text size AAA AAA

Contact and Mailing Information

National Research Center for Coal & Energy
P.O. Box 6064
385 Evansdale Drive
West Virginia University
Morgantown, WV 26506
ph 304/293-2867
fax 304/293-3749
NRCCE Enquiries


NRCCE 30th anniversary web site

2008 NRCCE News Archives

NESC Helps Expand National Partnership

WVU Center Joins EPA and 14 Other Organizations to Address Wastewater Challenges

 

Morgantown, W.Va.—In 2005, West Virginia University's National Environmental Services Center (NESC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with seven other national organizations, launched an initiative to improve septic systems across the country and reduce pollution in the nation's waterways. At a November 19, 2008 signing ceremony in Washington D.C., the initial partnership was renewed and six new organizations joined the effort.

EPA logo

"As many as one-fourth of all new houses in the U.S. have septic or other onsite systems to treat their wastewater," said Gerald Iwan, Ph.D., NESC's executive director. "But if they aren't designed, constructed, and managed correctly, these wastewater treatment systems will be destined to join a growing number of septic system malfunctions, currently estimated at between 10 and 50 percent. By joining forces with EPA and our colleagues in similar organizations, we are confident that, collectively, we can help communities address the water quality and public health issues posed by malfunctioning septic systems."

"Clean water begins at home," said Benjamin H. Grumbles, EPA's assistant administrator for water. "Our new partnership for sustaining septics and decentralized wastewater systems will increase awareness, stewardship, and environmental performance."

NESC's specific role in the partnership is to serve as a national resource and information clearinghouse; to help communities establish managed systems; to provide technical assistance; to lead training sessions; and to disseminate knowledge through the organization's publications.

In addition to being an information source, the NESC-sponsored State Onsite Regulators Alliance (SORA)—an organization of state regulators that oversee the regulation, construction, and repair of subsurface disposal systems, along with their local health department partners—joined the national initiative.

"These state regulators have a wealth of practical experience and first-hand information about the environmental and public health issues associated with decentralized waste disposal systems," Iwan explains. "Since 1999, West Virginia University through NESC and the National Research Center for Coal and Energy, under the leadership of Dr. Richard Bajura, has conducted SORA's annual conference. Along with state regulators, this national event has included representatives from the private sector that supply the materials and technologies used in the manufacture and installation of subsurface sewage disposal systems."

In addition to NESC and EPA, the other original partners included: the National Association of Towns and Townships, the National Association of Wastewater Transporters, the National Environmental Health Association, the National Onsite Wastewater Recycling Association, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, the Water Environment Federation, and the Consortium of Institutes for Decentralized Wastewater Treatment. Joining the partnership at the November 19 event were: the Water Environment Research Foundation, the Association of State and Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators, the Groundwater Protection Council, the State Onsite Regulators Alliance, the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, and the Association of State and Territorial Health Organizations.

Press Release Contact: Jennifer Hause, (304) 293-4191 ext. 5564 or e-mail: jhause@mail.wvu.edu

Posted December 3, 2008


NESC Joins National CollaborativeReturn to top

Invited to Participate in the Source Water Collaborative

 

Morgantown, W.Va.—West Virginia University's National Environmental Services Center (NESC) was recently invited to join the Source Water Collaborative, a national effort committed to protecting America's drinking water at the source—in the lakes, rivers, streams, and aquifers we tap for drinking water. Originally formed in 2006, the collaborative is made up of 21 members including federal, state, and non-profit organizations.

"For millenia, civilization has been intrinsically linked with reliable water sources," says Gerald Iwan, Ph.D., NESC's executive director. "Today, we are no less reliant on water but, thanks to technology, we are perhaps less aware of its role in our lives. Protecting this essential resource should be a top priority for any community. And, for a modest investment of time and money, it will pay handsome dividends in lower water treatment costs, economic development opportunities, and overall quality of life."

"NESC's SMART About Water program is a great example of how this kind of partnership can work," Iwan continues. "For the past year, we've been working with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide source water protection planning in 245 communities across the country."

Each national organization in the Source Water Collaborative understands and appreciates the importance of source water protection. Each also recognizes that resources are extremely limited, authorities are split, and the actors who can actually protect source waters are diffuse. By joining forces, the collaborative builds on the different organizations' resources and strengths to increase the chances for success as opposed to each entity going it alone.

Press Release Contact: Gerald Iwan, (304) 293-4191 ext. 5584 or e-mail: gerald.iwan@mail.wvu.edu

Posted December 3, 2008


WVU Program Offers Information to Protect Small Community Drinking WaterReturn to top

The National Environmental Services Center (NESC) at West Virginia University (WVU) is offering a collection of new, free or low-cost products and publications about how small communities can protect their sources of drinking water.

These items are a result of NESC's ongoing project with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership called SMART About Water which is helping small communities develop source water protection plans. Funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the project focuses on the tie between safe drinking water and properly maintained small wastewater treatment systems, such as septic tanks. Experts have identified malfunctioning wastewater systems as a leading source of contamination for small communities' sources of drinking water.

The list of new materials is available on NESC's SMART About Water website, http://www.nesc.wvu.edu/smart/products/index.cfm, under topics such as finance and management, regulations, case studies, and public education. To order any of these products, call (800) 624-8301 or send email to info@mail.nesc.wvu.edu. Request products by the item numbers that appear at the end of each product description. Shipping charges do apply. NESC is a program of the WVU's NRCCE.

Posted October 29, 2008


NESC to Help West Virginia Bureau of Public HealthReturn to top

State Grant Will Develop Online Assessment Tool, Training Program

WV Bureau for Public Health

Morgantown, W.Va.—A West Virginia University environmental program was recently awarded nearly $400,000 from the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health to help drinking water systems assess their financial and managerial status.

The National Environmental Services Center (NESC), a program of the NRCCE at WVU, will develop an online assessment tool that will allow state drinking water systems to input data to determine how healthy they are with respect to their finances and management. Along with this assessment tool, NESC will create a six-part curriculum designed to train local officials about topics ranging from budgeting to personnel issues to public relations. "A professional workforce and well operated system are essential for providing good drinking water and safeguarding public health," said Gerald Iwan, Ph.D., NESC director. "While larger systems have many resources and staff with expertise in biology, chemistry, engineering, computer applications, and other disciplines, small systems—such as those common in West Virginia—usually have only one or two employees," he said. The Water System Evaluation Tool and a Utility Management Training Institute program for the state’s drinking water systems will be designed to bridge this gap, he reported. The effort is expected to take 12 months.

