fueling Station in Des Plaines, Illinois

    ​Day #61

    Monday, April 4, 2016

    The genesis of HYGAS

    Increased governmental and industry funding in support of gasification research in the 1960s drove development of a process for production of pipeline-quality gas from coal. In 1967, GTI made a very important space acquisition by purchasing a 9.7 acre location—a site where GTI already established several large-scale pilot facilities, but ownership allowed for federal research of coal gasification. By the end of the decade, GTI completed the construction of the $30 million HYGAS coal gasification pilot plant—the culmination of work that had been underway for 25 years. It was the first complete coal gasification plant to produce substitute natural gas (SNG) on-stream.

    In 1973, the HYGAS pilot plant produced—for the first time anywhere—pipeline-quality gas directly from coal on a large scale. By the 1980s, it was considered the first U.S. plant to convert unwashed, run-of-mine coal to high-Btu gas. The pilot plant achieved a high degree of success, lowering the costs of SNG from coal and opening up additional coal reserves for gasification.

    The HYGAS process was recognized as one of the “Top 100 Industrial Research Developments in the U.S.” published by Industrial Research Magazine.

    Breaking ground at the HYGAS coal gasification pilot plant

    ​Day #62

    Sunday, April 3, 2016

    GTI invented a biofuel anaerobic digestion process

    IGT invented the ANTHANE two-phase anaerobic digestion process for treatment of sludge and industrial wastes to produce clean-burning fuels, and simultaneously, through waste reduction, to simplify waste disposal in 1970. Costs are reduced by utilization of fuels created to replace conventional industrial plant fuel.

    ANTHANE two-phase anaerobic digestion process equipment

    ​Day #63

    Saturday, April 2, 2016

    Our first reactor was built in 1945

    GTI designed and built a 2700 degree F reactor to extend the range of various fundamental reaction data to pressures in the 750 psi range.

    IGT HP Reactor installation 1945

    ​Day #64

    Friday, April 1, 2016

    Analytical chemistry and our commitment to the highest testing standards

    In 1962, GTI began a natural gas certification program based on protocols established by the National Bureau of Standards, and in 1964, it began offering cylinders of standard natural gas for use in the calibration of instruments.

    Today, GTI has American Association of Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) Accreditation for performing gas quality analysis, certified natural gas analysis, and other analytical testing. We are one of only a few laboratories in the world that offers accredited DNA testing for microbial corrosion-causing microbe populations and the first U.S. lab to receive A2LA accreditation for microbial corrosion testing services.

    Did you know: GTI was a pioneer in applying molecular technology to microbial-influenced corrosion (MIC) detection, and the first one to use Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR), starting back in 2002.

    IGT ships cylinders of certified Natural Gas

    ​Day #65

    Thursday, March 31, 2016

    Coined the term “hydrogen economy”

    In the late 1960s and early 1970s, GTI began investigating clean power sources of hydrogen and solar energy. In the first comprehensive feasibility analysis of using hydrogen as a fuel, GTI coined the term “The Hydrogen Economy”.

    Since hydrogen can be produced without generating any carbon oxides, and its combustion produces water, which can be turned back into hydrogen, it was seen as a way to avoid the greenhouse effect and the existing pipeline delivery system could be used as a low-cost method for distribution.

    Hydrogen  and solar energy researcher early 1970

    ​Day #66

    Wednesday, March 30, 2016

    UGAS addresses looming environmental and energy security issues

    With the energy crisis on front-page news and fears of natural gas shortages looming, the gas industry and U.S. government funded an extensive program to develop and scale-up its coal gasification processes in the 1970s. GTI began a concentrated study and testing of various methods to supply hydrogen required in hydrogasification of coal to produce pipeline gas.

    A very successful effort was U-GAS®—an advanced, single-stage, fluidized-bed gasification process named for its product, "utility" gas. The process efficiently converts all ranks of coal into high value synthesis gas for use in power and chemical applications. As a standalone gasifier, the U-GAS® process produces low-to medium Btu fuel gas. U-GAS® can also provide hydrogen for hydrogasification processes, and was first investigated as a means of incorporating the steam-oxygen process into the HYGAS plant for continuous production of high-purity hydrogen. By the mid-90s, the world’s first U-GAS® coal gasification plant was built in Shanghai, China.

    Synthesis Energy Systems, Inc. (SES) holds an exclusive global license for GTI’s U-GAS® coal gasification process and has worked with GTI on the design of U-GAS® plants in China and the U.S.

    Hai Hua U-GAS coal gasification plant

    ​Day #67

    Tuesday, March 29, 2016

    Renown architect Mies van der Rohe designed GTI’s first building

    In 1948, GTI broke ground for a new, modern two-story building designed by celebrated architect Mies van der Rohe and the building was completed and occupied in 1950. This was the first building owned by GTI, not IIT.

    Peoples Gas Light and Coke Co. of Chicago also provided a 12,000 square foot site for pilot plant facilities at its former gas manufacturing facilities in the southwest part of Chicago on Crawford Avenue and renovated the building on the site for GTI, named the Energy Development Center (EDC). The location expanded in 1980 adding a new 4-story office building.

