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Read the 2014 Newsletter - A tradition since 1950, the Newsletter highlights research, news and achievements by Jackson School faculty, students, scientists and alumni

Read the 2014 Newsletter

A tradition since 1950, the Newsletter highlights research, news and achievements by Jackson School faculty, students, scientists and alumni

Video: GeoFORCE - Changing lives since 2005

Video: GeoFORCE

Changing lives since 2005

Video: Unveiling Earth's Surface - Airborne lidar at the Jackson School's Bureau of Economic Geology

Video: Unveiling Earth's Surface

Airborne lidar at the Jackson School's Bureau of Economic Geology

Video: New Stash of Ice Age Fossils

Video: New Stash of Ice Age Fossils

Video: Fire, Ice & Huge Quantity of Potential Energy - Researchers at the Jackson School of Geosciences are leading a project to learn more about frozen methane under the Gulf of Mexico

Video: Fire, Ice & Huge Quantity of Potential Energy

Researchers at the Jackson School of Geosciences are leading a project to learn more about frozen methane under the Gulf of Mexico

The Miracle of Flight - A graduate student discovers the largest flying animal in history: the Texas Pterosaur

The Miracle of Flight

A graduate student discovers the largest flying animal in history: the Texas Pterosaur

Risk of Amazon Rainforest Dieback is Higher Than IPCC Projects

Risk of Amazon Rainforest Dieback is Higher Than IPCC Projects

When state geologist Scott Tinker visited the Chronicle editorial board last week, he told us that industry regulators and professionals need to improve on the technique to further protect the environment. We agree. Houston Chronicle, December 8, 2014 Featuring: Scott Tinker, director of...

JAN
09

BEG Friday Seminar Series
9:00 AM

BEG Friday Seminar Series

  Start: January 9, 2015 at 9:00 am     End: January 9, 2015 at 10:00 am
 Location:BEG Main Conference Room; Building 130; PRC Campus
 Contact:Sophia Ortiz, sophia.ortiz@beg.utexas.edu, 512.475.9588
 URL:Event Link
Bruce Cutright
Project Manager, STARR Geothermal Research Program
Bureau of Economic Geology

Abstract:
The Bureau of Economic Geology was at the forefront of geothermal research in deep sediments throughout the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. Lower oil prices and a national emphasis on wind and solar energy led to a decline in interest in geothermal research at the Bureau. Nationally and internationally, however, there continued to be dynamic programs for development of high temperature magmatic sources of geothermal energy so that today, there are over 3,400 MWs of installed geothermal generating capacity in the United States, and over 13,000 MWs of installed capacity worldwide. The SMU Geothermal Lab led by David Blackwell maintained an active and productive research program during the interim period of the 1990s to 2008 and fortunately, beginning in 2009, the Bureau joined with SMU and with the Arizona State Geological Survey to revive and expand geothermal research at the Bureau. What has been accomplished over the last six years? Most importantly, with funding provided by the US Department of Energy, the Bureau of Economic Geology participated in populating the National Geothermal Data System (http://geothermaldata.org/). This is a catalog of documents and datasets that provide information nationwide on geothermal energy resources. SMU also maintains a data access node that can be found at (http://geothermal.smu.edu/gtda/). The purposes of developing the data sets were to assist private developers in reducing risk at the exploration stage of geothermal energy projects. SMU and The Bureau together provided the largest contribution of geothermal information to this national program, more than any other state.

Continuing research at the Bureau has focused on analyzing the information contained in the newly accessible electronic files and in understanding the trends and anomalies that are beginning to reveal themselves using computer-aided statistical analysis. Further, and building on reservoir analysis methodologies from the petroleum industry, we are assembling information on formation thicknesses and projected yields for those zones that contain fluids sufficient for geothermal energy production. The bottom hole temperature dataset has also proved valuable to other researchers at the Bureau and in particular, has assisted in the analyses ongoing within the Sloan Shale Gas project. In cooperation with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories we have completed a project looking at the efficiencies of using supercritical carbon dioxide as a heat extraction fluid. The proposed climate mitigation program, of carbon sequestration in deep geological repositories, is a costly but may be a viable program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, but if these same volumes of carbon dioxide are compressed into a supercritical state, and used as a heat extraction fluid, the efficiency of the production of geothermal energy can be increased by over 50 percent while at the same time permanently sequestrating large volumes of carbon dioxide. The economics of this approach may be sufficiently attractive to overcome the added cost of carbon capture; this is an active area of research now, both here at the Bureau and in the UT Petroleum Engineering Department.

