July Featured Member | NETL

July 18, 2022 | By Jenna Ross and Ylan Phan

Shelley Martin | Public Affairs and Strategic Outreach | National Energy Technology Laboratory

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is a new member of the MDS-Rely team. As a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory, NETL drives innovation and delivers technological solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future. Through its world-class scientists, engineers and research facilities, NETL is ensuring affordable, abundant and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans, advancing environmental justice and revitalizing the economies of disadvantaged communities. 

Using the power of workforce inclusivity and diversity, highly skilled innovators at NETL’s research laboratories in Albany, Oregon; Morgantown, West Virginia; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, conduct a broad range of research activities that support DOE’s mission to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy and environmental challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.

NETL Director Brian Anderson, Ph.D., leads 1,300-plus employees and guides more than 1,000 R&D projects and project performers in 50 states with a total award value of $5 billion. Under Anderson’s leadership, NETL has initiated technology development and deployment projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and incorporate diverse energy sources to more effectively achieve environmental sustainability. Further, advancements in materials design and manufacturing have supported many technological achievements in the energy field.

The Lab’s world class facilities and personnel address a range of energy topics including: 

  • Carbon capture, removal, utilization, and storage.
  • Crosscutting research on high-performance materials, water management, energy storage and simulation engineering.
  • Advanced energy systems like solid oxide fuel cells, advanced turbines, gasification, transformative power generation and carbon ore processing.
  • Resource sustainability activity on enhanced oil recovery, offshore oil and gas issues, methane hydrates, and natural gas infrastructure. 

Samples of coal-derived graphene quantum dots that glow when exposed to light. The materials are manufactured by NETL and the color differences are caused by using different types of coal feedstocks and processing methods. NETL is working with industrial partners to directly attach these glowing materials to viruses, cells, and biological tissue for detecting disease in patients.

NETL is a complementary partner with MDS-Rely. Both organizations use the growing availability of computational power, improvements in algorithm performance and the ability to integrate domain knowledge into data science techniques to leverage data science solutions for addressing materials science challenges. 

“NETL brings a unique set of core capabilities to the MDS-Rely initiative. Sharing the capabilities that our Computational Science & Engineering (CSE) Directorate and Materials Engineering & Manufacturing (MEM) have developed is a key goal of NETL’s operations. We are excited about the potential of the collaboration.”

Madison Wenzlick

Laboratory leadership is keenly interested in being a part of MDS-Rely work because its CSE Directorate and MEM Directorate represent core competencies that can both benefit from and assist MDS-Rely. 

CSE researchers develop science-based simulation models, mathematical methods and algorithms, and software tools required to address the technical barriers to the development of next-generation technologies. 

Barbara Kutchko uses a series of high-pressure vessels manufactured specifically for NETL’s Geologic Sequestration Core Flow Laboratory. The goal of this research is to evaluate the potential for cement degradation to affect storage integrity for geologic CO2 sequestration.

“NETL researchers design, manufacture and test novel materials for improved properties in energy-related applications. We are well-versed in integrating materials science domain knowledge, experimental information, and computational sciences to address materials challenges. And we do it in a way that saves time, money and materials. Working with MDS-Rely will give us a chance to share those abilities and experiences for a wider audience, and to be informed of  MDS-Rely’s and capabilities of cutting edge research.”

-David Alman, of NETL’s MEM Directorate

MDS-Rely will leverage the capabilities of all members to create and improve materials through advanced computational and data science methods. The NETL/MDS-Rely partnership will lead to insights into the latest technical challenges in the materials data science field, discussions with experts in academia, and access to the techniques for addressing problems associated with software, codes, and datasets used in analysis. Finally, NETL’s partnership with the center will promote the growth of the materials data science workforce and encourage collaborations and recruiting.