Director's Corner

Release Date: January 21, 2016

Collaborations Across Space and Time


NETL has made its mark on American history with key energy-related innovations that contribute to the safety, efficiency, and progress of the nation. Many of these accomplishments have transcended space and time by involving researchers all over the world in collaborations that lasted months to years, and produced benefits for decades.

Any number of innovations in NETL’s proud history prove this point. From mine safety and early energy conservation efforts in the Great Depression; through urgent World War II research into aviation fuels, explosives, and nuclear materials; to more recent efforts advancing technologies to secure a clean and safe energy future, NETL has partnered with other research organizations to benefit the American people. By continuing to form partnerships that span time and borders, we will continue to deliver new technologies and processes that will have positive impacts all over the globe.

The Energy Data Exchange (EDX) is a prime example of how NETL’s work expands knowledge and empowers progress for people not only today, but far into the future and all over the world. EDX is a knowledge-sharing network built to provide a single source for fossil energy–related datasets and the tools to use them. EDX is designed to make data generated by NETL researchers, other EDX users, and outside agencies available almost instantly through a common portal that features key tools to support analysis and evaluation. The ability to quickly share and coordinate data with collaborators, and then disseminate research results and products, fosters cooperation and brings researchers together to attain success at research institutions all over the world.

Another example of the enduring and far-reaching ingenuity of NETL is the National Risk Assessment Partnership (NRAP), an international effort that develops tools for assessing risks associated with the permanent geologic storage of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2). Few issues of our time require as much collaborative focus as the fight to reverse climate change. NRAP is a reliable source of information on the safe storage of CO2 captured from fossil fuel–burning facilities, harnessing key knowledge from industry, government, non-government organizations, and academia for use in climate-change initiatives.

In similar cooperative fashion, the Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative (CCSI) features a partnership among national laboratories, industry, and academic institutions dedicated to the development and deployment of state-of-the-art computational modeling and simulation tools to accelerate the commercialization of carbon-capture technologies. By developing a comprehensive, integrated suite of validated science-based computational models, the initiative reduces the risk associated with incorporating multiple technologies into new carbon-capture solutions. The result: safer, cleaner, more efficient use of fossil fuels worldwide.

As Nobel Prize–winning physicist John Bardeen noted, “Science is a collaborative effort. The combined results of several people working together is often much more effective than could be that of an individual scientist working alone.” NETL’s collaborations across space and time result in innovations that enhance and advance energy technologies and ultimately move society forward. That is work I am honored and proud to help lead.

As Acting Director of NETL, Sean I. Plasynski, Ph.D., builds on an extensive background in energy as he leads NETL in its mission to enhance the nation’s energy independence and protect the environment for future generations. For more information about Sean Plasynski's experience, please click here.