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.
Bureau of Economic Geology to lead $4.5 million research program to monitor and catalog earthquakes
UT Austin’s Bureau of Economic Geology will lead new research aimed at locating and cataloging seismic activity in Texas, with particular focus on earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or larger in urban areas or in areas where human activities might contribute to earthquakes. The $4.5 million TexNet Seismic Monitoring Program will feature the installation of at least 22 permanent seismometers in key locations, augmenting the 16 units already in place. Another 36 portable seismometers will be staged in Bureau of Economic Geology facilities across the state. For more, read a press release and articles from the Dallas Morning News, WFAA, and the Houston Chronicle.
KBH Center surveys utility executives, regulators for preferred methods of complying with EPA Clean Power Plan
A large majority of electric utility executives, state regulatory officials, and other industry stakeholders say individual states, rather than the federal government, are better suited to develop plans for complying with the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan, according to a survey by the Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law and Business. Two out of three survey respondents support mass-based options to comply with the EPA plan, while only 11 percent prefer rate-based trading. Survey respondents were divided on the use of renewable portfolio standards and energy efficiency measures. For more, read the press release and an article in Megawatt Daily.
Center for Energy Economics analysis: rise in LTO, NGLs production present challenges for entire oil and gas value chain
The surge in domestic production of Light Tight Oil (LTO) and Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) presents challenges for the entire oil and gas value chain, according to a new analysis conducted by UT Austin’s Center for Energy Economics (CEE). Given that most of the current refining capacity is configured for heavier crudes, midstream companies are struggling to build out sufficient infrastructure where the new production is occurring, while the upstream sector must find markets for LTO and NGLs that provide sufficient returns for drilling and development. Read more.
New research shows 2.1 million premature deaths worldwide could be prevented by cutting air pollution
New research led by UT Austin Engineering Professor Joshua Apte concludes that cleaning up dirty air could prevent up to 2.1 million premature deaths every year, mostly in Asia. The study, released by a team of US-based environmental engineering and public health researchers, features a new global model for determining the benefit of cutting air pollution to limits specified by the World Health Organization. Improving air quality in India and China would save about 75 percent of the total number of deaths that could be avoided from cleaner air, the study reports. Read more.
Engineering Prof. Gary Rochelle recognized for outstanding achievements in carbon capture
Chemical Engineering Professor Gary Rochelle, who leads UT Austin’s Texas Carbon Management Center, was awarded the 2015 SINTEF and NTNU CCS Award for his long-lasting contributions to carbon capture, particularly for his efforts in the development of post-combustion technologies. Dr. Rochelle received the award during the eighth annual “Trondheim Conference of CO₂ Capture, Transport and Storage” in Trondheim, Norway. The Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology selected Dr. Rochelle for his outstanding achievements in the field of carbon capture, transport and storage, including the control of air pollution by acid gases, carbon dioxide and air toxics, CO₂ capture and CO₂ mass transfer with chemical reaction. Read more.
Energy Institute Director Prof. Thomas Edgar receives top honor from American Automatic Control Council
Thomas F. Edgar, director of the Energy Institute at The University of Texas at Austin and Professor of chemical engineering in UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering, has been named the recipient of the 2015 Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award. It is the highest recognition from the American Automatic Control Council, awarded for distinguished contributions to automatic control theory or application. Read more.
Pope Francis’ call for drastic reductions in emissions from fossil fuels is “indirectly addressing the issue of sustainability, and I applaud that.”
Energy Institute Advisory Board member Henry Groppe, founder of energy industry forecasting firm, Groppe, Long & Littell.
The battle for hearts and minds, and oil
Political candidates in Texas will need to pay attention to the recent encyclical from Pope Francis, in which he cites scientific evidence of the human role in climate change, says UT Austin Prof. Jeremi Suri. The pope’s call for action to combat climate change will resonate with Texas’ 4.5 million Catholics, Dr. Suri asserts, which comprise roughly 18 percent of the state’s population. Energy Institute Advisory Board members Henry Groppe and Jim Marston also commented on the pope’s remarks in an article in the Houston Chronicle.
Prof. Michael Webber weighs in on the Pope, Jeb Bush, and climate change in latest Fortune op-ed
Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change, in which he calls for drastic reductions in fossil fuel emissions, may make life more complicated for politicians like Jeb Bush, who have tried to maintain a nuanced stance on the issue. Why? Because Jeb Bush, son, grandson and brother of famous Protestant politicians, is Catholic. Read more in Dr. Michael Webber’s latest op-ed in Fortune.