Leader of DOE fossil fuel division to step down

“During that time, the Fossil Energy Department has broadened the focus of our oil and gas technology programs, focusing on ensuring that we can responsibly harness our nation’s diverse fossil resources. The Fossil Energy Department has also worked to advance DOE’s pioneering research and demonstration activities on unlocking a source of natural gas – methane hydrates – which could dwarf the potential reserves of conventional and unconventional natural gas,” Chu said in the email.

McConnell’s departure follows resignations from DOE’s top spokesman and one of Chu’s chief advisers. Many suspect Chu is headed for the exits as well.

At DOE, McConnell has been a chief advocate of carbon capture, utilization and storage technology. That process collects carbon emitted from burning fossil fuels and reuses it for enhanced oil recovery.

“Capturing CO2 from power plants and using it for enhanced oil recovery creates a win-win-win proposition for the environment, the economy and American energy security,” Chu said.

Chu said Chris Smith would become acting assistant secretary of fossil energy.