The U.S. Department of Energy said on Monday it has awarded $27.6 million of funding to evaluate the potential risks of storing carbon dioxide underground, which is seen as a way to control global warming.

The total value of the 19 projects selected is about $35.8 million over four years, with $27.6 million of DOE funding, according to the DOE.

Coal-fired power plants provide about half of the electricity in United States but account for about 80 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from domestic power generation, making them top targets for environmentalists.

Coal companies, governments and environmental activists are hoping for breakthrough technologies that will help trap, transport and bury underground carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming.

The funding includes $1.6 million for Columbia University, nearly $2 million for Schlumberger Ltd's Carbon Services, $2 million for Woodlands, Texas-based Fusion Petroleum Technologies and $2 million for Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Planetary Emissions Management Inc.

(Reporting by Poornima Gupta, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)