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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

2010 NRCCE News Archives

Featured in BioRefining Magazine:

8 December 2010 - Morgantown, W.Va. – Kaushlendra Singh and Jinxing Wang, Davis College Wood Science & Technology faculty members, and John Zondlo, professor in the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources Department of Chemical Engineering, are developing a fuel blend of coal and biomass to capitalize on each fuel's individual strengths while minimizing each one's limitations. Their work is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy through the Consortium for Fossil Fuel Science. WVU is represented by NRCCE as a charter member of the Consortium. Read more in BioRefining Magazine...

PTTC to host Marcellus Share Resource Assessment and Logging School, Nov 17, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, NRCCE Assembly Room, 385 Evansdale Drive, Morgantown, WV. For details, see the full workshop announcement

25 October 2010 - Morgantown, W.Va. – Workshop announcement 11.17.10_1 tkw

Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day Odyssey Held on WVU campus

22 October 2010 - Morgantown, W.Va. – Gold and blue made green on October 15th as WVU celebrated National AFV Day Odyssey, a nationwide campaign to increase public awareness about clean alternatives to regular gasoline-powered vehicles. Odyssey is spearheaded by the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium which is headquartered at WVU's National Research Center for Coal and Energy.

About 100 organizations across the U.S. signed on to host an event similar to the one hosted by NRCCE and NAFTC on WVU's Evansdale campus. The local event showcased the research talents of WVU students.

Student Jim Smith

Jim Smith, senior electrical engineering student and member of the WVU student chapter of the Electric Vehicle Association, displays the battery pack under the truck bed of Professor Roy Nutter's own Chevy S10 USElectricar. http://eva.studentorgs.wvu.edu/ Students are using the truck as part of a broader educational program about electric vehicles. (photo by Trina Wafle)

Student Nathan Music

Nathan Music presents the portable emissions measurement systems used by the WVU Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines, and Emissions to test trucks as they make their normal rounds. http://cafee.wvu.edu/ EPA requires that all new engine systems undergo testing in real-world situations as well as in the labs at EPA's facility in Ann Arbor, MI. CAFEE, working with Horiba Instruments, utilizes this system during in-use testing for Caterpillar, who provided funding. While working on his dual Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering bachelor's degrees at WVU, Music was an undergraduate researcher with CAFEE who is now pursuing his research interests as a full time graduate student working on this project. (photo by Trina Wafle)

Student Jimmy Ludovici

Jimmy Ludovici, senior Mechanical Engineering student, is building his resume and protecting his future as a team member of WVU's EcoCAR NeXt Challenge team. The team is converting a GM SUV to a hybrid electric vehicle powered by B20 biodiesel. Ludovici is developing an exhaust system to control nitrogen oxide emissions from the fuel that can cause smog. In addition to emissions performance, the teams are also graded fuel efficiency, road handling, and overall comfort of their converted vehicles. (photo by Trina Wafle)

NRCCE energy expert says WV can sequester more than 17.6 billion metric tons of carbon in its oil and natural gas fields and deep coal seams.

1 October 2010 - Huntington, W.Va. – http://statejournal.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=86872&catid=283

By Walt Williams

CO2

West Virginia is like a computer hard drive when it comes to burying carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants: It has plenty of storage capacity.

At least that's the view of Richard Bajura, director of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University. Using geologic data gathered by a host of agencies, he said the state could sequester more than 17.6 billion metric tons of carbon between its oil fields, natural gas fields and deep coal seams, and that's not counting the deep saline aquifers that inflate those figures dramatically.

"West Virginia has a large carbon storage potential," he told attendees at the third annual Science, Technology and Research Symposium at Marshall University Sept. 27.

Bajura was one of three panelists who took part in a forum about the state's energy future on the first day of the two-day symposium. The picture panelists painted was an optimistic one based on the assumption that carbon capture and storage technology would prove both economically and technologically feasible.

CCS - also known as carbon sequestration - is a catchall term for technology that removes carbon dioxide from power plant emissions and buries it underground so it won't contribute to global warming. It is seen as the only way the nation could continue to burn coal on a large scale if the U.S. adopts strict limits on CO2 emissions.

The technology has its share of critics, who point out it is still years - if not decades - away from widespread use. CCS currently is cost-prohibitive at the scale needed to sequester the emissions from good-sized power plant. It consumes a lot of energy. Researchers still can't say with great certainty that carbon pumped into the ground will stay there or if it will leak out.

