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WVU to partner with Oak Ridge National Laboratory on decarbonization, energy transition

Fred King and Susan Hubbard

A new agreement between WVU and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory will promote opportunities for collaboration on decarbonization efforts that could pave the way for a cleaner energy transition. 

Under the terms of the agreement, WVU and ORNL plan to engage in research, development, demonstration and deployment of technologies devoted to decarbonization, with an emphasis on solutions for the Appalachian region. This includes hydrogen technologies, carbon dioxide removal, carbon dioxide utilization, net-negative carbon neighborhoods and critical minerals. 

A memorandum of understanding was signed on March 17 by WVU Vice President for Research Fred King and Susan Hubbard, deputy laboratory director for science and technology at ORNL. 

“WVU is excited about enhanced collaboration with ORNL,” said Sheena Murphy, associate vice president for research development at WVU. “The technologies that we have targeted address issues of tremendous importance to both the region and the nation. This expansion of our collaborative circle will foster new and productive research collaborations, provide additional opportunities for student engagement, and advance the translation of research to industrial partners for the benefit of West Virginia.” 

“ORNL and West Virginia University recognize that accelerated research, development and deployment across a range of expertise and facilities must occur to make the clean energy transition a reality, and that a just transition must be regionally focused,” Hubbard said. “By melding our institutional strengths, this collaboration can have a significant impact on the Appalachian region’s future.”

Established in 1943, ORNL is the largest science and energy national laboratory in the DOE system and third largest by annual budget. Since its inception, ORNL has focused on delivering translational science, where basic and applied research work together to facilitate and accelerate use-inspired fundamental science and science-driven technology development to address pressing challenges in the areas of clean energy and global security, as well as creating economic opportunity for the nation. 

WVU, an R1 institution, has significant expertise in energy and natural resource research, which more recently has been focused on the challenges related to decarbonization and sustainability. 

Technical activities are complemented by social science efforts that develop and advise on policies to more foster equitable benefit across society from the new energy technologies. 

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States.