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Quantum Computer
NETL experts are preparing to put quantum computing, a rising, powerful and promising new force for complex and fast problem solving, to work on key energy research topics leading to an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. Quantum computing uses the principles of quantum mechanics to sift through large numbers of possibilities to extract solutions to complex problems at speeds exponentially higher than conventional computers with less energy consumption. While classical computers store information as bits with either 0s or 1s, quantum computers use superposition of both 0s and 1s, which are called quantum bits (qubits). Qubits can carry information in a quantum state that engages 0 and 1 in a multidimensional way.
A headshot of George Guthrie
George Guthrie, Ph.D., has been named principal deputy director of NETL. Guthrie joins NETL from Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he served as deputy director for the applied energy programs, leading a diverse portfolio of applied R&D in applied energy and helping to establish and lead a place-based initiative in energy transition for the intermountain west. Guthrie is a scientist with over 30 years of experience in geosciences and applied-energy applications. Guthrie holds a bachelor’s from Harvard University and a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University.
Molten metal being taken out of a press using large plyers.
NETL researchers will exhibit and take part in technical sessions at the 2022 Liquid Metal Processing and Casting Conference (LMPC), held Sept. 18-21, 2022, at the Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia. The conference convenes academic and industry experts to discuss the latest advances in processes used to cast large ingots of highly alloyed metals. NETL’s advanced alloy development research employs an integrated approach that leverages computational materials engineering, manufacturing at scale and performance assessment at condition to develop alloys solutions enabling advanced technologies. The Lab has demonstrated and deployed alloys with improved performance capabilities for energy applications, aerospace, defense and bio-medical applications. NETL has also implemented technologies to improve melting and casting practices, and some of these advancements will be featured during the conference’s technical sessions.
A developer touching the optical pH sensor.
NETL researchers have developed a cutting-edge fiber-optic sensor to monitor conditions in extreme environments thousands of feet below the Earth’s surface and obtain essential data needed to safely sequester greenhouse gas in underground reservoirs. “This breakthrough invention by NETL researchers can be used to obtain accurate pH measurements from formation fluids in harsh subsurface conditions where temperatures range up to 300 degrees Celsius (572 degrees Fahrenheit) and pressures range up to 30,000 pounds per square inch,” said Barbara Kutchko, a senior research scientist at NETL. A member of the team that received a U.S. patent on the technology, Kutchko explained that obtaining pH levels from these extreme environments is critical to ensure the safe sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the subsurface, a major component of the nation’s plan to achieve a net-zero carbon emissions economy by 2050.
A close up shot of a water droplet hitting a pool of water.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) released a Request for Information (RFI) on Aug. 25, 2022, on the characterization, treatment and cleaning, and management of effluent waters from oil and natural gas development and production, along with legacy wastewaters associated with thermal power generation.Water is critical to almost every phase of fossil energy operations — from resource extraction, transport, and processing to power generation. However, these activities generate large quantities of wastewater. DOE is seeking input to help lower the cost of developing and demonstrating technologies to effectively manage wastewater for beneficial end-uses including, but not limited to, irrigation of non-edible crops, hydrogen generation, and aquifer recharge and recovery. Reusing treated water for these purposes offers great potential to increase the availability of fresh water in arid and semi-arid regions of the Nation.
A picture of Juan Flores Garcia, a summer intern at the Pittsburgh site.
On-site learning experiences returned to NETL this summer, providing research associates with valuable opportunities to advance cutting-edge technologies, write papers and present their findings while collaborating with Lab’s world-class engineers and scientists. Nearly 50 research associates participated in five internship programs designed to prepare the next generation for rewarding careers in energy-related research. Each conducted their research under the tutelage of mentors at NETL sites in Albany, Oregon; Morgantown, West Virginia; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. While a small number took part remotely, most enjoyed in-person internship experiences, which is a significant change from the previous two summers when on-site participation was restricted due to COVID-19.
#NETL is supporting an award-winning startup company to help develop a novel power plant technology that can produce clean water from cooling tower plumes
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) NETL is supporting an award-winning startup company to help develop a novel power plant technology that can produce clean water from cooling tower plumes. The technology could significantly reduce water consumption in evaporative cooling tower systems by capturing water from cooling tower plumes, which are formed when water vapor generated in cooling towers mixes with colder ambient air as it leaves the tower and condenses. Both the United Nations and the U.S. State Department have warned that the world is facing a freshwater shortage by 2030. In the U.S. alone, decreasing precipitation and rising populations could pose a serious threat of water shortages.  According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), “About two-fifths of all the water that gets withdrawn from lakes, rivers, and wells in the U.S. is used not for agriculture, drinking or sanitation, but to cool the power plants that provide electricity from fossil fuels or nuclear power.” More than 65% of these plants use evaporative cooling, leading to huge white plumes that billow from their cooling towers. 
RWFI E-note Monthly
The July 2022 edition of the RWFI E-Note Monthly, NETL’s Regional Workforce Initiative (RWFI) newsletter, is now available and includes details on a range of grant funding and training opportunities from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
An in-motion photograph of code being zoomed in on.
NETL researchers are helping the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) unlock the potential of an advanced artificial intelligence (AI) computing resource to perform critical climate modeling that could lead to better climate change predictions. NCAR will conduct the research using Carnegie Mellon University’s cutting-edge Neocortex high-performance computing resource, which features the Cerebras CS-2 system, a ground-breaking AI computational resource powered by the world’s largest computer chip — the wafer scale engine (WSE). NETL researchers have been collaborating with Cerebras Systems Inc. over the last two years on unique modeling capabilities using the WSE, and have been developing a user interface that allows users to easily write programs on the WSE for scientific modeling.
Natalie Pekney, a Caucasian woman with green eyes and long, curly brown hair.
NETL’s Natalie Pekney led a career development panel featuring women from across the U.S. Department of Energy during a virtual segment of the 2022 GirlCon, held Friday, June 17. Pekney joined Kate Klise and Christine Downs from Sandia National Laboratory, Charu Varadharajan from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Chris Morency from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as they discussed their day-to-day routines and offered words of wisdom for working for the federal government. “This was a valuable, candid discussion where each of us was able to share our unique perspectives working at the different national labs,” Pekney said. “We hope we opened up the lines of communication and provided some inspiration for the next generation of scientists and engineers to consider government service.”