The online evaluation tool will be developed over the winter and piloted in 10 communities beginning in spring 2009. Meanwhile, the utility management training program, modeled on a similar endeavor in Kentucky, will be tested at six locations around West Virginia prior to being completed in 2009.

Located at the West Virginia University NRCCE, the National Environmental Services Center (NESC) helps small and rural communities with their water, wastewater, management, infrastructure security, and solid waste challenges. To learn more about NESC, call (800) 624-8301 or visit www.nesc.wvu.edu.

The Bureau for Public Health (BPH) implements West Virginia's Capacity Development Program with a mandated mission to help the state's water systems acquire and maintain the technical, managerial, and financial wherewithal needed to meet the requirements of public drinking water statutes and regulations. To learn more about BPH, visit their Web site at www.wvdhhr.org/bph/.

Posted October 30, 2008


WVU Program Offers Information to Protect Small Community Drinking WaterReturn to top

The National Environmental Services Center (NESC) at West Virginia University (WVU) is offering a collection of new, free or low-cost products and publications about how small communities can protect their sources of drinking water.

These items are a result of NESC's ongoing project with the Rural Community Assistance Partnership called SMART About Water which is helping small communities develop source water protection plans. Funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the project focuses on the tie between safe drinking water and properly maintained small wastewater treatment systems, such as septic tanks. Experts have identified malfunctioning wastewater systems as a leading source of contamination for small communities' sources of drinking water.

The list of new materials is available on NESC's SMART About Water website, http://www.nesc.wvu.edu/smart/products/index.cfm, under topics such as finance and management, regulations, case studies, and public education. To order any of these products, call (800) 624-8301 or send email to info@mail.nesc.wvu.edu. Request products by the item numbers that appear at the end of each product description. Shipping charges do apply. NESC is a program of the WVU's NRCCE.

Posted October 29, 2008


WVU-WVGES Geologist Receives Highest HonorReturn to top

Douglas Patchen received the John T. Galey Memorial Award

Morgantown, W.Va.—Research geologist Douglas Patchen received the John T. Galey Memorial Award of the Eastern Section American Association of Petroleum Geologists, its highest honor, at the organization’s conference held last week in Pittsburgh. The award recognizes Patchen’s dedication to providing educational opportunities and increasing understanding of the Appalachian basin petroleum geology.

"Doug’s organized approach and keen intellect as well as his tireless service to the profession and the AAPG all contribute to this recognition," said Katharine Lee Avary, Manager of the Oil & Gas Program and a Senior Geologist at the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, who cited him for the honor.

Patchen's service dates back to the first Eastern Section meeting in 1972. Since then he has served on numerous technical committees for the national association in addition to organizing several of the Eastern Section conferences. Most recently, Patchen served as the general co-chair for the Eastern Section conference held last week in Pittsburgh that drew 1,300 attendees.

Patchen currently directs the Appalachian Oil and Natural Gas Research Consortium and the Appalachian Region of the Petroleum Technology Transfer Council, both programs of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University.

Under Patchen’s leadership, the AONGRC produced The Atlas of Major Appalachian Gas Plays and the Geologic Play Book for Trenton-Black River Appalachian Basin Exploration among several other studies and the PTTC has sponsored more than 125 workshops in seven states throughout the Appalachian region.

Patchen is also Chief Geologist with the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey. In April, Patchen will have been at the survey for 40 years. He has authored more than 50 journal articles and presented more than 40 research papers.

The John T. Galey Memorial Award was created to honor the AAPG Eastern Section founding father and first president by recognizing an individual who displays outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the petroleum profession and works directed toward the betterment of society. Honorees receive an amethyst geode with engraved plaque and an engraved medal.

Posted October 22, 2008


WVU expert: Coal-based liquid fuels can still compete with oilReturn to top

Even with oil at around $70 per barrel, coal-based liquid transportation fuels are still economical. "Coal liquefaction can compete with a selling price of oil in the $45 to $70 per barrel," Richard Bajura told an audience at the American Coal Council’s 2008 Coal Market Strategies Conference held earlier this month.

Bajura, director of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University, presented a report on the status of the technologies for converting coal to alternative transportation fuel. "An Update on Coal to Liquid Fuels" [.pdf - 2.5 mb].

"Oil’s dominance in the transportation sector will decline slowly," he said. Oil production is declining in 54 of the 65 most important oil producing countries and 70 percent of that production is in politically unstable countries, while demand for transportation fuel is predicted to increase by 33 percent over the next 25 years.

Bajura noted that alternative fuel options include conservation, greater vehicle fuel efficiency, tar sands, natural gas, biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel, electricity, and hydrogen.

"For the U.S., converting 5 percent of our coal reserves to so-called Fischer Tropsch liquids would double our oil reserves," he said. The U.S. holds the largest amount of coal reserves in the world followed by Russia and China. Worldwide, coal reserves are estimated to be 1,000 billion tons, or a 150 year supply at current rates of use, he said.

The U.S. military’s need for a secure supply of fuel is spurring interest in establishing coal-to-liquids plants in the U.S., Bajura reported. But the high cost of building plants coupled with price volatility and potential legislation to curb carbon dioxide emissions are dampening investor interest.

While coal-based fuels produce about double the carbon dioxide emissions on a life-cycle basis, carbon capture and storage technologies can eliminate 90 percent of emissions at the plant. This would make coal-based fuels identical to the life-cycle emissions from petroleum-based fuels. Add 10 percent biomass into the coal conversion process with 85 percent carbon capture and storage and the net carbon dioxide emissions are 30 percent less than oil, Bajura reported.

"Plants must be capable of capturing and storing carbon and government incentives may be needed to get the first-of-a-kind plants out of the starting gate," he said. Congressional authorization for the U.S. military to purchase coal-based fuels through a long term contract would be one such incentive.

