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$160 million grant to go toward funding Louisiana's energy transition, creating new jobs

2 months 3 weeks 6 days ago Tuesday, February 27 2024 Feb 27, 2024 February 27, 2024 10:22 PM February 27, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - The National Science Foundation awarded LSU its largest competitive grant: a $160 million fund to support the energy industry in Louisiana.

The petrochemical industry employs more than 250 thousand people in the state, making it one of the largest providers of jobs. The ultimate goal is for Louisiana, along with the nation, to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. 

Energy industry leaders from the White House, Shell, ExxonMobil, and Baker Hughes met to discuss how the grant can impact Louisiana's ecosystem and economy on Tuesday.

"Louisiana is the epicenter of the energy transition for our country," Louisiana Energy Transition Engine Principal Investigator Andrew Maas said. "This is a testament from our federal government that Louisiana is important to our energy security and infrastructure for our country."

Maas led the research for LSU to receive the $160 million grant, along with 50 other entities statewide. The goal of the grant is for LSU to partner with energy leaders, identify specific needs, then invent solutions, in collaboration with other Louisiana universities.

Justina Gellegos, the White House Deputy Director of Science and Technology Policy says the innovation is possible in places like Louisiana. 

"We know that we can build all of those technologies here in America, and we want that to happen in places where we are already building strength," Gellegos said.

Investing in Louisiana's decarbonization efforts could require a complete energy transition. The Louisiana team, Future Use of Energy in Louisiana, or FUEL, works on carbon capture, transport and storage—critical steps in reaching the decarbonization goal. 

Erwin Gianchandani from the National Science Foundation says the transition will amplify job opportunities in Louisiana as petrochemical companies transition. 

"It's also incredibly important for the folks in Louisiana, which is home to this engine," Gianchandani said.

The complete overhaul could be expensive, but that's a hurdle energy leaders say they're working to overcome. Dai Nguyen from Shell Geismar Chemicals says if the change isn't affordable, it will be hard to adopt.

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