Latest News

NETL Researchers Adapt Carbon Capture Innovation to Filter and Recover Rare Earth Elements from Water Systems
Image of NETL logoRare earth elements (REEs) – an integral component of high-technology products from smart phones and lasers to computer hard drives, medical devices and national defense systems – are not that rare, they just appear in miniscule concentrations in a variety of sources, including water. NETL researchers have developed a way to effectively filter water from oil and natural gas well flowbacks, industrial waste streams, acid mine drainage and even municipal drinking water to recover valuable REEs.

Industry Joins NETL and Partner National Laboratories at Stakeholder Advisory Board Meeting for Extreme Materials Development
Image of NETL logoFossil energy transformational power technologies like ultra-supercritical steam plants and supercritical carbon-dioxide power have the potential to increase efficiencies and bolster clean coal efforts because they operate at higher temperatures and pressures. However, this leads to harsher and more corrosive conditions compared to traditional power plants. Furthermore, today’s current fleet of fossil power plants are increasingly being subjected to cycling conditions due to the penetration of renewable energy sources onto the electricity grid. These plants were designed for baseload operations, and the changing of plant temperature and pressures during cycling adds stress to the materials of construction, which may cause premature failure of components in service. Thus, the materials of construction are being subjected to more “extreme” operating environments. Accelerating the development of improved steels, superalloys and other advanced alloys is of paramount importance in deploying materials solutions to address materials challenges associated with both the existing fleet and future power systems.

Underrepresented Populations Needed to Meet Future Job Demands in Energy, Advanced Manufacturing
Image of NETL logoWith expected shortfalls of 1-2 million unfilled jobs in science-, technology-, engineering- and math- (STEM-) related industries over the next decade, it will be imperative to attract and retain more people – including underrepresented populations – to join the STEM workforce. These future opportunities include high-tech and highly skilled jobs in energy and advanced manufacturing in active National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) research areas, such as advanced computing, new composite materials, novel manufacturing processes and innovative research related to fossil fuels.

Innovative Facility Extracts Valuable Rare Earth Elements from Coal Mine Waste
Image of NETL logoAcid mine drainage (AMD) – a waste byproduct that must be treated – is an inevitable trade-off for the affordable, abundant and reliable power derived from coal mining operations. But AMD now offers potential economic opportunities, thanks to emerging technology being developed in collaboration with NETL to extract rare earth elements (REEs).


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Director's Corner

Sean I. Plasynski, Ph.D.

 Photo of Sean I. Plasynski, Ph.D. Highlighting Rare Earth Elements

Throughout human history, coal has been an invaluable resource for heat and light and all the commodities that have played such an important role in advancing our global civilizations. From ancient China to ancient Greece, coal was recognized as a useful and important material. Today, coal continues to fuel our prosperity in new and surprising ways.


NETL Shares Career Opportunities at Oregon State University


NETL shared exciting opportunities to enhance the nation’s energy foundation through science and innovation with students at Oregon State University during the 2018 Natural Sciences and Environmental Career Fair. Lab representatives were on campus in Corvallis, Oregon, to highlight the Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship program, Consortium for Integrating Energy Systems in Engineering and Science Education, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education program and other enriching professional possibilities. They also conducted quick mock interviews, offering valuable feedback to students in a low-pressure environment. NETL seeks to train and inspire the next generation of researchers, engineers, and scientists who will work to boost the nation’s energy independence through technological solutions.

NETL Celebrates Partnerships at Maryland Clean Energy Summit

1017-2018-Maryland-Clean-Energy-Summit-combo.jpgNETL highlighted the power of collaboration in facilitating energy innovation at the 2018 Maryland Clean Energy Summit, held Oct. 8-10 in College Park, Maryland. The conference focused on cutting-edge technologies, modern business models and solutions to ensure a secure, resilient and transactive modern power grid. NETL Strategic Partnerships Manager Michael Nowak offered valuable insight to a panel discussion titled “Innovation Exchange Connecting Start-ups, Experts, and Investors.” Nowak also accepted the Maryland Clean Energy Award for Capital Partner of the Year on behalf of NETL and Seth Lawson, who manages three projects with Maryland-based Redox Power Systems aimed at developing transformational solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technologies that generate electricity from coal or natural gas with near-zero emissions. Click here to learn more about NETL’s SOFC work

NETL Shares STEM Fun at Washington Elementary School


NETL’s K-12 STEM Education & Outreach team had an exciting visit Oct. 11 with young students at Washington Elementary School in Washington, Pennsylvania. The team shared engaging hands-on/minds-on experiences – such as testing their design engineered roller coasters here – designed to excite students about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). NETL’s education program seeks to educate the next generation of researchers, engineers, and scientists who will one day carry the charge of leading the United States to an energy independent future. K-12 outreach is just one of the ways NETL encourages excellence in STEM, fosters positive attitudes toward STEM, and builds students’ confidence as STEM learners.