Polygeneration concepts, the idea of building plants to produce fuels along with chemicals and generate electricity simultaneously, are gaining attention, he said.

Governors of coal-rich states continue to advocate for coal-to-liquids plants. Nationwide, 16 plants are either in the planning or engineering stages in 11 states.

"Yet technical, economic, environmental and social hurdles remain," he said, calling for investments in research to reduce costs, improve conversion efficiency, reduce the environmental footprint, and facilitate market acceptance of the fuels.

Posted October 22, 2008


WV Coal Forum Presentations Available OnlineReturn to top

The Coal Forum-Imagine WV

PowerPoint presentations by Jeff Herholdt, director of the West Virginia Division of Energy, Pat Getty and Rick Remish of Imagine West Virginia, and Curt Peterson, vice president for research at WVU, are available online. The presentations were part of the West Virginia Coal Forum focusing on the Imagine West Virginia report, Coal: Energy, the Environment and West Virginia. Approximately 90 people heard discussions about the 10 recommendations outlined in the report. The seminar was held in NRCCE’s Assembly Room on October 15.

Presenters included: Chris Hamilton, Sr. VP WVCA and Co-chair, WV Coal Forum; WVU Interim President C. Peter Magrath; a taped presentation by Senator Jay Rockefeller; Jeff Herholdt, Director WV Division of Energy speaking for Governor Joe Manchin; Rick Remish, Director Imagine WV and Pat Getty, Board Member of Imagine West Virginia and President of the Benedum Foundation. Richard Bajura, NRCCE Director, chaired the panel session featuring: Curt Peterson, WVU Vice President of Research; Scott Klara, NETL Director of the Strategic Center for Coal; Randy Huffman, Secretary of the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection; Allan Tweddle, member Public Energy Authority; and Fred Tucker, UMWA representative and Co-chair of the WV Coal Forum.

Find out more and download forum presentations at the NRCCE Coal Forum website.

Posted October 16, 2008


WVU's energy R&D advances policy recommendations by a WV policy think tankReturn to top

The Coal Forum

Morgantown, W.Va.—West Virginia University's vice president of research and economic development said today that the university’s energy research agenda is on target with recommendations made by Imagine West Virginia's first policy report, Coal: Energy, the Environment and West Virginia. His comments came at a seminar co-sponsored by the West Virginia Coal Forum and the WVU National Research Center for Coal and Energy.

Vice President Curt Peterson pointed to WVU’s new Advanced Energy Initiative and its long-standing NRCCE as two high-profile examples demonstrating WVU’s commitment to several of the recommendations in the Imagine West Virginia report. “These two major programs effectively address each of the recommendations that focus on developing research and coal technologies,” said Peterson.

“Equally important are our technology transfer programs that are able to reach out globally,” he said. Many of WVU’s faculty members are recognized internationally for the expertise in coal, energy, and environmental topics, he said.

Peterson also noted that WVU offers a range of educational activities toward ensuring the future of the coal industry’s workforce and leadership.

He said the AEI vision is for WVU to break down the barriers America’s energy producers encounter as they work for responsible approaches to energy independence. Through AEI, WVU will become an internationally recognized leading academic institution, driving innovation in the socially and environmentally responsible production, management, and utilization of fossil energy.

Peterson said AEI was carefully crafted in consultation with expert WVU faculty, state and federal agencies and private industry. In addition to shattering barriers with innovative research, AEI will help formulate policy recommendations so that leaders of today and tomorrow will have the facts they need to make sound decisions on diverse topics from carbon management to environmental regulation.

WVU in fact has a well established track record with the NRCCE. The center, now in its 30th year, brings together WVU faculty researchers with researchers at other organizations such as the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory, other universities, and in industry.

For example, NRCCE represents WVU as a member of the Zero Emissions Research and Technology consortium, headed by Montana State University. Funded by ZERT, a WVU research team from the WVU Department of Geology and Geography and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering are participating in a project investigating carbon dioxide storage in the thin Upper Freeport coal seam at a site in Marshall County, W.Va., owned by CONSOL Energy Inc.

In cooperation with CONSOL, the WVU team will be monitoring how carbon dioxide gas interacts with the geological formations and groundwater in the area. Known as geologic carbon sequestration, the idea of storing CO2 underground is of major interest especially to utilities that one day may be required by regulators to capture and dispose of carbon dioxide in response to concerns about global climate change.

Peterson commended the Imagine West Virginia group and said he was pleased that NRCCE director Richard Bajura has been invited to be a member of an independent body of energy expert advisors being created by A Vision Shared in response to the last recommendation of the Imagine West Virginia report.

Downloads: [ Advanced Energy Initiative ] and [ Imagine West Virginia Report ]

Posted October 16, 2008


Training Available: "Basic Understanding of Battery-Electric and Hybrid-Electric Vehicles Course" October 28-29Return to top

NAFTC Course

Presented by the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC), the A Basic Understanding of Battery-Electric and Hybrid-Electric Vehicles course is taught by certified instructors at the NAFTC's National Training Centers around the country.

How You Will Learn

With the growing interest in vehicles powered by electricity, this course for experienced automotive technicians, fleet managers, and students provides a basic understanding of the history, technology, and application of battery-electric and hybrid-electric vehicles. Depending on the need, this course can be customized to fit a three-day or two-day training schedule.

More information can be found at:
http://www.naftc.wvu.edu/NAFTC/announcements/1st_responder_training_oct-08_email_non.html

The NAFTC is a program of the NRCCE headquartered at West Virginia University and consists of National Training Centers (NTCs) located nationwide from New York to California.

Posted October 14, 2008


National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day Odyssey
Free event highlights alternative fuel vehiclesReturn to top

Worried about gasoline prices? Students and others who attended the National AFV Day Odyssey celebration on the lawn of the NRCCE saw plenty of other, non-gasoline-powered options to consider.

"Odyssey is a national education campaign for consumers who are looking for options in the face of soaring fuel prices," explained Judy Moore, director of communications for the National Alternative Fuel Training Consortium headquartered at the West Virginia University. The group coordinated similar events with volunteers in 90 cities across the U.S., she said.

