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NETL Highlights Research Focused on Water Protection at National Forum

NETL shared innovative research and development (R&D) projects focused on responsible water management and protection of the nation’s limited water resources at a national forum this week in Oklahoma.

The Groundwater Protection Council hosted its 2019 Annual Forum Sept. 15-17 at Oklahoma City’s Sheraton Downtown. The organization’s mission is to promote the protection and conservation of groundwater resources by providing an important forum for stakeholder communication and research in order to improve the role of government in the protection and conservation of groundwater.

During a Monday morning session focused on produced water, NETL State & Local Partnerships Water Lead Tom Feeley presented an overview of the Lab’s water and energy activities.

NETL’s Water Management program focuses on enhancing the efficient and environmentally sound use of the nation’s fresh water resources in the exploration, development and use of fossil energy.  The Lab’s research activities address water issues that crosscut the coal, oil and gas, carbon capture and storage, and rare earth elements programs. In-house and extramural research focuses on advanced cooling technology, use of nontraditional water, water detection and treatment, and water-energy modeling and decision-making tools to ensure that fossil energy continues to play a critical role in meeting domestic and global energy demand.

“NETL has carried out an integrated, comprehensive water-energy research program for nearly two decades. The Lab has established a robust portfolio of projects directed at better understanding and managing the inextricable link between water and energy,” Feeley said. “Forums like this provide a great venue to highlight the goals, successes and future direction of the Lab’s water-energy research and to discuss with key stakeholders potential partnering opportunities, such as pilot-testing water treatment technologies at the NETL-funded BEST facility in western North Dakota.”

Robert Dilmore, Ph.D., NETL’s Technical Lead for the National Risk Assessment Partnership (NRAP), highlighted tools developed by NRAP during a Monday afternoon session focused on geologic storage of carbon dioxide (CO2).

NRAP is an NETL-led collaborative effort that draws upon expertise from five Department of Energy national laboratories to develop risk assessment tools for safe, long-term geologic carbon storage. Among the partnership’s most notable achievements to date is the development of the award-winning NRAP Toolset, which comprises 10 science-based computational tools to predict environmental risks for subsurface CO2 storage sites.

NRAP contributes to NETL’s Carbon Storage program, which aims to expand the scientific knowledge base and develop and validate technologies through a diverse portfolio of applied research projects focused on three areas — storage infrastructure, advanced storage R&D, and risk and integration tools.

NETL’s Water Management and Carbon Storage R&D programs support the Lab’s mission to discover, integrate, and mature technology solutions to enhance the nation’s energy foundation and protect the environment for future generations.