The University of Texas nets $1 million grant to build carbon capture workforce

Austin, Texas, September 9, 2009 – The University of Texas at Austin will use a $994,702 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to help create a skilled workforce for the emerging carbon capture and storage industry and to build public awareness of the technology’s benefits to society.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a process that captures the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels at power plants and pipes it deep underground in places that have suitable properties to contain the gas.

Proponents of CCS say the process will make it possible to continue to use domestic coal for electric power while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Congress is considering legislation that would effectively put a price on carbon emissions, providing an economic incentive for CCS.

The three-year grant is part of $8.4 million the Department of Energy recently awarded to support training and education in the CCS field as part of President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan.

The university’s allocation enables the creation of the Alliance for Sequestration Training, Outreach, Research and Education (STORE), which draws together researchers and educators from three units within the university: the Institute for Geophysics, the Center for Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering, and the Bureau of Economic Geology.

The Bureau of Economic Geology, through its Gulf Coast Carbon Center, has a wealth of technical experience from years of conducting carbon storage experiments. The bureau has received more funding for CCS research than any other academic unit in the country and is conducting a $34 million, multi-year field study of carbon storage and monitoring strategies in southwest Mississippi.

The Institute for Geophysics adds to this technical base a strong education, training and outreach component. Other participants in STORE include Striker Communications and Sandia Technologies.

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