National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day Odyssey

The NRCCE event featured vehicles like the BugE, an electrically powered personal vehicle complete with an ipod docking feature built by Harvey Coachworks and EV from Knoxville, Maryland, a Toyota Prius hybrid electric four-passenger car, and the EcoChallenge Chevy Equinox team car redesigned by WVU engineering students to run on electricity and biofuels.

The NAFTC is a nationwide alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle training organization, and a program of the WVU NRCCE. The consortium develops and disseminates curricula and training programs and conducts education and outreach activities. The group includes 35 higher-education institutions dedicated to educating technicians and the public about clean, cost-effective vehicles.

More on the Net: www.NationalAFVDayOdyssey.org

 

<< play the video

National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day Odyssey National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day Odyssey

Posted October 3, 2008


WVWRI to Hold Regional Water Conference Nov. 17-19, 2008Return to top

WRRI_Logo

WVWRI to hold regional water conference in November The WVU community is invited to the 2008 Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Resources Research Institutes Regional Water (WRRI) Conference Nov. 17-19 at the National Conservation Training Center, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Shepherdstown.

With the increasing demand for both water and energy, innovative approaches are needed to manage these two resources. Technical papers and panel sessions will be presented throughout the conference. Topics address a wide array of water and energy technologies and issues related to traditional energy sources - including thermoelectric, hydroelectric, oil and gas production - and alternative energy sources including biofuels, wind and solar.

Home and industry-scale water and energy efficiency technologies and case studies will be presented. The conference is being presented by the West Virginia Water Research Institute. For more information, visit http://wvwri.nrcce.wvu.edu/conferences/2008/WRRI/.

Posted September 25, 2008


NRCCE to Co-host Coal Forum Event about the Imagine West Virginia Report --Coal: Energy, the Environment and West VirginiaReturn to top

The Coal Forum

NRCCE along with the West Virginia Coal Forum will be holding a half-day seminar featuring the Imagine West Virginia report, "Coal: Energy, the Environment and West Virginia," Wednesday, October 15, 1:30 to 5:00 pm at the WVU National Research Center for Coal and Energy Assembly Room.

Imagine West Virginia is a policy institute of the Vision Shared program. See the report at: http://www.imaginewestvirginia.com/ENERGY.pdf

Event presenters include Congressman Alan B. Mollohan (invited), WVU President Peter Magrath, Imagine West Virginia Board Member Pat Getty, WVU Vice President for Research Curt Peterson, NETL Director for the Strategic Center for Coal Scott Klara, UMWA President Cecil Roberts, West Virginia Division of Energy Director Jeff Herholdt, Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Randy Huffman, and others.

More information can be found at www.wvcoalforum.org.

Posted September 25, 2008


National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day OdysseyReturn to top

NASA IV&V Center in Fairmont to host free event highlighting alternative fuel vehicles

Worried about gasoline prices? NASA's IV&V center in the I-79 Technology Park in Fairmont, W.Va. will showcase alternatives to standard gasoline-powered cars and trucks as a host for National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day Odyssey, Friday, September 26th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

"Odyssey is a national education campaign for consumers who are looking for options in the face of soaring fuel prices," explained Judy Moore, director of communications for the National Alternative Fuel Training Consortium headquartered at the West Virginia University. The group is coordinating similar events with volunteers in 86 cities across the U.S., she said.

A second event is planned for October 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the National Research Center for Coal and Energy on the WVU campus in Morgantown. The Fairmont event will offer educational seminars and vehicle test drives along with light refreshments. Presenters include industry experts, government officials, and individuals with real-world alternative fuel experiences.

The NAFTC is a nationwide alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle training organization, and a program of the WVU NRCCE. The consortium develops and disseminates curricula and training programs and conducts education and outreach activities. The group includes 35 higher-education institutions dedicated to educating technicians and the public about clean, cost-effective vehicles.

More on the Net: www.NationalAFVDayOdyssey.org

Posted September 24, 2008


WVU receives $550,000 EPA award for sustainable energy parks projectReturn to top

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University (WVU) researchers have a plan to turn abandoned mine property into fields capable of growing switchgrass and other biofuels.

A team from WVU’s West Virginia Water Research Institute has received a $550,000 award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its project to develop sustainable energy parks on mine-scarred lands.

WVWRI Project Complements New Advanced Energy Initiative

Awards photo

Paul Ziemkiewicz (left), director of the West Virginia Water Research
Institute at WVU received an award from Susan Janowiak, director of
the Office of Brownfields and Outreach, EPA Mid-Atlantic Region,
for a four-year project estimated to be $550,000 to convert
mine-scarred lands into sustainable energy parks.Curt Peterson,
vice president of the WVU Office of Research and Economic
Development congratulated the research team, saying that, the
award is "an outstanding compliment to the work West Virginia
University is poised to execute as part of its advanced energy initiative.

The announcement came during the 2008 West Virginia Brownfields Conference Wednesday (Sept. 10) in Huntington.

Mine-scarred lands qualify as brownfields – properties that once had been used for industrial or commercial activity – under the EPA’s brownfields program.

During the four-year project, the WVU team will produce an inventory of abandoned mine sites throughout the state that are suitable for redevelopment into biofuel and other alternative energy production sites called sustainable energy parks.

The project team will identify large tracts of mine-scarred land that can be used for renewable energy production, conduct surveys of potential sites and engage affected communities. One community will be selected for the development of a comprehensive pilot program to showcase sustainable energy park concepts.

Curt Peterson, WVU’s vice president for research and economic development, said the award is “an outstanding complement to the work West Virginia University is poised to execute as part of its Advanced Energy Initiative – a strategy that will tackle America’s energy problems with innovative research and public policy development.”

“Creation of sustainable energy parks on mine-scarred lands is the kind of strategy that this nation and its best thinkers and leaders must pursue in the drive toward energy independence,” he said. “We are excited about the EPA announcement and proud of the WVU team that captured this competitive award.”

Gov. Joe Manchin added, “Brownfields reclamation work has resulted in successful reuse of commercial property in our state that has benefited West Virginians. The EPA award will help WVU’s researchers identify brownfields sites for growing switchgrass and other renewable biofuels that can help meet our energy needs while making good use of reclaimed mine lands.”

