Innovative technology, specifically the combination of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, is what led to the shale revolution unfolding across North America. But a steady flow of new technology and techniques involving seismic, drilling and subsea applications to name a few have led to enhanced operations. Technological advances are still needed to confront a myriad of challenges—such as reducing or eliminating carbon emissions or figuring out ways to boost recovery from shale wells—as the industry works to meet the world’s growing energy needs. Lots of brainpower will need to be harnessed to tackle these and other challenges. That is why funding research remains critically important. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the awarding of $100 million for Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs). The awards represented the second tranche of funding for EFRCs. “We are mobilizing some of our most talented scientists to join forces and pursue the discoveries and breakthroughs that will lay the foundation for our nation’s energy future,” U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a prepared statement when the awards were announced. “The funding we’re announcing today will help fuel scientific and technological innovation.” In all, 32 projects were selected from more than 200 proposals. Of those awarded funds, 10 are new projects and the rest are funding renewals, according to a DOE news release. The award amounts range from $2 million to $4 million per year for each center for up to four fiscal years. “The centers selected for the second round of funding will help lay the scientific groundwork for fundamental advances in solar energy, electrical energy storage, carbon capture and sequestration, materials and chemistry by design, biosciences, and extreme environments,” the release said. The centers are tackling an array of projects. Here’s a look at a few of the projects. •The University of California-Berkeley and the Center for Gas Separations Relevant to Clean Energy Technologies are looking to “create new synthesis strategies, combined with novel characterization and computational methods, for tailoring materials for the efficient separation of gases, such as natural gas, hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide;” •The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Center for Geologic Storage of CO2 aim to “discover new basic science solutions that address uncertainties in current technology at field carbon dioxide storage demonstration projects;” •Montana State University and the Center for Biological Electron Transfer and Catalysis are investigating “the mechanisms and structural basis controlling electron transfer in model enzymes to develop modular biochemical conversions for the production of hydrocarbon and hydrogen biofuels;” and • The University of Texas at Austin and the Center for Frontiers of Subsurface Energy Security are working to “understand and control emergent behavior arising from coupled physics and chemistry in heterogeneous geomaterials, particularly during the time and length scales for geologic carbon dioxide storage.” In the four years that the EFRCs have been around, they have created about 5,400 scientific publications and hundreds of inventions, according to the DOE. It’ll be interesting to learn about the findings of efforts currently underway. Research being conducted today could lead to breakthroughs that can transform the energy industry and how operations are conducted not only domestically but also abroad. Contact the author, Velda Addison, at