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By: Katie Carmichael
A Challenge In Texas For Scholarship Dollars
On May 1, twenty graduate students from five Texas universities will converge at the Texas Capitol with hopes of walking away winners. The prize? Scholarship dollars. The challenge? Uncover the most innovative, efficient and economical use for produced water.
Power Across Texas’ signature program, the Texas Energy Innovation Challenge (TEIC), is a unique and exciting scholarship competition in which graduate students from inter-disciplinary academic programs at major Texas universities are challenged to bring research and imagination to help solve an existing energy issue in our state. The program not only fosters development of relevant new ideas towards addressing key energy topics, it helps prepare Texas’ talented university graduate students for meaningful futures in the industry.
The 2015 TEIC is the third bi-annual competition, and this year’s chosen focus is more timely and significant than ever. We all know and appreciate how vital energy production is to our state, nation and economy. The oil and gas industry alone provided direct employment to 418,000 Texans in 2014 and supports over 40% of our state’s economy. Oil production reached 2 million barrels a day statewide in 2014, nearing all-time record levels, thanks to recent advancements in technology that have allowed for the recovery of resources from tight-rock formations once thought unattainable. Furthermore, the U.S. now has a rare and long-coveted opportunity to achieve energy security by producing more energy domestically than is imported.
However, as the amount of oil and gas produced from these shale formations increases, as does the amount of water used in such operations, specifically hydraulic fracturing. Additionally, Texas has been experiencing prolonged drought conditions while simultaneously realizing a rapidly increasing population. The potential for American energy independence and the continued success of the industry will substantially depend on the development of integrated and sustainable water management practices.
Who Is “PAT”?
Power Across Texas is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the understanding of significant energy issues to ensure a reliable and affordable energy supply, a robust economy and a bright future for Texas. With the critical water-energy nexus in mind, Power Across Texas has challenged students from the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Texas at El Paso, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University and the University of Houston to research, evaluate and develop the most creative and economic use for water produced from hydraulic fracturing of wells, whether that solution includes recycling, disposal or discharge.
These committed students have been working diligently throughout the spring semester, under the guidance of faculty supervisors and mentorship by leading companies in the field, to formulate and prepare a feasible, commercially viable solution to this challenge. The five teams will present their work to an esteemed panel of judges and be awarded varying levels of scholarship dollars based on rankings.
SHALE Magazine And Others Get Involved
Power Across Texas is honored to have Shale Magazine’s own founder and publisher, Kym Bolado, as an expert industry judge. Along with Bolado, judges include: Karen Bondy, LCRA; Mark Ellison, IDE Technologies; Omar Garcia, South Texas Energy Education Roundtable (STEER); Brent Halldorson, Fountain Quail Water Management, Texas Water Recycling Association; Marilu Hastings, Mitchell Foundation; and John Tintera, Texas Water Recycling Association, Sebree & Tintera.
Power Across Texas is also honored to have the support of the 2015 TEIC Steering Committee, composed of the top elected officials in Texas that guide and implement energy policy: Texas Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick; Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter; Texas Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton; Senator Troy Fraser, Chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee; Senator Charles Perry, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Water and Rural Affairs Committee; and Representative Jim Keffer, Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee.
Rules Of The Challenge
Each team will present their solution through a comprehensive written and oral presentation that must include: 1) an innovative, yet realistic and persuasive, proposal for a non-commercialized method or technology, or modification to an already-commercialized method or technology; 2) a business model that demonstrates the financial viability and sustainability of the proposal; 3) a description of any policy, legal or regulatory opportunities and barriers that impact commercialization of their proposal, with proposed recommendations for any necessary changes; 4) an understanding of the technical engineering aspects of the proposed technology or method; and 5) an overview of why this technology or method is value-added for the specific geological shale formation the proposal is addressing.
The program and corresponding scholarships are funded solely through donations, and sponsorship opportunities are still available. If you are interested in supporting the 2015 Texas Energy Innovation Challenge, please contact us for more information.
Lyda Creus Molanphy