The Bureau is also engaged in assessing the economic competitiveness of geothermal energy in the State with support from the STARR program. Geothermal energy production has several advantages over wind and solar as geothermal is not intermittent in nature and can serve as base load power supply. Further, land use per installed megawatt is significantly less with geothermal and there are no carbon emissions. Capital costs per installed megawatt are generally higher for geothermal per name plate installed megawatt when compared with solar and wind while the Levelized cost of energy is generally less for geothermal. Solar and wind power generation LCOE do not include the cost of system integration or the additional costs to address the intermittency of the source. Coal and natural gas are still less costly in cents per kilowatt-hour, but if the additional cost of carbon capture or carbon sequestration are included, geothermal energy production then becomes the most cost effective method of power generation of renewable or conventional energy sources.

Acknowledgments:
The following have provided substantial contribution to this presentation:

William Ambrose, PI for STARR Oil and Gas and a source of Reservoir Information and Parameters
Svetlana Ikonnikova, PI Sloan Project and a source of economic insight
Bob Hardage, Geophysics applied to thermal boundaries
Daniel Zafar, Research Assistant
Tracy Terrall, Research Assistant
Harold Rogers, GIS
Dave Blackwell, Maria Richards and Cathy Chickering at SMU Geothermal Lab

JAN
22

Tech Sessions Speaker Series: Elizabeth Catlos
4:00 AM

BEG Friday Seminar Series

  Start: January 9, 2015 at 9:00 am     End: January 9, 2015 at 10:00 am
 Location:BEG Main Conference Room; Building 130; PRC Campus
 Contact:Sophia Ortiz, sophia.ortiz@beg.utexas.edu, 512.475.9588
 URL:Event Link
Bruce Cutright
Project Manager, STARR Geothermal Research Program
Bureau of Economic Geology

Abstract:
The Bureau of Economic Geology was at the forefront of geothermal research in deep sediments throughout the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. Lower oil prices and a national emphasis on wind and solar energy led to a decline in interest in geothermal research at the Bureau. Nationally and internationally, however, there continued to be dynamic programs for development of high temperature magmatic sources of geothermal energy so that today, there are over 3,400 MWs of installed geothermal generating capacity in the United States, and over 13,000 MWs of installed capacity worldwide. The SMU Geothermal Lab led by David Blackwell maintained an active and productive research program during the interim period of the 1990s to 2008 and fortunately, beginning in 2009, the Bureau joined with SMU and with the Arizona State Geological Survey to revive and expand geothermal research at the Bureau. What has been accomplished over the last six years? Most importantly, with funding provided by the US Department of Energy, the Bureau of Economic Geology participated in populating the National Geothermal Data System (http://geothermaldata.org/). This is a catalog of documents and datasets that provide information nationwide on geothermal energy resources. SMU also maintains a data access node that can be found at (http://geothermal.smu.edu/gtda/). The purposes of developing the data sets were to assist private developers in reducing risk at the exploration stage of geothermal energy projects. SMU and The Bureau together provided the largest contribution of geothermal information to this national program, more than any other state.

Continuing research at the Bureau has focused on analyzing the information contained in the newly accessible electronic files and in understanding the trends and anomalies that are beginning to reveal themselves using computer-aided statistical analysis. Further, and building on reservoir analysis methodologies from the petroleum industry, we are assembling information on formation thicknesses and projected yields for those zones that contain fluids sufficient for geothermal energy production. The bottom hole temperature dataset has also proved valuable to other researchers at the Bureau and in particular, has assisted in the analyses ongoing within the Sloan Shale Gas project. In cooperation with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories we have completed a project looking at the efficiencies of using supercritical carbon dioxide as a heat extraction fluid. The proposed climate mitigation program, of carbon sequestration in deep geological repositories, is a costly but may be a viable program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, but if these same volumes of carbon dioxide are compressed into a supercritical state, and used as a heat extraction fluid, the efficiency of the production of geothermal energy can be increased by over 50 percent while at the same time permanently sequestrating large volumes of carbon dioxide. The economics of this approach may be sufficiently attractive to overcome the added cost of carbon capture; this is an active area of research now, both here at the Bureau and in the UT Petroleum Engineering Department.

