Granholm announces $3 million for net-zero carbon research at HBCUs –


ORANGEBURG, SC (AP) — U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm announced Thursday that $3 million in federal funding would be directed to historically black colleges and universities, and other minority-serving institutions, to research that she says will contribute to the Biden administration’s carbon neutral goals. and help strengthen a pipeline from these schools to energy-related jobs.

“This funding opportunity is for a set of technologies that will truly decarbonize energy,” Granholm said during a stopover in South Carolina, giving an example of combining waste coal with algae to create new substances, like the plastics.

The announcement, Granholm said, helps advance work toward an executive order, signed by President Joe Biden last year, to make the federal government carbon neutral by 2050. It targets a 65% reduction. global-warming greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and a US fleet of all-electric cars and trucks five years later.

It would also help train a workforce to fill hundreds of jobs the Department of Energy has said it needs to fulfill the mandates set out in the infrastructure package.

Granholm said the schools would apply for the funding, which, according to a notice filed in December, “would also include projects to mitigate and remediate the legacy environmental impacts of coal-based generation.”

To make the announcement, Granholm chose South Carolina State University, the only HBCU in the nation to have a four-year nuclear engineering program. While touring the Orangeburg School with alumnus and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, Granholm visited engineering students, listening to their research presentations and also arguing that they choose to employ their talents with jobs in the public sector.

“My only question I have: can you come and work for the federal government?” Granholm asked after a student’s presentation. “You will be a hot ticket wherever you go.”

The visit, Granholm’s first to South Carolina as secretary, comes as Biden and other officials tout progress in implementing the administration’s $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package, following setbacks on other major political issues, including the right to vote and other economic endeavors.

Also on Thursday, Biden traveled to Ohio to tout a billion-dollar infusion of the deal that he said would restore Great Lakes ports and tributaries that have been polluted with industrial toxins.

“We want people to see the benefits of the votes that have been cast for them and for their communities,” Granholm said, when asked how the deployments were advocating for the administration ahead of the midterm elections. in November.

The funding announcement also joins the administration’s efforts to diversify energy sector jobs by directing funds to HBCUs. In June, the Department of Energy awarded more than $2.85 million for nuclear and particle physics research internship programs for students at HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions.

At Howard University in May, Granholm announced more than $17 million in funding to support college internships, research projects, and opportunities to strengthen investments in underrepresented HBCUs and other institutions serving minorities.

SC State is often a popular stop for national-level Democrats campaigning in South Carolina, thanks in part to the region’s heavily black and Democratic electorate, as well as its connection to Clyburn, the only Democrat in Congress. of the state and the highest ranking black member of Congress.

Clyburn’s public endorsement of Biden ahead of South Carolina’s 2020 Democratic presidential primary helped the then-candidate overcome a string of earlier losses, serving as a long-awaited signal to many black voters that Biden would be the nominee for defend their interests.

But Republicans, including former UN ambassador and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, also toured nuclear research facilities. a future race for higher office.

At Clyburn’s request, Biden gave the December commencement address to SC State graduates, saying he would “offer a historic investment to create and expand HBCU programs in high-demand areas such as cybersecurity, health, and social security.” ‘engineering and health care’.

On Thursday, Clyburn said he thinks visiting Granholm “is going to be very, very important to her and to us, to be able to meet the needs of the state and the communities represented on this campus.”


Meg Kinnard can be reached at

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