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Institute for Natural Gas Research at Penn State

March 6, 2013Link to Penn State New Natural Gas Center News Article

Penn State's new natural gas center to keep PA at forefront of industry

Bringing together one of the largest contingents of natural gas experts in the United States, Penn State has established an Institute for Natural Gas Research (INGaR), which is expected to provide much-needed study into this important form of energy.


INGaR is directed by Monty Alger, professor of chemical engineering.

The Institute for Natural Gas Research
"will have the depth and breadth of expertise to tackle
comprehensive problems encountered in the
exploration, drilling, transport and use of natural gas, including
the enviornmental challenges of extraction.

                                                                         --William E. Easterling
                                        Dean, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences


To establish the world’s premier academic Institute focused on the full breadth of research related to the development and utilization of natural gas including:  discovery and exploration, production, stimulation, transmission, storage, processing, chemical conversion, utilization, infrastructure, water and environmental issues.


The mission of the Institute is to conduct independent and impartial scientific research in the broad area of natural gas, ranging from exploration to production to utilization, working closely with industry and government partners to support the ongoing development of a natural gas-based economy.


The overall goal of the Institute is to identify new opportunities for enhancing the economic development of natural gas and its related products using environmentally responsible methods.  The Institute will fill the gaps in current industry and government research portfolios by combining the development of transformative new knowledge with innovative and practical engineering solutions to current and future challenges. 

The Institute will be organized around four primary thrust areas:

  1. Discovery and Exploration: new approaches for identifying and characterizing natural gas fields and gas flow dynamics in porous media, including the integration of seismologic, magnetic, and gravimetric measurements with modern statistical and computational methods
  2. Extraction and Stimulation: development of environmentally conscious methods for drilling, hydraulic stimulation, and enhanced extraction of natural gas from unconventional formations, including the development of new stimulation fluids, proppants, etc.
  3. Infrastructure and Water:  evaluation and development of the required infrastructure to support the production, transmission, storage, purification, and distribution of natural gas, including issues related to water resources, treatment, and disposal
  4. Utilization and Chemical Conversion:  development of new technologies for the utilization of natural gas and natural gas liquids in transportation systems, electrical energy production, chemical conversion to generate value-added products, and integration of natural gas usage into a range of energy systems.


The Institute’s scientific vision is to be a global leader in natural gas research and education.  Faculty and staff will be drawn from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, the College of Engineering, the Eberly College of Science, and other colleges at the University, with expertise from these diverse disciplines integrated into a seamless, comprehensive core of faculty and facilities.  This collaboration will facilitate and foster scientific advances and engineering solutions while enhancing the training of future scientists and engineers.  During the developmental phase of the Institute, activities will be focused in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (within the Departments of Energy and Mineral Engineering and Geosciences) and in the College of Engineering (within the Departments of Chemical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering).  These efforts will create the foundation and momentum for future expansion of activities to other Departments and Colleges across the full breadth of Penn State.