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Justin Adder
Since joining NETL in 2009, Senior Economist Justin Adder has played a major role demonstrating the importance of the Lab’s research while also navigating new trends in power generation and other industries connected to America’s fossil fuels, such as how the advent of abundant natural gas fundamentally changed the domestic energy sector, as part of the Energy Markets Analysis Team (EMAT). Adder grew up in Somerset, Pennsylvania, and earned his bachelor’s degree in economics and equivalent in accounting from Washington & Jefferson College. He continued his education at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., receiving his master’s in business administration with a concentration in finance. Adder’s first experience merging his education with the energy sector occurred close to home.
STEM
NETL will take part in the Student Leadership Innovation Summit, a virtual event to be hosted by the Open Window School in Bellevue, Washington, on Wednesday, Dec. 2, to encourage young minds to explore careers that involve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Held for children in grades five through seven, the event will be an opportunity for NETL to share information and insight about careers, top challenges, visions for the future, innovations the Lab would like to advance, and the potential impact these innovations may have. Following the summit, students will participate in the ExploraVision competition, in which they will select a science-related issue they are passionate about and work in small teams to tackle that issue through the use of innovative technology. The competition endorses STEM literacy by improving skills in the areas of critical thinking, deductive and inductive reasoning, and problem solving.
NETL researchers John Johnson and Dushyant Shekhawat operate a state-of-the-art variable frequency microwave reactor in  the Reaction Analysis and Chemical Transformation (ReACT) facility
NETL talent and expertise can strengthen U.S. capabilities to serve as a world leader in the conversion of natural gas and its liquid components into the chemical feedstocks to manufacture an extensive list of commodities and consumer products used daily. To maximize growing investment in research and development (R&D), NETL is prioritizing the Lab’s efforts to support projects focused on converting natural gas into the chemical building blocks needed to manufacture higher value products and positioning its multidisciplinary teams to support innovative technologies to transform the petrochemical sector. U.S. energy security is predicated on increasing natural gas usage. The chemicals marketplace also relies predominantly on natural gas, and the petrochemical industry is actively seeking to identify more uses for natural gas as a product feedstock and exploring ways to deliver those products to market faster, at lower cost and with less environmental impact.
AIChE Logo
NETL experts shared their innovative research and development (R&D) work with scientists from around the world at the nation’s premier educational forum for chemical engineers, the American Institute for Chemical Engineers’ (AIChE) 2020 Annual Meeting. More than 40 NETL personnel participated in the virtual event held Nov. 16-20. Researchers from academia, government, and industry addressed a wide range of topics relevant to cutting-edge research, new technologies and emerging growth areas in chemical engineering.
Techconnect Business logo
NETL researchers joined other innovators and industry experts from around the globe as they pitched cutting-edge technologies with commercial potential at the 2020 TechConnect Business Virtual Summit and Showcase, held virtually Nov. 19-20. The TechConnect Innovation Showcase provides a unique and vetted pipeline for corporate, federal and venture capitalist prospectors to discover and connect with emerging technologies. During a pre-recorded Thursday session, NETL researchers pitched a technology for removing carbon dioxide from flue gas and a technology for removing dyes from water sources. Both of these technology pitches were recognized with TechConnect Innovation Awards.
Jim Wilson
James Wilson, executive director and chief financial officer, Finance and Acquisition Center, has been named CFO of the Year for 2020 by the Pittsburgh Business Times. Wilson was honored for his excellence in providing the critical financial oversight needed to operate an innovative science-focused organization dedicated to maintaining U.S. energy independence, improving the environment and developing technologies to produce affordable and abundant energy. The CFO of the Year Awards honor financial professionals in western Pennsylvania for outstanding performance as financial stewards. Wilson and this year’s honorees, representing a diverse mix of corporate and not-for-profit organizations, will be recognized at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19. Click here for more information about this virtual event and to review the list of award winners.
NETL’s inventions recognized by TechConnect build upon the Lab’s work to remove CO2 from power plant operations and scrub organic contaminants from environmental and industrial water sources.
NETL inventions to separate carbon dioxide (CO2) from post-combustion flue gases and remove contaminants from water sources won at the recent 2020 TechConnect Innovation Awards for their ability to contribute to a more sustainable environment while providing potential economic benefits. Researchers David Hopkinson, Victor Kusuma and Surendar Venna earned an award for their development of “Crosslinked Polymer Blend Membranes for CO2 Separation” which builds upon previous work to capture greenhouse gases from the nation’s power plant fleet. Membrane-based separation is one of the most promising solutions for CO2 removal from post-combustion flue gases produced in power generation. Analyses showed that these membranes must possess high gas permeability. However, most high-permeability materials suffer from poor mechanical properties or unacceptable loss in performance over time due to physical aging. This technology is a successful attempt to turn one of these high-performance materials with poor mechanical properties into one amenable for use in practical separation membranes with virtually no physical aging issues.
Winners
Two researchers at NETL were recognized for achievements and contributions in their fields during the 2020 annual meeting of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), being held virtually Nov. 16-20. Madhava Syamlal, Ph.D., senior fellow, Computational Sciences and Engineering, is the recipient of the Elsevier Particle Technology Forum Award for Lifetime Achievements. Isaac Gamwo, Ph.D., a research chemical engineer on NETL’s Reaction Engineering Team, received the AIChE Minority Affairs Committee’s Eminent Chemical Engineers Award. AIChE is an international organization for chemical engineering professionals, with more than 60,000 members from more than 110 countries.
Cerebras
An NETL collaboration with Cerebras Systems has demonstrated that their acclaimed CS-1 system could perform a key computational fluid dynamics (CFD) workload more than 200 times faster and at a fraction of the power consumption than the same workload on an optimized number of cores of the Lab’s supercomputer JOULE 2.0. Further development of this unique computational architecture could lead to a paradigm shift in NETL’s high-performance computing (HPC) efforts and help overcome challenges facing researchers as they design and model next-generation energy systems. The research was led by Dirk Van Essendelft, Ph.D., machine learning and data science engineer at NETL, and Michael James, Cerebras chief architect of advanced technologies and a cofounder of the company.
Gas Well
Drilling of a nearly 10,000-foot-deep characterization well in the Paradox Basin of Utah is scheduled to begin in late 2020. The primary goal of this field laboratory supported by NETL is to generate new strategies to efficiently extract oil from unconventional shales in the region. Spudding of the well, or initiation of drilling operations, will take place at the project site located near the community of Green River in Grand County. The Utah Geological Survey estimates undiscovered recoverable oil reserves from the Cane Creek shale play and other shales in the Paradox Basin of at least 471 million barrels, making the development of these sizable resources an important step to maintain U.S. energy independence. After it is drilled to a depth of 9,850 feet, the well will be used by NETL and its project partners, including the University of Utah and Zephyr Energy, to study and characterize the regional geology, stress regime and natural fracture networks.