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Scientist working on CT Scanning Laboratory
NETL Researchers Listen to Earth’s Natural Systems to Develop Clean New Energy Production Technologies

Director’s Corner

by Brian Anderson, PhD.

NETL develops technologies that enable the environmentally responsible use of America’s domestic energy resources. Part of that work depends on the Lab’s expanding expertise in geological and environmental systems and its ability to monitor and analyze the behavior of the Earth’s natural systems from both the surface and subsurface.

The Lab’s recognized capabilities in geological and environmental systems allow for the investigation and advancement for the safe, long-term storage of carbon dioxide; more effective technologies for enhanced oil recovery; and the creation of technologies and processes to safely bring untapped energy resources like methane hydrates into the domestic natural gas resource base.

To accomplish this work, our talented team of scientists and engineers rely on our world-class facilities, like our multiscale CT scanning laboratory that provides 3-D data images that data researchers use to study flow and permeability in porous materials — this data helps us better understand the subsurface. In our geomechanics and flow laboratory, researchers simulate conditions found deep underground. This is useful for studying carbon sequestration and allows the for the accurate measurement of permeability, stress and strain of core samples under realistic subsurface conditions. NETL’s mobile air monitoring laboratory allows researchers to measure air and water quality at field sites that are related to the energy extraction processes, such as shale gas drilling and fracturing.

These are just a few examples of the work NETL geological and environmental systems experts are undertaking in pursuit of our mission to discover, integrate and mature technology solutions to enhance the nation’s energy foundation and protect the environment for future generations.  We’ll be featuring additional highlights of our geologic and environmental systems research throughout the month of March. Stay tuned to our newsroom and social media channels to learn more.