Researchers are studying ways to bring down the cost and ensure the carbon will remain in the ground once buried there.

As far as cost, Bajura noted the gas could be used to extract oil and natural gas from geologic formations by pumping it into the ground and forcing the energy resources out. Such oil and gas recovery results in a profit for carbon producers, which are paid for the carbon they provide.

A test project in Marshall County is studying the feasibility of coalbed methane extraction, according to Bajura. Some 20,000 tons of CO2 will be pumped into the ground while the site is monitored for methane extraction and carbon leaks.

While enhanced oil recovery and other extraction techniques may show promise in the short term, many experts believe the cost of CCS must be lowered if it is to prove practical in the long term.

All the panelists said coal would remain one of the leading sources of energy for the world for the next few decades. Joseph Kozuch, interim director of WVU's Advanced Energy Initiative and the forum moderator, noted worldwide fossil fuel consumption was expected to slightly increase by 2030.

"We don't expect that to be released into the atmosphere," he said about CO2 emissions from coal. "We expect technology programs to be in place to control that."

State researchers are hedging their bets on CCS because coal remains a significant part of the West Virginia's economy. Jeff Herholdt, director of the West Virginia Division of Energy, pointed out that two-thirds of the energy produced in West Virginia was exported out of state.

But coal is not the only energy producer in the state. Patrick Mann, WVU professor emeritus of economics and chairman of the West Virginia Wind Working Group, said studies have estimated the state's wind power generation capacity between 1,883 MW and 3,800 MW.

While clean, wind power is not without its drawbacks. Concerns range from windmills destroying viewsheds to killing birds and bats. But Mann said the biggest thing holding wind power back from becoming a major power source is the lack of quality lines to transmit the energy.

"One of the problems is the transmission," he said. "We have to build the transmission for that to happen."

Odyssey to Kick Off in New York City

1 October 2010 - Morgantown, W.Va. – Hosted by New York City Lower Hudson Valley Clean Communities (NYCLHVCC) and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, the occasion will serve as the official kickoff for the more than 100 Odyssey events taking place across the country on October 15.

Link to this event:

http://www.aps.naftc.wvu.edu/NAFTC/about/eNews/Sept10/odyssey.html

RPSEA membership is coordinated by NRCCE

8 June 2010 - Morgantown, W.Va. – West Virginia University experts have been chosen to participate in investigations leading to more effective and safer ways to recover natural gas as part of America’s drive to secure additional energy sources.

WVU researchers will lead a team investigating ways to predict whether fracturing in horizontal wells in efforts to tap natural gas in shale reservoirs will reactivate fault lines. The will also participate in another team’s research on better ways to harvest gas from the Marcellus Shale reservoir.

Completing horizontal wells for natural gas in shale involves the use of water to break up rock and free gas. The process is known as fracturing. A proposal from WVU to investigate ways to predict whether the process could reactivate existing fault lines underground was one of 11 proposals identified to receive funding by the Research Partnership to secure Energy for America (RPSEA).

WVU will partner with Range Resources Corporation-Appalachian LLC on the project, officially known as “Prediction of Fault Reactivation in Hydraulic Fracturing of Horizontal Wells in Shale Gas Reservoirs.”

Range Resources-Appalachia, LLC, an independent oil and gas company, owns interests in approximately 11,000 oil and natural gas wells and has a leasehold position of approximately 1 million net acres containing approximately 1,700 proved drilling locations. The company was formerly known as Great Lakes Energy Partners, LLC.

WVU’s Yueming Cheng, assistant professor in the department of petroleum engineering, will serve as the principal investigator.

A second proposal, in which WVU will participate as a team member, will investigate ways to more effectively reach gas in the Marcellus Shale. That team will be led by the Gas Technology Institute and also includes Pennsylvania State University, the University of Texas at Austin, Pinnacle Technologies, Inc. and ResTech, Inc.

Shahab Mohaghegh, professor in the department of petroleum engineering, is the primary WVU investigator on the second proposal. With more than 17 years of experience, Mohaghegh has been a pioneer in the application of artificial intelligence and data mining for the petroleum industry.

RPSEA selected both proposals under its Unconventional Resources Program through contract with the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory. The project supports DOE’s Ultra-Deepwater and Unconventional Natural Gas and Other Petroleum Resources Research and Development Program that was established by DOE pursuant to the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The teams for both selected projects will now negotiate with RPSEA for a grant award for the research.

