News Release

Release Date: April 14, 2014

NETL-Regional University Alliance Researcher to Receive Nation’s Highest Award for Young Scientists


Dr. Brian Anderson, a research fellow of the NETL-Regional University Alliance and associate professor of chemical engineering at West Virginia University, was recognized during a special event at U.S. Department of Energy Headquarters April 14 for receiving the highest honor the U.S. government can bestow on an outstanding scientist in the early stages of his research career.

Dr. Anderson, a versatile researcher, author, teacher, and student mentor was named as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, or PECASE, in recognition for his innovative work in natural gas hydrates and geothermal energy systems. PECASE awards recognize recipients’ exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge and their commitment to community service as demonstrated through professional leadership, education, and community outreach. The awards are conferred annually by the President of the United States and are based on recommendations from participating government agencies. Dr. Anderson’s innovative science combined with his commitment to excellence as an educator has placed him among the top energy professionals in the country. His energy research specialties "run hot and cold" because his work demonstrating the potential of engineered geothermal systems — heat from beneath the earth’s surface — contrasts with his other specialty, the promise of methane hydrate — a form of energy encased in ice just below the earth’s permafrost.

At NETL, Dr. Anderson coordinates the Laboratory’s International Methane Hydrate Simulator Code Comparison project, an international effort aiding the development of multimillion-dollar demonstration-scale hydrate production tests. His work on the development of a full 3-D model of the hydrate deposits in the Gulf of Mexico was the first of its kind in the world and is now assisting the simulation of hydrate deposits off the coast of Japan. He also co-authored the seminal Massachusetts Institute of Technology report, "Future of Geothermal Energy," which is guiding the research and advancements required to make geothermal energy resources a part of the U.S. energy portfolio. Dr. Anderson is recognized at NETL, and in the greater research community, as an up-and-coming leader in energy research. In 2011, he was a part of a team of scientists that earned a Secretary’s Achievement Award from the Department of Energy, its highest level of internal, non-monetary recognition.

The WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources also named him "Teacher of the Year" and "Outstanding Teacher" in 2010. These awards recognized his work in the classroom and as faculty advisor to the WVU Energy Club, which has designed a biodiesel reactor to convert waste grease into fuel for campus buses. Dr. Anderson is the second NETL-RUA researcher to win a PECASE award since the alliance was formed in 2010. Dr. John Kitchin of Carnegie Mellon University was recognized in 2011.