Director's Corner

Release Date: February 16, 2018

National Labs 75 Breakthroughs Document Release


As one of 17 National Laboratories under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Energy, NETL has made its fair share of cutting-edge energy innovations. As the only National Laboratory that specializes in fossil topics, NETL’s wide-ranging research has advanced science, safeguarded our energy security, and invented modern technologies that have saved lives, created jobs, improved energy efficiency, and served the public good.

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Now, DOE has chronicled the many contributions of all 17 National Laboratories, and featured some key NETL contributions, with an entertaining and informative new document titled “75 Breakthroughs by America’s National Laboratories.” It is an eye-opening summary of the many valuable innovations that our National Laboratories have produced over the last seven decades.

NETL innovations jump-started the shale gas revolution, helped sharply curtail power plant emissions; and helped develop and test better concretes that protect the environment by sealing oil and gas wells. Those contributions stand side-by-side with the innovations developed in our sister National Laboratories in the new publication.

But, NETL, over an illustrious history, has many more stories to tell about our impact on America’s progress. In addition to our inclusion in “75 Breakthroughs,” we tell those stories here on our site, in our online collection of NETL Annual Reports, and in Impact magazine, which is dedicated to the NETL story of innovation and success.

Those sources are where you can read about NETL:

  • Pioneering enhanced oil recovery technologies that today contributes 13 percent of total U.S. oil production
  • Developing exploration models and laying groundwork for field testing a potential new energy source—methane hydrates
  • Uncovering rare earth elements in coal waste
  • Discovering how to reuse solid waste materials from coal combustion
  • Improving advanced turbine technologies

I hope many people review “75 Breakthroughs” and visit us often on this site to learn about the continuing story of NETL. In the meantime, we remain proud of our place in the National Laboratory system and look forward to sharing more success stories.


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.