2006 NRCCE News Archives
Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cabbage Teach Kids about the Environment at the West Virginia State Fair
Kids visiting the NRCCE booth in
the WVU tent at the state fair
had fun winning WVU sunglasses.
Three "coal miners" work
diligently while trying to make
a profit playing the mining game.
28 August 2006 - Morgantown, WV -- The National Research Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University completed another successful event at the WVU tent at the state fair this year with two environmental activities for kids.
The chocolate chip cookie mining game simulated coal mining with kids digging chocolate chips out of cookies with toothpicks and paperclips. Kids gained an understanding of time and money when "mining" their cookies by paying for property, tools, labor, and environmental reclamation while trying to make a profit.
"This game has become a favorite for many kids returning to the fair each year," said Tracy Novak, NRCCE Marketing and Conference Director. "They come looking for us. But what's not to love about making a mess and learning something too."
"One mother returned to our booth telling us how her teenage daughter walked away from the game and continued asking her questions about how the game related to coal mining in West Virginia," said Novak. "The mother commended us for the educational component of the game."
The NRCCE also brought a new hands-on experiment this year. Kids used red cabbage juice as a pH indicator to test for clean water. They and their parents saw the difference between acid mine drainage (AMD) and remediated AMD taken from water samples provided by the NRCCE's West Virginia Water Research Institute.
Kids also learned about acids and bases as cabbage juice changed common household liquids and drinks into different colors based on their acidity or alkaline levels. Professor Keith Garbutt, dean of West Virginia University's Honors Program, assisted the NRCCE with this popular activity.
More than 200 kids participated in the NRCCE's two-day activity at the fair. Each participant won a pair of WVU NRCCE paper sunglasses. Those experimenting with the red cabbage juice also won a mini-pH scale and a recipe to make their own red cabbage juice indicator at home.
"The NRCCE enjoys participating in the state fair each year. It's fun to teach West Virginia kids, and their parents, a little bit more about WVU and its energy research and teaching tradition," said Novak.
The Spring 2006 Special Energy edition of the West Virginia Executive, published by COMAR, Inc., includes three articles about energy programs at West Virginia University's National Research Center for Coal and Energy.
Carl Irwin, director of the Industries of the Future--West Virginia program, writes about energy efficiency in industries that consume large amounts of energy in " The Industries of the Future." [.pdf 160KB]
Al Ebron, director of the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium, writes about options other than gasoline for transportation in "The Hydrogen Fix." [.pdf 411KB]
Trina Wafle, deputy director for the NRCCE, writes about the complexities of electricity transmission and research being done by WVU's Advanced Power and Electricity Research Center in "Unsung Heroes of Modern Life." [.pdf 591KB]
Other contributing writers to the magazine's Special Energy Issue include Charles E. Bayless, president of WVU Tech, James E. Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies The Earth Institute at Columbia University, Calvin Kent, vice president of the Center for Business and Economic Research at Marshall University, and Tony Szwilski, director of the Center for Environmental, Geotechnical, and Applied Sciences at Marshall University among other academic and industry leaders.
19 April 2006 - Morgantown, WVa.—The WVU National Research Center for Coal and Energy announces its next Energy Seminar, Tuesday April 25, 2006, 11:00 am to noon, NRCCE Assembly Rooms, featuring Xiangkun Ren on "Coal Liquefaction in China." Mr. Ren is Vice President of China Shenhua Coal Liquefaction Corporation and Director of Shenhua Coal Liquefaction Research Institute. As the leading scientist in the coal gasification program of the China High Technology Research and Development Project, Ren is at the forefront of China's pursuit to convert coal to liquid transportation fuels.
Ren is visiting WVU at the invitation of Davis College Professor Jerald Fletcher, co-investigator of WVU's project on the long term environmental and economic impacts of the development of a coal liquefaction sector in China. The project is co-directed with NRCCE Director Richard Bajura.
The Shenhua Group Corporation is developing the world's first commercial direct coal liquefaction facility as well as indirect facilities in China. Chinese researchers will work with WVU's investigators to assess environmental impacts associated with water, coal and land use to support the facility, the economic impacts of the plant on the community during the construction and operational phases, and the technical and economic aspects of the operation of the plant. The study is part of the China-U.S. Bilateral Agreement for Fossil Energy.
U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd announced on Wednesday a $1.5 million, three-year award for the WVU study in China, a joint activity between the U.S. Department of Energy and the China National Development and Reform Commission.
International Partnership Could Speed Energy Work at Home
19 April 2006 - Washington, D.C - A coal-to-liquids cooperative effort between the United States and China will be fueled by an international team of experts at West Virginia University (WVU), U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., announced Wednesday.
"China is one of the fastest growing countries in the world. Its energy appetite is immense. The Chinese recognize that foreign oil won't be able to handle that nation's king-size energy needs, and, like the United States, China is looking to coal as an alternative," Byrd explained. "This funding will allow WVU experts to get in on the ground floor in the Chinese program, sharing knowledge and gaining insights that can help us here at home."
"Here in West Virginia, we are building the foundation for a national coal-to-liquid fuels program. Such a program will help the United States to break the chains of foreign energy dependence. By participating in this joint U.S.-China project, WVU will be ready to help lead the American efforts here at home," Byrd said.
"Given West Virginia's history as an energy state, it is a natural progression for us to push the frontiers of research related to coal liquefaction," said WVU President David C. Hardesty, Jr. "This is important work and we must meet the challenge to do all we can to secure the nation's economic future as it relates to energy."
Senator Byrd included $500,000 in federal legislation so that WVU can participate in the $1.5 million U.S.-China cooperative effort. The three-year program will enable WVU scientists to gain technical, economic, and environmental performance information on the commercial deployment of advanced coal technology options. As a joint activity between the U.S. Department of Energy and the China National Development and Reform Commission, WVU and the Shenhua Group in China are studying the economic and environmental effects of coal liquefaction technology. Shenhua provides support for the WVU team when in China.
"WVU's engineers and scientists have studied coal conversion technologies for many years. We thank Senator Byrd for providing funding to expand our horizon to the international realm. Information from the Shenhua project will hasten the deployment of advanced coal conversion technologies in the United States, where West Virginia can play a significant role," said Richard A. Bajura, director of the WVU National Research Center for Coal and Energy and a co-investigator for the award.
"For too long, the United States has let itself grow dependent on oil from the Middle East. We must break that addiction," Byrd said. "Coal offers us a great opportunity to break the chain of foreign energy dependence. The technology is ready today to convert coal to transportation fuels. It is common sense that we rely on our domestic resources to handle our domestic fuel demands."
Byrd also has authored legislation that directs the U.S. Department of Energy and other federal agencies to help export American-made clean energy technologies to developing nations like China. By fostering the international trade, the West Virginia lawmaker believes that American jobs and American know-how can spur an overhaul of the U.S. energy industry.
"It is time to devote new innovation and ingenuity to energy. To do that, we must seriously invest in all of the energy resources that we have here at home, and coal should be at the center of that effort," Byrd explained.
"Just as President Kennedy did when he sent this nation on a mission to put a man on the moon, this government can begin an intense national clean coal program similar to the space race of the 1960s. Such energy research will produce spin-offs that create jobs, improve life, secure our energy future, and enhance our environment. Not even with our crystal ball can we fully know what fantastic gains can be made."