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Director’s Corner: Digital Innovation and Acceleration for NETL R&D
NETL Mickey Leland fellows Daniel Paluso and Andrew Bean analyze core samples for the EDX virtual core library at NETL’s subsurface CT scanning facility.

NETL Mickey Leland fellows Daniel Paluso and Andrew Bean analyze core samples for the EDX virtual core library at NETL’s subsurface CT scanning facility. 

Director’s Corner

by Brian Anderson, Ph.D.

In support of its mission to drive innovation and deliver solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future, NETL is also driving digital innovation. Tools like science-based models, artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) methods, data analytics and high-performance computing are accelerating NETL R&D for clean, efficient and affordable energy production and use.  

Through the Lab’s Science-based Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Institute (SAMI), an initiative that accelerates innovation and makes breakthrough discoveries in subsurface, materials, and offshore research, NETL is enabling AI-driven solutions and support to applied energy science, environmental and social justice, and other strategic objectives within DOE’s and NETL’s missions.  

Projects undertaken as part of the SAMI initiative are focused on transformative science and technology solutions that can have the greatest impact in today’s energy environment. 

For example: 

  • NETL, in partnership with California-based Cerebras Systems Inc., embraces new, efficient computer architecture that can accelerate research project simulations so the Lab can design carbon capture equipment and novel energy generation and transfer equipment in less time to help accelerate the transition to a net zero economy. This technology could also make a major impact on carbon emissions from research computing since devices powered by the WSE can be over 1,500 times more energy efficient per unit computed as compared to conventional computing architectures, cutting emissions substantially.
  • NETL researchers are developing a robust toolbox of computational models and software applications that use data to visualize conditions within the subsurface and predict how carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary anthropogenic greenhouse gas, will behave when it is injected into underground reservoirs. As part of a multi-year, multi-phase, multi-organizational effort called SMART, researchers are transforming the ability to make better, informed decisions related to the subsurface through real-time visualization, forecasting and virtual learning. 
  • NETL’s Energy Data eXchange (EDX®) is helping researchers rapidly identify and access needed datasets, reducing costs, and accelerating the development of critical technologies. Launched in 2011, EDX has helped preserve billions of dollars’ of federally funded research data products and connected stakeholders to vital data. In late 2022, Assistant Secretary of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) Brad Crabtree signed a memo to ensure all finalized data products associated with Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management-funded work to be contributed to EDX. 

These are just a few examples of the research efforts underway by NETL’s talented team of innovators that are delivering integrated solutions needed to enable transformation to a sustainable energy future. I invite you to read more about these stories and our other research efforts on the NETL website.