UT Austin Energy Bulletin
A Monthly Update from the Energy Institute of The University of Texas at Austin
|The UT Austin Energy Bulletin is a monthly update on energy-related research, recent and upcoming events, grants, awards and special announcements – a recap of all things energy at The University of Texas at Austin.
Powering the future: Why UT Austin is the energy university
Scholars and scientists at The University of Texas at Austin invented the batteries that power our cell phones and electric cars. They’ve also helped unlock some of the world’s largest oil and gas fields and they’re leading the way to demonstrate how to safely store greenhouse gases underground. UT researchers are pioneering core technology to make our electrical grids safer and even more reliable. For more, read the first article in a series of stories examining the breadth and depth of expertise that makes UT Austin the energy university.
Experts explore the nexus of markets and the environment at Austin Electricity Conference 2015
Energy experts from academia, industry and the regulatory world gathered on the UT Austin campus recently to debate the effects of a controversial change in U.S. environmental policy that would require dramatic reductions in CO₂ emissions from existing power plants. The 2015 Austin Electricity Conference is an annual, invitation-only forum for engineers, economists, policymakers, lawyers and other experts in the electric utility industry, drawn from academia, industry, government, and NGOs. Read more, and view conference panelists’ presentations.
Azle earthquakes likely caused by oil and gas operations, new research shows
Injection of wastewater from the drilling of natural gas wells is the most likely cause of earthquakes occurring near Azle, Texas, according to a new study conducted by SMU and UT Austin. Dr. Cliff Frohlich, a seismologist in the Jackson School of Geosciences’ Institute for Geophysics, co-authored the study, along with Dr. Jon Olson, chair of the UT’s Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering. For more, read the researchers’ journal article in Nature, and news reports in the Texas Tribune and the Dallas Morning News.
Center for Energy Economics issues analysis of upstream oil and gas attainment
U.S. producers need an average oil price of roughly $80 to return current capital spent, according to an analysis by UT Austin’s Center for Energy Economics (CEE), a unit within the Jackson School of Geosciences’ Bureau of Economic Geology. Since 2010 the CEE has tracked a sample of top tier publicly traded domestic oil and natural gas producers active to better understand upstream economics. The analysis also indicates U.S. natural gas producers require a price of about $13 on a MCFE basis to recover 2014 capital spent. Read more.
Experts examine economic modeling of EPA’s ‘Clean Power Plan’
UT Austin law and business school Prof. David Spence provided an overview of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s proposed Rule 111(d) – better known as the Clean Power Plan – at a workshop co-hosted by the Energy Institute and the Central Texas Association for Energy Economics. While the workshop did not examine policy issues or the politics swirling around the new rule, workshop participants provided their insights on compliance strategies, with particular focus on economic modeling scenarios. For more read participants’ presentations.
Marine Science Institute hosts workshop to share oil spill research on 5th anniversary of Deepwater Horizon accident
Researchers from UT Austin’s Marine Science Institute (MSI) and Texas A&M University-Galveston shared latest research findings on how oil dispersants react with the environment during a workshop in Port Aransas that coincided with the fifth anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Bridging the Gap Between Oil Spill Researchers and Responders workshop was hosted by MSI, the Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve, and the Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant Oil Spill Science Outreach Program.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“We have intense discussions among the best and the brightest individuals on the most challenging issues facing the electricity markets.”
LBJ School of Public Affairs Prof. Varun Rai, on the 2015 Austin Electricity Conference.
2015 CEC Annual Workshop on Electrochemistry
About 160 experts from academia, industry, and national laboratories attended the seventh annual electrochemistry workshop, hosted by UT Austin’s Center for Electrochemistry and co-sponsored by the Energy Institute. Faculty from the Center moderated sessions covering energy conversion and storage, understanding electrocatalysis through DFT, CO2 reduction, and electrochemical sensors. Read more and view the workshop program.
UT Austin students to present solution for water use in hydraulic fracturing during 2015 Energy Innovation Challenge
A team of UT Austin graduate students will square off May 1 against teams from Texas A&M, UT-El Paso, the University of Houston, and Texas Tech in the 2015 Energy Innovation Challenge, an annual competition that awards participants more than $25,000 in scholarships. This year’s competition focuses on developing an innovative use for water produced in hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas production. Energy Institute Assistant Director Dr. Fred Beach leads the UT team, which includes MBA candidates Alex Gupta and James Lamb, Zhengwang Lisa, a doctoral candidate in chemical engineering, and LBJ School of Public Affairs’ Ariadna Reyes. Read more.