Albany, Oregon History

Albany, Oregon History


Albany Research Center has a history rich in 
successful materials research and development.

It was on March 17, 1943 that President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced that the U. S. Bureau of Mines had selected a site in Albany, Oregon for the new Northwest Electro-development Laboratory. The original mission of the center was to find methods for using the abundant low-grade resources of the area, and to develop new metallurgical processes using the abundant electrical energy in the area. The name of the center was changed in 1945 to the Albany Metallurgy Research Center and was used through 1977 where the name was shortened to Albany Research Center.

One of our first successes was the development 
of the process for producing ductile zirconium. Dr. William J. Kroll played a key role in formulating the early zirconium research program at the Albany Research Center. It was the work of Kroll and other researchers at the Center that led to the birth of both the titanium and zirconium industries.

In 1948, when zirconium was the metal chosen for use in the reactor of the first nuclear-powered submarine (the USS Nautilus), we cooperated with the U.S. Navy and the Atomic Energy Commission to test and finally produce the zirconium needed for this vessel. The Center continued zirconium production work until 1955 when the technology was transferred to the private sector.

While part of the U.S. Bureau of Mines, Albany Research Center continued to be a leader in a variety of materials and minerals related research areas, including National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program (NAPAP) for atmospheric corrosion, wear, vitrification of solid municipal and simulated low level radioactive wastes, development of sulfurcrete, titanium casting, evaporative pattern casting, cold-wall induction melting, recycling of metals and alloys, and many others. Our scientists have been granted a number of patents over the years, and have contributed extensively in the fields of metals and minerals research. In 1985, the Center was named an historical landmark by the American Society for Metals.

When Congress closed the U.S. Bureau of Mines on February 3, 1996, the Center was transferred into the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy. On November 27, 2005, the Center joined the agency's national laboratory complex as the newest branch of the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). We are now known as NETL-Albany.

NETL continues its legacy of making unique contributions to materials science. Some of the recent contributions include: new protection strategies for the protection of the Nation's bridges (infrastructure); new protection strategies for thermocouples and refractories used in gasifiers, carbon dioxide sequestration by mineral carbonation, micro-reactors for reforming and/or continuous reforming and separation of hydrogen for fuel cells, and oxidation/sulfidation alloys for fuel cells, gasifiers, super and ultra-supercritical power plants.