Department of Energy


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Fossil energy sources, including oilcoal and natural gas, are non-renewable resources that formed when prehistoric plants and animals died and were gradually buried by layers of rock. Over millions of years, different types of fossil fuels formed -- depending on what combination of organic matter was present, how long it was buried and what temperature and pressure conditions existed as time passed.

Today, fossil fuel industries drill or mine for these energy sources, burn them to produce electricity, or refine them for use as fuel for heating or transportation. Over the past 20 years, nearly three-fourths of human-caused emissions came from the burning of fossil fuels.

The Energy Department maintains emergency petroleum reserves, ensures responsible development of America’s oil and gas resources and executes natural gas regulatory responsibilities. In addition, scientists at the Energy Department’s National Labs are developing technologies to reduce carbon emissions and ensure fossil energy sources play a role in America’s clean energy future.

Natural Gas
The Energy Department is committed to safe development of America’s natural gas resources.
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The Energy Department works to ensure domestic and global oil supplies are environmentally sustainable and maintains emergency petroleum stockpiles.
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Coal is the largest domestically produced source of energy in America and is used to generate a significant amount of our nation’s electricity.
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Carbon Storage Research
Office of Fossil Energy's Carbon Storage R&D Program
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Shale Gas 101

This webpage has been developed to answer the many questions that people have about shale gas and hydraulic fracturing (or fracking). The...

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Enhanced Oil Recovery

Crude oil development and production in U.S. oil reservoirs can include up to three distinct phases: primary, secondary, and tertiary (or enhanced)...

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National Labs
The Building Technologies Office works closely with the DOE-funded national labs to develop and demonstrate energy-efficient technologies. The Emer...
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Featured Content

INFOGRAPHIC: Carbon Capture 101

Carbon capture is an important part of the Energy Department's Fossil Energy research and development efforts, but how does it work? This...

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Petra Nova, World’s Largest Post-Combustion Carbon-Capture Project, Begins Commercial Operation

Yesterday, January 10, 2017, NRG Energy, Inc. (NRG) and JX Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration Corporation (JX Nippon) announced that the Petra Nova...

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Quiz: Know Your Power Plants
Think you know where coal, solar and other power plants are located around the country? Test your knowledge with our power plants quiz!
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Producing Usable Water from CO2 Storage Sites

Our water and energy systems are closely interlinked. Water is used in all phases of energy production and electricity generation and energy is...

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Move Over Platinum, We Want Nickel!

Researchers at the National Energy Technology Laboratory developed a new catalyst for turning CO2 into fuel that is much cheaper and works much...

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A New Look For NETL

NETL Director Dr. Grace Bochenek today unveiled a contemporary new logo designed to reinforce the Laboratory’s brand as the nation’s prominent ...

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