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.
Engineering professor advances groundbreaking methods for recycling water used in hydraulic fracturing
UT Austin chemical engineering professor Benny Freeman has spearheaded leading-edge research on a new method for recycling fresh water used in hydraulic fracturing of shale to produce natural gas and oil. The process, which features a two-step membrane filtration system that removes oils, chemicals, salts and minerals, could reduce the amount of fresh water used in fracking by up to 50 percent. Read the entire article published in Reporting Texas and the Austin American-Statesman.
Researchers develop theory to more accurately estimate natural gas production from Barnett Shale wells
Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have developed a simple scaling theory to estimate gas production from hydraulically fractured wells in the Barnett Shale. The method is intended to help the energy industry accurately identify low- and high-producing horizontal wells, as well as to model the rate at which production from the wells declines over time, known as the “decline curve.” For more, read the Cockrell School of Engineering press release.
Austin start-up awarded DOE grant to reduce cost of high-efficiency solar cells; UT to provide research support
The University of Texas at Austin will provide technical support to Austin start-up Applied Novel Devices under a $500,000 grant from the DOE to help reduce the cost of high efficiency silicon solar cells. Read more.
Business school launches new energy management program
The McCombs School of Business’ Energy Management and Innovation Center has created a new program to help students meet the challenges of today’s dynamic regulatory climate and evolving energy industry. The 18-credit hour program, open to all undergraduate students, includes coursework in business, geoscience, petroleum operations and law, and a unique summer session that features guest speakers and energy site visits. Elective coursework also provides students with increased understanding of environmental issues, sustainable development, energy trading, and alternative energy solutions. Read more.
Law school to offer course on energy development and policy
UT Austin law professors David Adelman and Monty Humble, along with engineering professor Ross Baldick, will introduce students to the legal, business, and technical facets of energy development and entrepreneurship. In “Energy Development and Policy,” interdisciplinary teams of graduate students from law, business, public affairs, and engineering will work to develop a project proposal based on a mix of wind and natural gas generation. The course culminates with each team presenting a proposal for development to a panel of putative investors represented by local energy experts. Read more about this and other courses offered by the School of Law’s Energy Center.
Petroleum engineering professor reinvents energy labs
Under the leadership of Professor Eric van Oort, UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering has launched three new hands-on laboratories that will advance energy research and transform how students learn about oil and gas. As envisioned by Dr. van Oort, the labs will be a place where faculty and students in engineering and related disciplines can delve into the many challenges facing both onshore and offshore drilling operations. Read more.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“The amount of water that you can process with a given amount of energy will be as much as 50 percent higher with these treated membranes than without.”
UT Austin chemical engineering professor Benny Freeman on a new membrane filtration system that recycles water used in hydraulic fracturing.
“Pandora’s Promise” film screening / panel discussion Austin, Texas | February 4
The Energy Institute will host a screening of “Pandora’s Promise,” a controversial new film that examines the conversion of several environmentalists and energy experts from fiercely anti- to strongly pro-nuclear power. The screening is part of the Austin Forum, a monthly speaker series organized by UT Austin’s Texas Advanced Computing Center. Read more about this event.
Fourth Annual UT Energy Forum | Austin, Texas | February 19-20
The UT Energy Forum is planned and run entirely by members of the Longhorn Energy Club, a university-wide group composed of graduate students in business, engineering, policy, law, architecture and geoscience. Through plenary speeches and panel discussions covering a variety of issues, the event promotes communication and collaboration among industry leaders, entrepreneurs, policymakers and academia on pressing energy challenges. Go here to learn more and register.
Microgrid RODEO Summit | Austin, Texas | February 20-21
Join other researchers at a first-of-its-kind summit about important work in the field of microgrids: the Microgrid Research on Distributed Electricity Operations (RODEO) Summit. Read more.