by Brian Anderson, Ph.D.
Basketball legend Michael Jordan observed that “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” In energy research, we’re playing for more than a title — we’re striving for the health and prosperity of our planet. It’s a challenge that requires much talent and a vast amount of teamwork as innovators bring all their collective expertise to bear on climate change and our sustainable energy future.
In research, sharing ideas is critical to finding solutions. That’s why I’m honored to represent the NETL team at conferences and events and share ideas with other innovators and energy leaders. Here’s a snapshot of some recent events where NETL talent and solutions were front-and-center.
DOE leadership and energy leaders from around the world convened at the 2022 Global Clean Energy Action Forum, which included an up-close review of NETL’s growing expertise in a range of cutting-edge energy research areas including carbon dioxide (CO2) storage, conversion, and utilization; development of carbon free fuels; use of drones to monitor emissions from oil and gas production; and advanced alloy development. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm convened the landmark event, which was attended by cabinet level officials from more than 30 countries; industry, youth, labor, and civil society leaders; innovators; and others to accelerate innovation, deployment and market uptake of clean energy solutions. The forum included a tour of NETL facilities, which was a golden opportunity to show a world-wide audience how our Lab is performing key research to help enable the world’s transition to a new energy economy that will improve energy security, tackle climate change, and develop a clean energy market. NETL was part of a partnership between DOE and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) that helped plan the forum.
We hosted representatives from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Energy Team at the Lab’s Pittsburgh site to discuss how our Lab’s energy analysis expertise can help support the nation’s transition to a clean energy future. OSTP’s Energy team shares NETL’s goals of helping to decarbonize the planet, creating good-paying jobs and working toward a net-zero carbon nation. Their visit, and our free exchange of ideas, was an important step toward these goals. The group joined other members of NETL leadership and researchers focused on the development of multi-scale approaches to modeling and analysis of energy technology, processes and markets — critical work for supporting the Biden-Harris Administration’s goals of a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035 and net-zero greenhouse gas economy by 2050.
Research leaders, industry representatives and stakeholders at the Infrastructure Sensing Collaboration Workshop held Aug. 24-25 to discuss the latest developments in sensor technologies and their applications to the power sector and other fields. The emerging sensor area will promote workforce development to support both near-term research and development capability needs. Decarbonizing the power sector and our economy — particularly through the use of hydrogen-based systems —continues at the forefront of NETL’s research, and the latest, most advanced sensing capabilities are needed for our nation’s power facilities, grid infrastructure and industries to realize this transformation. The Infrastructure Sensing Collaboration Workshop and events like it show what’s possible when government and academia come together.
NETL welcomed researchers from DOE national laboratories, U.S. research universities, industry and professional associations Aug. 15-19 when we hosted the 2022 Carbon Management Project Review Meeting in Pittsburgh. This one-of-a-kind event was dedicated to providing information about NETL’s and its partners’ work that is driving innovation and delivering solutions to address climate change. During the five-day meeting, researchers presented updates on more than 225 carbon management projects underway to ensure a sustainable clean energy future. A key focus of this meeting was sharing perspectives on the challenges and opportunities facing researchers as they strive to meet the Administration’s goals to reduce carbon emissions and complete the nations’ transformational shift to clean energy.
NETL Thermal Science Team supervisor Ronald Breault, Ph.D., and I highlighted the Lab’s contributions in building hydrogen-based energy infrastructures and power systems of the future during a keynote address to the 2022 Clearwater Clean Energy Conference held Aug. 1-4 at the Sheraton Sand Key in Clearwater, Florida. NETL was a major player in making the conference happen. Breault served as Clearwater Clean Energy Conference Co-Chair in addition to delivering opening remarks for the event. At the conference, we emphasized NETL’s commitment to developing technologies to implement a sustainable and fair net-zero carbon economy and our priority focus on hydrogen-based systems that hold great potential to address the effects of climate change while providing exciting new economic opportunities. The conference was a productive venue to collaborate with and network with fellow innovators.
Our Lab welcomed members of the RAPID DEPLOY Workshop who convened in Morgantown and visited NETL Aug. 9 to learn more about our electrified reactors, microwave reactors, non-thermal plasma reactors, and ultrasound reactors that make up its Reaction Analysis and Chemical Transformation Laboratory (ReACT) facility. RAPID is a Manufacturing USA Institute that works to transform process industries by advancing modular chemical process intensification technology. NETL’s ReACT facility capabilities are advancing innovative research, leading to efficiencies that increase power production, reduce overall power generation costs, and reduce targeted emissions.
During her lifetime, author, disability rights advocate and political activist Helen Keller overcame many struggles. She reflected that “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” As innovators around the world unite to discover solutions to global energy challenges, NETL researchers are on the forefront of driving innovation and delivering solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. I’m proud to share our successes and our progress as we join the worldwide collaboration and effort toward decarbonization.