Awards are negotiated once project selections are made within each RPSEA program. According to RPSEA officials, the projects focus on improving safety, minimizing environmental impacts, increasing efficiencies and reducing costs of domestic hydrocarbon resources, maximizing their value.

“The 2009 Unconventional Resources Program selections add to the current 28 program projects, enabling a more effective development of clean-burning North American natural gas to help meet our nation’s energy needs for many decades to come,” said RPSEA Vice President of Technical Programs James Pappas. “It is becoming increasingly clear that domestic energy needs must be met by natural gas, and the challenge to efficiently extract this abundant resource lies within our grasp. The goal is to unlock the potential for domestic hydrocarbon resources in gas shales, tight gas sands and coalbed methane reservoirs.”

Funding for the projects is provided through the Department of Energy and is funded from lease bonuses and royalties paid by industry to produce oil and gas on federal lands. The funding program was designed to maximize the value of natural gas and other petroleum resources by increasing supply by reducing the cost and increasing the efficiency of exploration while improving safety and minimizing environmental impacts.

RPSEA is a nonprofit consortium with more than 160 members, including 25 of the nation’s premier research universities, five national laboratories, other major research institutions, large and small energy producers and energy consumers. RPSEA is headquartered in Sugar Land, TX. Additional information can be found at www.rpsea.org.

Brownfields Assistance Centers Receive Environmental Partnership Award

1 June 2010 - Charlestown, W.Va. – The Brownfields Assistance Centers at West Virginia University and Marshall University were recipients of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Environmental Partnership Award. The award recognizes the collaborative approach the centers use to help communities identify, clean up and redevelop brownfields sites throughout the state, as well as their working relationships with state and federal agencies.

The award was presented by West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin and WVDEP Cabinet Secretary Randy Huffman at WVDEP’s 10th Environmental Awards Ceremony.

The Brownfields Assistance Centers were created to empower communities to plan and implement brownfields redevelopment projects. The Northern Brownfields Assistance Center is located within the WV Water Research Institute at WVU’s National Research Center for Coal and Energy, while the Brownfields Assistance Center at Marshall University is housed within the Center for Environmental, Geotechnical, and Applied Sciences.

“The success of the Brownfields Assistance Centers is a tribute to Senator (Robert) Plymale’s vision and our close working relationship with the WV Department of Environmental Protection,” Dr. Paul Ziemkiewicz, Director of the WV Water Research Institute said. “We appreciate Secretary Huffman’s recognition of the hard work of Patrick Kirby, George Carico and the Centers’ staff.”

In 2005, the West Virginia State Legislature recognized the lost economic and social value in abandoned and underutilized contaminated lands or “brownfields.” The West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers at Marshall and WVU were created to support community efforts and work with the WVDEP and the WV Development Office to turn these Brownfields into productive land again.

WVU researchers seek to recycle water from gas drilling operations

26 May 2010 - Morgantown, W.Va. – Prosperity may be lying just under the feet of many West Virginians, but getting it out of the ground also brings environmental hurdles.

However research being conducted at West Virginia University may provide a solution to the dilemma, benefiting both providers and users.

The Marcellus Shale, a geological formation stretching under West Virginia and much of the Appalachian Basin, is one of the nation’s largest reservoirs of natural gas, with at least one estimate saying it could provide cheap gas for the U.S. for 14 years.

But getting the gas out of the shale requires huge amounts of water, a precious resource itself, and leaves the water laden with salts and minerals.

The dilemma, then, has been how to get the gas with the least damage to water resources.

Paul Ziemkiewicz and Jen Fulton of the West Virginia Water Research Institute at the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at WVU are looking for a way, teaming with Filtersure Inc.

Drillers use fresh water plus small amounts of sand and additives to make frac water, which is then injected into the gas well to drive very fine cracks into the formation where the gas is trapped. The microscopic cracks, or fractures, are propped open by the sand, allowing the gas to escape to the surface where it is collected, cleaned, and then sent to homes, businesses, and industries.

But the frac water comes back to the surface containing solid particles, salts, and minerals from brine water that is also in the rock formation. This brine can be harmful if returned to streams without being treated, however treatment to pristine levels can be prohibitively expensive.

So Ziemkiewicz and Fulton propose to treat the water to a level that would allow it to be reused as frac water, resulting in no offsite discharge.

“Our intention is to recycle frac water for reuse in drilling which will reduce the need for surface water,” said Ziemkiewicz.

