West Virginia State Awarded $250,000 U.S. Department of Energy Grant

Contact: Kimberly Osborne
(304) 766-3363
Aug. 30, 2016
West Virginia State Awarded $250,000 U.S. Department of Energy Grant

INSTITUTE, W.Va. – West Virginia State University (WVSU) has received a nearly $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to study removing selenium and nitrate from wastewater produced in the electric power generation process.

“This research displays the mission of West Virginia State University in action, and is yet another example of how the University continues to be an invested community leader working to improve the lives of West Virginians and all Americans,” said President Anthony L. Jenkins, Ph.D. “I am proud of the outstanding research conducted by our world-class faculty and appreciate the investment by the Department of Energy.”

The project was one of nine funded nationwide by the DOE’s University Training and Research program, and the only project in West Virginia.

“There were only nine universities in the nation to be awarded these prestigious and highly competitive energy-related grants, inclusive of institutions such as The Ohio State University and Virginia Tech,” said Dr. Orlando F. McMeans, vice president of research and public service for WVSU. “This grant speaks to the level and quality of applied research taking place at West Virginia State University.”

Work on the three-year project will begin in October and be led by Dr. Sanjaya, director of WVSU’s Energy and Environmental Science Institute.

The project will investigate and determine a feasible and cost-effective process for designing photosynthetic organisms capable of sequestering selenium and nitrates from flue gas desulfurization wastewater which is a byproduct of coal fired electrical power generation.

“In this process we are trying to use green algae and plants that grow naturally to sequester, or remove, the nitrate and selenium from the flue gas,” Sanjaya said. “This process could have a lot of potential for the Appalachian region, and throughout the entire United States.”

The project will create opportunities for 8 to 10 WVSU students to participate in the research.

“Project participants will receive hands-on training in the science and technology of water quality,” Sanjaya said. “This training will help prepare them for future careers in academia, industry or entrepreneurship – helping to strengthen and diversify the STEM workforce and retain more of this talent in West Virginia.”

Sanjaya added that he hopes this research will attract new energy industry and academic partners to the region.

WVSU launched the Energy and Environmental Science Institute in 2014 with the mission of enhancing the University’s capacity to participate in evolving opportunities in energy and environmental research, teaching and outreach.

The grant from the DOE will be managed by the Office of Fossil Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. The Office of Fossil Energy funds research, development and demonstration projects to reduce the risk and cost of advanced carbon technologies and further the sustainable use of the Nation’s fossil resources.

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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