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National Lab Earth Day Spotlights Sustainable Energy Research

Article-National Lab Earth Day Spotlights Sustainable Energy Research

Image courtesy of National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Earth Day 2022 National Energy Technology Laboratory DOE
The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) hosts an Earth Day virtual tour highlighting efforts to balance affordable, abundant, and reliable energy with environmental sustainability.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is joining its fellow U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories to honor Earth Day 2022 with National Lab Earth Day. NETL is hosting a virtual tour across its sites in Albany, OR; Morgantown, WV; and Pittsburgh, PA. NETL scientists and engineers are highlighting their work to ensure affordable, abundant, and reliable energy while developing technologies to manage carbon emissions and enable environmental sustainability, NETL shared in a press release.

National Lab Earth Day will be a virtual “sunrise-to-sunset” event that will begin on the East Coast and conclude on the West Coast showcasing all 17 DOE national laboratories throughout the day through tours, activities, short talks, and panels. (The full agenda for National Lab Earth Day can be viewed here.)

NETL is highlighting its research into carbon management, microwave chemical conversion, fuel cells, critical mineral and rare earth element sustainable sourcing, and other programs. NETL’s mission is “driving innovation and delivering solutions for an environmentally sustainable and prosperous energy future," Shelley C. Martin, media relations in NETL's Office of the Director, told Design News. She said NETL does this through: 

  • Ensuring affordable, abundant, and reliable energy that drives a robust economy and national security, while
  • Developing technologies to manage carbon across the full life cycle, and
  • Enabling environmental sustainability for all Americans.

For instance, NETL will manage selected projects in recently announced pilot programs under DOE's Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM). DOE is investing $3.5 million to develop natural gas demand response (NGDR) pilot programs aiming to shift consumption away from peak demand periods to improve energy system efficiency and reliability and lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The NETL projects include:

  • NGDR Program for Residential, Commercial, and Industrial Customers of SoCalGas — Gas Technology Institute (Des Plaines, IL) will partner with Lumina Decision System and Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas) to launch two NGDR pilot programs, including a residential thermostat and water heating controls program and a commercial and industrial NGDR pilot program. 
  • Future of Heating, Residential Gas Demand Response Pilot in Single-Family and Multifamily Use Cases — National Grid USA (Buffalo, NY) will partner with Det Norske Veritas and Radiator Labs to implement a natural gas demand response pilot program using thermostat controls to reduce the consumption of natural gas for central heating in multifamily and single-family households in downstate New York. The pilot will explore hybrid heating (gas and electric) technologies to reduce gas system use during peak hours and peak cold weather periods to alleviate natural gas system constraints.

National Lab Earth Day is also a chance for labs to reach out to the community. “With NETL’s goal of realizing the vision of a clean energy future with net-zero carbon emissions from the power sector by 2030 and a net-zero economy by 2050, Earth Day presents a splendid opportunity to showcase what our Lab is all about,” said NETL’s Ken Mechling, coordinator, STEM Education & Outreach Program, in the release. “This collective celebration of energy and environmental research across the national laboratory complex will demonstrate the commitment, excitement, and importance of STEM with our local and national communities.” 

To share career experiences, Alexandra Hakala, Ph.D., senior fellow for geologic and environmental systems at NETL, will participate in a career panel with colleagues from across DOE.  

The day's educational presentations intend to address audiences from kindergarten to the 12th grade and beyond. 

National Lab Earth Day sessions from other labs include a demonstration of wind energy production by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and at-home recycling techniques presented by Argonne National Laboratory.


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