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Decarbonizing Energy through Clean Hydrogen
Hydrogen Atom

Director’s Corner

by Brian Anderson, Ph.D.

As our talented team of scientists and engineers drive innovation and deliver solutions to meet the Biden Administration’s goals calling for a net-zero carbon emission electricity sector by 2035 and economy-wide net-zero emissions by 2050, we’re working to transform how our nation produces and uses energy. We’re embracing the opportunity to help usher in a decarbonized energy future that will provide a foundation for sustainability and prosperity. 

Hydrogen offers great potential as a viable zero-emission fuel to fight climate change. At NETL, we’re working to lower the cost of clean hydrogen to unlock new markets for this valuable energy source, for example steelmaking, ammonia production and more. We’re also exploring the potential of gasification for carbon-neutral hydrogen production, which could supply a clean fuel for electrical generation, manufacturing and transportation.   

NETL has a long history of gasification, dating back to the founding of our Morgantown, West Virginia, laboratory in the 1940s. Then, we were developing gasifiers to make synthetic gas directly from a wide variety of American coals. Today, we’re exploring ways to diversify gasifier feedstocks by blending in other renewable and waste sources, such as biomass and waste plastics. Advances in gasification of blended and variable feedstocks could enable a promising means of producing hydrogen in a net-zero carbon emissions future. 

Throughout September, we’re featuring our work in producing hydrogen from coal wastes and biomass. For example: 

  • NETL researchers are catalyzing revolutionary changes to the field of reaction chemistry and producing valuable chemicals like hydrogen using less energy and at lower cost. 
  • The Lab has embarked on several projects to study gasification systems capable of cleanly and affordably producing hydrogen. 
  • NETL is collaborating with Los Alamos National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Idaho National Laboratory to develop advanced air separation technologies that hold the potential for high-performance gasification-based precombustion carbon capture to address climate change. 

Visit our website to learn more about these projects and more, as we continue our work to drive innovation and deliver solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future.