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Congratulations to Our Award Winners
Congratulations to Our Award Winners!

One of my great privileges as director of a national laboratory is to celebrate with our researchers as they receive much-deserved accolades from outside organizations. This year our researchers garnered numerous awards and recognition:  

  • NETL’s patent attorney Lisa Baker was inducted into the West Virginia University Department of Chemical Engineering Academy of Chemical Engineers for having “brought honor upon the department and her profession.”
  • NETL’s Equation of State Water Management Team earned a Pittsburgh FEB Excellence in Government Award as an Outstanding Team for their work toward innovations that can help save millions of dollars in the event of an ultra-deepwater oil leak or an uncontrolled flow rate from ultra-deep wells and reservoirs. 
  • Dr. Angela Goodman received a Division of Environmental Geosciences Award from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) for her work on carbon storage, which the AAPG cited as an invaluable resource for determining how much CO2 can be stored at sites around the nation and the world, ensuring a safer environment for generations. Dr. Goodman was also honored with an Excellence in Government Award for Outstanding Contribution to Science by the Pittsburgh Federal Executive Board (FEB).
  • Dr. Alexandra Hakala was named a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)—the highest honor the U.S. government can bestow on scientists or engineers in the early stages of their research careers. Dr. Hakala was selected for her technical leadership and her work toward increasing the efficiency of domestic energy production while minimizing the environmental impacts associated with the use of fossil fuels.
  • NETL Metallurgist Dr. Paul Jablonski was elected as Fellow of ASM International, the world’s largest and most distinguished association for materials science professionals. ASM cited Dr. Jablonski for sustained excellence in materials processing and heat treatment.
  • Dr. Barbara Kutchko received a Women in Energy Leadership Award from the Pittsburgh Business Times (PBT) for her involvement as a third-part analyst during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. PBT officials said the magnitude of Kutchko’s success made her an “obvious choice.”
  • Dr. Shiwoo Lee was awarded a prestigious AECOM Excellence Award in recognition of his exceptional and innovative research, which is improving solid oxide fuel cell performance, with significant environmental and commercial benefits.
  • NETL’s Material Science Functional Materials Team received a Carnegie Science Award in recognition of the ways their work has serviced manufacturing and materials science in the western Pennsylvania region. The team develops high-performance optical sensors capable of operating in harsh environments, such as those found in fossil-fuel power generation systems.
  • Dr. Jessica Mullen also received recognition from the Pittsburgh FEB as an Outstanding Professional Employee. Dr. Mullen is a project manager at NETL and works with NETL research teams in water management and sensors and controls.
  • Anna Nakano received the Best Poster Award by a Young Professional in the Functional Materials Division at The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society Annual Meeting and Exhibition.  Co-authored by Jinichiro Nakano and James Bennett, the poster reported thermodynamic and kinetic aspects of high-temperature thermocouple sensor alloy failure controlled by distinct diffusion processes.
  • Dr. Kelly Rose was recognized as an Innovative R&D winner at the Sixth Annual Shale Gas Innovation Contest for her kick-detection technology, which provides a cost-effective early warning of oil or gas well destabilization that could result in a blowout gusher event or “kick.”
  • NETL’s Steve Zitney and Eric Liese with co-authors Fabio Lambruschini and Alberto Traverso of the University of Genoa received a Best Paper Award from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, for their paper, “Dynamic Model of a 10 MW Supercritical CO2 Recompression Brayton Cycle.”
  • A cost-effective coating process to protect metal products from corrosion, developed by NETL researchers and Carnegie Mellon University, was recognized with a prestigious Excellence in Technology Transfer Award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer. Lumishield Technologies, a Pittsburgh-based startup company, was established to advance the technology into a commercial process. 

In addition to these meritorious distinctions, NETL was the recipient of three R&D 100 Awards, which recognize the 100 most technologically significant products introduced into the commercial marketplace within the past year. The following NETL technologies were awarded:

  • Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative (CCSI) Toolset—the only suite of computational tools and models specifically tailored to help maximize learning and reduce risk during the scale-up process for carbon-capture technologies.
  • Computationally Optimized Heat Treatment of Metal Alloys—a novel process that provides an easy method to optimize heat treatment to achieve the desired degree of homogenization with a minimum of furnace time.
  • HVAC Load Reduction Technology for Commercial Buildings—unique multi-functional sorbents that can capture CO2 and volatile organic compounds at ambient temperatures and regenerate below 60 degrees Celsius.

I’m looking forward to embarking on a new year as we continue in our mission 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.