Responding to Energy Secretary Bill Richardson's directive, the Energy
Department's newest national laboratory has put into operation a new Strategic
Center for Natural Gas, charged with overseeing a full range of the agency's
natural gas-related activities.
The Center's creation is part of a larger reorganization of the government's
primary fossil fuel research facility in Morgantown, WV, and Pittsburgh,
PA, which Secretary Richardson designated as the National Energy Technology
Laboratory on December 10, 1999.
As part of the new laboratory, the Strategic Center for Natural Gas will
oversee federal research efforts in gas exploration, production and storage,
infrastructure reliability, and advanced gas use technologies such as
high performance turbines, engines, and fuel cells. It will also be responsible
for natural gas-related analyses that can help set the direction for future
federal natural gas initiatives.
Laboratory Director Rita Bajura has named Dr. Joseph Strakey, a 29-year
career professional, as the first director of the new natural gas center.
In addition to this post, Dr. Strakey will also serve as one of the National
Laboratory's eight Associate Directors.
The Strategic Center for Natural Gas will have four Product Managers,
responsible for gas exploration, production and storage; advanced turbines
and engines; fuel cells; and infrastructure reliability.
Under the Laboratory's matrix organization, the Center will have access
to approximately 50 staff members currently working on natural gas projects
in other sections of the Laboratory, in addition to the 13 federal employees
assigned directly to the Center.
Additional Organizational Changes Reflect Expanded National Laboratory
Other parts of the Laboratory's organization are also being restructured
in response to Secretary Richardson's national laboratory designation.
A second deputy director position will be added, permitting one deputy
to focus on programs overseen by the laboratory while the second deputy
will concentrate on facility operations.
The National Energy Technology Laboratory is unique in the Energy Department's
lab system in that it both conducts onsite research and oversees federally-funded
private sector research activities conducted in all 50 states and 16 foreign
countries. While its primary focus is on fossil energy related technology,
it also carries out research activities for other Energy Department programs,
including the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, and the
Office of Environmental Management.
To implement these functions, in addition to the natural gas center,
the new Laboratory organization will include:
an Office of Coal & Environmental Systems, overseeing
product development in gasification, combustion, and sequestration
technologies (including the Energy Department's Vision 21
concept for a future, pollution-free energy plant), along with other
activities concerning the protection of air, land and water resources.;
an Office of Fuels and Energy Efficiency, overseeing product
development in natural gas processing, transportation fuels and chemicals,
advanced fuels research, and energy conservation programs; and
an Office of Environmental Management and Defense Programs,
overseeing product development in nuclear facility decontamination
and decommissioning and related areas.
Other organizational changes have been made to better focus the Laboratory's
onsite research by grouping the facility's staff researchers and technicians
in the Office of Science and Technology into newly defined "focus
areas:" carbon sequestration, computational science, ultra clean
fuels, and gas energy systems dynamics. Each of these areas will be headed
by a senior scientist.
A complete description of the new National
Energy Technology Laboratory's organizational changes can be found by
clicking on People at the Laboratory's web site at www.netl.doe.gov.