WASHINGTON, D.C.— As part of President Obama’s all-of-the-above approach to American energy, the Energy Department announced that nine universities have won awards for research projects that will continue to support innovation and development of clean coal technologies. The awards, which will leverage student-led teams across the country as they continue research and development of new technologies and materials that will advance clean coal energy production, are part of the Administration’s focus on ensuring we can rely on a broad range of energy sources as we move towards a clean energy economy.

“Advancing the development of clean coal technologies is an important part of President Obama’s strategy to develop every source of American energy and ensure the United States leads the world in the global clean energy race and continues to take advantage of domestic resources here at home,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu.  “These university research projects will help build on extensive progressive made by this Administration to promote innovative technologies that help make coal-fired energy cleaner and more cost-competitive, while training the next generation of scientists and engineers in cutting-edge clean coal technologies.”

The projects announced today at the nine universities will each receive approximately $300,000 to spur the next generation of trained scientists and engineers from universities across the nation to focus on the development of high-temperature, high-pressure corrosion-resistant alloys, protective coatings, and structural materials for advanced coal-fired power plants and gas turbines. Research projects will also develop new processes and computational design methods to develop these materials, improve efficiency and reduce the costs of cleaner power generation systems. The Energy Department’s $2.7 million investment will be leveraged with additional funds from the universities to support $3.1 million in total projects.

Today’s awards are part of a more than $5 billion investment strategy by the Obama Administration in clean coal technologies and R&D. This strategy, which has attracted over $10 billion in additional private capital investment, is designed to accelerate commercial deployment of clean coal technologies – particularly carbon capture and storage (CCS) – and to position the United States as a leader in the global clean energy race.

Thanks in part to this strategy, the United States is currently leading the world in CCS technologies. In fact, last week, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in its semi-annual “Race to First” ranking of the world’s most advanced large‐scale carbon capture and storage demonstration projects, announced that the United States was in first place. Topping the list was a project led by Pennsylvania‐based Air Products & Chemicals, Inc. – an effort spurred by investments made by the Energy Department in 2010. 

This announcement shows growing momentum for CCS in the U.S. For example, earlier this year, CPS Energy of San Antonio – the largest municipally owned utility in the United States – signed the first agreement in the country to purchase low-carbon power from a commercial-scale coal-based power plant with carbon capture.  The Midland-Odessa- based project – the Texas Clean Energy Project – will be the cleanest coal power plant in the world when it becomes operational in 2015.

In addition, the Energy Department is leveraging investments in clean coal technologies to study and demonstrate ways to continue improving the economics of clean coal projects through enhanced oil recovery (EOR) projects.  With EOR, companies can use captured carbon to help develop marginal oil wells and further increase domestic oil production.

President Obama’s sustained all-out, all-of-the-above commitment to American energy also includes the safe and responsible production of our oil and natural gas alongside the development of clean, renewable American energy resources. Today, American oil production is at the highest level in eight years, and last year the U.S. relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past 16 years. And over the past few years, renewable energy use has nearly doubled, with the U.S. reclaiming the position as the world’s leading investor in clean energy in 2011.

The projects selected for awards include:

  • Brown University (Providence, R.I.)
  • Dartmouth College (Hanover, N.H.)
  • Indiana University, in partnership with Purdue University and Praxair Surface Technologies (Indianapolis, Ind.)
  • Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio)
  • Southern Illinois University (Carbondale, Ill.)
  • Texas Engineering Experiment Station (College Station, Texas)
  • University of North Texas (Denton, Texas), in partnership with University of Idaho (Moscow, Idaho)
  • University of Tennessee (Knoxville, Tenn.)
  • University of Toledo (Toledo, Ohio)

Complete project descriptions can be found HERE.