Participants in the awards ceremony

Awards photo

(From left to right) were State Senator Robert Plymale,
Secretary of the WV Department of Environmental Protection Randy Huffman,
Director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute at West Virginia University
Paul Ziemkiewicz, and Director of the Office of Brownfields and Outreach,
EPA Mid-Atlantic Region, Susan Janowiak.

Paul Ziemkiewicz, WVWRI director and leader of the project team, credited Sen. Robert Plymale, D-Wayne, for his vision in supporting the creation of the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers at WVU and Marshall University with his colleagues in the state legislature.

“The Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center, located at the WVWRI at WVU, is developing a track record of success in assisting communities who want to turn sites that may be liabilities into economic assets,” Ziemkiewicz said. “The EPA award is an example of how state, federal and academic efforts combined have the potential to be a force for regional economic development.”

Posted September 11, 2008

 


$1 Million for NESC's Drinking Water ClearinghouseReturn to top

Grant Continues Service to America's Small Communities

Thanks to a million dollar grant provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Utilities Service, the National Environmental Services Center's (NESC) National Drinking Water Clearinghouse (NDWC) will continue to offer free and low-cost information and assistance to small towns and rural areas across the country. Based at West Virginia University (WVU), the clearinghouse is now entering its 17th year.

"We are pleased that Rural Development has once again recognized and supported our work assisting small communities with their drinking water issues," said Gerald Iwan, Ph.D., NESC's executive director. "With more stringent regulations, rising fuel costs, and a host of water quality issues, the services we provide have never been more critical."

To help small communities address their drinking water needs, NESC's National Drinking Water Clearinghouse offers a free technical assistance hotline, the quarterly magazine On Tap, a comprehensive Web site (www.nesc.wvu.edu), and more than 400 free and low-cost educational products.

NESC's staff of engineers, water system operators, and specialists provide information about subjects such as: household wells, source water protection and conservation issues, water treatment technologies, treatment plant operation and management, updates about regulations, and funding sources for community water infrastructure.

"Over the past 16 years, we've expanded our services greatly," Iwan said. "What hasn't changed, though, is our commitment to providing assistance, solutions, and knowledge for solving small community environmental challenges. If you have a drinking water question or problem, we encourage you to contact us first."

Located at WVU, the National Environmental Services Center (NESC) helps small and rural communities with their water, wastewater, utility management, and infrastructure resilience issues. To learn more about NESC, call (800) 624-8301 or visit www.nesc.wvu.edu.

Posted September 5, 2008


NAFTC's Odyssey in "Fuel Advantage" MagazineReturn to top

National Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Day Odyssey is the cover story for Fuel Advantage magazine, a Cygnus Business Media publication. The magazine serves the aviation and transportation industry.

Odyssey is a one-day nationwide campaign to raise awareness about alternatives to standard gasoline vehicles coordinated by the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC). More than 50 sites across the country are expected to participate in the October 3rd event.

Site coordinators/leaders, sponsors, and partners who want to become part of the solution are actively being recruited to participate in the 2008 National AFV Day Odyssey. For details, contact Amy Gandy at NAFTC Headquarters at Amy.Gandy@mail.wvu.edu or (304) 293-7882.

Find out how you can make a difference! http://www.nationalafvdayodyssey.org

Posted September 2, 2008


State Conference Provides Communities with a Path to ProgressReturn to top

Huntington, WV — The 2008 West Virginia State Brownfields Conference "A Path to Progress" will take place September 10-11, 2008, at the Pullman Plaza Hotel in Huntington, West Virginia with the keynote by West Virginia Secretary of the Environment Randy Huffman.

Diverse stakeholders from community, government, and the private sector across West Virginia will examine a wide range of issues related to brownfields, properties that are difficult to redevelop, because of their real or perceived environmental concerns. The event is hosted by a partnership between the Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at West Virginia University (WVU), the Southern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at Marshall University, the Air and Waste Management Association (AWMA), the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, and the West Virginia Development Office.

Sessions will cover brownfields basics such as environmental insurance, community visioning, building collaborative partnerships, and leveraging resources. The conference will also provide an opportunity to examine such topics as site selection, sustainable redevelopment, and rail trail development on brownfields. Among the session highlights are an EPA Brownfields Grant Writing Workshop, an Abandoned Property Redevelopment Forum, and the Licensed Remediation Specialist Vapor Intrusion Workshop.

The event will kick-off the evening of the 9th with a tour of brownfields redevelopment projects within the Huntington area, followed by a networking reception sponsored by the AWMA.

To register and view conference details please visit www.wvbrownfields.org.

For more information please contact:

The Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center is a program of the West Virginia Water Research Institute, NRCCE located at WVU.

Posted August 29, 2008


SMART Solutions for West Virginia- Workshop for Watershed GroupsReturn to top

This workshop, held September 18-19, 2008, will focus on fecal coliform reduction through better management of onsite/decentralized wastewater treatment systems within the watershed context. Workshop participants will receive all the necessary tools and materials needed to establish management programs.

To register download the registration form/agenda (pdf file, 354 KB) or contact the National Environmental Services Center (NESC) at (304) 293-4191 ext. 5536 for more information.

SMART Solutions is sponsored by the NESC, a program of the NRCCE at West Virginia University. It is also sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WV DEP). For more information on the SMART About Water program and source water protection go to http://nesc.wvu.edu/smart/.

Posted August 29, 2008


WVU student designs games the old fashion wayReturn to top

While many college students are hooked on Halo3, World of Warcraft and other video games, one West Virginia University (WVU) student helped the National Research Center for Coal and Energy (NRCCE) by improving some old fashioned table games.

Catlin Buckley, a sophomore in landscape architecture and a student worker at the NRCCE, redesigned a game called "Chocolate Chip Cookie Mining" and also helped create a new game called "SPINERGY—It's Energy with a Spin."

The NRCCE takes these games to venues like the West Virginia State Fair or WVU Day at the Capitol where university exhibits are geared towards educating children and their parents.

"Chocolate Chip Cookie Mining"

"For many people, energy in West Virginia means coal. And what better way to teach kids about coal and energy than encouraging them to play with their food," said Trina Wafle, deputy director of the NRCCE and mother of three. Children pretend a cookie is a mine property. They dig out the "coal" chips, which they sell to a electric power company. They must restore their cookie or be fined by regulators. The object of the game is to develop the mine, safeguard the environment, and make as many NRCCE Bucks as possible.

