NRCCE director receives lifetime achievement award

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October 23, 2013 by Trina Wafle, NRCCE

Richard Bajura, NRCCE Director

Richard Bajura, NRCCE Director

Morgantown, W.Va. — Richard A. Bajura, director of the West Virginia University National Research Center for Coal and Energy, was presented with the Sen. Jennings Randolph Lifetime Achievement Award on Wednesday (Oct. 23) by the Washington Coal Club in a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Bajura shared the honor with U.S. Sen. Michael B. Enzi (R-Wyo.). U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) was honored with the Coal Club’s Annual Achievement Award.

From left to right, Rick Axthelm, vice president, federal government & external affairs I, Alpha Natural Resources; Richard Bajura; and Janet Gellici, executive vice president national & COO National Coal Council.

From left to right, Rick Axthelm, vice president, federal government & external affairs I, Alpha Natural Resources; Richard Bajura; and Janet Gellici, executive vice president national & COO National Coal Council.

From his own research in the early 1980s on the fluid properties of coal slurries in coal liquefaction, to his recent work on a report for the National Coal Council on the capture and storage of carbon dioxide, Bajura has dedicated his career to advancing coal technologies.

Bajura was appointed director of the WVU Energy Research Center in 1984. He facilitated the expansion of energy research through the Center’s $1.2 million annual, state-funded seed program, funding WVU faculty members that helped launch dozens of competitively funded research programs within the University’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) colleges and at NRCCE.

“Our research at WVU has been dedicated to developing technologies that make coal cleaner, from mining it to using it to create power and transportation fuels,” Bajura said. “I am honored to receive this award as a reflection of the outstanding researchers with whom I have had the privilege to work.”

Bajura has built collaborations with energy programs at other research institutions such as Virginia Tech, the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Kentucky, the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory, and state geological surveys in West Virginia and the northern Appalachian region.

Collectively, the programs attract between $10-15 million annually, from federal and private sources.

Bajura also played an instrumental role in the formation of the Advanced Coal Technology Consortium of the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, a bilateral program of the U.S. Department of Energy and the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China.

In the early 90s, Bajura also oversaw a major infrastructure improvement effort that included the construction of NRCCE fuel utilization research laboratory and the purchase of $15 million worth of research equipment for faculty laboratories across campus. For three decades, Bajura has been welcomed to testify before Congress on the importance of coal research to ensure the U.S.’s energy security.

The Sen. Jennings Randolph Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a lifelong dedication to the utilization of coal as a reliable and secure national energy resource. Randolph represented West Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1933 to 1947 and served in the U.S. Senate from 1958 to 1985. In 1942, he proposed the Synthetic Liquid Fuels Act to fund a program that was begun in 1944 for the production of synthetic liquid fuels from coal, oil shale and biomass to support U.S. involvement in World War II.

Formalized in 1981, the Washington Coal Club is a Washington, D.C.-based not-for-profit organization of more than 300 individuals with diverse interests in coal, ranging from its production to its utilization. Membership includes a wide range of coal interests, from coal producers and transporters, associations focused on coal’s role in the American economy, academics involved in coal-related research and policy makers from both the executive and legislative branches of government.

-NRCCE

CONTACT: Trina Wafle, (304) 293-6038