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NETL Hydrogen Research Continued Down Successful Path in 2023
Graphic depicting various hydrogen particles and the technology it powers.

As part of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management Hydrogen with Carbon Management (HCM) Program, NETL research focuses on the development and use of carbon-neutral or net-negative carbon emission energy systems and associated technologies.

The HCM program’s efforts are an integral part of the DOE Hydrogen Shot, with a goal of reducing clean hydrogen costs by 80% to $1 per 1 kilogram within 1 decade (1-1-1), while expanding employment of the U.S. energy workforce. Seeking a cost-competitive decarbonized alternative to traditional fossil fuels, the HCM program has a research and development portfolio consisting of a new generation of carbon neutral or net-negative carbon emissions technologies.

NETL work supporting this program resulted in several success over the past year that included:

  • Releasing a new study, in collaboration with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers, that demonstrated existing U.S. underground gas storage facilities can viably store hydrogen-methane blends, reducing the need to build new hydrogen infrastructure while meeting a range of the hydrogen demand projected for 2050 and helping to support the transition to a clean hydrogen economy.
  • Being awarded a patent for a new fiber optic sensor designed to detect hydrogen leaks at storage facilities that can save time and money compared to traditional methods — progress that can help accelerate the drive to put hydrogen to work as a dependable fuel to advance America’s decarbonization efforts.
  • Releasing a report stating that the Appalachian region is well suited to be one of the nation’s clean energy hydrogen hubs because of its natural gas resources, infrastructure, storage capacity, workforce and industrial demand.
  • Investigating the use of microwaves to convert a combination of waste plastics and the stalks, leaves and cobs that remain in fields after corn is harvested, called corn stover, into hydrogen, which can then be used in various industrial and energy-related applications.
  • Exploring innovative pathways to produce carbon-negative hydrogen and identifying opportunities for collaborative research efforts among national labs, academic researchers and industry partners.
  • Releasing the analysis “The Hydrogen Safety Review for Gas Turbines, SOFC, and High Temperature Hydrogen Production,” which was developed to review and summarize the unique safety challenges involved with the production, transportation and storage of hydrogen as part of NETL’s Hydrogen Safety Field Work Proposal.
  • Being selected, as a partner with major industry groups on three regional hydrogen hub projects, by DOE to accelerate the commercial-scale deployment of low-cost, clean hydrogen.
  • Presenting research to an international audience of National Academy Committee on Earth Sciences explaining that hydrogen’s potential as a flexible fuel for many end users will depend upon a reliable system of subsurface storage facilities.
  • Showcasing the Lab’s research to decarbonize the U.S. economy and power sector through advances in carbon management and hydrogen energy, among other initiatives, during the 2023 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting.

These are only a few examples of successes in just one area of research for NETL. Follow our newsroom all year long for more cutting-edge technology stories.

NETL is a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory that drives innovation and delivers technological solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. By using its world-class talent and research facilities, NETL is ensuring affordable, abundant and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.