October 16, 2008 by NRCCE News
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.