Back to Top
Skip to main content
NETL’s Justin Weber Presented on How the Lab’s AI Applications Are Revolutionizing Energy Research
Justin Weber presenting at the recent AI Expo for National Competitiveness.

Justin Weber presenting at the recent AI Expo for National Competitiveness.  

NETL’s Justin Weber explained how cutting-edge applications of artificial intelligence (AI) are revolutionizing the nation’s energy systems analysis activities during the AI Expo for National Competitiveness in Washington, D.C.

NETL has been using AI and machine learning (ML) for effective energy research and development through its ground-breaking Science-based Artificial Intelligence Machine Learning for Energy Institute (SAMI).

The AI Expo, held in early May, was sponsored by the Special Competitive Studies Project (SCSP), a non-partisan, non-profit initiative with a mission to make recommendations to strengthen America’s long-term competitiveness as AI and other emerging technologies reshape national security, economy and society.

At the Expo, representatives of industry, government and academic research entities exhibited the latest technological breakthroughs in AI, biotech, energy, networks, microelectronics, manufacturing, augmented reality and provided opportunities to discuss their implications for U.S. and allied competitiveness.

Ever since President Biden’s Executive Order on the Safe, Secure, and Trustworthy Development and Use of Artificial Intelligence, NETL and its SAMI initiative, along with sister national laboratories, helped the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) develop a robust AI ecosystem that helps advance secure, trustworthy and equitable AI for all Americans. 

More than 40 DOE AI tools, foundational models and partnerships for applications in science, energy and national security are highlighted on DOE’s new website for showcasing AI capabilities, hosted by NETL.  

“An example of an AI approach that is aiding researchers in better understanding of how gas and solids mix in multiphase reactors is the ‘You Only Look Once’ model,” Weber explained during his presentation. “It enables highly accurate particle tracking in high-speed videos of chemical reactors. The AI-powered capability improves the accuracy and speed of particle tracking velocimetry.”

He added that NETL's innovative use of another AI approach called DeepONet. Developed by researchers at Brown University, DeepONet is a new neural network-based model that can learn both linear and nonlinear operators. Weber said that when used in energy research, DeepONet accelerates computationally intensive chemical kinetics calculations that are required for gasification simulations of waste plastics, dramatically reducing model run-times. 

Weber’s presentation also addressed how AI optimization algorithms streamline the design process for improved heat exchangers and film cooling holes in gas turbine engines, boosting overall system efficiencies. This AI-enabled design has the potential to accelerate the technology’s deployment to commercial gas turbines. 

Weber’s presentation demonstrated NETL's leadership in applying transformative AI technologies to solve complex energy challenges. SAMI is enabling researchers to leverage science-based AI/ML to address previously unanswerable problems while establishing foundational standards to ensure responsible and trusted use of AI/ML. 

NETL is a DOE national laboratory that drives innovation and delivers 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.