September 24, 2014 – GE announced that it will invest up to $10 million in Penn State to establish a new innovation center focused on driving cutting-edge advancements in the natural gas industry. The Center for Collaborative Research on Intelligent Natural Gas Supply Systems at Penn State (CCRINGSS) will engage Penn State researchers and students from many disciplines in collaborative work with various industry stakeholders. The center will seek to advance efficiency and environmental sustainability both through technological innovations and improved supply chain management.
“Natural gas is extremely important as a domestic energy source for the United States and continues to serve as a crucial element in revitalizing Pennsylvania’s economy,” said U.S. Congressman Glenn Thompson. “I fully support the work that Penn State and GE will be doing through CCRINGSS to support new research innovations and create real-world applications that will build upon existing partnerships led by the University to make a positive impact on the industry and the communities of Pennsylvania.”
Thompson will speak at a luncheon today, during which Penn State President Eric Barron will outline the creation of the center. GE Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Mark Little, other representatives from GE, and several members of Penn State’s academic leadership also are scheduled to attend.
“We are excited to announce the creation of this new center,” said Penn State President Eric Barron. “CCRINGSS will pull together Penn State’s expertise in natural-gas-related technologies, data analytics, and supply chain management. By gaining a deep understanding of the complex shale gas supply chain and by creating new technologies, the center will aim to produce tangible benefits to the natural gas industry as well as the communities impacted by that industry, from the points of extraction right through to the energy that reaches consumers.”
“The growth of the natural gas industry will be driven by technologies and a future workforce that can navigate and access tougher-to-reach resources in cleaner, better ways,” said Little. “CCRINGSS will provide a bridge to both for the oil and gas industry, creating a pipeline of promising research development and engineering talent with the skills and imagination to produce results.”
The new center will combine the expertise of faculty across four Penn State colleges — the Smeal College of Business and the colleges of Earth and Mineral Sciences, Engineering, and Information Sciences and Technology — and multiple centers and institutes, including the Center for Supply Chain Research (CSCR) and the Institute for Natural Gas Research (INGaR).
GE’s investment will support a range of initiatives, including center-aligned research projects, acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment, and undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral fellowships. Through CCRINGSS, GE’s support also will create new educational and outreach programs, such as a graduate certificate program that would link supply chain and data analytics with technical aspects of the energy industry.
GE will help shape the initial direction of research and programs within the center through co-designed workshops and showcases, a web-based collaboration interface, project proposal evaluation, engineers in residence, technical and managerial collaborations, student and faculty internships, and industry-specific career fairs.
Central to CCRINGSS’ vision will be the collaboration of researchers in technical areas of chemical, petroleum and materials engineering with those in the fields of supply chain management, data analytics and decision making.
“This kind of interdisciplinary collaboration can potentially lead to a more seamless integration of the technologies into the natural gas infrastructure,” Barron said. “Penn State students will be involved in much of this activity, interacting with industry professionals and faculty members through real-world projects that will help make them well-prepared and highly sought-after graduates.”