First UCFER Technical Review Meeting

left: Steven Winberg, assistant secretary for fossil energy, U.S. Department of Energy.  center: Sean Plasynski, acting director, National Energy Technology Laboratory.  right: Dr. Neil Sharkey, vice president for research, Penn State

left: Steven Winberg, assistant secretary for fossil energy, U.S. Department of Energy. 

center: Sean Plasynski, acting director, National Energy Technology Laboratory. 

right: Dr. Neil Sharkey, vice president for research, Penn State

left: Bryan Morreale, executive director, research & innovation center, National Energy Technology Laboratory.  center:  John Wimer, associate director, strategic planning, National Energy Technology Laboratory.  right:  Randall Gentry, deputy director and chief research officer, science & technology strategic plans and programs, National Energy Technology Laboratory.

left: Bryan Morreale, executive director, research & innovation center, National Energy Technology Laboratory. 

center:  John Wimer, associate director, strategic planning, National Energy Technology Laboratory. 

right:  Randall Gentry, deputy director and chief research officer, science & technology strategic plans and programs, National Energy Technology Laboratory.

The University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research (UCFER) hosted its first annual technical review meeting on April 16 and 17, 2018, at the National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL) Morgantown, West Virginia site. Participants from partner universities were invited to join NETL leaders and researchers to conduct Coalition business, review ongoing projects, and discuss future possibilities for collaboration to tackle critical challenges in important fossil energy research areas.

DOE Technical Director, Dr. Madhava Syamlal provided opening remarks followed by welcoming remarks from Dr. Sean Plasynski, acting director, NETL.

“Collaboration with academia is a key part of NETL’s success and impact,” Plasynski said, noting that 33 percent of NETL’s research investment funding in the current fiscal year went to university partners through a variety of academic programs in addition to UCFER.

Plasynski also emphasized the three E’s of energy usage and research—effective resource development, efficient energy conversion and environmental sustainability.

Director of UCFER Dr. Chunshan Song gave a presentation on the state of the Coalition and highlighted energy outlook statistics. More than 80 percent of U.S. energy demand is met using fossil energy sources and fossil fuels will continue to account for the bulk of U.S. energy use in the decades to come, he said. UCFER’s goal is to advance basic and applied energy research in collaboration with NETL for more efficient and environmentally friendly use of coal, oil and natural gas, he added.

“The University Coalition has developed a well advanced infrastructure for us to work with NETL to continue the development of fossil energy technologies,” Dr. Song said. “This meeting has been wonderful in the exchange and two-way dialogue between NETL leaders and technology managers, NETL researchers, and the university faculty members from all the 16 universities. That’s a great accomplishment.”

DOE Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steven Winberg and Penn State Vice President of Research Dr. Neil Sharkey, addressed meeting attendees to praise UCFER’s work and stress the value of collaboration.

“I think our combined efforts are really doing an excellent job,” Sharkey said. “I think that our combined efforts are really doing an excellent job. We’ve got incredible firepower that can really make a difference. Putting this many universities together with a major energy laboratory, only good things can happen.”

Collaboration, particularly with university partners, will be critical in achieving robust fossil energy goals to meet U.S. energy demands, stimulate the nation’s economy and promote responsible stewardship of the environment, Winberg said.

Winberg detailed his agenda for DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy including key goals for coal, natural gas, and carbon capture, utilization, and storage.

“We’re focused on early stage research, and you are the beginning of that early stage research,” Winberg said. “I want to take this opportunity to thank you for everything that you do. It’s clearly a high value proposition—not only for fossil energy, but for the Department of Energy and for the country at large. I think it’s pretty impressive that there are 16 premier universities in this Coalition…It speaks to an ability for universities to collaborate. I know you also compete, but you can and you do collaborate. And that’s powerful. I encourage it, and I think you need to keep that up.”

The meeting also included technical presentations on each of the 12 UCFER-funded projects from the first two rounds of solicitations. The presentations were given by the project principal investigators or their alternate. The meeting concluded with a round table discussion with NETL technology managers and Coalition members.

left: Dr. Madhava Syamlal, DOE technical director, UCFER. right:  Dr. Chunshan Song, director of UCFER.

left: Dr. Madhava Syamlal, DOE technical director, UCFER.

right:  Dr. Chunshan Song, director of UCFER.

member participants