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Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

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Why We Could See More Cold Snaps in a Warming World

As Central and South Texas see ice, sleet and freezes for the second time in a week, climate change skeptics have taken to Twitter to express their disbelief: Y’all know how I know #GlobalWarming (aka #ClimateChange) isn’t real!? In Texas, we’re getting snow & ice w/ in hours of 80 degree weather. — Ydur (@YdurZatara) [...]

Your Thanksgiving Carbon Footprint is a Total Bummer

Pie. Planes. Political arguments at the family table. It all takes energy – but how much exactly? As the busiest travel days of the year intersect with back-to-back days of excess consumption and consumerism, it’s a good time to take a step back and assess the energy impact of Thanksgiving. Michael Webber, deputy director of the Energy Institute at [...]

How Much Methane is Leaking From Gas Drilling? New Study Aims to Answer

A new study of natural gas drilling sites out today offers mixed results on methane leakage during the drilling and production process, one issue in an ongoing debate over the safety and risks involved with a new surge in domestic drilling. Since domestic drilling for oil and natural gas has taken off with the help of [...]

Is This Chip the Key to Desalination?

It would be easy to mistake the small, translucent, object in Kyle Knust’s hand as just another cheap piece of plastic. With dozens more scattered around his section of a buzzing graduate assistant’s lab at the University of Texas, the thumbnail-sized chips don’t appear to be worth much. And that’s because they’re not. At 50 [...]

One Way Carbon Emmissions are Making it Harder to Research Biofuels

Sr. Jerry Brand dircts UT Algae Culture Collection.

Back in the seventies and eighties, algae, a biofuel, was viewed as a possible path to energy independence. Federal money flowed to research, and science made some progress understanding how the stuff could be used.  Then, the money stopped flowing. For about 20 years. Now that researchers are taking another look at algae, they’re also [...]

The Downside of Using Algae as a Biofuel

UT Research Engineer Robert Pearsal looks into a vat of algae.

It seems like everyone’s talking pond scum these days. This year, people ranging from the President of the United States to this humble reporter, have spoken of algae’s potential in creating a carbon neutral biofuel. A recent study from the University of Texas showed how the tiny organisms could create 500 times more energy than [...]

Why the UT Fracking Study Controversy Matters

Dr. Charles "Chip" Groat says he wants to put the fracking study controversy behind him.

One University of Texas at Austin professor has retired and another has resigned his position as head of UT’s Energy Institute, the school announced Thursday after the release of a scathing review of a study on fracking that has become mired in controversy. The man at the center of the storm for sitting on the [...]

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