Category: Low Carbons and Renewables Initiative

The Energy Crisis Is a National-Security Opportunity 6/23/2022

The Energy Crisis Is a National-Security Opportunity

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian writes about how President Joe Biden took office in 2020 with climate action as a top priority, but Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and other events have thrown his energy policy into chaos. Yet this crisis also an opportunity: Biden can, and should, reframe the clean-energy transition as an urgent national security priority. June 23, 2022.

Nuclear Renaissance Technologies and Policies for the Future of Nuclear Power 6/16/2022

Nuclear Renaissance: Technologies and Policies for the Future of Nuclear Power

Payne Institute Fellow William Nuttall has published his second edition of his book that discusses nuclear power is low carbon and reliable, but in recent years it has struggled to play a strong role in global plans for electricity generation in the 21st century. Many of those involved with nuclear power and environmental agencies see controlled expansion of nuclear plants as the most environmentally friendly way of meeting growing energy demands. In the UK policy makers must recognise concerns around severe accidents and radioactive wastes and balance these against the risks arising from other energy technologies. In addition, energy policy-makers must ensure that energy supplies remain affordable for all in society. How might new nuclear power stations help meet emerging policy needs?  June 16, 2022.

Synergies Between Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration and Geothermal Power in Sedimentary Basins 6/7/2022

Synergies Between Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration and Geothermal Power in Sedimentary Basins

Payne Institute CCUS Program Manager Anna Littlefield and Eric Stautberg write about how to achieve a rapid and effective energy transition, society will need to widely deploy both existing and emerging technologies and tools. Mitigating the emissions of greenhouse gases while maintaining the world’s growing demands for energy will require these to deployed at great pace and scale. Natural synergies exist between two such technologies: carbon capture utilization and sequestration (CCUS) projects and geothermal power generation from hot sedimentary aquifers. The overlapping technical and operational components of these projects underline an opportunity for cost savings and accelerated deployment.  June 7, 2022.

Four Mines faculty members named Fulbright Scholars 6/6/2022

Four Mines faculty members named Fulbright Scholars

Payne Institute Faculty Fellows Neal Sullivan and Marte Gutierrez were named Fulbright Scholars for the coming year.  Dr. Gutierrez’s award will take him to the University of Chile, where he will conduct research with faculty there on the impacts of climate change on landslides, rockfalls and mudflows in Chile. The research will identify localities in Chile and provide mitigation solutions for amplified geological hazard potential from climate change. Dr. Sullivan will be spending seven months at the Western Australian School of Mines (WASM) at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. The work he plans to conduct there will be similar to what he and his team work on at the Colorado Fuel Cell Center: developing next-generation materials for “green” hydrogen production. WASM’s work is supported by Western Australian companies, including Fortescue Metals Group, which has pledged to become Asia’s supplier of carbon-free green hydrogen over the coming decades.  June 6, 2022.

Sweltering India turns to superheating coal for cooling 6/2/2022

Sweltering India turns to superheating coal for cooling

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to this article about how India has experienced a series of unusually early and prolonged heat waves this year. To cool off, the country has leaned on the fuel most responsible for the blazing temperatures.  Coal generation is surging to meet the demands of cooling systems like fans and some air conditioning, prompting a scramble by the Indian government to reopen mines and secure tons of coal imports to produce electricity.  Scientists say that as the planet warms, heat waves are becoming more frequent and severe.  June 2, 2022.

In a Bid to Save Its Coal Industry, Wyoming Has Become a Test Case for Carbon Capture, but Utilities are Balking at the Pricetag 5/29/2022

In a Bid to Save Its Coal Industry, Wyoming Has Become a Test Case for Carbon Capture, but Utilities are Balking at the Pricetag

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributes to this article about how under a 2020 law, utilities must generate some of their power from coal plants fitted with technology that captures carbon, but in recent filings to regulators, two companies are warning about the cost and environmental impacts.  May 29, 2022.

Lithium Is Key to the Electric Vehicle Transition. It’s Also in Short Supply 5/26/2022

Lithium Is Key to the Electric Vehicle Transition. It’s Also in Short Supply

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to this article about how the element lithium, a lightweight substance, is a critical component in rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which are used in most personal electronics and electric vehicles. And in the last year, it’s gotten expensive.  Lithium has shot up 432% year over year, hitting nearly $62,000 per metric ton in April.  The price spike is due to the booming electric vehicle market, which is putting demand pressure on battery producers, which in turn puts demand pressure on the minerals suppliers.  May 26, 2022.

The US role in securing the European Union’s near-term natural gas supply 5/26/2022

The US role in securing the European Union’s near-term natural gas supply

Payne Institute Fellow Arvind Ravikumar, Director Morgan Bazilian, and Michael Webber write about how the European Union’s plan to phase out Russian natural gas imports by 2027 rests partly on increasing near-term imports of US liquefied natural gas. This will require a coordinated policy response that includes securing supplies from major exporters, global diplomacy, expanding import capacity, and alignment with Europe’s climate goals.  May 26, 2022.

INFLATING 5/24/2022

Inflating

Payne Institute Program Manager Brad Handler has prepared a quarterly report on how the top priority for the U.S. public oil and gas (O&G) companies remains to deliver higher financial returns to shareholders. Public commentary as the companies reported their 1Q22 earnings included widespread commitments to pay higher dividends and to buy back shares of their own stock.  Yet, only a couple of months after laying out their spending expectations for 2022, the companies have also begun to raise their spending budgets for the year. These increases are largely in response to rising prices for goods and services, a function of supply constraints.  May 24, 2022.

Industrial decarbonization via natural gas: A critical and systematic review of developments, socio-technical systems and policy options 5/23/2022

Industrial decarbonization via natural gas: A critical and systematic review of developments, socio-technical systems and policy options

Colorado School of Mines student researcher Shivani Mathur, Payne Institute Fellow Greer Gosnell, Benjamin K. Sovacool, Dylan D. Furszyfer Del Rio, Payne Institute Fellow Steve Griffiths, Director Morgan Bazilian, and Jinsoo Kim write about how natural gas is an important and highly flexible fuel across the industry sector globally.  However, the future of natural gas remains uncertain, especially for industry planning to be net-zero or carbon neutral by mid-century. This review addresses the role that natural gas might play in global industrial decarbonization, and how it can help decarbonize industrial processes.  May 23, 2022.