WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu joined Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl to tour a range of research facilities at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), meet with local business leaders and stakeholders in the natural gas industry, and highlight local investments in cutting-edge energy innovations that are laying the building blocks for an American economy built to last. During the visit, Secretary Chu highlighted President Obama’s State of the Union address, where the President called for a new era for American energy, including the continued safe and responsible development of American natural gas resources. According to independent estimates, the safe development of America’s nearly 100-year supply of natural gas will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. Secretary Chu also echoed the President's call to continue promoting investments in energy efficiency, one of the fastest, cheapest and most effective ways to reduce energy waste and cut energy costs for families, businesses and local governments.

“As President Obama made clear in his State of the Union address, we need an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy - a strategy that’s cleaner, safer and full of new jobs for U.S. workers,” said Secretary Chu. “Pittsburgh and the National Energy Technology Laboratory have a long history of advancing America’s domestic energy interests and the work they are doing today will help bring in a new era of American energy fueled by homegrown energy resources.”

"Now is the time for cities and leaders to step up to the plate and make responsible decisions toward becoming more energy-efficient, and I thank President Obama and Secretary Chu for their leadership," said Mayor Ravenstahl. "By developing the natural gas supply into a sustainable energy resource, we will create jobs, become more self-sufficient and continue to grow our economy. Working together with NETL, Pittsburgh will stay on the forefront of science and technology and continue its leadership role in energy efficiency, waste reduction and cost cutting." 

Secretary Chu and Mayor Ravenstahl were joined by NETL Director Anthony Cugini to tour the Energy Department laboratory, which announced today that it received six patents in 2011 for innovative technologies that are helping to address the nation’s energy needs. As it has for decades, NETL continues to be at the forefront of the science and technology that supports the cleaner, safer and more efficient development of America’s fossil energy resources, like natural gas.

NETL, and its predecessors, played an important role in today’s booming American natural gas industry with early investments in shale gas extraction technologies. Today’s announcement of six new NETL patents builds on that long tradition promoting cutting-edge energy innovations.

The six patents being announced today include: 

·         Integrated Capture of Fossil Fuel Gas Pollutants, Including CO2 with Energy Recovery: This process removes pollutants and reduces consumption from fossil fuel combustion systems, reducing the cost of cleanup in power plants.

·         Thief Carbon Catalyst for Oxidation of Mercury in Effluent Streams: This substance helps reduce mercury in coal-burning power plants, making coal use more environmentally friendly.

·         Semi-Continuous Detection of Fossil Fuel Gas Pollutants: This device helps detect pollutants in systems that burn coal, allowing for a cleaner energy source.

·         Method for the Production of Mineral Wool and Iron from Serpentine Ore: This method generates a special kind of wool that has all the heat-resisting benefits of asbestos insulation without the harmful health and environmental hazards.

·         Method for Sequestering CO2 and SO2 Utilizing a Plurality of Waste Streams: This method helps remove byproducts from industrial flue gas, reducing the caustic byproducts released to the environment.

·         Method for Producing Components with Internal Architectures: This technology improves a chemical process that is used to make fuel conversion more efficient for industry usage. 

At the Pittsburgh City-County Building later in the day, Secretary Chu and Mayor Ravenstahl announced that the city is ready to begin work on the first energy efficiency improvements to this historic building in over a decade. The upgrades, which are being undertaken with support from the Recovery Act and the Energy Department’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, are expected to create dozens of local jobs and save an estimated $475,000 per year on energy bills. The Mayor's office plans to re-invest these annual savings in Pittsburgh’s Green Trust Fund to support further clean energy projects and local job creation across the city.

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