Institute for Clean Energy Technology


The Institute for Clean Energy Technology (ICET, formerly the Diagnostic Instrumentation and Analysis Laboratory, DIAL) at Mississippi State University has been providing services to the Department of Energy's Office of Sciences and Technology in support of their environmental development program since 1993. These services include development of continuous emission monitors, process monitors, and optimization of processes and equipment for the Mixed Waste Clean-Up Program.

ICET has operated a combustion test facility since the mid 1970's and has operated a plasma torch facility since the mid 1980's. These facilities have been used for testing high temperature materials, simulation of the off-gas streams from several thermal processes, testing of air pollution control devices, vitrification of surrogate waste streams, support of diagnostic instrument development, and to provide data for modeling process flows.


The research services now being provided to DOE's Office of Sciences and Technology are a natural extension of the services ICET has provided for more than 20 years for the Department of Energy. The Department of Energy's Waste Management personnel require that technologies be tested as an integrated system with surrogate waste materials to verify performance before installation in the field; ICET makes these services available at a cost less than half that of the national labs, making it more cost effective to perform the required tests and operations.

ICET's efforts encompass a broad spectrum of testing activities consistent with DOE's hazardous and radioactive waste cleanup programs. Comprehensive, flexible, non-biased testing and validation of state-of-the-art environmental technologies are provided in order to address the effectiveness and reliability of the technologies and concerns of DOE and the public. The testing helps provide the basis for DOE's decisions on integrating them.

ICET research professionals utilize a flexible, modular, off-gas system for performance testing with well characterized gas stream environments. The major testing areas encompass air pollution control systems (APCS), partitioning studies, continuous emission monitors (CEMs), and process monitors (PMs). An extremely important and critical element of the integrated APCS testing involves the evaluation of the effectiveness of CEMs and/or PMs and sensors for process control and monitoring to provide real time off-gas component performance, early alert of potential problems, stable operating conditions, and adequate control of emissions. These efforts play a critical role in providing options for divert-and-treat strategies, and the basis to prevent catastrophic failure and thereby provide safe, effective and clean operations of the integrated radioactive treatment process.

ICET's multidisciplinary staff can test a wide variety of technologies either in their facilities, or at the customer's location. ICET, in its new 55,000-square-foot building, has the ability to determine the performance of most high temperature technologies with its combustion test stand and its induction and plasma melters. Partnerships have been formed with other units within the university, as well as with other organizations with testing capabilities, to expand the range of technologies which ICET can test. Within the university, the Water Resources Research Institute provides the capabilities for testing surface water quality sampling and monitoring systems. ICET has access to Florida International University's test bed for nuclear decontamination technologies. ICET has reached agreement with the U. S. Department of Energy to use the Three Rivers Landfill at Savannah River as a test bed for landfill remediation technologies. ICET also has agreements with the USGS' Hydrologic Instrumentation Facility and with the Army Corps of Engineers' Waterways Experiment Station to use their testing facilities for technologies relating to ground water and soil sampling and analysis.


Organizations are turning to ICET for testing because they understand that its flat organizational structure and autonomous role in the university setting gives it the ability to respond to changing needs in a rapid and cost effective manner. ICET's costs are one-third to one-half those of many other national organizations which test technologies. ICET's unitary management structure enables it to rapidly orient resources wherever they are needed. The open access implicit in ICET's university affiliation also enhances its ability to bring developers, users, and stakeholders together in a neutral setting. This is often a major problem at DOE facilities, where developers can have difficulty gaining access.

ICET's Executive Board provides another unique advantage to technology developers with its strong user component:

  • Sam Kelly, General Manager of Solid Waste at DOE's Savannah River Site;
  • Steve Cowan, former head of Waste Management Operations for DOE;
  • Ed Brown, VP for Technology for Lockheed Martin Advanced Energy Systems.
  • This is balanced by an equally strong stakeholder group:

  • Ken Nemeth, Executive Director of the Southern States Energy Board;
  • Ann Heywood, former deputy secretary for technology for the California EPA;
  • Frank Parker, former head of the Board of Radioactive Waste Management for the National Academy of Sciences, and most recently head of the Governor's (Tennessee) Blue Ribbon Panel on the TSCA incinerator.
  • ICET's Executive Board ensures that key users are apprised of favorable test results quickly. The stakeholder members of the Board can facilitate multi-state permitting of new technologies, and provide very wide exposure nationwide.

    ICET can act as a unique bridge between the sites and yourself as a technology provider. ICET's Director and staff have worked with the waste management organizations at every major DOE site. We know their needs and can help you decide which sites to approach.

