Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman, Richard Blumenthal and U.S. Rep. John B. Larson (CT-01) have announced that the United Technologies Company (UTC) of East Hartford has been awarded a $4.4 million federal grant for natural gas technology research. UTC is one of only 13 recipients of the highly competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) MOVE program, or Methane Opportunities for Vehicular Energy. The MOVE program is intended to help spur the development of next-generation natural gas vehicles.
The department awarded United Technologies and two partners a $4.4 million grant. Though it’s a small portion of the $2 billion the conglomerate spent on research and development last year, Craig Walker, director of the energy systems program at United Technologies Research Center in East Hartford called the funding “reasonably good-sized.” Following the three-year research program, United Technologies will develop a prototype tank for passenger cars, The Associated Press reported.
“For our country to break its addiction to foreign oil, we need to move away from traditional transportation fuels and incentivize the switch to natural gas, hydrogen, and other alternative fuel vehicles. I have long supported the increased usage of clean-burning, domestically produced, natural gas in our transportation fleet, both by including incentives in my past climate change legislation and by proudly cosponsoring the current NAT GAS Act. This grant will continue to cement Connecticut’s position as a world leader in alternative energy research and production,” said Senator Lieberman.
“From its facility in East Hartford, United Technologies is once again pushing what’s possible in the power industry,” Senator Blumenthal said. “Federal support for projects with transformative economic and environmental benefits – changing how we create and consume energy – is highly competitive. This grant is a testament to the talents of Connecticut’s workforce and the state’s ability to lead in a growing sector with enormous potential for job creation in the state.”
“Providing cleaner and more affordable forms of energy is vital for our nation’s economy and our national security. Natural gas is an abundant, affordable, and American energy source and developing commercially viable natural gas vehicles is vital to lowering energy costs and weaning us off foreign oil,” said Congressman Larson. “This funding shows that we can harness this cutting edge technology at home while providing hundreds of jobs for Connecticut. And I’m glad to see that while Congress may be stuck in gridlock and obstructionism, Connecticut continues to drive on towards cleaner, more efficient energy through an industry poised to create hundreds of thousands of jobs nationwide.”
DoE announced today that MOVE program funding will be going to projects in Connecticut, California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. UTC will use this federal funding to engineer a low-cost natural gas tank for passenger vehicles, replacing the bulkier tanks currently in use that have limited the viability of natural gas for everyday use.
Recognizing that the projected 100 year supply of natural gas resources in the United States has the potential to create more than 600,000 jobs across the country, Congressman Larson is a lead sponsor of the NAT GAS Act and a strong advocate in Congress for moving away from foreign oil and switching to fueling our vehicles with clean burning, domestically produced, and affordable, natural gas. Senator Lieberman is also a cosponsor of the NAT GAS Act, and has included similar provisions in his past climate change legislation. Senator Blumenthal voted for the NAT GAS Act as part of the Senate’s highway bill and supports the increased, responsible use of natural gas resources.