UT Austin Energy Bulletin
A Monthly Update from the Energy Institute of
|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.
Energy Secretary Moniz Commends UT Austin for Fostering Energy Research and Spurring Commercialization
Academic institutions such as The University of Texas at Austin serve an essential role in furthering scientific research that can help drive the commercialization of transformative products and services, said U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz during a visit to Austin on Thursday. Watch a video of the event or read the university’s press release.
New study shows electricity generation from natural gas saves water, reduces drought vulnerability
AUSTIN, Texas — A new study finds that in Texas, the U.S. state that annually generates the most electricity, the transition from coal to natural gas for electricity generation is saving water and making the state less vulnerable to drought. Read more about the new study by Bridget Scanlon of UT Austin’s Bureau of Economic Geology.
UT professor patents new approach to biofuels production
Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering have developed new biofuels from genetically engineered yeast cells and ordinary table sugar. The yeast produces oils and fats known as lipids that can be used in place of petroleum-derived products. Chemical Engineering Professor Hal Alper calls the cell-based platform “a renewable version of sweet crude” because the yeast grows on sugars. The work was published in Nature Communications on Jan. 20.
Mechanical Engineering student explores emerging technology for advanced energy storage
Robert Fares, a graduate student in UT Austin’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, is tackling one of the most complex and vexing challenges facing power grid operators today: how to cost-effectively balance supply and demand for electricity. Working with Professor Michael Webber, Fares is studying a promising technology, known as battery vanadium redox flow. Read more about their work and see the article published in Applied Energy.
Book explores water use for cooling in thermoelectric power plants
Water use in steam cycle power plants is the focus of a new book edited by Dr. Carey King, an assistant director at the Energy Institute. Thermal Power Plant Cooling: Context and Engineering, published by ASME Press in New York, examines fundamental engineering issues surrounding water use for cooling in thermoelectric power plants, as well as the environmental and economic impacts of such water usage at a time of increasing human demands on fresh water and groundwater supplies. Go here to browse the book’s table of contents.
Energy Institute director one of four UT Austin professors elected to National Academy of Engineering
Dr. Thomas F. Edgar, director of UT Austin’s Energy Institute and a longtime chemical engineering professor, was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Dr. Edgar is one of four professors from UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering to be elected to the prestigious academy this year – the highest number of new members elected among universities from across the United States. For more, read the university’s press release.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“UT Austin has grown into a research and teaching powerhouse, both educating the next generation of scientists and engineers and helping to drive cutting-edge research and innovation.”
Energy Institute hosts screening and panel discussion of “Pandora’s Promise”
On February 4, the Energy Institute hosted a screening of “Pandora’s Promise,” a controversial documentary that examines the conversion of several environmentalists and energy experts from fiercely anti- to strongly pro-nuclear power. Following the screening, Dr. Fred Beach, Assistant Director for Policy Studies at the Energy Institute, moderated a panel discussion. Go here to view photos and a video of the panel discussion.
UT Austin to Host 2014 International Greenhouse Gas Technologies Conference
UT Austin has been selected to host 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.