The Bureau is also engaged in assessing the economic competitiveness of geothermal energy in the State with support from the STARR program. Geothermal energy production has several advantages over wind and solar as geothermal is not intermittent in nature and can serve as base load power supply. Further, land use per installed megawatt is significantly less with geothermal and there are no carbon emissions. Capital costs per installed megawatt are generally higher for geothermal per name plate installed megawatt when compared with solar and wind while the Levelized cost of energy is generally less for geothermal. Solar and wind power generation LCOE do not include the cost of system integration or the additional costs to address the intermittency of the source. Coal and natural gas are still less costly in cents per kilowatt-hour, but if the additional cost of carbon capture or carbon sequestration are included, geothermal energy production then becomes the most cost effective method of power generation of renewable or conventional energy sources.

Acknowledgments:
The following have provided substantial contribution to this presentation:

William Ambrose, PI for STARR Oil and Gas and a source of Reservoir Information and Parameters
Svetlana Ikonnikova, PI Sloan Project and a source of economic insight
Bob Hardage, Geophysics applied to thermal boundaries
Daniel Zafar, Research Assistant
Tracy Terrall, Research Assistant
Harold Rogers, GIS
Dave Blackwell, Maria Richards and Cathy Chickering at SMU Geothermal Lab

Tech Sessions Speaker Series: Elizabeth Catlos

  Start: January 22, 2015 at 4:00 am     End: January 22, 2015 at 5:00 am

JAN
23

BEG Friday Seminar Series
9:00 AM

BEG Friday Seminar Series

  Start: January 9, 2015 at 9:00 am     End: January 9, 2015 at 10:00 am
 Location:BEG Main Conference Room; Building 130; PRC Campus
 Contact:Sophia Ortiz, sophia.ortiz@beg.utexas.edu, 512.475.9588
 URL:Event Link
Bruce Cutright
Project Manager, STARR Geothermal Research Program
Bureau of Economic Geology

Abstract:
The Bureau of Economic Geology was at the forefront of geothermal research in deep sediments throughout the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. Lower oil prices and a national emphasis on wind and solar energy led to a decline in interest in geothermal research at the Bureau. Nationally and internationally, however, there continued to be dynamic programs for development of high temperature magmatic sources of geothermal energy so that today, there are over 3,400 MWs of installed geothermal generating capacity in the United States, and over 13,000 MWs of installed capacity worldwide. The SMU Geothermal Lab led by David Blackwell maintained an active and productive research program during the interim period of the 1990s to 2008 and fortunately, beginning in 2009, the Bureau joined with SMU and with the Arizona State Geological Survey to revive and expand geothermal research at the Bureau. What has been accomplished over the last six years? Most importantly, with funding provided by the US Department of Energy, the Bureau of Economic Geology participated in populating the National Geothermal Data System (http://geothermaldata.org/). This is a catalog of documents and datasets that provide information nationwide on geothermal energy resources. SMU also maintains a data access node that can be found at (http://geothermal.smu.edu/gtda/). The purposes of developing the data sets were to assist private developers in reducing risk at the exploration stage of geothermal energy projects. SMU and The Bureau together provided the largest contribution of geothermal information to this national program, more than any other state.

Continuing research at the Bureau has focused on analyzing the information contained in the newly accessible electronic files and in understanding the trends and anomalies that are beginning to reveal themselves using computer-aided statistical analysis. Further, and building on reservoir analysis methodologies from the petroleum industry, we are assembling information on formation thicknesses and projected yields for those zones that contain fluids sufficient for geothermal energy production. The bottom hole temperature dataset has also proved valuable to other researchers at the Bureau and in particular, has assisted in the analyses ongoing within the Sloan Shale Gas project. In cooperation with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories we have completed a project looking at the efficiencies of using supercritical carbon dioxide as a heat extraction fluid. The proposed climate mitigation program, of carbon sequestration in deep geological repositories, is a costly but may be a viable program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, but if these same volumes of carbon dioxide are compressed into a supercritical state, and used as a heat extraction fluid, the efficiency of the production of geothermal energy can be increased by over 50 percent while at the same time permanently sequestrating large volumes of carbon dioxide. The economics of this approach may be sufficiently attractive to overcome the added cost of carbon capture; this is an active area of research now, both here at the Bureau and in the UT Petroleum Engineering Department.

The Bureau is also engaged in assessing the economic competitiveness of geothermal energy in the State with support from the STARR program. Geothermal energy production has several advantages over wind and solar as geothermal is not intermittent in nature and can serve as base load power supply. Further, land use per installed megawatt is significantly less with geothermal and there are no carbon emissions. Capital costs per installed megawatt are generally higher for geothermal per name plate installed megawatt when compared with solar and wind while the Levelized cost of energy is generally less for geothermal. Solar and wind power generation LCOE do not include the cost of system integration or the additional costs to address the intermittency of the source. Coal and natural gas are still less costly in cents per kilowatt-hour, but if the additional cost of carbon capture or carbon sequestration are included, geothermal energy production then becomes the most cost effective method of power generation of renewable or conventional energy sources.

