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This long-exposure composite image shows the lasers used in the 3D-printing process at NETL’s Multiphase Flow Analysis Lab.
Sharing NETL’s Materials and Manufacturing Technology Expertise at National DOE Event

Director’s Corner

by Brian Anderson, PhD.

When American leaders from academia, industry and government gather at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee Tuesday, May 7 and Wednesday, May 8 to participate in the Department of Energy’s Innovation XLab Advanced Manufacturing Summit, NETL accomplishments, ingenuity and innovation will be a key part of the discussion.

The Advanced Manufacturing Summit features talks by Congressional leaders, DOE Secretary Rick Perry, DOE Under Secretary for Energy Mark Menezes, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Clean Coal and Carbon Management Lou Hrkman, and a host of national laboratory, private industry and academic experts on advanced manufacturing. It showcases the strong technical resources and capabilities resident in NETL and 16 other national laboratories and highlights how they benefit private companies, investors, universities, and other organizations as a source of innovation. The event is a prime opportunity to share concepts that NETL and other DOE labs are exploring.

The Summit brings together an important audience with an important task in crafting the future of manufacturing and its role in our nation’s economic competitiveness. The American manufacturing sector fuels 11 percent of U.S. gross national product and more than half of U.S. exports. Clearly, high-impact innovations, like those produced at NETL and its sister national laboratories, can help launch new industries, help rejuvenate domestic manufacturing, and develop potential for low-cost energy.

I was excited to moderate a panel on Advanced Manufacturing for Fossil Energy Applications Tuesday, May 7. There is plenty to talk about on that front because NETL is internationally recognized for its leadership in designing, developing and deploying advanced manufactured functional and structural materials for use in energy applications and extreme environments.

NETL’s work is responsible for a range of energy-related materials technologies with manufacturing implications. Just a few include:

  • Corrosion-resistant refractory brick used in nearly all slagging gasifiers worldwide.
  • Heat-treatments technologies for complex alloys used in making new steam turbines.
  • Alloy-based metal catalysts and electrochemical technologies that convert power plant waste streams such as carbon dioxide into valuable fuels and manufactured chemicals.
  • Cathode infiltration technologies that increase the service lifetime of commercially-available solid oxide fuel cell systems for powering tomorrow’s manufacturing endeavors.

At NETL, we are united in pursuit of our goal to discover, integrate and mature technology solutions that enhance our nation’s energy foundation while protecting the environment. Reaching out to partner with private industry, professional groups, and academia is an important part of the toolbox we use in those pursuits.

Whether its signing aggressive commitments to cooperate on specific research with private companies or sister national laboratories; hosting visits by associations with shared energy research goals; sending key representatives to national meetings like the Advanced Manufacturing Summit; encouraging young people to pursue science, technology, engineering, or mathematics studies; or mentoring young people from some of our most prestigious research universities, NETL is committed to partnering for energy research progress.

I am eager to share NETL’s work and explore new avenues of cooperation as part of the Advanced Manufacturing Summit.