"In the past we've used generic play money and plain graph paper," said Wafle. "Then we asked Catlin to print new money and he ended up redesigning the whole game with WVU pictures, coal related graphics, and coal mining facts."

With the redesigned game, children wear toy hard hats with a working headlamp to emphasize safety. Buckley redesigned the NRCCE Bucks with pictures of the PRT, Woodburn Hall and the WVU Mountaineer. He also designed game mats to look like West Virginia woods with pictures of deer and trees. Other mats have facts and graphics about the coal industry that parents and grandparents find interesting.

"Many of the families at the state fair are coal mining families. They took a real interest in the new look and feel of the game," said Wafle.

"Catlin really took the look of the game to a whole new level. About the only thing he didn’t do was bake the cookies," Wafle laughed.

"SPINERGY"

When a second game was needed to appeal to tweens and teens, Buckley was called upon once again. "I decided some kind of spinning wheel would be fun. I came up with the name SPINERGY because I thought it was so bad it was good," said Buckley. The name stuck and the game was given the tagline "It's energy with a spin!"

Youngsters spin the wheel to select questions about energy and the environment and WVU research programs. They often compete against their parents. Players whose correct answers earned the highest points win an NRCCE prize, often light-up pen. Losers get consolation dum-dum ™ suckers. "The kids really laugh when mom or dad get a dum-dum," said Wafle.

Buckley used the internet to research facts for the questions. He used design software and a large inkjet printer for the eye-catching graphic which was attached to a wooden wheel that he and fellow student Jimmy Ludovici built at the NRCCE.

So is board game design a new career option for the college sophomore? "I'd be more interested in theme park design," said Buckley. "It goes with my landscape architecture degree."

Posted August 26, 2008


Someday Your Car May Burn CoalReturn to top

NRCCE Director quoted in a USA Today story about converting coal to liquid fuels that appears as a sidebar to "Coal king Peabody cleans up" by reporter Paul Davidson.

"...Coal-to-liquid fuel would sell today for about $70 a barrel, says Richard Bajura, head of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University. 'With oil at $120 a barrel, it would seem like a no-brainer,' he says."

See the stories online: http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2008-08-18-peabody-coal_N.htm

Posted August 21, 2008


NRCCE Site for Unveiling WVU Office of Research Advanced Energy Initiative Strategic PlanReturn to top

West Virginia University (WVU) Vice President for Research Curt Peterson presented the new Advanced Energy Initiative (AEI) to WVU faculty on Tuesday, August 19, 2008. The Office of Research strategic planning initiative focuses on fossil energy, sustainability, and energy policy research.

The AEI strategic planning committee included WVU Deans Gene Cilento of the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, Mary Ellen Mazey of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, and Cameron Hackney of the Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Consumer Sciences, along with WVU Research Office Interim Associate VP Mridul Gautam, and Chief Technology Officer Joseph Strakey of the National Energy Technology Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy.

To view the plan and the associated request for energy proposals from WVU faculty, see "The WVU Advanced Energy Initiative" link at the WVU Research Office web site: research.wvu.edu.

Posted August 21, 2008


DEP partners with the West Virginia Water Research Institute to study switchgrass on former surface minesReturn to top

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) and West Virginia University (WVU) have begun working together to study the potential for growing switchgrass on sites of former surface mines across the state.

Switchgrass is a tall grass that grows from three- to ten-feet tall, has a deep root system and grows annually after harvesting. It is often used to rehabilitate exhausted croplands by rebuilding soil structure, nutrients and organic matter. Switchgrass can also be converted to ethanol, which is a flammable alcohol and can be made by fermenting plant products such as corn, barley, wood and straw.

"Last year, 20 percent of the U.S. corn crop was used to produce five billion gallons of ethanol, which is about one percent of petroleum consumption in the United States," said Paul Ziemkiewicz, PhD, of the WVU Water Research Institute (WRI). "If our entire corn crop went to ethanol production, it would only replace seven percent of our annual petroleum use. In addition to competing for limited cropland, corn-based ethanol production consumes nearly as much energy as it produces."

According to a recent report by the National Academy of Science, the net energy yield of switchgrass ethanol was about six times better than corn ethanol.

"While corn ethanol will continue to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, we clearly need to develop additional sources for ethanol production," said Governor Joe Manchin III. "This study is designed to provide us the information we need to determine whether developing a switchgrass-based industry in West Virginia is the direction we want to go."

"Large surface mines can range from 1,000 to 12,000 acres; many have road networks, access to transportation, water, utilities and even locations for ethanol processing facilities," said Ken Ellison, Director of the WVDEP Division of Land Restoration. "But first, we need to know how many tons of switchgrass hay will be produced on an acre of mined land, track developments in ethanol conversion technology and the economics of ethanol production and processing."

The project will be managed by the WRI at WVU's National Research Center for Coal and Energy (NRCCE). The researchers will test the performance of three switchgrass varieties in large, ten-acre plots in both northern and southern West Virginia. Hay yields and carbon sequestration will be measured over a seven-year period; and researchers will document costs related to switchgrass plot establishment, harvesting and maintenance.  

"This project is an example of the DEP's continuing effort to find productive uses for mine lands," said Stephanie Timmermeyer, Cabinet Secretary for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection. "If we discover that growing switchgrass on these lands is a successful endeavor, it is the perfect example of an enterprising and environmentally healthy use of those lands."

The West Virginia Water Research Institute is a program located at WVU's NRCCE. For more information visit the WRI's web site at http://wvwri.nrcce.wvu.edu/ or call (304) 293-2867.

Posted August 19, 2008


WVU Research Corp. to unveil Advanced Energy Initiative planReturn to top

Morgantown, W.Va.—The strategic plan for the WVU Advanced Energy Initiative is now complete.

The WVU Research Corp. will present the plan to WVU faculty and administration August 19 from 4-6 p.m. at the National Research Center for Coal and Energy.

Over the past several months, an ad hoc Energy Planning Committee sought input from WVU faculty, members of federal and state agencies, industrial organizations, national laboratories and other academic institutions.