Acknowledgments:
The following have provided substantial contribution to this presentation:

William Ambrose, PI for STARR Oil and Gas and a source of Reservoir Information and Parameters
Svetlana Ikonnikova, PI Sloan Project and a source of economic insight
Bob Hardage, Geophysics applied to thermal boundaries
Daniel Zafar, Research Assistant
Tracy Terrall, Research Assistant
Harold Rogers, GIS
Dave Blackwell, Maria Richards and Cathy Chickering at SMU Geothermal Lab

Tech Sessions Speaker Series: Elizabeth Catlos

  Start: January 22, 2015 at 4:00 am     End: January 22, 2015 at 5:00 am

BEG Friday Seminar Series

  Start: January 23, 2015 at 9:00 am     End: January 23, 2015 at 10:00 am
 Location:BEG Main Conference Room; Building 130; PRC Campus
 Contact:Sophia Ortiz, sophia.ortiz@beg.utexas.edu, 512.475.9588
 URL:Event Link
Tim Dixon
Manager of Technical Programme and Manager CCS and Regulatory Affairs
IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme (IEAGHG)

Abstract:
The way that Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) is viewed is changing. The recent IPCC AR5 report’s analysis provides strong justification for the role of CCS, in addition to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) assessments of low carbon technologies in future energy systems. It seems CCS is becoming increasingly important to the finance sector also. The investment in and value of fossil energy reserves and resources appears to be of increasing concern to stakeholders, with the Bank of England launching a review on this topic in the perspective of stranded assets and risks to financial stability. All of this comes together under the UNFCCC and the work for a future climate agreement in Paris in 2015. IEA has also looked at how different UNFCCC mechanisms and funds could support CCS activities. Scientific research at BEG and elsewhere has played a role in this evolution of CCS’s role in climate change. With ambitions for a new climate agreement in Paris in 2015, future emissions mitigation and climate adaptation needs along with funding mechanisms will utilize such scientific information increasingly into the future. An update on CCS and science in this wide perspective of the UNFCCC will be presented.

JAN
27

Tech Sessions Speaker Series: PhD Talk
4:00 PM

BEG Friday Seminar Series

  Start: January 9, 2015 at 9:00 am     End: January 9, 2015 at 10:00 am
 Location:BEG Main Conference Room; Building 130; PRC Campus
 Contact:Sophia Ortiz, sophia.ortiz@beg.utexas.edu, 512.475.9588
 URL:Event Link
Bruce Cutright
Project Manager, STARR Geothermal Research Program
Bureau of Economic Geology

Abstract:
The Bureau of Economic Geology was at the forefront of geothermal research in deep sediments throughout the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. Lower oil prices and a national emphasis on wind and solar energy led to a decline in interest in geothermal research at the Bureau. Nationally and internationally, however, there continued to be dynamic programs for development of high temperature magmatic sources of geothermal energy so that today, there are over 3,400 MWs of installed geothermal generating capacity in the United States, and over 13,000 MWs of installed capacity worldwide. The SMU Geothermal Lab led by David Blackwell maintained an active and productive research program during the interim period of the 1990s to 2008 and fortunately, beginning in 2009, the Bureau joined with SMU and with the Arizona State Geological Survey to revive and expand geothermal research at the Bureau. What has been accomplished over the last six years? Most importantly, with funding provided by the US Department of Energy, the Bureau of Economic Geology participated in populating the National Geothermal Data System (http://geothermaldata.org/). This is a catalog of documents and datasets that provide information nationwide on geothermal energy resources. SMU also maintains a data access node that can be found at (http://geothermal.smu.edu/gtda/). The purposes of developing the data sets were to assist private developers in reducing risk at the exploration stage of geothermal energy projects. SMU and The Bureau together provided the largest contribution of geothermal information to this national program, more than any other state.

