Director's Corner

Release Date: December 01, 2016

NETL R&D – Setting Goals, Hitting the Mark

As a National Laboratory, one of NETL’s primary goals is to advance science and technology to support the DOE mission and provide mission ready competencies positioned to address the energy challenges of today and tomorrow. As an R&D organization, NETL strives to achieve the goals that support its parent organization and distinguish the laboratory as a premier research entity.  For 2016, we established a number of challenging metrics to gauge our success in meeting our goals and in supporting the DOE and Fossil Energy missions. I am proud to present the results of our work as measured by those metrics.

  • Technology innovation: the development of innovative technology solutions that address our nation’s most pressing energy technology challenges. This metric assesses the number of invention disclosures and patents issued, and considers licenses to industry as a quality factor.
    In 2016, our work resulted in 14 patent disclosures with 5 issued patents.
    Notable: Dr. Ranjani Siriwardani and Dr. Hanjing Tian were awarded a patent for the conversion of methane to hydrogen and syngas using bimetallic oxygen carriers.
  • Knowledge generation: the generation and dissemination of knowledge that advances the understanding of underpinning scientific phenomena required to move fossil energy technologies forward. This metric assesses the number of peer reviewed papers generated and the number of presentations at technical venues.  It considers quality factors including the number of citations and journal impact factor.
    In 2016, our researchers produced 167 publications addressing a range of energy topics and presented at noteworthy technical venues around the world.
    Notable: A peer reviewed paper by Dr. Zsolt Poole and Dr. Paul Ohodnicki titled Thermal Emissivity-Based Chemical Spectroscopy through Evanescent Tunneling achieved an 18.96 impact factor for advanced materials.
  • Recognitions: recognition of the talented staff and unique facilities of the laboratory. This metric addresses individual, team, and organization awards, invitations to speak, and scientists visiting to use NETL facilities, and considers prestige of the award, nominations from other organizations, stature of invitations and visiting scientists as quality factors.
    In 2016, NETL researchers netted 16 awards that recognized individuals for their outstanding contributions to science. Beyond these awards, we are particularly proud of our record for keeping our people safe while producing significant research results. This year NETL’s Research and Innovation Center reached the impressive safety milestone of working 2 million man hours without a single “lost time to injury.”
    Notable: Dr. Shiwoo Lee was honored with a Carnegie Science Award for Innovation for his electrode engineering using advanced manufacturing approaches.
  • Diversity of the research portfolio: reveals NETL’s wide range of research proposals that brought funding to pursue new knowledge generation. This metric addresses the number of successful proposals submitted and considers the value of those proposals as a quality factor.
    In 2016, NETL was successful in being selected for awards on 15 major proposals, and also secured 2 Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs). The awards and agreements had a total award value of nearly $18 million.
  • Stakeholder satisfaction: how well we answered customers’ call for research results. This is a soft metric that is difficult to quantify. It addresses customer milestones met and considers positive stakeholder feedback and endorsement as a quality factor.
    In 2016, NETL met 100 percent of its customers’ project milestones.
    Notable: The Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Energy Department’s Office of Fossil Energy declared the Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative’s Computational Toolset to be ready for commercial use to support of carbon capture technology development.

Clearly, our 2016 metrics reveal a successful year for NETL. As we take pride in the closing year’s accomplishments, we look forward to continuing this success as we strive to discover, integrate, and mature technology solutions to enhance the nation’s energy foundation and protect the environment for future generations.

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.