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One Year of Achievement, Many More to Come
NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., reflects on the Lab’s achievements during his first year leading NETL.

Director’s Corner

by Brian Anderson, PhD.

It’s hard to believe a full year has passed since I joined NETL. The Lab has long had a reputation as an innovation leader, and over the past year NETL’s talented team of experts has demonstrated the accuracy of this reputation.

A quick look at a few of the Lab’s accomplishments will illustrate why I’m optimistic about the year ahead and the breakthroughs in our future. For example, our team:

  • Developed a novel method to use the natural gas produced from a well to create a foam that will serve as the base for hydraulic fracturing fluid, offering a potentially affordable alternative to water-based hydraulic fracturing fluids.
  • Identified advanced membrane materials that can cut carbon capture costs to less than $50 per metric ton and boost the viability of the nation’s coal-fired power fleet to meet America’s growing energy needs.
  • Successfully drilled and logged a stratigraphic test well that confirmed the occurrence of natural gas hydrates in the greater Prudhoe Bay oil field in the Alaska North Slope. We now have the infrastructure necessary to conduct field experiments of sufficient duration to reveal how gas hydrates release natural gas in response to reservoir depressurization.
  • Continued our work in developing high-value carbon nanomaterials made from coal. Using one of the Lab’s processing methods, NETL researchers demonstrated that a penny’s worth of coal can be converted to one liter of graphene quantum dots suspended in water, worth about $50,000, in just a few hours.

These are only a few of the breakthroughs the NETL team has made in just one year. This record of innovation demonstrates the tremendous amount of intellectual capital on the NETL team. We’re applying this expertise to a mission that is critical for the nation and across the globe. The technology solutions we’re developing underpin our nation’s economic prosperity and promote its security using abundant domestic energy resources with responsible stewardship of the environment. We take the technologies we discover at our laboratory and with our partners and then move them into the market where they can benefit the most people. In this way, NETL is making an impact to the region, the nation and the world.

As our team looks forward to another year and all that we can accomplish, I’m extremely proud of the progress we’ve made so far. I look forward to the innovations and technology solutions in our future.