Continuing research at the Bureau has focused on analyzing the information contained in the newly accessible electronic files and in understanding the trends and anomalies that are beginning to reveal themselves using computer-aided statistical analysis. Further, and building on reservoir analysis methodologies from the petroleum industry, we are assembling information on formation thicknesses and projected yields for those zones that contain fluids sufficient for geothermal energy production. The bottom hole temperature dataset has also proved valuable to other researchers at the Bureau and in particular, has assisted in the analyses ongoing within the Sloan Shale Gas project. In cooperation with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories we have completed a project looking at the efficiencies of using supercritical carbon dioxide as a heat extraction fluid. The proposed climate mitigation program, of carbon sequestration in deep geological repositories, is a costly but may be a viable program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, but if these same volumes of carbon dioxide are compressed into a supercritical state, and used as a heat extraction fluid, the efficiency of the production of geothermal energy can be increased by over 50 percent while at the same time permanently sequestrating large volumes of carbon dioxide. The economics of this approach may be sufficiently attractive to overcome the added cost of carbon capture; this is an active area of research now, both here at the Bureau and in the UT Petroleum Engineering Department.

The Bureau is also engaged in assessing the economic competitiveness of geothermal energy in the State with support from the STARR program. Geothermal energy production has several advantages over wind and solar as geothermal is not intermittent in nature and can serve as base load power supply. Further, land use per installed megawatt is significantly less with geothermal and there are no carbon emissions. Capital costs per installed megawatt are generally higher for geothermal per name plate installed megawatt when compared with solar and wind while the Levelized cost of energy is generally less for geothermal. Solar and wind power generation LCOE do not include the cost of system integration or the additional costs to address the intermittency of the source. Coal and natural gas are still less costly in cents per kilowatt-hour, but if the additional cost of carbon capture or carbon sequestration are included, geothermal energy production then becomes the most cost effective method of power generation of renewable or conventional energy sources.

Acknowledgments:
The following have provided substantial contribution to this presentation:

William Ambrose, PI for STARR Oil and Gas and a source of Reservoir Information and Parameters
Svetlana Ikonnikova, PI Sloan Project and a source of economic insight
Bob Hardage, Geophysics applied to thermal boundaries
Daniel Zafar, Research Assistant
Tracy Terrall, Research Assistant
Harold Rogers, GIS
Dave Blackwell, Maria Richards and Cathy Chickering at SMU Geothermal Lab

Tech Sessions Speaker Series: Elizabeth Catlos

  Start: January 22, 2015 at 4:00 am     End: January 22, 2015 at 5:00 am

BEG Friday Seminar Series

  Start: January 23, 2015 at 9:00 am     End: January 23, 2015 at 10:00 am
 Location:BEG Main Conference Room; Building 130; PRC Campus
 Contact:Sophia Ortiz, sophia.ortiz@beg.utexas.edu, 512.475.9588
 URL:Event Link
Tim Dixon
Manager of Technical Programme and Manager CCS and Regulatory Affairs
IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme (IEAGHG)

Abstract:
The way that Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) is viewed is changing. The recent IPCC AR5 report’s analysis provides strong justification for the role of CCS, in addition to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA’s) assessments of low carbon technologies in future energy systems. It seems CCS is becoming increasingly important to the finance sector also. The investment in and value of fossil energy reserves and resources appears to be of increasing concern to stakeholders, with the Bank of England launching a review on this topic in the perspective of stranded assets and risks to financial stability. All of this comes together under the UNFCCC and the work for a future climate agreement in Paris in 2015. IEA has also looked at how different UNFCCC mechanisms and funds could support CCS activities. Scientific research at BEG and elsewhere has played a role in this evolution of CCS’s role in climate change. With ambitions for a new climate agreement in Paris in 2015, future emissions mitigation and climate adaptation needs along with funding mechanisms will utilize such scientific information increasingly into the future. An update on CCS and science in this wide perspective of the UNFCCC will be presented.

Tech Sessions Speaker Series: PhD Talk

  Start: January 27, 2015 at 4:00 pm     End: January 27, 2015 at 5:00 pm

more →

Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellows Program - Deadline to apply is Dec. 1, 2014
Deadline to apply is Dec. 1, 2014
New Salt Tectonics Complex - Honoring Martin Jackson, raising funds towards a newly renovated Salt Tectonics Modeling Complex
Honoring Martin Jackson, raising funds towards a newly renovated Salt Tectonics Modeling Complex
Geoscience Education - Summit on Future of Undergraduate Geoscience Education: Summary Report & Survey
Summit on Future of Undergraduate Geoscience Education: Summary Report & Survey
GeoFORCE Challenge Match - This endowment has launched to ensure the continuation of this critical program
This endowment has launched to ensure the continuation of this critical program
Work at JSG - The Jackson School is hiring. Apply online.
The Jackson School is hiring. Apply online.
Find a Supervisor - Grad students work with over 70 scientists in 9 research disciplines
Grad students work with over 70 scientists in 9 research disciplines
 
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