- Associated Press - Saturday, May 24, 2014

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - Professors at West Virginia University are exploring issues related to shale gas, ranging from potential impacts on heart health, water resources and policy development across the globe.

The Morgantown school says six professors each won a $10,000 research grant from WVU’s National Research Center for Coal and Energy as part of the newly launched WVU Shale Gas Network. The awards announced this week at the Enhancing Public Understand of Shale Gas Issues Conference in Morgantown and the grantees will present their work at a meeting in November.

Research projects include improving the safety and efficiency of shale gas exploration and production, developing new methods to use shale gas in chemical manufacturing, studying the potential impact of shale gas production on cardiovascular health and researching the development of shale gas in other countries. One of the international studies will examine regulations for protecting water in an arid region of Argentina and another will look at the possible effects on governments and companies of China’s entry into shale gas development.

School officials said the awards will create opportunities to collaborate and generate ideas in support of the university’s Mountain of Excellence in Shale Gas Utilization and the research could lead to larger projects funded by some of the country’s major research organizations. It is estimated that more than 60 faculty members are engaged in some facet of shale gas research. The work covers the spectrum from extraction to utilization to policy and economic impact.

WVU seeks to be the thought leader regarding the global opportunity that shale gas presents,” Fred King, vice president for research, said in a news release. “We hope to bring together scholars, developers, and stakeholders as we grow our Mountain of Excellence related to shale gas.”

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