WVU & OSU Score $2M from NSF for Shale Energy Research

The Marcellus and Utica Shale is not only good for landowners (big bonuses, lucrative royalties), for drillers (can’t drill fast enough, making boatloads of money), and of course the rest of us (all that money ripples throughout local economies and gets reinvested). The Marcellus/Utica is also good for academic types too. West Virginia University and Ohio State University together have just been awarded an eye-popping $2 million grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for shale energy research.

Some of that money will go to a researcher MDN previously highlighted back in 2011–Dr. Shikha Sharma, an assistant professor at WVU. At the time Dr. Sharma delivered what was bad news for anti-drillers: methane found in water samples she analyzed was not from shale drilling but is naturally occurring (see WVU Prof: Methane in Water Supplies is Not from Fracking). Dr. Sharma has been awarded $351K from the NSF grant to “probe the chemical and isotopic biomarkers that microorganisms leave behind during their growth and respiration process.” Er, right. A bit beyond our comprehension, but we’re sure it’s valuable research nonetheless! Here’s the announcement from WVU about the grant and what researchers will be doing with the money (if you understand it)…

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