The $1 million, 32-month research and demonstration project is supported by an award from the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory under its Oil and Natural Gas Program.

Filtersure Inc. already has a unit that can remove solid particles suspended in the frac water, the first step in almost any water treatment process. The challenge facing the researchers is to remove enough of the salts and minerals so that the water can be reused on the next natural gas well.

The system will be small enough to be trucked to a gas well for on-site water treatment. Then, instead of trucking untreated frac water to a municipal wastewater treatment facility as is it is now, the recycled frac water will be trucked to the next gas well drilling site.

A pilot scale version of the system is being developed at NRCCE.

“Even though the natural gas industry is one of the most water efficient sources of energy, our goal is to reuse all of the water we produce in our Marcellus operations,” said David Templet, director of regulatory affairs for Chesapeake Energy Corp., the nation’s No. 2 natural gas producer and a significant member of the West Virginia energy industry.

“This recycling idea will be one more tool to help us meet that goal,” he said.

Scott Rotruck, Chesapeake’s vice president of corporate development and state government relations, introduced Ziemkiewicz to Filtersure’s Dave Locke, leading to the research partnership.

“University researchers like Paul and Jen help our industry push the innovation envelope. WVU has always worked to push technology for energy,” he said.

WVU Vice President of Research and Economic Development Curt M. Peterson said the research bolster’s the University’s commitment to community involvement and the search for greater energy independence.

“There is great recognition that America’s future depends upon an ability to use a mix of energy sources,” Peterson said. “Finding ways to use those sources in the cleanest most effective ways possible is good for West Virginia and good for the nation.”

Stimulus grant enables NRCCE to help plan for energy disruptions

21 May 2010 - Morgantown, W.Va. – As long as the fuel is flowing, you don’t really pay much attention to where it comes from or how it gets there. But such things as extreme weather or a natural disaster can interrupt that supply, and it’s the job of the West Virginia Division of Energy to be ready if that happens.

“Getting ready” just doesn’t happen overnight, so West Virginia University, with stimulus funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, is working with the state Department of Energy and the Division of Military Affairs and Public Safety to update and improve the energy portion of the state’s Emergency Operations Plan. The ARRA funds total $320,688 while WVU is committing an additional $223,448 in equivalent cost sharing for a total value of $544,136.

“Most people don’t give any thought to the fact that all of West Virginia’s gasoline and diesel fuels are trucked in from out of state,” WVU Vice President for Research and Economic Development Curt M. Peterson said.

“Any number of scenarios could cause a disruption in the distribution of gasoline and coal, or even the ability of a power station to continue serving the public. These potential disruptions could have major consequences for the safety and comfort of people and the economy of the region. Preparation is key and WVU, because of its experience in energy research, is well-poised to help in that preparation.”

The funds will help the state DOE craft a plan that will ensure energy supplies are available during any type of crisis and that the plan is compatible with adjacent states.

“Currently the state’s energy plan doesn’t include smart grid technologies and alternative energy sources, which could be vital for a reliable supply of electricity, depending on the situation,” said Richard Bajura, director of the WVU National Research Center for Coal and Energy, who is leading the project at WVU.

“We’ve had a long-term relationship with WVU through groups like the NRCCE who have been great collaborators on projects in the past,” said Jeff Herholdt, WVDOE director.

After the plan is reviewed and revised, WVU will provide statewide training for emergency preparedness officials and industry representatives in areas such as alternative and sustainable energy, cyber security, smart grid technologies and energy assurance planning.

The training, along with regional emergency exercise events with bordering states, will help test the plan and improve communication with neighboring states’ agencies.

“Better coordination among state agencies creates more efficient responses, reduces duplication in planning efforts, and decreases the time required to recover and restore the energy infrastructure,” said John Saymansky, who serves as the project manager from WVU’s Division of Resource Management in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design.

“The anticipated benefits to the state include developing an energy assurance workforce, improving expertise at the state level for emergency planning and resiliency, and building expertise and capabilities that will help state agencies be more aware of how energy systems work and their importance to other sectors of the economy,” Saymansky said.

Ziemkiewicz's work with South Korea helps lead to cooperative agreement

30 April 2010 - Morgantown, W.Va. – A shared history of searching for environmentally responsible methods of coal mine reclamation has led to a new cooperative agreement between South Korea and West Virginia researchers.

