|U.S. Department of Energy|
|Issued August 6, 1997|
|DOE Funds 18th Round of University
Coal Research Grants;
Seeks Innovative Options for Clean, Efficient Coal Use
Energy Federico Peņa announced today that 14 university coal research projects will share
$2.8 million in federal funds in a program that combines science education for students
with research that can benefit the Nation's energy future.
The 14 projects, selected in a national competition run by the Department of Energy's Office of Fossil Energy, will bring together teachers and students in research teams at 18 different colleges and universities in 14 states. The professor-student teams will explore topics ranging from innovative ways to change coal into new and cleaner forms to several new approaches for reducing smog- and ozone-forming nitrogen oxide pollutants when coal is burned.
"The University Coal Research Program is a textbook example of how DOE can help train tomorrow's scientists while, at the same time, advancing the science of clean energy," Peņa said. "It has produced innovations that are now in commercial practice. Equally important, it has provided a new generation of scientists and engineers with valuable hands-on research experience in an academic environment. Today's energy industries are stronger because of the technical concepts and experienced graduates that have come from this investment."
Since the University Coal Research Program began in 1979, more than 1250 students have participated in the research projects and received science or engineering degrees.
This year's competition included special emphasis on innovative solutions for nitrogen oxide - or NOx - emissions. NOx is a particular problem for many urban areas and has been a focus of tightened air quality regulations. It is one of the pollutants responsible for the haze and high levels of ground-level ozone that have caused respiratory health concerns.
Five universities - Brown University, the University of Arizona, the University of Iowa, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Cincinnati - will each receive approximately $200,000 to study ways to reduce NOx pollutants. A sixth - the University of Utah - will team with Brigham Young University and two industrial developers to study NOx controls for multiple burner coal-fired boilers. The university/industry team will receive approximately $400,000 from DOE with another $199,079 provided by the industrial partners.
Four universities were selected for research into new catalysts, the chemical compounds that can help convert coal into alternative fuel forms. Clark Atlanta University will team with the University of Tennessee Space Institute and Georgia Institute of Technology in a multi-university project to study how catalysts can improve the conversion of coal into a gaseous fuel. Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University will team with Penn State University and the Englehard Corporation to explore ways catalysts can be used to coprocess coal and solid wastes. DOE will support each project with a $400,000 grant with additional funding provided by the research participants. The other two universities proposing advanced catalyst research are the University of Delaware and North Carolina State University, each of which will receive federal grants of $200,000.
Four university projects were selected in a category for unique coal concepts that have progressed past the conceptual stage. Michigan Technological University will study a way to use fly ash from coal boilers as a binder for iron ore pellets. The University of Kentucky will examine a way to use electrostatic charges to separate impurities from coal particles in a fluidized bed combustor. Iowa State University will study a way to clean potential pollutants from coal using a technique called "gas agglomeration." The University of Connecticut will examine a new type of ceramic material that could be used in high-temperature, advanced power plants.
The four universities in this category will each receive approximately $50,000 in federal research funding. Because of the smaller grant amounts, these projects do not require that a student receive compensation for the research, although DOE strongly encourages students to be involved in the research efforts.
The 14 winning proposals were selected from 73 applications received from colleges and universities. The proposals were judged by more than 20 academic, industrial and government coal experts. Actual grant awards are expected to be in place by September. A complete listing of the projects is attached:
Synopses of each project can be obtained by calling DOE's
Federal Energy Technology Center at 412/386-6126.