UT Scientist Joins White House Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage

Meckel Headshot 2021
Tip Meckel

Tip Meckel, a senior research scientist at the Bureau of Economic Geology at The University of Texas at Austin, has been named to a White House task force on carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) – a suite of technologies that can help mitigate climate change by keeping carbon dioxide emissions out of the atmosphere.

Meckel has almost two decades of CCUS experience. His most recent research is focused on assessing the suitability of geologic formations in the Gulf of Mexico for permanent carbon storage. Under the right conditions, CO2 that is stored in geologic formations is permanently isolated from the atmosphere.

Meckel has served as an expert technical resource on carbon storage for state lawmakers in Texas and Alaska, and federal committee meetings. He said that he is excited to apply his CCUS expertise and experience on the task force.

“It’s a great opportunity to take that experience and join a conversation that will help shape something that will probably make one of the biggest impacts on CO2 reductions in the country for coming decades,” Meckel said.

Meckel is among 35 experts selected by the White House Council on Environmental Quality to form a task force on CCUS permitting and development in federal lands and the outer continental shelf. The council also named members to a task force to address the same issues in non-federal lands.

The task force members include experts from government, industry, policy and academia. UT is among five universities represented on the task forces.

Meckel is a researcher at the bureau’s Gulf Coast Carbon Center (GCCC), the largest academic research group in the country dedicated to studying all aspects of carbon storage, according to Meckel. Recently, the center partnered with the Port of Corpus Christi, the country’s largest energy port, to conduct a feasibility study on diverting CO2 emissions from industry into geologic formations in nearby state-managed waters.

Meckel said that the subsurface of the Gulf of Mexico offers ample space to safely and permanently store CO2 emissions. However, questions about permitting, regulations and cost have impeded development of carbon storage operations. He said that the input offered by the task force can help change that.

“The results of the task force and the development of the rules and regulations, and financial support,  for the federal offshore is a really pivotal moment in the in the ability of the nation to capture and store the admissions from existing facilities.” Meckel said.

The Gulf Coast Carbon Center is a research group at the Bureau of Economic Geology in the Jackson School of Geosciences. Bureau Director Scott Tinker said that Meckel’s inclusion on the task force will help contribute to science-based policies that can help advance the transition to lower emissions energy.

“The inclusion of Tip on the task force is a wonderful recognition of his prominence in the field, the two-decade history of Gulf Coast Carbon Center scientific leadership, and the key role the bureau plays in facilitating international programs in energy and the environment,” said Tinker, who with Senior Research Scientist Sue Hovorka started the GCCC over 20 years ago. “It’s just the kind of impact we hope to see.”