DOE Announces $8M for University Training and Research

By U.S. Department of Energy | July 13, 2022

On July 11, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) announced funding for two opportunities totaling $8 million to advance natural gas research coupled to methane mitigation and build new humanities-driven science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (HDSTEM) curricula at eligible U.S. colleges and universities. One opportunity will provide $2 million in funding to support FECM’s University Coal Research (UCR) program, and the other opportunity will provide $6 million to support the Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority Institutions (HBCU-OMI) program. Both programs serve to educate and train the next generation of engineers and scientists working to advance integrated solutions key to meeting the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050.

“These funding opportunities invest in our nation’s greatest resource—people,” said Assistant Secretary for FECM Brad Crabtree. “Through these education and training programs, we are not only developing new technologies that will help reduce methane and carbon dioxide pollutants contributing to climate change, but we are also offering greater opportunities to members of traditionally underrepresented communities in science and engineering fields. Integrating STEM disciplines with social sciences and humanities will provide students with an even stronger skillset for solving today’s complex climate problems, while fostering vibrant communities and a robust economy for our nation’s future.”

Both funding opportunity announcements (FOA) support research and development (R&D) efforts to advance carbon management technologies and convert natural gas from geographically stranded sources into high-value products such as fertilizer, antifreeze, pharmaceuticals, and a wide range of chemicals like ammonia, methanol, and propane. The goal is to reduce GHG emissions from a range of sources, including abandoned coal mines that have methane leaking into the atmosphere and natural gas that is being flared. Flaring is a process of burning unused natural gas at the production well using a dedicated flare to ignite the methane and other components in the gas, which can result in both methane and carbon dioxide emissions.

Additionally, the FOAs will support the development of HDSTEM programs to expand the inclusion of social sciences and humanities studies into STEM curricula and the R&D process. Improving students’ interdisciplinary skills helps to build a diverse, inclusive workforce capable of effectively working toward the demonstration and deployment of technologies that reduce GHG emissions, address climate change, and ultimately advance the adoption of clean energy technologies.

Both the UCR and HBCU-OMI programs are part of FECM’s University Training and Research  program, which funds early-stage technology R&D projects in support of revitalizing communities that have historically relied on traditional energy production, industry, and manufacturing, and advances the development of a highly skilled and diverse workforce of scientists, engineers, and managers by increasing the participation of students from underrepresented and historically marginalized communities.

Read the UCR funding opportunity announcement here

Read the HBCU-OMI funding opportunity announcement here

Please review the FOAs for eligibility among U.S. colleges and universities. All interested applicants must register and submit application materials through FedConnectall questions about these funding opportunity announcements also must be submitted through Fedconnectregister here for an account. The application deadline is August 25, 2022, at 5:00 p.m. ET. Both opportunities amend previously announced funding for the two programs.

FECM funds research, development, demonstration, and deployment projects to decarbonize power generation and industrial production, to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and to mitigate the environmental impacts of fossil fuel production and use. Priority areas of technology work include carbon capture, carbon conversion, carbon dioxide removal, carbon dioxide transport and storage, hydrogen with carbon management, methane emissions reduction, and critical minerals production. To learn more, visit the FECM website, sign up for FECM news announcements, and visit the National Energy Technology Laboratory website.