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In celebration of Earth Day, which is observed today, April 22, NETL proudly announces the winners of its annual Earth Day Poster Contest. This year’s contest drew approximately 1,130 entries from elementary students (grades 1-5) at schools near NETL’s sites in Albany, Oregon; Morgantown, West Virginia; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who used their creativity and imaginations to showcase their favorite ways to protect the environment. This year, students were asked to design their posters around the theme, “What Will You Do to Stop Climate Change?” NETL is proud to share the first-, second-, third- and fourth-place winning entries at each grade level. Click here to see the winning posters.  Involving children in activities that center around the environment embodies the message of Earth Day while encouraging creative expression and the development of an early interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
NETL's Fan Shi holding a bronze Edison Award
Developers of NETL’s Multi-Functional Sorbent Technology (MUST), a suite of sorbents that offers a practical, affordable and green approach to remove contaminants from water and manufacturing processes, received a bronze award at the Edison Awards Gala held April 21 in Fort Myers, Florida. The Edison Awards is an international annual competition honoring excellence in new product and service development, marketing, human-centered design and innovation. MUST received its awards in the Eco-Innovation category. The team’s innovative technology removes selenium and other metals that contaminate water supplies across America and jeopardize the health of millions of people, wildlife and fragile ecosystems. MUST is the only sorbent-based technology known to NETL that effectively reduces selenium to meet federal discharge limits consistently.
An image of the Pittsburgh skyline
Several NETL advanced research technologies and cutting-edge facilities were demonstrated for a contingent of NETL partners from the Pittsburgh region including representatives from Dortmund, Germany, during their visit to western Pennsylvania Monday, April 4, to engage with the Lab and other regional stakeholders. The Sister Cities Association of Pittsburgh connects the Pittsburgh region with international partner cities to develop mutually beneficial relationships in commerce, education and culture. Four representatives from Dortmund and one representative from the European Union met NETL’s Nate Weiland, senior fellow, Energy Conversion Engineering, who led a virtual tour of various NETL lab facilities and highlighted the Lab’s research and development efforts focused on hydrogen production.
Image of a cartoon sunset and the phrase 'Sunrise to Sunset'
In celebration of Earth Day 2022, NETL will join with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) other national laboratories for a daylong showcase of the department’s commitment to the planet and research being pursued to reach a sustainable energy future. National Lab Earth Day will be a virtual “sunrise-to-sunset” event that will begin on the East Coast and conclude on the West Coast by highlighting all 17 DOE national laboratories through tours, activities, short talks and panels designed to provide engaging experiences and promote the laboratory complex. NETL’s contribution to National Lab Earth Day will be a virtual tour across the Lab’s facilities in Albany, Oregon; Morgantown, West Virginia; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. At these sites, award-winning scientists and engineers are striving to ensure affordable, abundant and reliable energy while developing technologies to manage carbon emissions and enable environmental sustainability.
Ale Hakala speaking to a class of Charlotte Latin Seniors
NETL’s Ale Hakala, Ph.D., recently spoke with seniors in the AP Environmental Science class at Charlotte Latin School in Charlotte, North Carolina, highlighting her career as an energy researcher focused on environmental sustainability. Laura Helsabeck, Ph.D., who teaches the class, invited Hakala, who is currently an NETL senior fellow leading the Lab’s geological and environmental systems research, to share her perspective on issues surrounding natural gas and carbon storage. “Laura and I were in the same research group during graduate school at Ohio State, and have maintained a close personal friendship over the years, so it was great to reconnect with her on a technical level to help with her teaching section focused on climate change,” Hakala said. “And it was an honor to speak to her students and help them see that there are creative solutions to carbon management beyond what they may have learned in their textbook.”
Washington, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) announced $3.5 million for two projects to develop natural gas demand response (NGDR) pilot programs. The primary goal of the programs is to reduce supply constraints by providing incentives for customers to reduce their natural gas consumption during periods of peak demand or periods of system strain. By shifting consumption away from peak demand periods, demand response programs can improve energy system efficiency and reliability and lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in support of our nation’s climate goals. The government, regulators, and the industry collectively are exploring demand response programs for natural gas systems to replicate successful electricity demand programs within the country. Advances in NGDR-related technology pathways will enable the United States to continue to mitigate emissions across the natural gas value chain, extract maximum economic value from an existing resource base, and lower energy consumption.
Image of the Pittsburgh city skyline
NETL will lend its wealth of knowledge on carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) to stakeholders in western Pennsylvania for a special Carbon Capture Symposium Wednesday, April 20, 2022, to provide crucial information and best practices on sustainable energy. The objective of this invite-only gathering, organized by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council in partnership with the Great Plains Institute and Clean Air Task Force, is to share perspectives on the opportunities and challenges presented by carbon capture, storage, and utilization. “Given the significant environmental, economic, and employment considerations involved, the goal of the symposium is to share helpful information and discussion on the role of CCUS in Pennsylvania’s decarbonization efforts and energy future,” said James Ferguson, NETL State & Local Partnerships Manager. “With its vast experience in these subject areas, experts from the Lab will be able to provide constructive input during the Carbon Capture Symposium. This event is another example of how NETL can work with local communities to achieve a clean energy future from the ground up.”
A photo of two men working on NETL’s 500lb Vacuum Induction Melting Reactor
Five thousand years ago, someone discovered that by melting copper and combining it with a small amount of similarly melted tin, they could create bronze, a stronger metal used for weapons, pots and tools. It became known as the first metal alloy and ushered in the “Bronze Age.” In the 21st Century, NETL is at the forefront of efforts to create the strongest, most innovative metal alloys possible. Those alloys are needed because new cutting-edge energy-producing processes and facilities that can generate affordable, clean electricity and support growth in emerging U.S. industries require cost-effective, durable alloys used in construction.
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NETL has released “Comparison of Commercial, State-of-the-Art, Fossil-Based Hydrogen Production Technologies,” which reports the levelized cost of hydrogen, in real 2018 dollars, as well as carbon dioxide-equivalent life cycle emissions (cradle-to-gate basis) of select hydrogen production plants, providing critical perspectives for researchers, regulators and policymakers as the nation transitions to a clean energy future. This independent assessment compares the cost, performance and emissions profiles of hydrogen production plants that were selected to reflect the capabilities of current, commercial technologies within industrial-scale plant configurations. These technologies and associated plant configurations are representative of next-commercial offerings facing no fundamental research and development obstacles.
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Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $14 million in funding for five front-end engineering design (FEED) studies that will leverage existing zero- or low-carbon energy to supply direct air capture (DAC) projects, combined with dedicated and reliable carbon storage. DAC is a process that separates carbon dioxide (CO2) from ambient air. When the separated CO2 is safely and permanently stored deep underground or converted to be used in value-added products like concrete, DAC is part of a carbon dioxide removal approach. The selected studies will advance the evaluation of DAC technology coupled to durable storage—both of which could play a critical role in conjunction with aggressive decarbonization in combatting the climate crisis and achieving the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.