BATON ROUGE, La., January 29, 2024 – The U.S. National Science Foundation (“NSF”) awarded $160 million—one of the largest and most competitive grants ever awarded in place-based research in the nation’s history—to an LSU-led statewide effort of more than 50 partners, including Bernhard Capital Partners (“Bernhard Capital”), to establish Louisiana’s Energy Transition Engine.

The NSF Engines grant will support Louisiana’s energy industry, create jobs in the energy sector, develop innovative solutions to energy challenges and help train the world’s next energy workforce. NSF announced the award at a press conference today in Washington, D.C.

“Bernhard Capital is incredibly proud to be part of this transformational initiative that will strengthen Louisiana’s economic development and workforce, and we would like to congratulate our state’s flagship university, LSU, on leading the way to secure this historic grant,” said Bernhard Capital Founder Jim Bernhard. “Louisiana has always been at the forefront of the global energy industry, and with this funding, we’re poised to become the epicenter of research and development for the future of energy use and management.”

The NSF Engines grant will support the energy transition and decarbonization of Louisiana’s industrial corridor. Louisiana has more than 250,000 professionals working in the energy, chemical and petrochemical industries, as well as an abundance of existing industrial infrastructure, plants and refineries, and 50,000 miles of pipelines. This existing energy infrastructure and NSF’s unprecedented investment in the state will position Louisiana to be the global research and development leader for the expanding energy industry well into the future.

Louisiana’s team, called Future Use of Energy in Louisiana, or FUEL, includes private energy companies, universities, community and technical colleges and state agencies that will work together to drive technology and workforce development in support of Louisiana’s energy industry.

FUEL will work to solve emerging challenges in areas such as carbon capture, transport and storage; hydrogen use; the application of carbon dioxide to produce low-carbon fuels and essential carbon-based products; water use and management; sustainable manufacturing; and policy development.

The state, through Louisiana Economic Development, will also contribute to the project with an additional $67.5 million over the next decade. This will include funds to help the higher education partners build a world-class team to convert research into practical and useful solutions.

For more information on FUEL and the NSF Engines grant, visit

About Bernhard Capital Partners
Bernhard Capital Partners is a services and infrastructure-focused private equity management firm established in 2013. Bernhard Capital Partners has deployed capital in four funds across several strategies and has approximately $3.4 billion of gross assets under management. Bernhard Capital Partners seeks to create sustainable value by leveraging its experience in acquiring, operating and growing services and infrastructure businesses. For more information, visit