LSU’s new energy institute faces global challenges, skepticism

LSU Memorial Bell Tower

In Louisiana, the energy transition away from high-intensity carbon fuels is focused on things such as creating lower-carbon hydrogen and capturing climate-warming carbon from industry and directly from the air, reports Louisiana Illuminator.

But Brad Ives, incoming director of LSU’s nascent Institute for Energy Innovation, wants to expand the possibilities to include energy sources such as solar, geothermal and technologies that he says might not even have names yet.

“What the globe is facing right now is so difficult and profound, we are going to need to pursue everything,” Ives says. “We are going to go broad, as deep as we can and we are going to go super fast. We have no choice.”

The institute was created last year with a $25 million grant from Shell and is intended to bring together the university’s efforts on energy policy, research, engineering and economics. The charge for the institute was to focus on carbon capture, hydrogen, low-carbon fuels, resiliency, community engagement and environmental justice. Ives will be the institute’s first full-fledged director. Since the institute was created, it has been led by interim-director Rhoman Hardy, a former vice president for Shell Gulf Coast Chemicals.

Ives has the pedigree for such a task. He’s been on the business and finance sides of renewable power deals, negotiated the deal for the first wind farm in North Carolina and most recently held a leadership role at Catawba College in North Carolina, where he helped the college become carbon neutral.

Environmental advocates in Louisiana, though, are skeptical over just how broad the institute’s approach will be. Read the full story from Louisiana Illuminator.