This led to the development of a vision and high-level goals statement providing the road map for achieving the strategic plan. This road map looks at organizational change for an energy mission, assignment of resources, development of new and/or enhancement of existing programs and relationships, the addition of new energy faculty, and alignment with the needs of the many stakeholders that the University serves.

Members of the committee that developed the plan are Mridul Gautam, interim associate vice president for research and economic development; Gene Cilento, dean of the Collegeof Engineering and Mineral Resources; Cameron Hackney, dean of the Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Sciences; n Mary Ellen Mazey, dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences; and Joe Strakey, chief technology officer for the National Energy Technology Laboratory.

RSVP Joseph Wiles at 293-5913 or e-mail him at Joseph.Wiles@mail.wvu.edu by Aug. 12.

Posted August 12, 2008


WVU's NESC Trains Source Water SpecialistsReturn to top

Seminar Will Help Small Communities Address Water Quality

Morgantown, W.Va.—On August 5, 6, and 7, 2008, West Virginia University’s National Environmental Services Center ( NESC) hosted a national training seminar about developing source water protection plans in America’s small communities.

The seminar—a key activity in the SMART About Water program, a $3 million, 18-month grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—featured NESC staff working with Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) trainers and source water specialists from around the country. These trainers will go on to assist small communities in their efforts to create their own source water protection plans, with a special focus on addressing untreated wastewater from failing septic systems.

“Nothing is more important than a clean, safe supply of water,” said Gerald Iwan Ph.D., NESC’s executive director.“

Good water is the key to a host of other issues, including quality of life, public health, environmental protection, and economic development. And, because failing wastewater systems are the main water pollution problem in many communities, correcting this situation is a logical first step.”

The seminar focused on ways that community leaders can develop source water protection plans to improve water quality in their communities. The training also showed how social marketing techniques—an innovative approach that uses commercial marketing tools to stimulate community action—can be used to achieve source water protection goals. By next summer, NESC and RCAP expect to have offered training and technical assistance about source water protection in nearly 250 communities in each of the 50 states.

Located at West Virginia University, the National Environmental Services Center (NESC) helps small and rural communities with their water, wastewater, management, and infrastructure resilience concerns. To learn more about NESC, call (800) 624-8301 or visit www.nesc.wvu.edu. To learn more about the SMART About Water program, go to www.nesc.wvu.edu/smart/.

Posted August 7, 2008


Alternative Fuel Training Available August 2008Return to top

With the growing interest in vehicles powered by electricity, this two-day course offered in August is for experienced automotive technicians, fleet managers, and students provides a basic understanding of the history, technology, and application of battery-electric and hybrid-electric vehicles. The course is presented by The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC), headquartered at West Virginia University.

Contact Randall Levelle, NAFTC Assistant Director - Programs at (304) 293-7882 or e-mail Randall.Levelle@mail.wvu.edu as soon as possible to express your interest.

Visit the Curriculum Information page and the Training Calendar of the NATFTC site for a complete listing of opportunities.

Posted July 31, 2008


WRRI_Logo

Call For Papers Extended - Abstracts Due August 15, 2008Return to top

The Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Resources Research (WRRI) Conference sponsors invite you to submit papers for presentation at the 2008 Mid-Atlantic Regional Water Resources Research Conference, The Water-Energy Nexus: A Necessary Synergy for the 21st Century (http://wvwri.nrcce.wvu.edu/conferences/2008/WRRI/).

Researchers from colleges and universities (faculty, graduate and undergraduate students), federal and state agencies, private organizations, consulting firms, and others are invited to present papers.

With the increasing demand for both water and energy, innovative approaches are needed to manage these two resources. High oil and gasoline prices, climate change, and global politics place more demand on remaining U.S. coal, oil, and natural gas reserves. In addition, the impetus is on developing new "greener" more "environmentally-friendly" energy sources. Energy requires water in the production process. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to the following:


Papers may be submitted in any topical area addressing the interface of water and energy including technologies, practices, and/or policies.

For more information:

Download the PDF Form: http://wvwri.nrcce.wvu.edu/conferences/2008/WRRI/pdf/callforpapers.pdf

E-mail: Tamara Vandivort at Tamara.Vandivort@mail.wvu.edu

Phone: Terry Polce, 304-293-2867 x 5450

Event Sponsors:

This event is presented by West Virginia Water Research Institute, a program located the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University.

Posted July 31, 2008


WVU's NAFTC "Clean Air & Energy Independence" Conference - a Huge Success!Return to top

MORGANTOWN, WV - The National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium (NAFTC), a program of West Virginia University, hosted its inaugural "Clean Air & Energy Independence" Conference on June 19-20, at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Asheville, NC, and the Conference was a huge success. With the theme of "Exploring Innovations in Next Generation Vehicles," attendees, including Clean Cities Coordinators, industry leaders, and government officials were provided with the latest information on alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles.

The NAFTC chose Asheville, NC, as the location for the Conference based on the City of Asheville's Green Initiatives. Mayor Terry Bellamy delivered the opening remarks at the Conference and discussed the importance of energy reduction strategies, the increased use of clean, more efficient transportation, and the goals and initiatives set by the City of Asheville to reduce the city's carbon footprint.

"The 'Clean Air & Energy Independence' Conference was a tremendous success" said NAFTC Executive Director Al Ebron. "Attendees were provided with information on the latest advancements in the alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicle industry. It was a pleasure to be a part of bringing together so much knowledge, through top industry experts, about the many different types of innovations in next generation vehicles."

Kevin Rawson, Energy Conservation and Emergency Program Response Coordinator, CINC/Fleet and Family Service Center said, "I had a great time at the conference. I learned a great deal and feel I am much more up to date on alternative fuels options than I was before the conference. I am sharing the information with our fleet manager and management here in the Navy. Thanks again, we look forward to additional opportunities and conferences."

Activities kicked off with pre-conference workshops on June 18 and included the First Responder Safety Training: Hybrid Electric Vehicles 4-hour workshop and the premier rollout of the NAFTC's First Responder Safety Training: Hydrogen Vehicles 4-hour workshop. Both workshops are designed to provide first responders with the needed information to respond to a growing number of automotive accidents involving hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and hydrogen vehicles as these vehicles become increasingly more popular.

