Friday, April 1, 2011
Representatives of small businesses and universities in the Pittsburgh area met Thursday with the Deputy Secretary of Energy to discuss efforts to receive federal investment and win contracts with the department. The discussions were held at the Department of Energy's (DOE) National Energy Technology Lab in the South Hills. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman says the department awarded $7.7 billion in contracts in 2010 to small businesses and these Business Opportunity Sessions are important..... "For us in Washington to have the understanding of what it takes to provide the programs that will end up in people's homes, in cars, in factories...all the places where energy gets used, we need to talk to people who are doing the thinking, coming up with the innovations, who are going to make the next breakthrough." Poneman hopes some of those breakthroughs are in the areas of clean coal technology... "We need to look at the pre and post combustion. We need to build plants that do this and use advanced pulverization and other specific technology or more efficient combustion that will use at the clean coal side." But at the same time he says they are working locally on carbon capture and sequestration.... "We have to do the testing of the various geologies for testing sequestration to make sure it can be done economically and effectively. It's hard" Poneman says they want to make it a commercially viable enterprise in the next ten years. However, the department is also working locally with Carnegie Mellon University on further developments in renewable energies. The deputy secretary said he looks at Pittsburgh as a place of "tremendous resources and tremendous academic depth not only from all the great universities in this area that have teamed with us but also having the intellectual firepower of the national lab."