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The wealth of domestic resources found in our nation’s subsurface, coupled with advanced energy technologies that enable their efficient use, promote competitiveness across our industry.
NETL's Subsurface Research: Continuing a Legacy of Fueling America's Productivity and National Defense

Nearly all the energy sources that helped build our nation came from deep beneath our feet. The rich subsurface of our planet provides the oil, gas, and coal that fuel our prosperity and build a foundation for future growth. The wealth of domestic resources found in our nation’s subsurface, coupled with advanced energy technologies that enable their efficient use, promote competitiveness across our industry. That’s why cutting-edge research now underway at NETL is focused on maximizing our ability to access the vast domestic resources of the subsurface. These research projects will ultimately lead to lower costs for consumers while strengthening America’s energy dominance.

The rich but mysterious part of the earth we know as the subsurface still holds secrets, and NETL researchers are deeply involved with finding new ways to unlock them. They remain in hot pursuit of work that will provide resources of immense national security and commercial value, while ensuring responsible stewardship of the environment, and information about seismic activity that can unlock key secrets for energy production efficiency and safety.

NETL subsurface research topics cover a wide range of complex areas like:

  • Pinpointing new domestic sources of rare earth elements – the materials that are essential for the manufacture of virtually all high-tech devices including consumer, defense, and energy technologies.
  • Developing intricate and accurate ways to monitor seismic activity and enhance shale gas production.
  • Creating new tools to more accurately assess future underground CO2 storage site capacities on a regional basis.
  • Evolving accurate monitoring devices capable of operating in the deep, high-pressure, corrosive environments associated with the subsurface.

Our Laboratory’s work has led to great energy achievements over the past 100 years from making our coal mines safer to improving horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing that led to America’s current energy boom. We remain committed to building upon those successes through discovery, development, and dissemination of our subsurface research.

 

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.