Back to Top
Skip to main content
NETL Innovation Thrives Where Energy and Environment Intertwine
Green city image

Director’s Corner

by Brian Anderson, Ph.D.

NETL takes its mission to drive innovation and deliver solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future very seriously. Our research spans a wide breadth of technology areas that protects human health and safeguards the environment for future generations by making hard-hitting and lasting scientific breakthroughs designed to mitigate the climate crisis. Energy and the environment are inextricably linked. NETL’s exciting and dynamic work creates technology solutions that harmonize the two and improve people’s lives in meaningful ways. 

We are finding ways to extract valuable minerals that are needed for wind and solar power and electric vehicles. We are pursuing water management efforts to improve and conserve its responsible use. We are working to deploy large-scale carbon capture and storage technologies. The bottom line is: NETL is hard at work to ensure the energy the nation needs to power homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses is produced sustainably to drive a robust American economy.  

Throughout January, NETL will spotlight the work it does in water management and carbon capture and storage as two key technology areas for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. For example, we will be highlighting stories about these significant steps: 

  • Community leaders and water researchers can now access publicly available online datasets curated and processed by NETL to better understand the composition of energy-related wastewater streams. The data will help mitigate environmental risks and identify possible sources of valuable critical minerals and rare earth elements, which are crucial to a range of clean energy technologies, electronics, and defense systems.  
  • NETL-funded research on an approach to recycle hydraulic fracturing water using natural filtration and biogenic activity in specific layers of rock is attracting international attention. It received a “highly commended” recognition in a global competition sponsored by an acclaimed engineering organization. With industries’ demand for water expected to double in the coming years, careful management of water is essential to ensuring that local communities have adequate clean water supplies. 
  • Food processing company Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), with support from NETL, recently demonstrated an integrated system of processing carbon dioxide (CO2) and transporting it from an ethanol plant to the Mt. Simon Sandstone saline reservoir for permanent geologic storage. This is the largest demonstration of its kind in the United States.

These are just a few examples of how NETL research is delivering on goals to achieve a carbon-free power sector by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050 while enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans. I’m extremely proud of our advances in these and other research areas and encourage you to learn more about our achievements in environmental stewardship on our website.