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.
Portfolio Program in Energy Studies to begin in spring 2014
The Energy Institute has established an interdisciplinary Graduate Portfolio Program in Energy Studies (GPPES) that will begin in the spring of 2014. All students will be required to take the gateway course, “Energy Technology and Policy,” currently offered by four colleges/schools at UT Austin, and complete an energy-oriented research project. Read more.
UT Energy Symposium kicks off fall semester of guest lectures
The fall 2013 UT Energy Symposium, a weekly lecture series sponsored by the Energy Institute, presents guest lecturers from industry, academia and government on diverse issues – everything from sustainable energy and natural gas for transportation to nuclear power in a post-Fukushima world. The series, hosted by LBJ School Professor Varun Rai, is held on Thursday afternoons in the Avaya Auditorium (POB 2.302) from 5:15 p.m. – 6:15 p.m. Students who register for the symposium receive one credit-hour for the 15-week seminar course, which is open to undergraduate and graduate students. Go here for the fall 2013 schedule of lectures.
Research shows methane emissions in line with EPA estimates
A new study from UT Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering led by Professor David Allen finds that total methane emissions released from natural gas production are comparable to recent estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The study, funded by a unique partnership between the Environmental Defense Fund and several energy companies, was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. For more, read the press release.
Study shows small earthquakes in the Eagle Ford region of Texas correlate with oil and water extraction, not wastewater injection
Most of the small earthquakes in the Eagle Ford region of South Texas may be a result of extraction of large volumes of oil and water, according to new research by Dr. Cliff Frohlich, associate director at UT Austin’s Institute for Geophysics. The results, published in an online edition of the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, show the Eagle Ford area contrasts sharply with the Barnett Shale region of North Texas, where Frohlich and colleagues previously reported that earthquakes likely were triggered by the injection of waste water from hydraulic fracturing. Read more in a Jackson School of Geosciences press release and news coverage of the study.
Improving Water Recycling at Hydraulic Fracturing Sites
A research team led by Chemical Engineering Professor Benny Freeman has developed a membrane-based filtration system that improves the efficiency of treating and safely reusing water used in hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells. The system has the potential to greatly reduce the amount of water and energy that hydraulic fracturing requires. Learn more about this research on the Cockrell School of Engineering website and the Journal of Membrane Science.
Austin ranked among top 10 energy efficient cities
Austin is one of the most energy efficient big cities in the U.S., according to a new report issued by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The ACEEE’s report, 2013 City Energy Efficiency Scorecard, ranks the most populous U.S. cities on policies to advance energy efficiency and includes recommendations and strategies for all cities to lower energy use.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
“The overall goal was to measure methane emissions during production at a large number of recently developed sites, and to assess the national implications for methane emissions.”
Professor David Allen, on his recent study of methane emissions from hydraulically fractured natural gas wells.
2nd annual Water Technology and Policy Conference Austin, Texas | October 22 – 23
Professor Michael Webber, along with UT Austin alumni Dr. Ashlynn Stillwell and Raj Bhattarai, will lead this two-day seminar on the past, present and future of water in society, with focus on Texas. Participants will be introduced to the hydrological cycle; differences among treatment methods and technologies; water infrastructure; and societal aspects of water as a precious commodity in culture, economics, war, and international affairs. Go here to learn more and register for the conference.
Defense Energy Summit | Austin, Texas | November
Top officials in the U.S. Department of Defense will host a two-day conference to identify, develop and deploy new energy solutions for the nation’s armed services and its operational facilities worldwide. This unique event will bring together energy providers, project financiers, major contractors and start-ups to explore ways to increase the safety of U.S. troops, lower energy costs, and reduce reliance on foreign energy supplies. The Energy Institute is one of many sponsors of this unique event. Read more.
Microgrid RODEO Summit | Research on Distributed Electricity Operations Austin, Texas | December 3 – 4
Join researchers and other experts for a first-of-its-kind event dedicated to examining emerging trends and important new research in the field of microgrids. Read more about the Microgrid Research on Distributed Electricity Operations (RODEO) Summit, hosted by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Electromechanics.