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.
New study shows majority of methane emissions come from two major sources at small percentage of wells
A team of researchers from the Cockrell School of Engineering and environmental testing firm URS shows that a small subset of natural gas wells are responsible for the majority of methane emissions from two major sources — pneumatic controller equipment and liquid unloadings. Researchers examined sources of methane emissions at well pad sites across the United States. Researchers believe this research, published December 9 in Environment Science & Technology, will help to provide a clearer picture of methane emissions from natural gas production sites. For more, view the complete press kit, view photos, and read coverage of the study’s release in the Houston Chronicle and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Energy Institute launches new website to highlight energy research on UT Austin campus
The Energy Institute has revamped its website to better highlight research and faculty expertise on a broad range of energy issues at the UT Austin campus. The new site includes a graphic detailing annual funding of energy research; an organizational chart displaying various academic units and centers engaged in energy research; and an Energy Experts Guide that provides access to visitors seeking faculty and researchers involved in specific areas of energy research.
Engineering professor awarded $1.6 million DOE grant for new hydraulic fracturing tool
Cockrell School of Engineering Professor Mukul Sharma has received a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to build and test a tool that shows promise for improving diagnostics used in hydraulic fracturing. The downhole tool will be used in conjunction with an electrically conductive proppant, a solid material typically used in combination with fracking fluid to keep a hydraulic fracture open so that oil or gas can be extracted. The tool has potential to boost oil and gas recovery, reduce costs and help minimize the environmental footprint. Read more.
Robert Fares blog: Oncor makes unprecedented bid for financing of large-scale battery energy storage
UT Austin Mechanical Engineering Ph.D. student Robert Fares writes in a recent blog for Scientific American that Dallas-based transmission and distribution company Oncor has proposed what could be a game-changer in how electricity is made and distributed in Texas. Fares, who studies the economic and environmental implications of emerging grid technologies, notes that state regulators must decide how large-scale energy storage projects such as the one proposed by Oncor will be handled by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. Read more.
School of Architecture students raising funds to support Solar Decathlon entry
Students from UT Austin’s School of Architecture have set a goal of January 2, 2015 to raise $10,000 to produce a documentary in support of their entry in the 2015 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. The UT Austin team, led by Professor Petra Liedl, recently changed the project’s name to “NexusHaus” to reflect the collaborative nature of its partnership with students at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen in Germany. Read more about this project and the fundraising effort on the university’s new crowdfunding platform, Hornraiser.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“A better understanding of the fracture geometry will lead to better fracture designs and improved oil and gas recovery.”
Engineering Professor Mukul Sharma, on DOE-funded research to build and test a downhole tool for fracture diagnostics.
Annual Workshop on Electrochemistry | February 7 – 8, 2015 | Austin, Texas
Experts in engineering, materials science and electrochemistry will gather in Austin February 7 – 8, 2015 to discuss cutting-edge electrochemical science issues during the Annual Workshop on Electrochemistry, sponsored by UT Austin’s Center for Electrochemistry. The two-day symposium will feature technical presentations from invited speakers that focus on specific electrochemical research topics in four sessions: Electrochemical Sensors, Understanding Electrocatalysis through DFT: What’s Right and Wrong with this Approach?, CO2 Reduction and Energy Conversion and Storage. Go here to learn more about this event and register.
UT Energy Week | February 16 – 20, 2015 | Austin, Texas
Experts from academia, industry, government and the non-profit world will gather in Austin in February for a week-long conference on the latest research findings, emerging trends and new technologies in today’s rapidly evolving world of energy. UT Energy Week is co-hosted by the Energy Institute, the student-led Longhorn Energy Club and nine colleges and schools engaged in energy related research across the UT Austin campus. Early bird registration begins in mid-December. Learn more.