Since joining the National Energy Technology Laboratory in 2008, Dr. Alexandra Hakala’s research has focused on increasing the efficiency of domestic energy production while minimizing the environmental impacts associated with the use of fossil fuel. A geochemist, Hakala made innovative contributions to research on groundwater chemistry, carbon capture and storage, and shale gas development. She worked as part of a multidisciplinary team to develop novel mitigation and monitoring methods for geologic carbon storage and shale gas systems. Her environmental geochemistry skills have greatly improved our understanding of toxic and nontoxic metals mobility in ground water systems, long-term geologic storage of CO2, and safe and prudent natural gas development—important to climate change and long-term energy resource development.
To Hakala, one of the most rewarding parts of working at NETL has been the opportunity to work with other dedicated researchers. “The greatest rewards in performing research at NETL are the opportunity to work on projects that address sustainable energy resource development, and the ability to work with colleagues who are both excellent researchers and amazing individuals.” Outside of research, Hakala spends time blogging about snowboarding and geology, and competes in amateur snowboard cross racing events. She is also involved in community volunteerism through organizations like Arbor Aid in Pittsburgh and Strong Women, Strong Girls.