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A message from the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy (FE)

Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg

Today, America is more energy secure—and closer to energy independence—than we’ve been in decades, and certainly in most of our lifetimes. The work we do in FE continues to play an important role in those  achievements, and 2019 saw a number of accomplishments that are helping advance the President’s all-of-the-above strategy to maximize the use of the Nation’s energy resources.

I’m happy to share some highlights of those accomplishments, and I look forward to continued innovation in 2020 as we help power and strengthen our Nation.

Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy

Steven Winberg

2019 Highlights

Increased Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Export Approval and Industry Activity

  • This year, two new large-scale terminals came online, and U.S. LNG exports to the European Union increased substantially by approximately 600 percent.
  • We granted 11 new long-term LNG export approvals, including the first two under the new small-scale rule.
  • We also updated an analysis of the environmental impacts of LNG exports, which shows that the increased use of LNG carries environmental benefits to importing countries.

Developed Oil and Natural Gas Field Laboratories

  • We developed a suite of field laboratory test sites to carry out collaborative research that will help find ways to improve energy resource recovery as much as possible, with as little environmental impact as possible, from unconventional formations, such as shale and other low permeability rock formations.
  • We added nine new field laboratories, increasing field research to 17 unique geological locations in support of a basin-specific research strategy.
  • We’re using data generated from each unique geological setting at the different field laboratories to enhance the characterization and improve the recovery efficiency of unconventional oil and natural gas reservoirs. 

Launched the Coal FIRST (Flexible, Innovative, Resilient, Small, and Transformative) Initiative

  • We advanced the Coal FIRST initiative to develop the coal plant of the future to provide secure, stable, reliable power, with near zero emissions, including carbon dioxide capture. 
  • Out of 13 Coal FIRST conceptual designs, we competitively selected seven Coal FIRST designs to advance to the next level of engineering design. FE is awarding these selected concepts $7 million to complete preliminary front-end engineering design studies.

Accelerated Research and Development on Direct Air Capture of Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

  • We’re leveraging our carbon capture, utilization, and storage research and development (R&D) to develop Direct Air Capture (DAC) technologies that can capture CO2 directly from the air.
  • This year, we began accelerating that effort through R&D, studies, funding opportunities, and a first-ever workshop focused on our DAC priorities going forward.

Advanced Coal as a Low-Cost Change Agent for the Development of Valuable Products

  • We moved forward with our Coal-to-Products initiative to use coal to develop products for aerospace, automotive, construction, electronics, low-carbon energy, agriculture, environmental, medical applications, and more.
  • We advanced our program to extract and develop critical minerals, including rare earth elements, from coal and coal by-products.

This is just a quick snapshot highlighting a few of FE’s many accomplishments. If you are interested in a more detailed recap from each quarter, be sure to review the quarterly In Case You Missed It under FE's blog section of the website. Additionally, FE’s 2018-2022 Strategic Vision is available.

Continue to check out FE's website and sign up for FE news alerts to keep up to date with FOAs, selections, new studies, blogs, infographics, and more.