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.
UT Austin receives $58 million to lead methane hydrate research
A multi-university research team led by UT Austin has been awarded $58 million to analyze deposits of frozen methane in the Gulf of Mexico. The U.S. Department of Energy is providing more than $41 million to fund the work, with the remainder coming from industry and research partners. The grant will allow researchers to advance scientific understanding of methane hydrates, which have potential to greatly increase the world’s energy supply. Dr. Peter Flemings, a professor and research scientist in the Institute for Geophysics at the Jackson School of Geosciences, will serve as the project’s principal investigator. Researchers from The Ohio State University, Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, the Consortium for Ocean Leadership and the U.S. Geological Survey also will participate in the study. Go here for more and read news coverage in the Houston Chronicle and the Austin American-Statesman.
UT Energy Symposium profiled in “The Hook” video
The Energy Institute’s UT Energy Symposium (UTES) was featured in a new video produced by The Hook, a news show about UT Austin produced by the alumni association, Texas Exes. The weekly UTES, hosted by LBJ School of Public Affairs Professor Varun Rai, features engaging presentations from guest speakers on a range of topical energy issues. View the video here.
UT Austin students converting grease into biodiesel for university vehicles
A group of UT Austin engineering students plans to convert leftover grease from university dining halls and buildings into biodiesel fuel that eventually will power campus vehicles. Funded by a grant from the university, students purchased a biodiesel reactor, which is being assembled and stored at the Pickle Research Campus. The group hopes to begin releasing test batches of the fuel soon. For more, read an article in The Daily Texan and watch a video on Time Warner Cable news.
Digging deep into hydraulic fracturing
Long before hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, became a household word in the energy industry, Engineering Professor Mukul Sharma was conducting research on the technology that is largely credited for the recent boom in domestic oil and gas production. Today, Dr. Sharma and Ph.D. student Ripu Manchanda are working to understand the complex network of fractures, with particular focus on well and fracture spacing and the sequence of fractures. For more, read the feature story from the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department.
Energy 101 course app now available
Content from Energy 101, the groundbreaking Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) taught by UT Austin Engineering Professor Michael Webber, is now available for download as the first-of-its-kind Course App. Course App technology leverages software pioneered for digital publishing to integrate text, video, animation, graphics, and other content into an interactive learning environment on mobile devices. A desktop version is also available with the same suite of features and the same level of interactivity. Mobile apps can be purchased directly from the Apple App Store or Google Play and desktop versions are available at UT Press. For more information about the Course App or the Professional Education version of this course, visit energy101.com.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“I think methane hydrates are one of the most fascinating materials on the planet.”
Professor Peter Flemings on newly funded research into the ice-like solid compound that forms in low-temperature and high-pressure environments in sea floor sediments.
International greenhouse technology conference
The latest advances in Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) research were on full display recently at the International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Technologies (GHGT), hosted by UT Austin and attended by about 1,200 scientists, researchers and other stakeholders. While CCS could help reduce billions of tons of CO2 from fossil-fuel power plants, the technology remains economically practical in only a few situations. Dr. Gary Rochelle, a chemical engineering professor who leads the university’s Texas Carbon Management Program, discussed his team’s project during the GHGT. For more, read an article in the MIT Technology Review.
Mayoral candidate forum on clean energy policy
The Energy Institute, in cooperation with CleanTX, co-sponsored an October 1 forum for City of Austin mayoral candidates, with a focus on the area’s clean energy industry. Candidates talked about the City’s energy governance and procurement programs, economic development potential of Austin’s clean energy ecosystem, clean energy affiliations with UT Austin, and more. Clay Butler, managing partner at The Butler Firm, moderated a panel featuring mayoral candidates Mike Martinez, Sheryl Cole, and Steve Adler. For more, view a video of the forum.
Center for Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering 2014 Research Showcase
UT Austin’s Center for Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering (CPGE) will host a two-day meeting showcasing the latest research from graduate students, post-doctoral research fellows, research associates and faculty members on all aspects of subsurface engineering and characterization.
Defense Energy Summit & Innovation Showcase
Experts from industry, academia, NGOs and government will gather in Austin in November for three days of discussion on how to accelerate clean energy and infrastructure solutions for the U.S. Department of Defense. As a Supporting Partner, the Energy Institute will extend a 20% registration discount to attend the Defense Energy Summit. When registering, please use code: 14UTEI20. Read more.
UT Energy Week
Hold the date for the inaugural UT Energy Week, a gathering of experts in academia, industry, government and the non-profit world for an examination of 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 and the student-led Longhorn Energy Club with the participation of a dozen academic units engaged in energy related research on the UT Austin campus. Early bird registration begins December 1, 2014. Learn more.