The National Science Foundation (NSF) is taking sustainable energy research seriously just as more and more universities pursue green initiatives. The organization has awarded $12 million to be dedicated to research related to keeping the use of fossil fuels under control to mitigate the risks to the environment.
How NSF Funding Will Fuel Research
The aim of NSF's research is to discover how the use of natural gas will impact the environment in the long term. Pollution impacts on air and water will be determined, and the foundation plans to use research teams to determine the connection between natural gas use and climate change.
While alternate energy sources are ideal, the research teams will be challenged with finding a way for climate change and other negative impacts of the use of fossil fuels to be minimized. Leaders of the teams are aware that fossil fuel use is so ingrained in societies worldwide that it is likely unreasonable to expect all populations to move to other energy sources.
Since fossil fuels will continue to be used as a primary energy source, research teams are given the task of determining how climate change can be managed despite the use of fossil fuels.
Universities Involved in NSF Sustainability Research
Two universities are lending scientists, engineers and academics to the research teams dedicated to discovering sustainable energy sources: University of Colorado Boulder and Penn State University. The research teams are known as Sustainability Research Networks (SRNs)
The University of Colorado Boulder SRN is dedicated to researching how natural gas exploration and use will impact the environment in the long term. Contamination of air and water resources is being determined, and the connection between natural gas use and human health is being examined.
The Penn State SRN is tasked with determining ways to manage climate change while fossil fuels continue to be used. The SRN is focused on pinpointing the maximum rate of fossil fuel usage that would allow benefits of using these fuel sources to outweigh the risks to the environment and health of people worldwide.