Curt M. Peterson, president of WVU Research Corporation, and Jin-soo Lee, president of the Mine Reclamation Corporation of Korea (MIRECO), signed a formal agreement of cooperation on Monday (April 26) – the result of more than seven years of work between researchers from South Korea and the U.S. They hope to assist each other in addressing common problems associated with mining.

Jeff Skousen, Ph.D., a research professor who specializes in land reclamation, soil and water conservation and watershed restoration in WVU’s Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, began working with reclamation scientists from South Korea in 2003 when Jae Yang, Ph.D., of the National University of Korea, visited Morgantown to learn more about West Virginia’s experiences in dealing with mining and mine reclamation activity.

“Dr. Yang was interested in learning about passive treatment systems to treat acid mine drainage,” Skousen said. “We spent days together looking at all the different types of systems that have been developed and constructed around Monongalia County.“

Yang also worked with Paul F. Ziemkiewicz, Ph.D., director of WVU’s West Virginia Water Research Institute, who attended the signing ceremony Monday.

Skousen said Yang ended up taking home new knowledge about reclamation procedures that he implemented at more than 30 mine sites in South Korea. Skousen has since made numerous trips to South Korea to teach workshops on mining and reclamation and make a presentation at the 2007 and 2009 International Symposiums on Mine Reclamation.

“South Korea and West Virginia, specifically Appalachia, have many common problems in mine reclamation,” Skousen said. “Both countries must reclaim subsidence holes that occur because of caving of abandoned underground mines, treat contaminated water, manage coal waste piles for revegetation and stabilization, remediate soils that are contaminated by coal and metal mines and revegetate these areas to grass and trees. Sharing our experiences and successes can advance that work and produce positive results for sites in both of our countries.”

Ziemkiewicz's work with South Korea helps lead to cooperative agreement Ziemkiewicz's work with South Korea helps lead to cooperative agreement

WVU program can help rural enterprises save $$$$ by saving energy

7 April 2010 - Morgantown, W.Va. – Agricultural producers and other rural businesses can suffer the most during an economic downturn. And when the going gets tough, that’s the time for the tough to get efficient—energy efficient, that is—and save tens of thousands of dollars.

Enterprises with fewer than 500 employees located in rural areas of the state can now get a boost to their bottom line from a new energy efficiency program being offered by Industries of the Future—West Virginia at West Virginia University.

WVU’s Bhaskaran Gopalakrishnan received $100,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct energy assessments for small rural enterprises at low or no cost to them.

With the exception of some areas around Charleston, Huntington, and the I-64 corridor, the entire state is covered by the program.

Gopalakrishnan knows his stuff, too: he is a professor of industrial and management systems engineering, IOF-WV Energy Efficiency Fellow, director of the WVU Industrial Assessment Center, and an Energy Expert and Qualified Specialist of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Save Energy Now program.

The IOF-WV program is teaming with the WVU Extension Service to ensure that the program meets farmers’ unique needs. They are also teaming with the West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Program of the WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources to reach small commercial or industrial companies.

“The partnership we have with the WV MEP and the WVU Agricultural Extension is invaluable in this effort as they bring a wealth of knowledge and experience in their respective fields to the equation,” said Gopalakrishnan.

“For example, we know that poultry growers are major energy users and have real and valid concerns about the possibility of contaminants due to outside influence. However a win-win situation can be created for obtaining real energy savings.”

“A key strength of the program is the ability to reach out to businesses that normally would not qualify for an energy assessment,” said Ed Crowe, IOF-WV Engineering Scientist.

The assessment team comes to the location armed with the latest high tech instruments to identify energy losses. The team will spend from one to two days gathering data and will deliver recommendations six to eight weeks later.

“We focus on practical recommendations that lead to bottom line results,” said Gopalakrishnan. When combined with Gopalakrishnan’s waste and productivity suggestions, manufacturers have saved an average of $60,000 per year.

But the team doesn’t always need to make a site visit themselves. Recently, the WV MEP program sent detailed information about a small business in Charles Town that was looking to invest in a new type of natural gas oven to increase productivity. Crowe and Gopalakrishnan will be evaluating that data for potential energy savings and making a recommendation to the company free of charge.

In addition to the recommendations, the team also shares information about USDA loan programs to help underwrite the initial cost of following the recommendations. They also encourage businesses to talk with their tax accountants to uncover tax credits for energy efficiency investments as additional savings.

