Thursday, April 18, 2024

Louisiana Tech University Collaborates on Record-Breaking $160 Million NSF Grant for Energy Innovation

by BIZ Magazine

Louisiana Tech University is set to play a pivotal role in a groundbreaking initiative, the Future Use of Energy in Louisiana (FUEL), which has secured the largest grant ever awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), totaling up to $160 million over the next decade. The FUEL project is a collaborative effort involving over 50 public and private partners from across Louisiana, aiming to position the state as a global leader in the ongoing energy transition.

The FUEL initiative encompasses a diverse coalition of universities, community and technical colleges, state agencies, and industry and capital partners. With a shared vision for driving innovation in energy solutions, the partnership will focus on advancing research and development, workforce development, and technology commercialization to enhance the state’s capacity for energy innovation.

Louisiana Tech University’s Executive Vice President for Research and Chief Research Officer, Sumeet Dua, expressed enthusiasm about the opportunities the grant presents. “This is a tremendous opportunity and the investment will compound as we discover eco-friendly innovations with commercial implications. Being on the forefront with new energy and decarbonization technologies will attract business and industry to Louisiana and will foster the development of a more sustainable and inclusive workforce.”

The FUEL project addresses the complex challenges of the energy transition and seeks to fund essential projects aimed at finding more efficient and cleaner solutions to reduce the carbon footprint. Over 25 institutions of higher education are part of the FUEL partnership, and alongside NSF’s $160 million, Louisiana Economic Development will contribute $67.5 million over the next decade to aid in converting research into practical energy solutions.

Louisiana Tech University, led by Thomas C. & Nelda Jeffery Professor of Chemical Engineering Daniela Mainardi, is one of the co-principal investigators on the project. Mainardi emphasized the university’s commitment to facilitating collaboration with industry leaders, academia, and government entities, fostering a robust ecosystem for sustainable and clean energy solutions in Louisiana.

Dr. Arden Moore, Director of the Institute of Micromanufacturing and FUEL Louisiana Tech Team member, highlighted the transformative impact of this investment, stating, “This unprecedented investment pairing resources with existing talent will impact how we produce and use energy. Ultimately, we stand to expand beyond the 250,000 Louisianians already working in energy.”

The NSF’s strategic investment in Louisiana marks a significant milestone for economic growth and prosperity, fostering innovation in the energy sector and creating new jobs that support carbon management initiatives. The highly competitive grant selection process considered over 700 concepts, ultimately allowing 188 teams to submit grant proposals last year.

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