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.
Experts share insights on oil and gas industry trends, findings from Shale Resource and Reserve Study
Experts from UT Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences and Bureau of Economic Geology’s (BEG) Center for Energy Economics (CEE) shared their insights into the latest oil and gas industry trends and ongoing shale gas and oil research during last month’s UT Energy Week. Dr. Michelle Michot Foss, chief economist for the CEE, discussed international oil and gas supply, demand and business dynamics, and Dr. Svetlana Ikonnikova, co-principal investigator of the Bureau’s Shale Resource and Reserve Study, updated conference attendees on the methodology, models and key projections of the main U.S. shale plays.
UT researchers develop novel design for enhancing oil well pump performance through elimination of paraffin buildup
Three UT Austin researchers have developed a new invention to relieve one of the “major maintenance headaches” for oil drillers of mature oil wells – the build-up of wax and paraffin in the drill pipe that accelerates pump wear and can constrict the flow of oil. Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Prof. Mukul Sharma, along with Drs. Raymond Zowarka, Jr. and Siddharth Pratap, in UT’s Center for Electromechanics, have developed a design that generates heat at a localized spot in the production tubing string, melting any wax and paraffin buildup. No external power supply is required, as the heat is generated from the relative motion between a set of magnets and a magnetically conductive surface. Since the invention integrates the heater with existing infrastructure, it requires no changes to the pump jack method of oil delivery. Read more.
Edgar: UT Energy Week featured “first-rate” program
The first annual UT Energy Week proved to be an effective way of bringing together UT Austin faculty, students, and alumni with stakeholders from the energy industry, government agencies, non-profit groups and others interested in learning about vital energy issues facing society, said Energy Institute Director Dr. Tom Edgar. Visit the UT Energy Week website for news coverage of the week’s events, a wrap-up video and a collection of photos from the conference. Read more.
Prof. John Goodenough, father of the lithium-ion battery, still going strong at 92
UT Austin Engineering Prof. John Goodenough, credited for inventing the key component to the ubiquitous lithium-ion battery 35 years ago, is still at work, pushing hard to solve the riddle of an economic ‘super battery’ that can store power on a commercial scale. Dr. Goodenough, elected in 2012 to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his distinguished and continuing achievements in original research, gave a presentation on battery storage during UT Energy Week. For more on this legendary figure, read a profile in Quartz magazine.
University offers electric vehicle drivers charging stations at two locations
UT Austin is now offering electric vehicle drivers to charge while at work through a partnership with Austin Energy’s Plug-in EVerywhere network. The service allows university EV drivers to recharge their EV batteries in the San Antonio parking garage and in Lot 202 of the university’s Pickle Research Center campus in north Austin. The charging stations, which are not connected to the university’s microgrid, are available to UT faculty, staff, and students on a first-come, first-served basis. Go here to learn more or here to subscribe to the Plug-in EVerywhere network.
Energy Institute joins American Energy Society
UT Austin’s Energy Institute has joined the American Energy Society (AES), a non-profit, non-partisan network of more than 10,000 energy professionals and students that offers support for experts conducting energy-related research. Members of the AES include thought-leaders in science and engineering, industry and small business, academia and national laboratories, public and private funding, and policy and administration. Through its web-based platform and social media channels, the AES connects experts and notifies members of policy changes and innovations, groundbreaking discoveries, upcoming conferences, new publications and awards, fellowships, and job openings – all of which are tailored to fit customized individual profiles and preferences. To learn more about AES watch a brief introductory video or visit www.energysociety.org.
Environmental Science Institute targets K-12 STEM teachers, budding scientists
UT Austin’s Environmental Science Institute (ESI) captivated the attention of K-12 science teachers and students recently with a series of hands-on, interactive events aimed at furthering energy literacy during the first annual UT Energy Week. Activities included two day-long workshops, during which Central Texas teachers heard from UT Austin graduate students and local K-12 teachers involved in ESI’s Scientist in Residence program; a tour of the university’s acclaimed power station and microgrid; and the latest installment in ESI’s popular lecture series, Hot Science – Cool Talks, featuring a presentation by Engineering Professor Michael Webber. Read more.
EPA Clean Power Plan compliance workshop
A new and controversial federal rule requiring electric utilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants will be the subject of a special workshop next month on the UT Austin campus. If enacted, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Rule 111(d) – known as the Clean Power Plan will have significant implications for the economy and the environment, both in Texas and across the country. At the April 8 workshop, co-hosted by the Central Texas Association for Energy Economics and UT’s Energy Institute, experts will address technical aspects of the Clean Power Plan, with a focus on economic modeling scenarios and compliance strategies. The seminar, which is free but requires advance registration, will not cover political aspects of the Rule, but will provide information useful to policymakers. Read more about this event or contact Neil McAndrews to register.
Latin American Forum on Energy and the Environment
Scientists and scholars from Mexico and the United States will be joined by private and public sector decision-makers next month for a series of technical panels and candid discussions on hot-button energy issues at the