National Energy Technology Laboratory

From Open Energy Information

National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is a United States Department of Energy national laboratory in Morgantown, West Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Houston, Texas; Albany, Oregon; and Fairbanks, Alaska.

About NETL[edit]

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratory that produces technological solutions to national and global energy challenges. In terms of mission, NETL focuses on finding tools and processes that simultaneously address the three overarching issues that characterize today’s energy situation: energy affordability, supply security, and environmental quality.[2]

NETL has three research sites—in Albany, Ore., Morgantown, W.Va., and Pittsburgh, Pa.—that conduct a broad range of energy and environmental research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) activities. NETL also has small offices in Sugar Land, Texas, and Fairbanks, Alaska, that address challenges unique to those energy-rich regions. All five locations support DOE’s mission to advance the national, economic, and energy security of the United States.

As the only national laboratory owned and operated by DOE, NETL is unique in how it conducts research and in the relationships it forms with industry, academia, and other research organizations:

  • NETL conducts cutting-edge R&D on site in the areas of energy system dynamics, geological and environmental systems, computational and basic sciences, and materials science.
  • NETL applies its extensive project-management capabilities to shape, fund, and manage research throughout the United States, and to sustain collaborative relationships with a number of foreign countries.
  • NETL conducts analyses to identify promising R&D leading to technologies that offer energy supply security, economic sustainability, and environmental protection.

NETL combines advanced science and technology, complex systems analysis, and collaborative project management to help realize the global need for clean affordable abundant energy resources. All of these capabilities are essential to solving what may be today’s most pressing energy issue: the reduction of greenhouse gases to curb climate change. NETL is actively engaged in all aspects of carbon management: improving energy efficiency, aiding in the transition to a non-carbon-based future, and developing practical, cost-effective technologies for carbon capture and storage that are necessary for that transition.

NETL’s reputation as an innovator stretches back to 1910, when the first of its predecessor laboratories, the Pittsburgh Experiment Station, was created to conduct research for the U.S. Bureau of the Interior. NETL’s evolution has paralleled the transformation of the U.S. economy from a system almost entirely dependent on fossil fuels, to one using a mix of fossil energy, hydropower, nuclear energy, and renewable resources. NETL’s work reflects this mix, as its scientists, engineers, and analysts advance not only coal- and natural-gas-based power systems, but vehicle technologies, fuel cells, hydrogen turbines, water conservation technologies, and methane hydrate and fossil-biomass blends as potential new energy feedstocks.

NETL directly engages industry, government, and academic partners to address issues that would otherwise become barriers to commercializing power systems, fuels, and environmental and waste-management technologies. Technology transfer is central to NETL’s mission. Through patents, licensing, publications, policy discussions, and international partnerships with more than 40 countries, NETL shares its results and sets new trends in invention and innovation.

NETL engages in highly participative domestic and international research, development, and demonstration programs. Examples of NETL’s international partnerships include:

  • International Energy Agency—Advising member nations in their efforts to ensure reliable, affordable, and clean energy for their citizens.
  • Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation—Facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade, and investment in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate—Focusing on voluntary, practical measures to create new investment opportunities, build local capacity, and remove barriers to the introduction of clean, more efficient technologies for improving energy security, and addressing climate change.

Throughout 100 years of scientific research, development, and demonstration, NETL has risen to the increasingly complex energy challenges faced by the United States and the world. NETL’s research is wide-ranging. Its partnerships are far-reaching. By changing today’s landscape of energy supply and demand, NETL is helping to both shape and secure the future energy economy.


NETL is composed of the following seven strategic units:

  • Office of Research and Development (ORD) conducts basic and applied research and development in fossil energy and environmental science area. Four focus areas of the ORD are (A) Energy system dynamics, (B) Geological and environmental systems, (C) Computational and basic sciences, (D) Materials Science.
  • Strategic Center for Natural Gas and Oil (SCNGO) handles all the DOE’s research and development related to natural gas and oil to resolve the environmental, supply, and reliability constraints of producing and using oil and gas resources.
  • Strategic Center for Coal (SCC) works to ensure national energy security and economic prosperity through production of clean, affordable electricity and fuels from coal.
  • Office of Systems, Analyses and Planning (OSAP) performs studies of complex, large systems and the interactions amongst those systems, including social, economic, political, regulatory, technological, design, and management institutions.
  • Project Management Center (PMC) performs overall management and implementation of other federal agencies’ advanced initiatives, providing technical expertise, analytical tools, and a full suite of implementation skills.
  • Office of Institutional and Business Operations (OIBO) plans, directs, and coordinates administrative, operational, construction, and staff support activities for the Laboratory.
  • Office of Crosscutting Functions (OCF) plans, directs, and coordinates policy, administrative, and site support contract management activities that crosscut Laboratory activities.

Research Areas[edit]

The following are core R&D capabilities and facilities of NETL's locations in Morgantown, West Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Albany, Oregon:[3]

  • Carbon management
  • Chemical reaction engineering
  • Combustion science
  • Computational research
  • Environmental science
  • Fuel cell research
  • Geosciences
  • High temperature/high pressure science
  • Materials performance
  • Methane hydrates research
  • Process development
  • Reciprocating engines research
  • Remote sensing
  • Sensors and controls
  • Separations science
  • Surface science

Energy Analysis and Modeling Tools[edit]

Multiphase Flow with Interphase eXchanges (MFIX)
"MFIX (Multiphase Flow with Interphase eXchanges) is a general-purpose computer code developed at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) for describing the hydrodynamics, heat transfer and chemical reactions in fluid-solids systems. It has been used for describing bubbling and circulating fluidized beds and spouted beds."[4]
Advanced Process Engineering Co-Simulator (APECS)
"Developed by NETL, ANSYS, and other research partners, the Advanced Process Engineering Co-Simulator (APECS) is an innovative software tool that provides process/equipment co-simulation capabilities for model-based decision support in steady-state process design and optimization."[5]
Bituminous Baseline Performance and Cost Interactive Tool
"The Bituminous Baseline Performance and Cost Interactive Tool illustrates key data from the Cost and Performance Baseline for Fossil Energy Plants - Bituminous Coal and Natural Gas to Electricity report."[6]
Petroleum-Based Fuels Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Analysis 2005 Baseline Model
"This model calculates the 2005 national average life cycle greenhouse gas emissions for petroleum-based fuels sold or distributed in the United States in the year 2005."[7]
World CO2 Emissions - Projected Trends Tool
"This interactive tool enables the user to look at both total and power sector CO2 emissions from the use of coal, oil, or natural gas, over the period 1990 to 2030."[8]

About NETL's Energy Analysis Modeling Tools[9]

International Cooperation[edit]

Tools and Programs Added to OpenEI[edit]



Add a Program or Tool[edit]


  1.  "NETL"
  2. About NETL
  3. Onsite Research: Research Capabilities and Facilities
  4. MFIX, OpenEI
  5. APECS, OpenEI
  6. Bituminous Baseline Performance and Cost Interactive Tool, OpenEI
  7. Petroleum-Based Fuels Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Analysis 2005 Baseline Model, OpenEI
  8. World CO2 Emissions - Projected Trends Tool, OpenEI
  9. Energy Analysis Tools Website


External links[edit]