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Crosscutting Research Program

NETL’s Crosscutting Research Portfolio of programs mature novel technologies for commercialization that can enhance new and existing coal-fired power plants.

There are five primary research areas that target enhanced fossil energy systems:

The goals of the research in those areas are to create transformational technologies that improve plant efficiency, reduce water consumption and reduce costs all under a single research umbrella.

The research is leading to enhancements to the fleet like improved plant efficiency, new ways to address the challenges of load following, better ways to counter cyber intrusions, and advancements in affordable, scalable technical solutions.

Because of the broad applicability of the Crosscutting Portfolio, its technologies often have applicability to other energy sectors like gas-based power generation, oil & gas infrastructure, and aviation (both commercial and military).

On behalf of the US Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy, NETL pursues Crosscutting R&D by collaborating with other government agencies, world-renowned national labs, entrepreneurs, industry, and academic institutions.

Crosscutting efforts include sponsorship of two long-running university training programs that prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers to meet future energy challenges. These are the University Coal Research (UCR) program and the Historically-Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority Institutions (HBCU-OMI) program. By working with students on the university level, the efforts ensures that key technologies like advanced manufacturing, cybersecurity, smart data analytics and high-performance computing will be integrated into fossil plants of the future.

In combination, these investments in innovation, informed by private sector stakeholders, enable more comprehensive risk assessment and techno-economic analysis, increase the resiliency of the nation’s fossil energy infrastructure and enable the adoption of cutting-edge data technologies for plant owners and operators.



Program develops sensors and controls capable of monitoring parameters of interest and transmitting indications of component health while operating in harsh environments.



Program enables researchers to observe experiments with phenomena and key elements that are either not observable or impractical to research in-situ applications.



Program develops novel materials that aim to reduce the cost and time needed to develop and commercialize fossil energy applications in extreme operating environments.




Program analyzes the inextricable relationship between power generation and water usage, with the aim of reducing water consumption and increase plant efficiency.



Programs support the education of students in the area of coal science through grants to U.S. colleges and universities that emphasize Fossil Energy strategic goals.


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