NM EPSCoR Begins New 5-Year RII-4 Grant
A new $20 million Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) grant from the National Science Foundation will support key research into ways to make New Mexico an energy sufficient state. The research will focus on ways to improve efficiency of sustainable energy resource utilization and to minimize environmental impacts of uranium mining and oil and gas production.
William Michener, a professor with University Libraries at UNM, is the principal investigator along with UNM co-PI Mary Jo Daniel. Michener will coordinate research, education and administration of the award. Participating institutions and partners include New Mexico State University, New Mexico Tech, Eastern New Mexico University, New Mexico Highlands University, Santa Fe Community College, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, The National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, ¡Explora! Museum, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, the Santa Fe Institute and the Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship.
“The main idea of this award is to build our state research capacity to develop the state’s potential for sustainable energy development through collaborations among academia, business and industry and the National Labs,” Michener said.
Research teams will explore questions in several specific areas including:
- Bioalgal energy development to support the next generation of biofuel production.
- The potential of solar energy to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to methanol, an alternative transportable fuel, and design more efficient organic solar photovoltaic cells.
- Using geothermal research to develop a better understanding of factors that affect the viability and sustainability of NM’s underlying natural hydrothermal systems.
- A social-science nexus project that considers interactions and feedbacks between the social and natural sciences in order to determine the sustainability and acceptability of energy production and use.
- Issues related to using osmotic pressure systems derived from oil and gas extraction as commercially viable sources of power.
- Improve understanding of the way uranium moves in the environment and developing tools for predicting an controlling the movement.
“This new award builds on prior NM EPSCoR successes and will foster greater educational achievement in STEM fields and expand opportunities for employment in well-paid jobs for New Mexicans,” Daniel said.
The research teams have already been designated and work on the grant began on June 1, 2013. For more information, visit NMEPSCoR.org or contact Natalie Willoughby, Public Relations Specialist for NM EPSCoR.