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Get to Know NETL: Focus on Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The history of NETL’s Pittsburgh site stretches back to 1910, when the newly created Bureau of Mines in the U.S. Department of the Interior opened the Pittsburgh Experiment Station in Bruceton, Pennsylvania, 12 miles south of Pittsburgh. The station’s original purpose was to investigate mining methods that would lower the number of fatal explosions and fires in U.S. underground coal mines.

Much of the work carried out today at NETL-Pittsburgh focuses on process systems engineering, decision science, functional materials and environmental sciences. A tangible example of this is NETL’s Analytical Lab, which conducts research on rare earth elements (REEs) to investigate the economic feasibility of recovering REEs from U.S. coal and coal byproducts. REEs are vitally important to the production of electronics, defense technology and other items used in everyday life.

At NETL-Pittsburgh’s Computation Materials Engineering Lab, researchers explore the use of coal and coal byproducts to manufacture feedstock for carbon materials. These materials include lightweight carbon fiber composites, carbon additives for construction materials, battery and electrode materials and carbon nanomaterials.

NETL-Pittsburgh is also advancing technologies to capture carbon dioxide and store it deep underground to reduce emissions and bolster production of U.S. oil.

Yesterday and today, NETL-Pittsburgh has embraced the challenge to find innovative solutions to meet America’s energy needs. Check out this video to learn more.

This series of “Get to Know NETL” videos is posted at The series includes an NETL overview, as well as videos about NETL sites in Albany, Oregon; Morgantown, West Virginia; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.