About Energy Analysis


About Energy Analysis at NETL

NETL conducts a variety of energy analyses to identify and evaluate promising research and development (R&D) opportunities in order to provide balanced solutions in support of economic sustainability, energy supply security, mitigation of global climate change, and improved environmental performance.

NETL-conducted studies require a multi-disciplinary approach to the assessment of large, complex energy systems encompassing energy production, distribution, and use. Strategic assessments and planning efforts also incorporate the evaluation of current status, near-term trends, and futuristic scenarios.


Key Analysis Areas

Technology Analysis

Technology analyses estimate and assess the performance and cost of current and future state-of-the-art energy technologies and systems that result from successful NETL R&D. The results of these analyses inform larger scale energy-economic models that place the technologies in context within the larger energy portfolio and support design, optimization, scale-up, and troubleshooting for advanced energy systems. Technology analyses also provide insights into the anticipated competitiveness of these technologies, as well as the potential economic, environmental, and energy security impacts and benefits that result from successful NETL R&D under a variety of possible future scenarios.

Resource Analysis

Resource analyses evaluate advanced technologies and their impact on resource potential, feasibility, cost, and environmental footprint. Areas evaluated by these analyses include production of the nation’s abundant fossil fuels like coal, oil, and natural gas; valuable by-products, such as rare earth elements; and the potential to store carbon dioxide in the subsurface.

Life Cycle Analysis

Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) is a comprehensive form of analysis that uses the principles of Life Cycle Assessment, Life Cycle Cost Analysis, and various other methods to evaluate the environmental, economic, and social attributes of energy systems – ranging from the extraction of raw materials from the ground to the use of the energy carrier to perform work, commonly referred to as the “life cycle” of a product. Results are used to inform research at NETL and evaluate energy options from a national perspective.

Energy Markets Analysis

Energy markets analysis considers the impact of market dynamics, regulations, and policies on the adoption of current and advanced technologies. NETL customizes and uses a variety of energy-economy forecasting models and economic dispatch models to determine market and policy factors amid differing technology assumptions. These analyses provide a thorough understanding of each scenario’s effects on energy security, cost, reliability, and economic indicators, such as employment and income.