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.
Piñon: Approval of rules allowing foreign investment in Mexico’s energy industry ‘monumental’
UT Austin’s Jorge Piñon, an economist and Director of the Jackson School of Geosciences’ Latin America and Caribbean Energy Program, provided expert commentary recently in several news articles on sweeping changes to Mexico’s energy industry that are expected to boost the country’s energy production and open its oil fields through foreign investment. For more, read Piñon’s comments in the New York Times, the Houston Chronicle, and International Business Times.
Center for Energy Economics: reduced demand, cheap natural gas, environmental regulations lead to power plant retirements
A significant number of power plants were retired in recent years due to a variety of factors, including lower demand for electricity, inexpensive natural gas, new environmental regulations and increases in renewable forms of energy. Most of the retirements have been aging coal-fired plants with relatively low capacity factors, a trend that is expected to continue for several years, according to a recent analysis by UT Austin’s Center for Energy Economics (CEE) in the Jackson School of Geosciences’ Bureau of Economic Geology. For more on past and future power plant retirements and possible implications, read the CEE analysis.
UT Austin microgrid a model of efficiency
UT Austin is home to what has been described as the largest and most fully integrated microgrid in the U.S., a model for saving energy and money. The system features a combined heat and power plant that provides 135-MW and 1.2 million lb/hr of steam generation for the entire university. Built in 1929 as a steam plant, the facility now provides 100 percent of the power, heat and cooling on the 20-million square-foot campus and its 150 buildings, delivering power with 99.9998 percent reliability. For more, read an article in Energy Efficiency Markets.
Researchers create sustainable crude oil from city waste
UT Austin researchers have demonstrated a patent-pending process that turns City of Austin biowaste into sustainable crude oil. The process, developed by Mechanical Engineering Professor Halil Berberoglu and Dr. Rhykka Connelly, a research scientist with the Center for Electromechanics, mimics the natural formation of crude oil, but faster. Researchers use waste natural gas produced at the City’s Water Utility to power the process, and are currently developing an even more economical source of power, concentrated solar power. Read more.
UT installs solar-powered charging stations
UT Austin has installed two solar-driven charging stations capable of powering up to six cell phones, laptops, electrical bikes and other electronics at a time – during the day or at night, and on cloudy days. One station is outside the Perry-Castañeda Library and the other is outside the Art Building and Museum. The university will celebrate the installation of the new charging stations September 19 with a series of solar energy workshops. Read more in the Daily Texan.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
Enactment of energy reforms to allow foreign investment in Mexico’s oil and gas industry is “monumental,” said Jorge R. Piñon, director of UT Austin’s Latin America and Caribbean Energy Program. “The political commitment from Mexico is there.”
Texas Water Summit explored economic implications of state’s growing water needs
Experts from academia, government, industry and NGOs gathered on the UT Austin campus to participate in the 2014 Texas Water Summit, hosted by The Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas. Summit participants addressed the economic implications and other challenges of meeting the state’s growing water needs in the face of a growing population. For more, view videos of experts’ presentations, panel discussions and audience Q&A sessions.
UT Austin to Host 2014 International Greenhouse Gas Technologies Conference
UT Austin is hosting the 12th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Technologies (GHGT-12) October 5-9, 2014, at the Austin Convention Center. Since its inception in 1997, the GHGT series has developed into the leading international conference on greenhouse gas technologies addressing climate change mitigation options. The conference is held every two years on an informal rotation between major cities in Europe, Asia, and North America and attracts more than 1,500 attendees. Leaders from the scientific, industrial and policy communities exchange new knowledge, information and ideas on reducing greenhouse gases.