Resource Sustainability

DOE's NETL’s Resource Sustainability Research Programs, comprised of a world-class team of high-performing leaders, scientists and engineers, house the necessary expertise to support R&D projects that further the DOE Office of Resource Sustainability goals to improve the characterization, production, transportation, and utilization of our Nation’s abundant oil and natural gas resources. Research being conducted by these programs focuses on supporting technology innovation and resource development in conjunction with the energy industry.

The objectives of the NETL’s Resource Sustainability Programs are to:

  • Reduce environmental impacts from resource development and utilization.
  • Improve and expand resource characterization.
  • Lower exploration and production risks.
  • Improve resource transport infrastructure efficiency and resiliency.
  • Accelerate resource availability and energy transition capacity for a variety of end users.

Program objectives are advanced by supporting fundamental science concepts, identifying the key research questions that present challenges to industry stakeholders, and identifying enabling technologies to meet these challenges. A critical component to successful R&D supported by NETL is leveraging industry and academic partners to provide validation for concepts and technologies related to these challenges. Addressing these questions and advancing the development of novel tools, technologies, and concepts are the primary drivers of these program research initiatives.

NETL’s research seeks to expand beyond the current state of scientific standards and industry best practices with focuses ranging from fundamental laboratory work through prototype development and field validation.

NETL partners with industry, academia, technology developers, government agencies, and other national laboratories to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of research projects throughout its portfolio. NETL works closely with key stakeholders to collect insight on issues where advances in technology may prove valuable, processes this information, and uses it to make informed R&D decisions and assist industry stakeholders in overcoming challenges related to each of its research programs, including:

Minerals Sustainability

Developing and validating technologies to economically produce rare earth oxides and critical materials from carbon ore, coal-based resources, and other unconventional feedstocks to develop a range of carbon-based and critical mineral products, spanning the entire value spectrum from high-volume through high-value, for applications outside of traditional thermal and metallurgical markets. This program includes efforts in the areas of Critical Minerals and Materials and Carbon Ore Processing.

Advanced Remediation Technologies

Research and validate new technologies, tools, and processes to ensure the environmentally prudent development and remediation of existing oil and natural gas resources. This program includes efforts in the areas of Environmentally Prudent Stewardship, Gas Hydrates, and Water Management Technologies.

Methane Mitigation Technologies

Develop new technologies for better quantification and mitigation of methane emissions from each portion of the natural gas value chain. This program includes efforts in the areas of Methane Mitigation, Methane Quantification, Undocumented Orphaned Wells, and Natural Gas Conversion.

Natural Gas Decarbonization and Hydrogen Technologies

Accelerate the energy transition through supporting technology development and characterization for hydrogen production, transport, and subsurface storage.

Energy Asset Transformation

The Energy Asset Transformation Program is focused on leveraging and transforming legacy energy assets to clean energy applications. These efforts represent some of the most promising opportunities to unite private sector and energy community interests in places where employment and opportunity is on the decline. Transforming these existing energy assets to clean energy and manufacturing uses is essential to address climate change and achieve a sustainable future.

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NETL implements this effort as part of DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management’s (FECM) Resource Sustainability Program