TitleWVU joins national natural gas effort
BodyWVU has joined a national effort to turn natural gas into valuable products and do it at the well. This serves a real-world need for many production locations in the Marcellus Shale, especially those in West Virginia, where some shale gas resources are stranded without pipeline infrastructure, which affects access and price. The university has joined the newest branch of the United States Department of Energy’s National Network of Manufacturing Institutes. Called Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment institute, or RAPID, the institute will focus on using advanced manufacturing to develop breakthrough technologies to boost the productivity and efficiency of some of industrial processes by 20 percent in the next five years. “RAPID is fast-tracking research that will directly increase the productivity of industry manufacturing processes while simultaneously lowering energy costs, lowering capital equipment costs and making higher gains in overall efficiency,” said John Hu, Statler Chair in engineering in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources and one of the lead researchers involved in the project. DOE has asked the American Institute for Chemical Engineering to coordinate the new institute and bring together more than 130 partners from academia, industry, government laboratories and non-governmental organizations across the country. The team will leverage DOE’s $70 million contribution plus $70 million in private cost-share commitments from partners in the institute. Hu and Hanjin Tian, assistant professor in the chemical and biomedical engineering department, will address two main questions: How to turn natural gas into more valuable chemicals and plastics using advanced manufacturing technologies and how to develop ways in which these processes can be conducted at the wellhead.
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