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Pitt Gets Huge Grant For Energy Technology Development

The Center for Energy at the University of Pittsburgh has received $22 million from the Richard King Mellon Foundation, one of the largest private foundation grants in Pitt's history.

The majority of the money will be used to create new faculty positions and graduate fellowships and to establish a fund for spurring innovative research.

"The center has tremendous potential to make an impact in Pittsburgh, as energy will be the major driver of our regional economy for years to come," said Scott Izzo, the foundation's director.

The grant also will support center operations and is designed to bolster the center's position as a powerful leader in energy research.

Center for Energy Director Brian Gleeson sees this grant as an economic plus for the public.

"It's strengthening in terms of expertise; it's strengthening in terms of training," Gleeson said. "And it's also complementing and also, I would say, supporting a number of the industry and smaller companies that we have in the region."

The University of Pittsburgh expects the grant to accelerate the research and education efforts of the center. Gleeson believes the Pittsburgh region will benefit.

"With this funding, we will be in a much better position to attract top-notch faculty and students to our region," Gleeson said. "This will advance our creative and productive partnerships with regional and national companies, and with national laboratories, particularly our region's National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL)."

Pitt's Center for Energy was created in 2008 and pursues studies in advanced materials for energy technologies, carbon management, energy diversification, and energy delivery and efficiency.

"We actually waste more energy than we use," Gleeson said. "And so, just making changes to how we, for instance, capture the heat in the processing, and make use of that heat, is improving efficiency."