Geological and Environmental Sciences (GES) is a focus area of the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s Research & Innovation Center (RIC). RIC’s other focus areas are Energy System Dynamics, Computational and Basic Sciences, and Materials Science and Engineering. Scientists and engineers in the Research and Innovation Center conduct research at NETL’s advanced research facilities in Albany, OR; Morgantown, WV; Pittsburgh, PA, and at various offsite locations.
GES tackles the challenge of clean energy production from fossil energy sources by focusing on the behavior of natural systems at both the earth’s surface and subsurface, including prediction, control, and monitoring of fluid flow in porous and fractured media. Efforts include the long-term storage of CO2, the environmentally sound production of our nation’s conventional and unconventional fossil fuel resources, and the science base needed to bring methane hydrates into the domestic natural gas resource base.
To accomplish our mission, GES has five core competencies that underpin most of our work.
We conduct integrated laboratory and field experiments and computer simulations to improve our understanding of sequestration options and to identify and address potential challenges. We use the geophysical and geochemical capabilities of the GES to achieve the goal of secure CO2 storage. We have the capability to:
GES’s modeling capabilities include predicting flows in CO2 stored underground; these predictions can be then validated by collaboration with laboratory and field experiments. The same models are also being used to simulate unconventional and enhanced oil recovery.
GES scientists and engineers are also exploring methane hydrate deposits, which are believed to contain more energy-producing organic carbon than all of the world's conventional fossil fuels combined. We are conducting research on how these hydrate deposits can become part of our domestic gas reserves. We also study the potential role that hydrates play in climate change and the carbon cycle, and the impact that hydrates have on seafloor stability and deep-sea life.
Doing Business with Us
NETL, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, is advancing cost-effective and environmentally sound technologies to meet the nation’s energy challenges. The laboratory develops technologies and processes that answer pressing energy issues and provides our nation’s policymakers with the scientific information they need to set sound energy policy.
NETL welcomes opportunities to work with academia and the private sector to develop and commercialize energy and environmental technologies. We frequently use Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) with the private sector. We also enter into license agreements for applying our inventions, and we make our laboratories and scientists in available for work-for- or work-with-others arrangements.