    ICET has a unique combination of capabilities to provide performance data. ICET's instrumentation and testing facilities are a unique combination ideally suited for providing performance data for new technologies. Other facilities have some of one or the other, but ICET's concentration of both capabilities makes it the choice most likely to get all of the data you need. If it would be better to test your technology at some other location, either a DOE site or your own location for example, we can take our instrumentation and test personnel wherever they are needed.

    ICET's ability to support testing wherever needed can assist in obtaining cost data. ICET has conducted testing in a wide variety of environments away from MSU. These include radioactive facilities (ANL-W), high temperature environments (UTSI), and other DOE and industrial facilities. ICET can carry out or assist in testing at the DOE sites, and gain meaningful cost data in that manner.

    ICET's motto is fast, flexible, and focused. We are fast to respond, flexible in supporting you as a developer, and focused on expediting the implementation of new technologies.


    Two-Color Pyrometer (surface temperature and emissivity)

    This system measures the surface temperature and emissivity of the surface. The technique is based on Planck's radiation law, and requires measurements of the radiation intensity from the surface at two wavelengths, assuming graybody radiation. This system uses single detectors operating at near one and two microns to measure the radiation from a hot surface. The single color pyrometers are configured to target a single spot by using a cold mirror.

    Multi-Wavelength Pyrometer (surface temperature and emissivity)

    A silicon diode array detector mounted on a monochromator allows for the collection of radiation spectra over a wavelength range which depends on the grating used. This system is calibrated with a blackbody source and is then used to determine temperature and emissivity by fitting the radiation spectrum to Planck's radiation law assuming graybody emission. The radiation signal may be coupled to the monochrometer through an optical fiber. It may be noted that this system can also be used to monitor emission spectra from the hot gas stream.

    Multi-Color Imaging System (thermal images)

    The multi-color imaging system consists of a CCD camera equipped with various filters and lenses, a frame grabber board to digitize and capture images from the camera, and a PC to store, measure and present the images. A 900 nm interference filter with a 10 nm bandwidth is used for most of the thermal imaging, but images may also be obtained with a 760 nm interference filter to obtain temperature and emissivity. Other wavelengths are available for specific applications, such as atomic emission detection. A telephoto lens of 75 mm focal length as well as a lens of 25 mm focal length can be selected depending on the distance to the region of interest and the desired resolution and coverage area. These intensities of the images provide a measurement of the temperature and temperature gradients across the area of view.

    Atomic Emission/Absorption System (time-resolved temperature, atomic density)

    The system rapidly measures the average gas temperature by the line reversal technique, and provides the average neutral atomic number density by lineshape analysis. The system measures the temperature essentially of the central region of the gas stream. The technique employs a calibrated light source and is based on intensity measurement, usually on the wing of one of the sodium or potassium D-lines. The system can also be used to detect emission spectra from atomic or molecular species.

    Two-Color Laser Transmissometer (average particle size and particle number density)

    TCLT The system measures the average particle size and particle loading in the gas stream. The technique is based on measurement of laser light extinction at two wavelengths (e.g., the IR and visible spectral regions) and knowledge of the refraction index of the particles.

    Laser Doppler Velocimeter (local velocity, velocity profile and turbulence level)

    The system measures the gas velocity and turbulence level at a given point in the gas stream. The technique is based on measurement of the modulation frequency of the scattered light from a particle traversing a measurement volume formed by intersection of two focused laser beams.

    Cross Correlation System (flow velocity)

    The system measures the average flow velocity. The technique involves measuring the fluctuations in gas luminosity, or laser light extinction, at two spatially separated locations. The cross-correlation function of these signals gives the time interval between which the signal and a time-displaced version of itself correlates.

    Coherent Anti-Stokes Raman Spectroscopy System (local temperature, temperature profile)

    The CARS system is a laser-based nonlinear optical technique used to provide temperature and species concentration measurements with spatial and temporal resolution. Of the many laser based techniques, CARS is the best suited for thermometry in high-interference environments because of its coherent, laser-like signal character and high signal conversion efficiency. To obtain a CARS spectrum, two narrow band lasers at pump frequency w1, derived from the pump laser and one broadband dye laser at Stokes frequency w2, are phase matched and focused at the measurement point thereby generating, through the third order susceptibility of the medium, a spectrum at anti-Stokes frequency w3, = 2w1 - w2,. The CARS spectrum of a species (e.g., nitrogen) can be sensitive to both temperature and species concentration.

    Intrusive Probe System (wall and gas temperature)

    The system incorporates an optical sensor/technique interfaced with an insertion probe. Since it is optically based the probe need spend only a very short period of time in the gas stream. Provides measurement capabilities in regions where, because of the path length, or particle density optical measurements would not be possible.

    Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (chemical analysis, temperature and particle size distribution)

    FTIR spectroscopy is a proven analytic method for the identification and quantification of chemical species. The technique is based on the absorption or emission of infrared radiation as a molecule undergoes a transition from one vibration-rotation level to another. All molecules except homonuclear diatomics (e.g., N2, O2) are amenable to analysis. Each molecule possesses a unique structure of vibrational-rotational levels and consequently the FTIR method is molecular specific. It should be noted that FTIR requires a library of spectra of the molecules to be identified. Hence, some prior knowledge of the gas stream composition is particularly useful. The technique provides molecular identification and concentrations, gas temperature, and particle size distribution.

    Multi-Purpose Imaging System (species concentration profiles)

    A collection of television cameras, optics and filters, and PC computer with frame grabber boards suitable for spatially resolved optical diagnostics. When used with a tunable laser, Rayleigh/Mie scattering and laser induced fluorescence images are produced that give profiles of species concentration. The laser beam is expanded with cylindrical optics into a wide, thin sheet that is directed through the region of interest. A camera lens is then used to focus light emitted by this region onto an area detector, the signal from which is processed by a computer to produce a two dimensional image of the probed region. Direct emission images can also be obtained with up to three cameras at user selected wavelengths. Temperature and species profiles of glowing systems can then be obtained and monitored.

    Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (heavy metal monitor)

    LIBS can be employed to monitor, in real time, toxic heavy metals (THMS) or elemental composition in the off-gas. It uses a high power frequency doubled Nd:YAG laser to generate laser-induced breakdown in the test medium. The breakdown generates a high density plasma which excites various atomic elements present in the focal volume. Since it is an emission technique, it has the capabilities to provide simultaneous multi-species measurements. The wavelength positions of the emission lines are used to identify the atomic species present, and the line intensities provide concentration information. Can be used to study gas, liquid or solid mediums.

    Differential Absorption Laser Spectroscopy (species concentration)

    A general purpose technique for measuring line-of-sight average concentrations for gas phase atomic and molecular species of interest, even when concentrations are very low. Concentrations of any species that absorbs anywhere in the wavelength range from ultraviolet to near infrared can, in principle, be monitored by this technique. The technique corrects for the background absorption by using two laser wavelengths one which is on resonance for a particular species and one which is off resonance.

    Laser Optogalvanic Spectroscopy (selected metal concentration)

    A general purpose technique to monitor in real-time atomic species in gas phase at extremely low concentrations. When the wavelength of a laser coincides with the absorption of an atomic species in an atomization source (flame or electric discharge), the laser induces a transient increase in the rate of ionization monitored as a transient voltage change via an electrode in the plasma. Since LOGS detection is electrical (charges) rather than optical (photons), the signal detection is more efficient and hence lower detection limits are possible.

    Gas Analysis System (chemical analysis of gas streams)

    ICET has a number of conventional gas analysis instruments including a gas chromatograph and NOx, COx, SO2, O2, and combustible meters. Some of these measurements are integrated into a computer controlled system for continuous monitoring.

    Gas Chromatography (chemical analysis)

    Sample to be analyzed is introduced into a carrier gas stream which passes over suitable separation columns chosen for the compounds to be analyzed. The sample gases leave the column at different times depending on their distribution coefficients for the column. Conventional and mass spectrometer detectors are available.

    Real Time Combustion Controller (control stoichiometry)

    The RTCC is a system for controlling the air to fuel ratio of a combustor. The technology is based on the systematic variation of molecular signatures as the stoichiometry (air/fuel) changes. In practice, the RTCC system consists of a sensor, a computer, and facility interface modules.

    Shear Ultrasound Reflection Viscometer (viscosity and temperature of molten materials)

    SURV is based on the reflection of shear waves from a solid-viscous liquid interface. Shear waves are ultrasonic waves in which the particle motion is perpendicular to the direction of propagation of the wave. The amplitude of the reflected shear wave from a solid-liquid interface depends on, among other things, the viscosity of the liquid. In addition, the ambient temperature of the melt can be inferred from the arrival time of the reflected shear wave. This device incorporates an ultrasonic buffer rod made of appropriate high temperature material.

    Plasma Torch Electrode Health Monitor (status of electrode)

    Electrode erosion occurs under the extreme operating conditions that are present at the attachment point in the back electrode of a DC electric arc torch, especially when operating on nitrogen or air. Electrode material is hence vaporized and introduced into the torch gas flow. This material is excited and emits a particular spectral signature when it exits the torch nozzle. This signature provides specific information on the erosion occurring within the back electrode. Typically, the electrode is doped at a given depth with an indicator material. When the electrode erodes through to this material the emission spectra from the arc signals the need to schedule the replacement of the torch electrode.

