After nearly 40 years of acquiring and processing seismic data in the Gulf of Mexico to better understand its geology, UT Austin’s Institute for Geophysics‘ (UTIG) dataset has become a valuable commodity for oil and drilling companies. In 1972, UTIG began recording seismic information in the Gulf, but stopped after 10 years when Mexico shut down foreign research. In 2014, when Mexico announced it would once again allow foreign gas exploration and drilling in its waters, American companies were in need of the information. With the help of UTIG manager Patricia Ganey-Curry, Andrew Hartwig, a geophysicist who earned his B.S. from the Jackson School of Geosciences in 2009, began to reprocess the data as part of a master’s project at the University of Houston. The information subsequently was purchased by seismic services company ION Geophysical, and has brought more than $4.77 million in royalty payments to UT Austin. The funds will be used for UTIG research grants and to create a fellowship position that promotes research in basin-scale depositional systems. Read more.
Electrical and Computer Engineering Prof. Dr. Andrea Alù, Research Scientist Dimitrios Sounas and colleagues at the AMOLF institute in the Netherlands have invented the first mechanical metamaterials capable of transferring motion effortlessly in one direction while blocking it in the other. Their findings, as published Feb. 13 in Nature, demonstrate that the material acts as a one-way shield that blocks energy from coming in but easily transmits it going out the other side. Researchers report that breaking the symmetry of motion may enable greater control and efficiency in mechanical systems and mechanical devices. The team hopes to leverage these topological mechanical metamaterials for various applications, optimizing them, and carving devices out of them for applications in soft robotics, prosthetics and energy harvesting. Read more.
Winning entrants in an energy research poster competition organized by the Longhorn Energy Club during this year’s UT Energy Week picked up $1,000 in four categories: Fossil Fuels and Byproducts, Environmental and Sustainability, Renewable Energy and Storage, and Energy Economics, Law and Policy. All told, more than 30 students participated in the contest. Posters covered a wide range of topics, including development of higher energy density batteries and understanding how air pollution forms from unconventional sources of emissions. Read more or watch a video.
UT Austin Petroleum Engineering sophomore Karan Jerath has been selected by the United Nations as a Young Leader for Sustainable Development Goals. Jerath, who invented a device that can help prevent oil spills, recently was named the youngest member of the Forbes ’30 Under 30 Energy’ list. With the U.N., Jerath is working with professors and mentors at UT to build “The Grand Energy Challenge,” an international competition open to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students to pitch ideas related to energy sustainability. Read more.
More than 1,000 people attended UT Energy Week 2017, an annual gathering of experts from academia, industry, government, regulatory agencies and nonprofit organizations, to discuss and debate topical energy issues and recent research findings.
The conference, now in its third year, is hosted by the Energy Institute, the KBH Center for Energy, Law & Business, and two student-run organizations – the Longhorn Energy Club and the Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law (TJOGEL) – along with support from schools and colleges across the UT Austin campus engaged in energy-related research. [Read more…]