Headquartered at West Virginia University, the NAFTC is the only nationwide training organization that develops curricula and conducts training on alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. Presently consisting of 35 National Training Centers located throughout the United States, the NAFTC's mission is to provide the training infrastructure for implementing the widespread use of alternative fuels, alternative fuel vehicles, and advanced technology vehicles, as well as to increase the nation's energy security and to improve air quality by reducing reliance on foreign oil supply. Additional details on the Conference or the NAFTC are available by calling the NAFTC at (304) 293-7882, or by visiting its Web site, www.naftc.wvu.edu.

Posted June 30, 2008

Pitt, Carnegie Mellon, and WVU research group will receive up to $26 million to design cleaner, more efficient uses of fossil fuelsReturn to top

Three-University Consortium Receives Funding for Fossil Energy Research

A consortium of three universities—Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, and West Virginia University—will receive up to $26 million in funding over the next two years to develop clean and efficient technologies for the use of fossil fuels. The results of its work could reduce regional as well as national dependence on foreign oil.

The partnership, called CWP Inc., will receive the funding through a subcontract with RDS Inc., an onsite contractor at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL). NETL is the national laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy with facilities in five states, including Pennsylvania and West Virginia. More than 75 scientists—with student researchers—at the three universities will work with more than 150 NETL scientists and researchers to address key areas of fossil fuel research.

Speaking on behalf of CWP Inc., Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg, who also chairs the group’s board, said, "The three university members of this consortium have distinguished records of research, as well as a proud tradition of effective partnering. We are excited by the opportunities presented by the work to be done through this consortium. Our researchers are positioned to have a significant and positive impact on the economy, the environment, and national security, while further establishing our home region as a leader in energy research. We also are proud to have formalized this new relationship with NETL, which is a national resource and which has been an important research partner for all three of our universities for many years."

Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon and WVU President Mike Garrison also are members of the board.

"Joining this consortium is a natural outgrowth of West Virginia University's research focus on energy," said Garrison. "The economic future of our state and our region depends upon our ability to continue to develop dependable and affordable energy for the nation. Linking our research power with our sister universities in Pittsburgh for this project makes us all stronger."

"Developing clean and efficient technologies for the use of fossil fuels is a national priority," he added. "WVU faculty members will take a leading role in addressing some crucial energy research questions. The strong ties that our researchers already have with the National Energy Technology Laboratory will allow to move forward quickly."

Carnegie Mellon Chemical Engineering Professor Andrew Gellman has been appointed research director for the consortium. Under his direction, the university team will engage in a portfolio of research programs aimed at developing new technologies for fossil fuel utilization, reducing the environmental impact of fossil energy use, and optimizing the efficiency of energy production from fossil fuel sources. The combined capabilities and resources of the three universities and NETL create an energy research enterprise with unique capabilities and breadth of scope, Gellman said.

Pennsylvania and West Virginia hold millions of tons of coal, a fuel that can meet the country’s energy needs far into the future. Policymakers are calling on the region and the nation to use more of its plentiful coal reserves to increase the nation’s energy security. Scientists can advance research into better ways to use coal and convert it into cleaner-burning fuels, Gellman said.

"We need to develop improved turbine generators and new fuel cell technologies that use coal-derived synthetic fuels, along with new ways to capture and store greenhouse gases instead of releasing them into the atmosphere," Gellman said.

"The National Energy Technology Laboratory is encouraged and proud to work with researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, and West Virginia University," said NETL Director Carl Bauer. "By advancing science and technology in the region and the nation, this collaboration will provide clean, affordable energy for many generations of Americans and help secure national energy security."

The consortium will address these needs by focusing its research within eight program areas:

Posted March 24, 2008

Press Release from news and Information Services - WVU Today


WVU Training Holds Key to $ Billions in Natural GasReturn to top

Devonian Shale Workshop

Morgantown, W.Va.-West Virginia University's National Research Center for Coal and Energy is playing host to a packed house of geologists and engineers eager to learn more about how to tap the riches in Devonian Black Shale. The geological formation lays 4,000 to 8,000 feet below Appalachia spanning New York to Kentucky and holds an estimated $12 billion to $150 billion worth of natural gas.

Douglas Patchen, director of the NRCCE's Petroleum Technology Transfer Center which is conducting the two-day workshop this week, said that geologists and petroleum engineers are here to understand the natural fractures in the Devonian. Fractures play a critical role in recovering the most natural gas possible.

"Fracture formation in any geological basin is a complex process. It's pretty esoteric, but understanding it is what helps geologists and engineers find the resources we need to keep our homes warm at reasonable prices," said Patchen.

Devonian Shale Workshop

Depending on the weather, the average U.S. household uses between 82 to 86 thousand cubic feet, or Mcf, of natural gas each year. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that residential consumers in the southeast and northeast tend to pay the most, with prices ranging from $17 to more than $20 per Mcf, or $1,394 to $1,720 per year. But states in which natural gas is produced or who have major gas distribution lines tend to pay between $10 and $15 per Mcf. West Virginians pay about $15 per Mcf.

"Demand from the east coast markets keeps our prices on the higher side," said Patchen. "To give you some idea how prices have changed, I paid 66 cents per Mcf for natural gas when I moved to Morgantown in 1966," said Patchen. "Resources are getting harder to retrieve making drilling and production for a single well more expensive, which is why learning how to get the most gas per well really does matter to the consumer," he said.

The instructor for the workshop, Terry Engelder, is a professor of geoscience at The Pennsylvania State University and the leading expert in fracture behavior in formations worldwide.

The 175 participants are from all the big oil and gas states in the U.S., including Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and many of the Appalachian states. "Companies such as Chesapeake and Dominion from the east, Range Resources and Ansbro from the west, and multinationals such as BP and Halliburton are interested in West Virginia and this particular play because of the money that can be made," said Patchen. "We turned away a couple dozen very unhappy people because we had a capacity audience," he said.

The WVU NRCCE's Petroleum Technology Transfer Center is one of six regional centers across the nation managed by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists dedicated to provide world class information about plays of greatest interest to the industry in each region.

Posted April 12, 2008