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On October 11, U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson spent the morning at the EMS Energy Institute. Penn State faculty and representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) were part of a briefing that highlighted NETL’s Regional University Alliance and current research initiatives, especially in the area of fossil energy. After the briefing, faculty guided Rep. Thompson on laboratory tours.
Hank Foley, vice president for research at Penn State, opened the briefing by emphasizing the importance of ongoing fossil energy research at Penn State and citing the tremendous supplies of coal and shale gas located in the U.S. as one reason why fossil energy will not be phased out in the near future.
Brad Tomer, chief operating officer, NETL, gave an overview of the Lab, the Regional University Alliance, and some of their current research activities. He focused on the coal and natural gas programs while stressing the positive impact of these programs in Pennsylvania. Ale Hakala, a physical scientist at NETL, gave a more in-depth presentation detailing the ongoing Marcellus shale activities, including the some of the potential benefits and risks.
Sarma Pisupati, associate professor, Energy and Mineral Engineering, Penn State, gave a presentation on his current research in the area of coal gasification. He also discussed the impacts and industry support related to gasification research. After the presentation, Dr. Pisupati led the group on a tour of the coal combustion and gasification lab at the EMS Energy Institute, where Rep. Thompson met several students conducting research with Dr. Pisupati in this area.
After Rep. Thompson left the Institute, he toured the Turbulent Combustion Lab with Domenic Santavicca, professor, Mechanical Engineering, Penn State. He then met with Michael Barringer, research associate, Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, Penn State, for a briefing and tour of the Penn State Experimental and Computational Convection Laboratory.
Others in attendance from Penn State included Richard Dieugenio and Zack Moore, Governmental Affairs; Anthony Atchley, associate dean for research and administration, College of Engineering; Alan Scaroni, associate dean for graduate education and research, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences; and Chunshan Song, Director of the EMS Energy Institute.
Thompson, a Penn State graduate and first-term congressman from Pennsylvania’s 5th District, is a member of the House Agriculture, Education and Labor, and Small Business committees.