When students from Oregon State University visited the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL) Albany, Ore., site in October 2018, they got a glimpse into what it takes to produce technological solutions to America’s energy challenges.
For decades, NETL has worked to develop tools and processes to provide clean, reliable, and affordable energy to the American people. Its current mission is to discover, integrate, and mature technology solutions to enhance the nation’s energy foundation and protect the environment for future generations. But, its researchers and its leaders are also firmly dedicated to encouraging young people to follow in their footsteps to tackle tomorrow’s energy challenges. That’s why its doors are often opened to students interesting in learning about energy research.
The Oregon State University delegation got a close-up view of NETL’s mission in action when it toured the Albany, Ore., NETL. Situated on 42 acres, NETL’s Albany complex has specialized facilities for materials fabrication and performance testing of advanced high-temperature, corrosion-resistant structural ceramic composites and metal alloys.
The site is internationally recognized for its leadership in designing, developing, and deploying advanced materials for use in energy applications and extreme service environments like power plants. NETL is renowned for its ability to design, engineer, and evaluate materials ranging from the micro level to large pilot-plant scales.
NETL’s Circe Verba, Ph.D., Tracy Giltner, and a team of researchers introduced the young people to research underway at its Computational and Severe Environment and the Corrosion Erosion facilities – leading edge units for assessing materials performance in simulated fossil fuel environments at high temperatures and pressures. Computational materials research guides alloy development and manufacturing research, predicts materials performance to shorten development timelines enabling more efficient energy production
Verba said the visit helped provide the students with insights for potential career opportunities. She said the visit is typical of NETL Albany’s efforts to strengthen its partnership with Oregon State University’s College of Science and reinforces the Laboratory’s effort to encourage people to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) for careers in energy researchers.