Shell USA Inc. pledged $ 27.5 million to LSU on Thursday to establish an energy research institute and to help construct a new science building already supported by major funding by Our Lady of the Lake.
Of its total donation, $ 25 million will set up the LSU Institute for Energy Innovation. University President William F. Tate said it would make LSU “a national model” for science and engineering in energy-related fields involving hydrogen, carbon capture, storage of electricity, and low-carbon fuels.
The remainder of the gift would be dedicated to Our Lady of the Lake Interdisciplinary Science building that will house LSU’s College of Science.
The gift is LSU’s largest from a for-profit corporation. It is also a major step in Tate’s “Scholarship First” agenda, which has five key priorities for LSU: agriculture, biotechnology, coast, defense and energy.
“I want to emphasize the connection,” said Tate. “
Tate’s vision for the energy-related portion of the plan involves building a cooperative research platform within Louisiana’s energy industry, creating a national energy hub focusing on sustainable sources the future.
“We will build on this partnership to invite others to join us in shaping the future of industry for Louisiana and the nation,” Tate said.
Approximately $ 6.4 million of the donation will support diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives within the energy industry through workforce development, faculty recruitment and student support.
“I think that Shell is extremely interested in the fact that we have a very diverse student population,” Tate said. “We have rural, urban and across different demographic backgrounds and are keen on finding the very best people we have.”
For Tate, the Shell deal could lead to tangible results in line with his vision for the university.
“Clearly, what we want to do is measure how well we can create products that secure our status as a leader in the energy field in the state,” He said in an interview with The Advocate in April. be measured in the form of patents and partnerships. ”
The $ 2.5 million designated for the new interdisciplinary science facility at LSU will go toward the $ 109 million building that will include a four-story epicenter for academics, research and industry collaboration.
The 148,000-square-foot facility, located on the corner of Tower Drive and South Stadium Drive, will become a central hub for LSU faculty and students across science disciplines to collaborate on $ 35 million in annual research awards, the school said.
“As our society needs progressive partnerships to accelerate our climate transition and move us into a carbon neutral world, I’m proud and excited to see Shell and LSU take that next step,” said Lee Stockwell, Shell general manager for US carbon capture utilization and storage. “To develop the science and technology and, most importantly, the people who are going to guide Louisiana and lead the Gulf Coast into the future.”
With the development of a diverse group of candidates, it will help push LSU forward as a leader in the energy industry.
“Think about it on the R&D front and also on the workforce development front, those two will be catalytic,” he said. “We’re already in space, we’ve just got to move faster, better and more efficiently.”
Funding for the LSU science building was announced in February as part of $ 245 million in investments from Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge and LCMC Health in New Orleans. That funding package was aimed at promoting cancer research and science education and developing health-related facilities for LSU’s athletic programs.