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Unleashing American Energy: Discovery, Innovation and Prosperity
Anderson at S and T Accomplishments

Director’s Corner

by Brian Anderson, PhD.

NETL is America’s fossil energy research laboratory, and our researchers are proud to share their vital work through the Lab’s annual Science and Technology Accomplishment Session. Energized by the success of last year’s inaugural event, NETL researchers set ambitious new goals for themselves to further support key research priorities for the Office of Fossil Energy (FE). As we build upon NETL’s history of innovation, our work continues to deliver on our mission to discover, integrate and mature technology solutions that enhance the nation’s energy foundation and protect the environment for future generations.

Details of our research successes were on display for the Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steve Winberg as well as Deputy Assistant Secretaries Lou Hrkman and Shawn Bennett, regional university officials, employees and other key stakeholders during this year’s interactive poster session. The accomplishment session highlighted more than 30 of NETL’s wide-ranging 2018 program and research successes. This robust NETL work is being applied to solve the nation’s most pressing fossil energy challenges. These include:

  • Improving the performance, reliability and efficiency of the existing coal-fired power fleet.
  • Advancing the next generation of modular, highly efficient and flexible coal-fired power plants.
  • Reducing the cost of captured carbon and putting it to work for America.
  • Creating new jobs, products and markets for coal.
  • Leveraging big data and machine learning to unlock the nation’s vast unconventional oil and gas reserves.

The accomplishments presented during the session support the Administration’s Energy Independence Policy and its Rebuilding Infrastructure in America Initiative, both of which are intended to strengthen our economy, make the nation more globally competitive, reduce the cost of goods and services for American families, and enable Americans to build their lives supported by the best infrastructure in the world. Highlights included:

  • The Petra Nova project — which received financial and project management support from the U.S. Department of Energy through NETL — captured nearly 2 million short tons of carbon dioxide as of September 2018, resulting in the production of oil through enhanced oil recovery.
  • Two projects — in collaboration with the University of Kentucky (UK) and West Virginia University — successfully recovered valuable rare earth elements (REEs), which are essential for modern technologies, from coal refuse and acid mine drainage sludge. The UK project achieved REE concentrations that greatly exceed program goals.
  • The award-winning National Risk Assessment Partnership Toolset, a suite of computational tools designed to reduce risks associated with carbon storage, was applied at more than 10 field laboratory sites.

These are just a few examples of the successes featured in the 2018 poster session. All this year’s accomplishments, which can be viewed here , are part of long history of technical excellence. For more than a century, the Lab has developed bold and innovative technology solutions to address America’s energy challenges using fossil energy resources. Each day, our researchers and support staff add to this legacy with their superior expertise and unwavering dedication.

Please join me in applauding NETL’s 2018 achievements as we look forward to celebrating many more milestones to come.