A typical assessment could cost from $800 to $1,400, but under the USDA program, businesses will be expected to provide only 25 percent of that amount. For certain qualified businesses, the West Virginia Division of Energy has awarded additional funding to WVU to underwrite even the 25 percent cost, allowing the business to receive the service free.

For more information about the program or to register to request an audit, visit http://iofwv.nrcce.wvu.edu/usda/. To learn if a small business qualifies for the free or low-cost service, contact IOF-WV Engineering Scientist Ed Crowe at 304 293-2867 x. 5435.

Thermal Image WVU’s Industry of the Future—West Virginia program is poised to help rural businesses save money by saving lost energy. Experts use high tech equipment such as a thermal imaging camera that here demonstrates the temperature differences in a poultry house normally kept at around 85 degrees farenheit. The image shows heat losses around the door. The man, at 98.6 degrees farenheit, is clearly the warmest.

E3 program at WVU

16 March 2010 - Charleston, W.Va. – Gov. Joe Manchin today announced a new program, E3-WV, designed to help West Virginia businesses save energy and reduce their impact on the environment. With funding from the W.Va. Division of Energy, the program will help the state’s manufacturers adapt and thrive in a new business era focused on energy efficiency and sustainability.

Three organizations headquartered at West Virginia University – Industries of the Future-West Virginia (IOF-WV), the Industrial Assessment Center (IAC), and the West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WVMEP) – will work together in carrying out the project.

“I am committed to the success of West Virginia’s manufacturers,” Gov. Manchin said. “This program, which focuses on energy performance, environmental stewardship and economic development, uses the state’s energy expertise to strengthen our industries as they address energy and sustainability challenges.”

Curt Peterson, WVU vice president for research and economic development said the project, “certainly reflects not only the University’s mission to serve its community as a land grant institution, but also its often-stated intent to make a difference in the way our state and nation uses energy and prepares for an energy efficient future.”

IOF-WV will provide free energy assessments for industrial and commercial businesses, helping businesses cut costs and remain competitive by identifying energy efficiency opportunities. WVMEP will deliver environmental and carbon management services to address industry concerns regarding the impact their operations on the environment.

The federal E3 program is a technical assistance program operated under the umbrella of the Green Suppliers Network, developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Manufacturers may learn if they qualify for the energy assessment program by contacting either Ed Crowe of IOF-WV at (304) 293-2867 ext. 5435, Ed.Crowe@mail.wvu.edu or B. Gopala Gopalakrishan, IAC director, at Bhaskaran.Gopalakrishnan@mail.wvu.edu.

For information on the carbon management program, contact Tom Mahoney of WVMEP at (304) 293-9384, or Tom.Mahoney@mail.wvu.edu.

Links:

West Virginia Division of Energy - http://wvcommerce.org/energy/default.aspx

Industries of the Future-West Virginia - http://www.iofwv.nrcce.wvu.edu/

West Virginia Manufacturing Extension Partnership - http://www.wvmep.com/

WVU researchers seek to recycle water from gas drilling operations

10 March 2010 - MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Reduce-reuse-recycle, that is the concept behind research being conducted at West Virginia University to help limit the environmental impact of the development of one of the nation’s largest-ever natural gas reservoirs, the Marcellus Shale.

Paul Ziemkiewicz and Jen Fulton of the West Virginia Water Research Institute at the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at WVU have teamed with Filtersure™, Inc. to develop ways to clean up salt- and mineral-laden frac water from newly installed Marcellus Shale gas wells.

Ziemkiewicz and Fulton of WRI "David Locke of FilterSure, Inc., Jen Fulton and Paul Ziemkiewicz of WV Water Research Institute at WVU’s National Research Center for Coal and Energy, William Fincham of the US DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory, and David Templet of Chesapeake Energy discuss Fulton and Ziemkiewicz’s research project to recycle brackish frac water resulting from Marcellus gas well drilling. FilterSure™ provided a process development unit (foreground) for the $1 million research project."

 

For Appalachian land and mineral rights owners from central West Virginia through New York, the Marcellus can mean additional income. And for just about everyone in the eastern U.S. who uses natural gas for home heating and cooking, the Marcellus can mean keeping gas prices affordable.

But for regulators throughout the region as well as for the companies who will be producing this clean energy resource, the Marcellus means new water challenges, namely how to meet the demand for the millions of gallons of water needed to produce the gas while protecting water quality.

Water is an essential ingredient for gas well development.

