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Brian Anderson
Anderson Testifies Before U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee

NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., appeared before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Thursday to discuss how the Laboratory effectively develops innovative energy technologies that promote economic growth and competitiveness. 

The committee is chaired by U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is the ranking member on the committee.

Anderson told the committee that as a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Laboratory, NETL addresses large scale, complex research and development challenges and emphasizes innovation while playing a key role in the innovation ecosystems of the regions where it operates and the nation.

He said NETL pursues an aggressive strategy for discovery, development and deployment of energy technology innovations with an emphasis on collaborations with universities, other national laboratories and private sector partnerships.

“We maintain critical awareness of the needs of the energy industry and work closely with the (DOE’s) Office of Fossil Energy to design and map technology development pathways that fill in critical gaps,” Anderson said. “Not only do we play a critical role in the energy innovation ecosystem in the Appalachian region and the Pacific Northwest due to the location of our laboratory facilities in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Texas and Alaska, but we fill a critical need in the energy innovation ecosystem nationally and internationally through our program management and execution. My testimony today will highlight a few technologies that will make an impact in rural communities across the country.”

To help highlight the technology advances, Anderson submitted an NETL publication, 2018 Science and Technology Accomplishments for the hearing record, which summarizes some of the Laboratory’s recent technical accomplishments.

He told Senators that it is imperative that the American economy continues to have access to low-cost, reliable power that minimizes impacts on the environment, including CO2 emissions. He said NETL’s work can help spur economic development while mitigating technical and environmental risks.  NETL’s work advances effective carbon capture, storage and utilization; advanced materials for extreme environments; and creation of new high-value products from coal and coal feedstock.

Anderson said NETL’s recent agreement with ExxonMobil and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to support research and collaboration on ways to bring biofuels and carbon capture and storage to commercial scale across the petrochemical, transportation fuel and manufacturing sectors is another key example of how energy innovation can spark economic development.

Anderson told the Committee that, “science, technology and research are powerful anchors of regional innovation and sustainable economic growth. They can be applied to meet the technical, economic and environmental challenges of a diverse, flexible and resilient national energy supply and delivery portfolio.”

Joining Anderson on Thursday’s witness list were: John Deskins, Ph.D., director, Bureau of Business and Economic Research at West Virginia University; David Hart, Ph.D., senior fellow at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation; Lee Ragsdale, senior vice president of Grid Infrastructure and Compliance at North Carolina Electric Cooperatives; and Isaac Vanderburg, CEO of Launch Alaska.

An archived webcast of the hearing is available here.