Current Research & Opportunities
We take a collaborative approach to solve the challenges of the global energy transformation.
The Institute for Energy Innovation engages in useful and collaborative research, involving multiple disciplines within the university as well as stakeholders―policymakers, community members and industry representatives―to identify the relevant issues or challenges that merit further study.
Our approach to research and training is intentionally co-designed by teams of scientists and engineers along with practitioners and users to address the nation's environmental, societal and economic challenges.
In interdepartmental research, the participating departments bring their distinct perspectives, expertise and methodologies to the table to tackle complex issues that require a multidisciplinary approach. This collaborative effort allows for a broader and more comprehensive exploration of every research topic, as different disciplines contribute complementary insights and approaches toward innovative solutions.
By involving stakeholders from the outset, our work fosters mutual learning and shared knowledge that can lead to more effective and sustainable solutions to complex problems.
Research Focus Areas
Carbon capture, utilization and storage/sequestration, or CCUS, is a process that captures carbon dioxide emissions from sources like chemical manufacturing plants, refining and liquefied natural gas production, and either reuses or stores it to prevent it from entering the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide storage in geologic formations includes oil and gas reservoirs, unmineable coal seams and deep saline reservoirs―structures that have stored crude oil, natural gas, brine and carbon dioxide over millions of years. Early areas of research focus for the institute include ensuring the long-term safety and monitoring of injection sites in Louisiana and financial/fee structures for landowners, the state and all parishes with CO2 injection sites.
Hydrogen is a versatile energy carrier that can support the decarbonization of a range of sectors, including transportation, maunufacturing and power generation. In Louisiana, hydrogen is already used in refineries to produce cleaner-burning fuels and in ammonia plants to make fertilizer. CCUS can facilitate the production of clean hydrogen from natural gas or coal, which are the sources of practically all hydrogen production today, and provide an opportunity to bring low-carbon hydrogen into new markets in the near term at least cost. Today, the cost of CCUS-equipped hydrogen production can be around half that of producing hydrogen through electrolysis powered by renewables-based electricity (which splits water into hydrogen and oxygen). The cost of electrolytic hydrogen will certainly decline over time, with cheaper electrolysers and renewable electricity, but CCUS-equipped hydrogen will most likely remain a competitive option in regions like Louisiana with low-cost fossil fuels and CO2 storage resources.
The institute is actively engaged in research and development in the field of low-carbon fuels, recognizing their significance in addressing pressing energy and environmental challenges. Studies will explore best practices for large-scale deployment in Louisiana and address concerns about impact and viability.
Louisiana has always been an energy state with its onshore and offshore production of oil and gas, its refineries and chemical plants and, more recently, LNG. These products and sources of energy are critically reliant on transportation by water and via pipelines, thus requiring a balanced and beneficial relationship between energy and our coast. LSU’s renowned Center for River Studies and its sustained partnership with the state’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority add to our nexus of expertise to consider critical transportation needs in Louisiana while protecting and restoring our coast.
The LSU Institute for Energy Innovation embraces the need to effectively engage with Louisiana communities to understand their perspectives on energy and manufacturing in the state. There are many stakeholders in Louisiana who both care about and are impacted by the production of energy and chemicals. The institute’s mission is to be an independent, trusted, and highly respected voice in the energy transition, in support of policy development on the state, community and parish levels. To deliver on that mission, the institute will develop the means to engage with our community members, elected officials, academic leaders and industry.
The subject of environmental justice is heavily debated in Louisiana and across the United States. Local stakeholders have voiced opposition and general concern about industry practices through a lens of environmental justice. While the term is used often, its definitions and implications are often vague, leading to a lack of cohesive understanding. The EPA region 6 office defines environmental justice as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin or income, with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies. An early institute focus will be to further define environmental justice considerations in Louisiana and propose considerations for stakeholders to better manage environmental justice concerns at the industry, state and parish levels.
Grant & Funding Opportunities
The Institute for Energy Innovation will enable researchers to transcend traditional academic boundaries through an interdisciplinary approach, tackling complex energy challenges from multifaceted perspectives: engineering, chemistry, environmental science, geology, coastal science, economics, public administration, mass communication, policy analysis, law and more.
Our interdisciplinary approach enables the institute to delve deep into the intricacies of energy systems, exploring not only the technical aspects but also the economic, social and environmental dimensions of energy production, distribution and consumption. By working collaboratively across disciplines, the institute can generate innovative solutions that effectively address the most pressing energy issues of our time.
The institute is currently funding two categories of projects: short-term synthesis projects based on existing data and long-term research and development projects to produce new data and test, develop and demonstrate experimental technologies.