News Release

Release Date: March 07, 2016

NETL Science & Engineering Ambassadors Guide Next Generation of Energy Decision-Makers


A trio of scientists and engineers from the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) are using their research skills and experience to prepare future decision-makers to tackle tomorrow’s energy challenges.

Through the Science & Engineering Ambassadors  program, NETL’s Ale Hakala, Steven Bossart, and Paul Ohodnicki are participating as technical experts for the 2016 spring semester course, “Energy: Science, Society and Communication,” co-taught by Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt). The three Ambassadors are helping honors-level students develop energy-themed topics and an interaction format for an energy forum to be conducted with Pittsburgh-area decision leaders during March 2016.

The Science & Engineering Ambassadors program was launched by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering to prepare teams of experts to engage with the community on technical issues related to current and future energy challenges. The Ambassadors program and the CMU/Pitt course are intended to serve as a template for programs that will address similar concepts around the country.

NETL’s participation in the Ambassadors program allows the breadth of technical expertise at the lab to be applied towards decision-making associated with energy and environmental systems in the Pittsburgh region.

At NETL, Hakala specializes in environmental geochemistry and helps uncover ways to better understand toxic and nontoxic chemical mobility in groundwater systems, the long-term geologic storage of carbon dioxide, and safe natural gas development.

Ohodnicki works on material engineering and manufacturing topics and established an optical sensor research program for monitoring clean advanced energy systems.

Bossart is a senior energy analyst at NETL and works extensively on smart grid projects so that the nation’s electrical power distribution systems can meet growing demand, integrate variable renewable power sources, attain greater reliability and remain affordable.

Hakala, Ohodnicki, and Bossart all have histories of community outreach and involvement and were anxious to become involved with the National Academies of Science and Engineering effort.