crosscutting research

The Crosscutting Research Program develops a range of innovative and enabling technologies that are key to improving existing power systems and essential for accelerating the development of a new generation of highly efficient environmentally benign fossil fuel based power systems.

Crosscutting Research encompasses the following technology areas:

Within each of these technology areas, the mission space is focused on bridging the gap between fundamental and applied R&D efforts. Technologies that successfully bridge this gap are intended to offer viable step change improvements in power system efficiency, reliability, costs, and environmental impacts.

The Crosscutting Research Program executes the R&D efforts by partnering and collaborating with research institutions and the power generation industry throughout the United States and select international collaborations. The Crosscutting Research Program also sponsors one of the longest running and important university training and research programs to reinforce the research based education of students at U.S. universities and colleges with emphasis on fossil energy science.

The Crosscutting Research Program produces tools, techniques, and technologies that map to the Clean Coal Research Program’s in Advanced Energy Systems (AES) and Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). The Crosscutting Research program has the following major technology thrust:

Sensors and Controls: The basis for this research area is to make available new classes of sensors and measurement tools that manage complexity, permit low cost, robust monitoring, and enable real-time optimization of fully integrated, highly efficient power-generation systems. Controls research centers around self-organizing in-formation networks and distributed intelligence for process control and decision making.

High Performance Materials: Materials development, under the Crosscutting Research Program, focuses on structural materials that will lower the cost and improve the performance of fossil-based power-generation systems. Computational tools to support predictive performance, failure mechanisms, and molecular design of materials are also under development to support highly focused efforts in material development.

Simulation based Engineering: This technology area represents a vast amount of expertise and capability to computationally represent the full range of energy science from reactive and multiphase flows up to a full-scale virtual and interactive power plant. Science-based models of the physical phenomenon occurring in fossil fuel conversion processes and development of multi-scale, multi-physics simulation capabilities are just some of the tools and capabilities under this technology area.

The National Risk Assessment Partnership (NRAP)— The NRAP initiative centers on science-based prediction for engineered–natural systems applicable to the long-term storage of carbon dioxide (CO2). The primary objective of NRAP is to develop a defensible, science-based methodology and platform for quantifying risk profiles at most types of CO2 storage sites to guide decision making and risk management. This computationally intensive effort uses available data to validate models that range from the core to field and basin scale, and incorporate near-term and long-term phenomena.

Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative (CCSI) – The CCSI initiative is actively developing and deploying state-of-the-art computational modeling and simulation tools to accelerate the commercialization of carbon capture technologies from discovery to development, demonstration, and ultimately the widespread deployment of carbon capture technologies.


University Training and Research (UTR): The UTR program sponsors research based educational grants to U.S. Universities and Colleges in areas that benefit the Office of Fossil Energy and the Crosscutting Research Program. UTR is the umbrella program under which the University Coal Research (UCR) and Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and Other Minority Institutions (OMI) initiatives operate. These grant programs address the scientific and technical issues key to achieving Fossil Energy’s goals, and build our nation’s capabilities in energy science and engineering by providing hands-on research experience to future generations of scientists and engineers.

Innovative Energy Concepts: Innovative Energy Concepts is concerned with the development of innovative cost-effective technologies that promote efficiency, environmental performance, availability of advanced energy systems, and the development of computational tools that shorten development timelines of advanced energy systems. NETL, working with members of the NETL-Regional University Alliance (NETL-RUA), will focus on five research tasks:

MHD generator concept: High-temperature oxy-fuel combustion (with conductivity seed) accelerates through magnetic field to produce current.
  • Innovative Energy Concepts
  • Computational Materials
  • Power Electronics and Energetic Materials


This area provides for fundamental and applied research in innovative concepts with a 10-25 year horizon that offers the potential for technical breakthroughs and step change improvements in power generation and the removal of any environmental impacts from fossil energy-based power system.

Environmental Control is based on a legacy program that encompassed the development of advanced mercury and NOx emissions control technologies, coal utilization byproduct (CUB) research, to CO2 emissions control for existing plants and Water-Energy Interface R&D. This area made significant contributions to lowering the environmental impact of coal based power systems. Efforts are underway to analyze the future impacts of water for advanced power systems and how R&D can address these pending issues.

Use the interactive map to learn more about individual projects active under the Crosscutting Research Program.

Produced Water Management Information System is an online resource for technical and regulatory information for managing produced water, including current practices, state and federal regulations, and guidelines for optimal management practices. 

Use the interactive map to learn more about individual projects active under the Crosscutting Research Program.



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