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NETL Showcases Advances in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

NETL demonstrated its expertise and leadership in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) and discussed how these critical areas are enhancing technology development in fossil energy at a Sept. 22 discussion hosted by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).

NETL joined other innovators from the Pittsburgh region for the event that highlighted the potential of AI in a range of applications, including robotics and autonomy, space exploration and energy innovation. 

NETL Director Brian Anderson joined Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette, Director of the DOE Artificial Intelligence and Technology Office (AITO) Cheryl Ingstad, Undersecretary for Science Paul Dabbar, Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winbergand CMU President Farnham Jahanian at the event, which also convened CMU robotics and engineering experts.  

Ingstad and AITO Chief of Staff Dan Horning toured NETL labs in Pittsburgh Monday, Sept. 21, and learned how NETL researchers are applying AI and ML across a range of fossil energy research investigation, including materials discovery; carbon capture, storage and utilization; advanced combustion and more.

Recent NETL accomplishments in AI/ML include a high-throughput computational methodology to rapidly screen more than 1 million possible mixed matric membranes, an effort that identified materials to decrease the cost of carbon capture. NETL also leads the eXtremeMAT initiative, which uses data analytics to develop and deploy new alloy materials that are affordable and perform reliably under the harsh environments encountered in power plants. The Lab’s extramural work includes a forward-looking project with the Colorado School of Mines, which is developing AI-enabled robots for automated nondestructive evaluation and repair of power plant boilers.

“NETL has a record of success in this fast-growing field,” said NETL Director Brian Anderson, noting the Lab is committed to continue building on its success. “Through strategic initiatives like the Science-Based Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Institute (SAMI), we will continue to pursue concepts and technologies that have the potential to provide revolutionary solutions to challenges in energy production and use.” 

NETL’s SAMI pairs AI and ML with NETL’s world-class capabilities in science-based modeling and high-performance computing to enable more efficient operation of power plants; improve the performance, reliability and efficiency of the existing coal-fired fleet; enhance oil and gas production and carbon storage; and accelerate the discovery and maturation of innovation materials.  

These and other projects underscore the labs advancements in AI and ML and how it leverages this progress to develop technology solutions to the nation’s energy challenges.

AITO is DOE’s center for artificial intelligence with a mission to accelerate the delivery of AI-enabled capabilities, scale the Department-wide development of AI, synchronize AI applications to advance the agency’s core missions and expand public and private sector strategic partnerships, all in support of American AI leadership.

NETL is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory that produces technological solutions for America’s energy challenges. From developing creative innovations and efficient energy systems that make coal more competitive, to advancing technologies that enhance oil and natural gas extraction and transmission processes, NETL research is providing breakthroughs and discoveries that support domestic energy initiatives, stimulate a growing economy, and improve the health, safety, and security of all Americans. Highly skilled men and women at NETL’s sites in Albany, Oregon; Anchorage, Alaska; Houston, Texas; Morgantown, West Virginia; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania conduct a broad range of research activities that support DOE’s mission to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States.