Message from the Director

Dr. Chunshan Song pixWelcome to the second edition of the University Coalition for Fossil Energy Research (UCFER) newslet­ter. We have just completed the third round of proposal solicitations, about $4 million in funding was available, which was issued to the 16 member univer­sities including the seven new members who joined the coalition in 2017. Eleven projects have been awarded funding and subcontracts are being finalized with Penn State. The selected projects are briefly discussed in this issue.

In April, we held the First UCFER Technical Review Meeting at the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in Morgantown, West Virginia. All 16 member universities were represented at this meeting and PI or Co-PIs for projects from the first and second round presented on their research and project status. Highlights from the presentations and outside contributions to the projects are included in the newsletter.

I would also like to take this opportunity to address questions we received concerning the process of review and proposal selection. We take extra steps to remove any conflict of interests through a transparent and consistent policy. For example, proposals are not reviewed by anyone affiliated with the university that submitted the proposal. Also, three independent peer reviews are conducted for each proposal by experts in the field nation-wide.

After the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) conducts a panel review based on peer reviews and comments, the Executive Council (EC) makes funding recommendations to NETL which makes the final award approval or rejection decision. Due to the competitive nature of the program, only 11 out of 81 proposals were selected for the third round of funding meaning some highly rated proposals were not selected.

I would like to acknowledge a recent change for the UCFER Federal Project Manager from Dr. Sydni Credle to Dr. Omer R. Bakshi of NETL. We would like to thank Dr. Credle for all her work and help on this program from the beginning and look forward to working with Dr. Bakshi on the UCFER program.

On behalf of Penn State and UCFER, I would like to express our appreciation to DOE and NETL, the TAC and the Core Competency Advisory Board for their support and participation. We look forward to further advancing clean carbon-based energy research with DOE, NETL and all the UCFER member universities. I would also like to thank all the members of UCFER management team at Penn State for their hard work and many contributions.

Chunshan Song signature

Dr. Chunshan Song
Director, EMS Energy Institute, Penn State
Distinguished Professor of Fuel Science and Professor of Chemical Engineering