Drillers use fresh water plus small amounts of sand and additives to make frac water. The frac water is injected into the gas well to drive very fine cracks into the rock formation where the gas is trapped. The microscopic cracks, or fractures, are propped open by the sand which allows the gas to escape to the surface where it is collected, cleaned, and then sent to homes, businesses, and industries.

But the frac water comes back to the surface containing solid particles, salts, and minerals from brine water that is also in the rock formation. This brine can be harmful if returned to streams without being treated. Treatment to pristine levels though can be prohibitively expensive.

So Ziemkiewicz and Fulton proposed to treat the water to a standard that would make it useful as frac water all over again—a zero-discharge water management option for gas well development. “Our intention is to recycle frac water for reuse in drilling which will reduce the need for surface water,” said Ziemkiewicz.

The $1 million, 32-month research and demonstration project is being supported by an award from the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory under its Oil and Natural Gas Program.

Filtersure™, Inc. already has a unit that can remove solid particles suspended in the frac water, the first step in almost any water treatment process. The challenge facing the researchers is to remove enough of the salts and minerals so that the water can be reused to frac the next natural gas well.

The system will be small enough to be trucked to a gas well so that treatment can take place at the site. Then, instead of trucking untreated frac water to a municipal wastewater treatment facility as is it is now, the recycled frac water will be trucked to the next gas well drilling site.

David Templet, director of regulatory affairs, and Scott Rotruck, vice president of corporate development and state government relations for Chesapeake Energy recently had the chance to see the pilot scale version of the filtration system in the labs at WVU’s National Research Center for Coal and Energy.

“Even though the natural gas industry is one of the most water efficient sources of energy, our goal is to reuse all of the water we produce in our Marcellus operations,” said Templet. “This recycling idea will be one more tool to help us meet that goal.”

Rotruck, who introduced Ziemkiewicz to Dave Locke of Filtersure™ that led to the research partnership, noted the important role WVU plays in energy in West Virginia. “University researchers like Paul and Jen help our industry push the innovation envelope. WVU has always worked to push technology for energy,” he said.

WVU Vice President of Research and Economic Development Curt M. Peterson said the research bolster’s the University’s commitment to community involvement and the search for greater energy independence.

“There is great recognition that America’s future depends upon an ability to use a mix of energy sources,” Peterson said. “Finding ways to use those sources in the cleanest most effective ways possible is good for West Virginia and good for the nation.”

WVU receives grant to study water efficiency

05 February 2010 - MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The National Environmental Services Center (NESC) at West Virginia University (WVU), in partnership with the school’s College of Business and Economics (B&E), has received a $600,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop a social marketing campaign to raise awareness about water-efficient products — including low-flow faucets, toilets and showerheads.

Many people may not take water efficiency into account when renovating or building a home. The objective of this grant is to understand the barriers that consumers face when purchasing water-efficient devices and then create compelling messages that will influence market demand. Saving water today ensures water for future generations.

In the grant’s first phase, B&E’s Paula Bone, Ph.D., a marketing professor at the college, will research the current use of water-efficient products — investigating manufacturers and surveying consumer opinion.

“Conserving water is a hard sell; it is cheap and easily available. This partnership between the WVU’s College of B&E and NESC provides an excellent opportunity to apply current thinking in psychology and social marketing to an increasingly important environmental issue,” says Bone.

NESC will use Bone’s research to develop messages for a social marketing campaign intended to change the purchasing behavior of a targeted audience. The organization also will publicize and support water-efficient programs and practices through a program titled Future Water using a Web site, listservs and magazines and newsletters.

“Water is an under-valued resource,” says Gerald Iwan, NESC director. “Increasing knowledge about water-efficient products, as well as water-efficient programs and practices, helps to elevate the public’s appreciation of our nation’s water supplies. We believe that combining our expertise with that of WVU’s College of B&E will yield important results for the effort to conserve water.”

NESC has more than 30 years’ experience as an information clearinghouse for drinking water and wastewater issues. WVU’s B&E College is a fully accredited business school and is ranked among the top quartile of business school’s in the U.S., according to a 2006 U.S. News & World Report.

For more information about the project, visit www.nesc.wvu.edu/futurewater/.

Brownfields Grant to provide momentum for 11 projects statewide

04 February 2010 - MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Eleven West Virginia communities, from Weirton in the northern panhandle to the Upper Guyandotte in the southern coalfields, will be creating plans to redevelop dilapidated industrial sites thanks to winning $5,000 grants each from the 2010 FOCUS WV Brownfields program.