    John F. Kennedy eternal flame memorial in Arlington National Cemetery

    ​Day #68

    Monday, March 28, 2016

    GTI designed and installed the Eternal Flame at the JFK Memorial

    John F. Kennedy’s permanent gravesite in Arlington National Cemetery boasts an “eternal flame” that used a specially designed burner created and patented by GTI. A secondary pilot burner keeps the flame lit in wind, rain, or other adverse conditions. Subsequently, GTI designed similar burners for other memorials.

    John F. Kennedy eternal flame memorial in Arlington National Cemetery

    ​Day #69

    Sunday, March 27, 2016

    GTI started researching coal gasification back in 1942

    Work began on coal gasification and fluidization under a Basic Research Program in 1942. Under C. G. von Fredersdorff and JF.L. Johnson, sequentially, GTI became recognized as a world leader in the kinetics of coal gasification. During the 1950s, GTI's pilot plant facilities were expanded to permit more research with large-scale equipment.

    Coal fluidization equipment at IGT in 1948

    ​Day #70

    Saturday, March 26, 2016

    GTI owns one of the world's largest energy libraries

    The dissemination of information through a variety of publications has always been critical. In 1941, GTI began the development of the world’s leading energy library.

    From the beginning, GTI’s library, or the Technical Information Center (TIC), maintained an extensive collection of materials on energy-related source materials for students and the gas industry. The TIC now hosts one of the world’s largest collections of information on natural gas technologies and related energy topics and provides access to specialized digital databases.

    IGT Energy Library in 1940s

    ​Day #71

    Friday, March 25, 2016

    We performed classified WWII research

    During WWII, the U.S. produced and refined all of the oil needed by the Allies. From 1942-1944, GTI performed highly classified “war research” for various government agencies (development of poison-gas absorbents for military gas-mask applications, absorption processes for recovering butane from natural gas, improved activated-carbon compounds, and much more). Unfortunately, no records of the work was ever kept by GTI (formerly IGT).

    IGT World War II research tests on gasoline lanterns

    ​Day #72

    Thursday, March 24, 2016

    GTI acquired state-of-the-art equipment in the 50s

    GTI acquired the gas industry’s first mass spectrometer (Consolidated Engineering Corp., Model 21-103) to provide a better understanding of combustion and the components of the fuel gas. The instrument remained in service until 1987. In 1951, GTI used a distribution-system calculator (an early form of a computer) to help utilities decide what kind of distribution system additions were needed to meet demand. In 1955, we installed the first digital computer in the gas industry (ALWAC-III, Logistics Research, Inc) to help utilities solve gas distribution system design problems.

    Natural Gas Industry’s First Mass Spectrometer Model 21-103

    ​Day #73

    Wednesday, March 23, 2016

    The Blue Flame natural gas rocket car set a world record

    The LNG-fueled Blue Flame was a high-performing, ultra-high-speed, rocket-powered vehicle, which achieved the world land-speed record of 622.407 mph in 1970—a mark that stood for 13 years. GTI managed the design, construction, and formal racing of the racecar, fueled by methane and utilizing hydrogen peroxide as an oxidant. The Blue Flame was eventually sold to a private collector in Holland for $10,000 and is now on permanent display at the Auto + Technik Museum in Kraichgau, Germany.

    Blue Flame Natural Gas Rocket Car 1970

    ​Day #74

    Tuesday, March 22, 2016

    “Education” was the initial focus at GTI.

    The driving force behind the creation of GTI (IGT at the time) was the perceived need for training graduate engineers for service in the gas industry. During the first few years, GTI's administrators and trustees were concerned mainly with getting the educational program firmly on track before starting the research program.

    In 1944, the education program discontinued because of WWII and did not resume until the fall semester of 1946. The program later expanded from providing only graduate degrees to offering an undergraduate option for engineering students at IIT. In the first decade, 34 men graduated from the academic program, 33 received masters, and 2 doctorates.

    By the 1960s, there was a program shift from academic to industrial. After conducting a survey, they found that only 1/3 of graduates were being hired in the industry. GTI refocused its mission and designed a program served at providing short, intensive, courses designed to upgrade the skills of industry professionals in specific areas—a business strategy we still use today. Over 75,000 energy professionals have been trained by GTI!

    Classroom training at IGT was our first focus starting in 1941

    ​Day #75

    #GTI75days

    Monday, March 21, 2016

    GTI opened its doors on June 3, 1941.

    GTI, the Institute of Gas Technology (IGT) at the time, was founded in 1941 by the gas industry. IGT was administered at the brink of WWII during the last months of the uneasy peace before Pearl Harbor.

    Known as the “Gas Institute” in its early years, IGT’s mission was to specialize in research and education pertaining to the production, distribution, and utilization of gas and byproducts, and the collection and dissemination of scientific information. IGT was affiliated with the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and began operations in a one-story building on the IIT campus, starting with a dozen staff and less than 5,000 square feet of space—enough to perform a few fundamental and applied projects. The president of IIT, then Dr. Henry T. Heald, became the “first president” of IGT.

    In the first year of operation, IGT published its first technical paper, “Institute of Gas Technology,” by H.T. Heald, in American Gas Association Proceedings—1941, announcing the formation and goal of IGT.

    IGT first building 1941
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