Director's Corner

Release Date: December 01, 2014

An Open Letter from NETL's New Director, Dr. Grace M. Bochenek

Dear NETL Staff, Colleagues, and Friends,

It is with great excitement and anticipation that I take the reins as Director of the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). For more than a century, NETL has aggressively sought technological solutions to ever evolving energy challenges. I’m inspired to become a part of that tradition and to work with professional staff and employees who are clearly dedicated to advancing energy innovation that fuels the nation’s economy, strengthens its national security, and improves our environment.

Fossil fuels—coal, oil, and natural gas—play a crucial role in both the U.S. and global energy mix.  According to the Energy Information Agency, more than 80% of the world’s energy demands are currently met by fossil fuels and it is projected that fossil fuel demand will remain robust through 2035. Today, America is seeing a tremendous resurgence in domestic unconventional oil and gas production and supply. At the same time, however, fossil fuels are being scrutinized as never before. America and the world seek balance between sufficient energy and a clean and healthy environment. A key to striking this balance is the advancement of technology and its underpinning science. This is why NETL’s work is so vitally important and why I chose to come to the Laboratory.

NETL’s forte is development of advanced energy technologies that meet national energy and environmental needs and priorities. Over the years the Laboratory has developed, and has brought to market, a myriad of advanced technologies such as advanced emissions controls, advanced coal power systems, and pioneering work in hydraulic fracturing. NETL’s forty-six R&D 100 awards are testimony to its success in taking on tough problems. The Laboratory’s world-class capabilities and competencies make it well positioned to tackle the most urgent energy challenges from climate change and the safe development of unconventional oil and natural gas resources to the security of the nation’s electric power grid. And I am confident that we are ready for any and all challenges the future might bring.

As NETL Director, my first priorities are to:

  • Build upon the Laboratory’s excellence and reputation as the technical engine of the Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy,
  • Create a unified effort through a dynamic partnerships involving DOE Headquarters, all elements of NETL, and academic and private sector collaborators,
  • Ensure mission sustainability by charting a long-range strategy to meet and advance the goals of the Laboratory,
  • Bolster efficiency and effectiveness by delivering a 21st Century Laboratory with robust capabilities and results, and
  • Sustain a world-class workplace enabling us to meet current and future energy research demands.

Again, I am excited and proud to assume leadership of NETL and its 1,400 dedicated and highly motivated staff, and I look forward to guiding the Laboratory as it moves confidently into the future.

Dr. Grace M. Bochenek
National Energy Technology Laboratory

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.