“The FOCUS WV program allows the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers at West Virginia University and Marshall University to provide financial and technical assistance to the selected communities to create redevelopment visions for some of their biggest eyesores,” said Sera Zegre, FOCUS WV program manager at WVU. Funding for the Foundation for Overcoming Challenges and Utilizing Strengths (FOCUS) program is being provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation through the West Virginia University Foundation.

The winners, who will be using the awards to create community-based revitalization plans, include the:

Information about the FOCUS WV Brownfields Program, as well as testimonials from other communities that received funding in 2009, can be found at www.wvbrownfields.com. The Northern WV Brownfields Assistance Center is located at the West Virginia Water Research Institute, at WVU’s National Research Center for Coal & Energy; the WV Brownfields Assistance Center at Marshall University is located in the Center for Environmental, Geotechnical and Applied Sciences.

Wheeling Nisshin, Inc. presented the “Governor’s Award for Excellence in Industrial Energy Efficiency”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 January 2010 - MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – One West Virginia steelmaker discovered that saving energy brings its own rewards.

Wheeling Nisshin, Inc. of Follansbee, W.Va. received the “Governor’s Award for Excellence in Industrial Energy Efficiency” at West Virginia University’s Industries of the Future—West Virginia Day luncheon in Charleston, on Tuesday, January 26. The steel maker was recognized for its work with the IOF-WV program for nearly a decade, both as a research partner and as a recipient of services such as energy assessments.

Wheeling-Nisshin also received a U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Technologies Program Save Energy Now Award for their energy efficiency efforts. This award is given to plants for achieving more than 75,000 MMBtu total energy savings or more than 7.5% total energy savings. The company has reduced its energy costs by $400,000 annually.

IOF-WV is a program of the West Virginia Development Office, the West Virginia Division of Energy, and the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at West Virginia University.

WVU Industries of the Future-West Virginia Day set for Jan. 26 at Capitol

25 January 2010 - MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Saving energy, reducing greenhouse gases, saving and creating jobs will top the agenda Tuesday (Jan. 26) as several West Virginia University faculty members and industry colleagues head to Charleston for the 10th Annual Industries of the Future-West Virginia Day in the Capitol.

Whether it's turning carbon dioxide into methanol or managing the state's forests for carbon sequestration, or more traditional concepts, faculty members will present their ideas to the Senate Economic Development at 9 a.m., and then join more than 20 exhibitors representing the state’s manufacturing and technology sector, the university, government agencies, and industry associations in the Capitol Rotunda to showcase their work.

“We’ll be emphasizing near-term research that can help the state transition to a more efficient and more competitive economy with fewer greenhouse gas emissions – what I like to call ‘transtech energy research,’ ” said IOF-WV Director and WVU Professor Carl Irwin. Irwin operates the IOF-WV with sponsorship from the State Division of Energy, the West Virginia Development Office and the West Virginia University National Research Center for Coal and Energy.

Industrial and Management Systems Engineering Professor Bhaskaran Gopolakrishnan will describe money-saving energy assessment programs available free to state and regional manufacturers. Gopalakrishnan recently received an additional $500,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for the assessments.

Shawn Grushecky, assistant director of the Appalachian Hardwoods Center at WVU, will describe how forestry management may actually be a better option for sequestering carbon dioxide than even geologic sequestration.

Physics Professor James Lewis will present an innovative technology that he and Chemistry Assistant Professor Michael Shi are developing to capture carbon dioxide and convert it into methanol using sunlight.

 

 

 

Also, Wheeling-Nisshin will be honored with the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Industrial Energy Efficiency. The award will be presented by West Virginia Commerce Secretary Kelly Goes at a luncheon in the Governor’s Mansion tent. The steel maker, located in Follansbee, W.Va., has worked with the IOF-WV program for nearly a decade, both as a research partner and as a recipient of services such as energy assessments.

“Wheeling-Nisshin has been invaluable to IOF-WV, providing reality-checks and guidance for the research program,” Irwin said. “Their involvement with the IOF-WV team helped them save nearly $500,000 per year on their energy bills."

The event is open to the public. Registration for the luncheon is required. Contact Angela Shock at (304) 293-2867 ext. 5434 or Angela.Shock@mail.wvu.edu. For more information about IOF-WV, visit http://iofwv.nrcce.wvu.edu.