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Directors Corner
NETL’s Second Quarter Brings Breakthroughs, Success

Director’s Corner

by Brian Anderson, Ph.D.

April brings a new quarter for the 2021 fiscal year, and it’s a good time to share the successes NETL research achieved during Q2. Our Lab continued to diligently pursue integrated solutions to enable transformation to a sustainable energy future, and we’re working hard to develop the technologies and innovations that will address the Administration’s ambitious climate goals of a carbon emissions-free power sector by 2035 and a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. Several examples of our breakthroughs and successes are showcased in the newly released Q2 FY21 accomplishments report, including:  

  •  A new modeling library, as part of an update to NETL’s Institute for the Design of Advanced Energy Systems, that could lead to more efficient, reliable and flexible power plants while providing a foundation for the development of innovative, new integrated energy systems to support widespread decarbonization. 
  •  A first-of-its-kind distributed sensing method that enables numerous, real-time, highly accurate temperature measurements across a solid oxide fuel cell and could better inform SOFC modeling efforts aimed at designing more resilient fuel cells, which hold great promise for providing highly efficient, clean energy for a low-carbon economy. 
  • Several advances in NETL-supported projects for rare earth element (REE) extraction from domestic resources including pilot-scale testing at the University of Kentucky that exceeded original project goals by producing rare earth oxide concentrates of up to 98% purity; an acid-leaching process at the University of North Dakota that extracts REEs and produces a valuable lignite material byproduct; and new milestones, such as partial automation of a recovery process, at the West Virginia University Rare Earth Extraction Facility. 

These are only a few selections from a much longer list, which you can find in our Q2 FY21 Accomplishments Report (PDF). As our world-class scientist and engineers continue to drive innovation and deliver solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future, I’m proud of our progress. I also look forward to more impactful achievements as we continue our important work to ensure affordable, abundant and reliable energy that drive a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, and enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.