    Inductively Coupled Plasma System (metals monitor)

    The system is a portable unit employing a solid-state rf generator. Unlike the standard laboratory ICP, the air-ICP readily tolerates the introduction of molecular gas samples as well as a significantly higher water and particle loading. It has the additional advantage of operating both as an argon-air ICP or as an all air system. The introduction of air into the plasma results in a totally different spectra from the line spectra seen in an argon ICP. The emission spectra also contains molecular bands (e.g., OH, NO, N2+) in the wavelength regions of interest for metal detection (200 - 350 nm). The system consists of a sampling system, a rf generated plasma, a monochromator, and a detector to monitor the emission spectra from the plasma.

    Cavity Ring-Down Spectroscopy System (under development - heavy metals and chemical species)

    Cavity ringdown spectroscopy (CRS) is highly sensitive absorption technique which differs from standard atomic absorption spectrometry in that it is a measurement of the rate of light absorption by a sample within a closed optical cavity. A laser pulse is introduced into an optical cavity formed from two highly reflective mirrors. The light is subsequently trapped between the mirror surfaces and decays exponentially with time at a rate determined by the round trip loss experienced by the laser pulse. This ringdown time, which is measured depends on the effective reflectivity of the cavity mirrors, the wavelength dependent absorption coefficient of a sample in the cavity, and the length of the optical path through the sample. The technique is insensitive to the power fluctuations common to pulsed lasers. Due to a combination of long effective pathlengths (in the range of kilometers) and relaxed constraints on the measurement of the decay time high sensitivities can be achieved.

    Non-Destructive Evaluation Using Conventional or Laser-Based Ultrasound (material and defect characterization)

    Laser-induced ultrasound is a phenomenon where interaction of a pulsed laser with solid media generates wide band elastic ultrasound waves. Interaction involves thermoelastic expansion and ablation. Different modes of stress wave propagation are generated, which are detected using laser interferometry. These stress waves provide a non contact, non-invasive method of material characterization and defect evaluation in electrically conducting and nonconducting mediums, at ambient to elevated temperatures, in corrosive and other hostile environments, and for complex contoured structures. Similar information may also be obtained employing conventional ultrasound techniques.

    Non-Intrusive Pressure Sensing for Stored Waste

    Researchers at ICET have developed a non-intrusive technique to detect the pressure in drums. The equipment is simple, versatile, and portable (handheld). The system can be used to rapidly screen drums before handling, and thus warn operators of over-pressurization.

    Water Analysis

    The following testing can be conducted upon request: Biochemical and Chemical Oxygen Demand, Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen, Ammonia, Suspended Solids, pH, and several other EPA wet chemistry methods.


    Combustion test stand: diesel or gas fired facility with a 50.0 to 200.0 ACFM input flow rate, used for simulation of various process streams, instrument development, instrument testing, APCS testing.

    Air-inductively coupled plasma spectrophotometer for quantification of RCRA metals concentrations in off-gases.

    Laser Doppler velocimeter for measuring gas and liquid velocities using flow tracer particles.

    Fiber-based infrared pyrometer for measuring surface temperatures.

    Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, both extractive (EPA protocol) and emission (on-line process evaluation).

    Two-color laser transmissometer (using primary calibration from EPA Method 5 according to the MACT rules).

    Cascade impactor for quantifying particle size distribution and concentration with very high resolution.

    Several stack samplers for conducting EPA Method 5 for determination of particle concentrations, and EPA Method 29 for multiple metals concentrations in off-gases.

    High-volume ambient air impactor for measuring particle distributions present in ambient air.

    Dual NOx/ NO2 analyzer for conducting EPA Method 7E. (L.O.D. 1.0 ppm). Equipped with an NO2 generator.

    Several dual CO/CO2 analyzers for conducting EPA Method 10. (L.O.D. 0.1 ppm).

    SO2 analyzer for quantitative

    Several oxygen analyzers for quantitative detection of oxygen in off-gases. (L.O.D. 0.1%).

    Hydrocarbon analyzers for quantitative detection of combustibles for area or flow monitoring. (L.O.D. 0.025%).

    Total hydrocarbon analyzer for quantitative detection of combustibles and all other hydrocarbons. (L.O.D. 1ppb; reported as methane).

    Dynamic gas calibrator for mixing calibration gases.

    Gas chromatograph for quantification of concentrations of a wide range of analytes having molecular weights of approximately <350 g/mol.

    Gas chromatograph/ion trap mass spectrometer for high resolution detection of minute quantities of a wide range of molecules having molecular weights of approximately <500 g/mol.

    Other applicable equipment: Nafion gas dryers, HEPA particle filters, heated traced gas sample lines, diaphragm sample pumps, etc.


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