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NETL Staff Biography
Grant S. Bromhal, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow for Geological and Environmental Sciences
Dr. Grant S. Bromhal is a Senior Fellow at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), focusing on Geological and Environmental Sciences. He leads a team that conducts novel research related to unconventional oil and gas recovery, enhanced oil recovery, carbon storage, enhanced geothermal systems, and other related issues.
Dr. Bromhal is the Technical Director of the National Risk Assessment Partnership (NRAP), work for which he and his collaborators won, in 2017, an R&D 100 award for novel software development. Dr. Bromhal is also the director of the Science-informed Machine Learning for Accelerating Real-Time Decisions in Subsurface Applications (SMART Initiative).
He has been a research engineer at NETL for more than 17 years. During that time, he has been a Team Lead in Predictive Geosciences; the U.S. DOE’s technical representative on the Multiagency Collaboration (MAC) on Unconventional Oil and Gas; and a member of the DOE working group on well integrity in response to the Aliso Canyon incident.
Dr. Bromhal earned his Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and his BS/BA degree in Civil Engineering and Math from West Virginia University. He is the recipient of the 2007 Hugh Guthrie Award for Innovation at NETL, the 2010 U.S. Geological Survey Director’s Award for Exemplary Service to the Nation, and the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy Secretary’s Achievement Honor Award.
David C. Miller is the senior fellow for Process Systems Engineering and Analysis at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) where he leads the Institute for the Design of Advanced Energy Systems (IDAES), a collaboration among researchers from NETL, Sandia National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Carnegie Mellon University, and West Virginia University, that is developing next generation process systems engineering tools for the identification, synthesis, optimization and analysis of innovative advanced energy systems at scales ranging from process to system to market.
Previously, he served as the Technical Director of the Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative (CCSI) leading a team of over 100 researchers from five national laboratories and five universities. He recently led the transition of CCSI to a second phase which is applying the CCSI computational approaches to reduce technical risk while accelerating the scale up of new carbon capture technologies.
Dr. Miller is a recipient of the Arthur S. Flemming Award for Exceptional Federal Service, Applied Science and Engineering.
Prior to joining NETL, Dr. Miller spent a decade in academia, rising to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure. He earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from The Ohio State University.
During his career with NETL, U.S. Army veteran Jimmy Thornton has worked tirelessly to advance new technology development for Fossil Energy (FE), and that remains true today with current efforts to investigate uses for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for FE technology development.
Born in Kentucky and growing up in Campbells Creek, Thornton joined the U.S. Army at the encouragement of his high school baseball coach who was an Army Reserve drill instructor. Trained as an infantryman and entering service in early 1983, Thornton was stationed in Germany, where he completed French Commando School in Givet, France.
Leaving active service in 1987, Thornton joined the Kentucky National Guard while studying at Eastern Kentucky University, and he later transferred to the West Virginia National Guard after accepting a professional internship with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in Morgantown in 1988. Commissioned as an officer in 1992, he served with the 201st Field Artillery and was deployed to Iraq in 2004 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Achieving the rank of major, Thornton retired in 2010 with more than 27 years of service and continues to serve the 201st as an active member of the 201st Association. He said many of the skills and life lessons the army taught him continue to guide him at NETL, where he started working in 1991 when it was known as the Morgantown Energy Technology Center.
Thornton’s work at the Lab as associate director for the Computational Science and Engineering directorate includes advances in applied artificial intelligence, and machine learning, which he said have great potential to benefit the country’s energy industries, especially the existing fleet of coal-fired power plants and the subsurface. He noted that increased data availability and the use of supercomputers can speed up the development cycle of new tools for decision making because machine learning techniques can provide insights beyond our current understanding.