Feds Generate $4 Million in Grant Funding to ‘Stimulate Competitive Research’ in Green Energy

May 6, 2013 - 4:15 PM


Solar Energy Loans

This artist rendering released by SolarReserve LLC shows what will be the Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project. (AP Photo/SolarReserve)

(CNSNews.com) – The National Science Foundation has awarded a five-year $4 million grant to “promote sustainable energy” through the New Mexico Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research program.


The grant abstract said it “addresses one overarching question that has great potential to transform research in NM and to promote sustainable energy development: How can NM realize its energy development potential in a sustainable manner?”

The “two-fold” vision for the project, the abstract states, is to “harness” the state’s “abundant renewable energy resources” without harming the environment.

The project will also improve the flow of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and green energy research and development “thus creating new businesses and industry that build upon the state’s human and geographic diversity and intellectual capitol,” the abstract states.

The grant, which begins on June 1, 2013 and expires on May 31, 2018, has as “major participants” the University of New Mexico, New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology, and New Mexico State University.

In addition, Eastern New Mexico University main campus, Santa Fe Community College, Santa Fe Institute, Explora!, the Global Center for Creative & Cultural Entrepreneurship, the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History Foundation are also taking part in the project.

The grant was designed to help green energy by “enabling new technologies to be expanded to commercially viable enterprise scales.”

The abstract listed three areas of research focus: (1) generating new knowledge in algal ecology, physiology, agriculture and biomass process engineering that supports next generation biofuel production; (2) creating more efficient solar energy harvesting and photovoltaic devices, as well as developing methanol as a transportable fuel alternative to conventional fossil fuel-derived hydrocarbons; and (3) solving scientific and engineering challenges related to membrane properties and fouling that currently prevent osmotic pressure systems from becoming commercially viable.

The results will be “enabling industry to make better use of NM's abundant sunshine, large brackish water aquifers, and vast quantities of high salinity produced waters from the oil and gas industry.”

“Achieving a sustainable energy future for NM requires a complete and balanced suite of extractive and renewable energy sources that are socially adoptable, water-resource achievable, and environmentally benign,” the grant stated.

Under the heading “Broader Impacts,” the abstract states that the project will also impact education and research for students ranging from elementary school to community and tribal colleges and universities.