LSU-led team focused on energy innovation named finalist for $160M NSF grant

LSU's campus in Baton Rouge.

An LSU-led statewide coalition is one of 34 finalists for one of five $160 million National Science Foundation grants, the university announced last week.

The Engine for Louisiana Innovation and Transition of Energy hopes to use the money to support efforts to make Louisiana a leader in the global shift to lower-carbon energy, which could be worth thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to the state’s economy.

“Securing the NSF grant would catalyze our transition towards a more sustainable future, while simultaneously addressing various economic, health, and racial disparities that have adversely affected our state,” LSU President William Tate says in a prepared statement.

Tate is emphasizing energy innovation as one of the university’s top five research priorities.

“Energy transition and sustainability efforts are a generational opportunity to educate and retain skilled workers, protect our communities and industries and create unparalleled opportunities for Louisiana,” says Robert Twilley, LSU vice president of research and economic development.

The breadth of the ELITE consortium is likely unprecedented in state history and involves more than 65 partner organizations, including state officials, the Board of Regents, 13 universities, the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, major corporations such as ExxonMobil, Shell and Baker Hughes, and nonprofits and economic development groups such as the Baton Rouge Area Chamber.

ExxonMobil Refinery and Chemical Plant Manager Dave Luecke says Louisiana is uniquely qualified to lead the energy transition effort, noting that more than $27 billion in “low-carbon solution” projects have been announced.