Research

WHAT THE WAR IN UKRAINE LOOKS LIKE FROM ABOVE 9/22/2022

WHAT THE WAR IN UKRAINE LOOKS LIKE FROM ABOVE

Payne Institute Communications Associate Brooke Bowser, Earth Observation Group Researcher Fen-Chi Hsu and Director Christopher Elvidge, and Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian write about how satellite imagery can help us understand kinetic activity in Ukraine.  To better understand how the war is progressing the Payne Institute’s Earth Observation Group has collected satellite images showing the light and fire patterns accompanying the military activity.  September 22, 2022.  

Demand in the dark: Estimating the true scale of unmet electricity demand in Sub-Saharan Africa 9/11/2022

Demand in the dark: Estimating the true scale of unmet electricity demand in Sub-Saharan Africa

Mines Mineral and Energy Economics student researcher Sankalp Garg, Payne Institute Fellow Benjamin Attia, Payne Institute Program Manager Brad Handler, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how although the understanding the scale of energy poverty remains elusive, it is a key metric in the global effort to eradicate poverty.  This paper provides insights into the true scale and impacts of unreliable electricity service provision and introduces a simple and novel approach to quantifying the difference between electricity supply and demand, accounting for both met and unmet demand in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).  September 11, 2022.

Colorado School of Mines, BHP announce founding partnership for Global Energy Future Initiative 8/30/2022

Colorado School of Mines, BHP announce founding partnership for Global Energy Future Initiative

Colorado School of Mines Global Energy Future Initiative and BHP announce a founding partnership ahead of the Inaugural Global Energy Future Innovation Forum and Innov8x Challenge set for Sept. 7-8.  BHP becomes a founding partner of the initiative to drive innovative sustainable energy solutions. Through this partnership, BHP will sponsor research projects and participate in steering committees and working groups, adding industry expertise to solve complex problems. In exchange for their expertise, BHP will gain access to cutting-edge research critical to building a sustainable future for the mining industry. Through this partnership, BHP and GEFI aim to develop renewable, secure, resilient, and adaptive energy systems and infrastructure, fostering worldwide economic development while reducing environmental impacts.  August 30, 2022.

Fifty years of nightly global low-light imaging satellite observations 8/26/2022

Fifty years of nightly global low-light imaging satellite observations

Congratulations to the Payne Institute Earth Observation Group (EOG) for fifty years of service!  The EOG was formed in 1994 and has dedicated their efforts to making global nighttime light data products for uses by the science and policy communities. Many of the shortcomings of DMSP data were addressed with the NASA/NOAA Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) day/night band (DNB), which opened a new era in nighttime light studies. In total, EOG has produced 65 annual global nighttime light products and over 650 monthly products.  August 26, 2022.

Mines economics professor appointed to Colorado state advisory committee 8/25/2022

Mines economics professor appointed to Colorado state advisory committee

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange has been appointed to the Governor’s Revenue Estimating Advisory Committee by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis.  Ian Lange, an expert in energy economics, will serve a four-year term on the Governor’s Revenue Estimating Advisory Committee.  August 25, 2022.

Mines department head wins Society of Petroleum Engineers international award 8/25/2022

Mines department head wins Society of Petroleum Engineers international award

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jennifer Miskimins is awarded 2022 Distinguished Achievement Award for Petroleum Engineering Faculty by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE).  The honor recognizes superiority in classroom teaching, excellence in research, significant contributions to the petroleum engineering profession and special effectiveness in advising and guiding students.  August 25, 2022.

Pandemic, War, and Global Energy Transitions 8/23/2022

Pandemic, War, and Global Energy Transitions

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian co-authors this paper about how the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war on Ukraine have impacted the global economy, including the energy sector. The pandemic caused drastic fluctuations in energy demand, oil price shocks, disruptions in energy supply chains, and hampered energy investments, while the war left the world with energy price hikes and energy security challenges. The long-term impacts of these crises on low-carbon energy transitions and mitigation of climate change are still uncertain but are slowly emerging. This paper analyzes the impacts throughout the energy system, including upstream fuel supply, renewable energy investments, demand for energy services, and implications for energy equity, by reviewing recent studies and consulting experts in the field.  August 23, 2022.

How energy subsidy reform can drive the Iranian power sector towards a low-carbon future 8/11/2022

How energy subsidy reform can drive the Iranian power sector towards a low-carbon future

Vahid Aryanpur, Mahshid Fattahi, Siab Mamipour, Mahsa Ghahremani, Brian ÓGallachóir, Payne Institute Director Morgan D. Bazilian, and James Glynn write about how substantial energy subsidies are recognised as the leading cause of Iran’s inefficient electricity generation and consumption. This paper investigates the impacts of subsidy removal on future electricity demand and the required generation mix. A hybrid modelling framework is developed to analyse supply and demand sides under harmonised assumptions. August 11, 2022.

Kamini Singha wins SEG Reginald Fessenden Award 7/13/2022

Kamini Singha wins SEG Reginald Fessenden Award

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Kamini Singha is the recipient of the 2022 Reginald Fessenden Award from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG).  Singha, whose research focuses on physical hydrologic processes on the Earth’s surface and subsurface, was selected for “her extensive and significant contributions of applied geophysics to hydrogeophysics, including critical zone hydrology, anomalous solute transport, and water resources management.”  July 13, 2022. 

Less is More: The Impact of Auto Lender Risk on Household Auto Purchases

Less is More: The Impact of Auto Lender Risk on Household Auto Purchases 

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange, Payne Institute Researcher Caitlin McKennie, and Mirko Moro write about how credit risk can be an impediment to new auto purchases, especially for electric vehicles. This paper looks at the elimination of auto loan cramdowns for Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings, where the loan value is made equal to the auto value, on three outcomes: auto value, likelihood of new auto, and loan-to-value ratio of new autos. Using a difference-in-difference approach based on a state’s historical use of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, we show that household’s secure better loan-to-value ratios and acquire higher valued autos due to lower credit risk following the reform. July 5, 2022.

Policy-Driven Potential for Deploying Carbon Capture and Sequestration in a Fossil-Rich Power Sector 7/2/2022

Policy-Driven Potential for Deploying Carbon Capture and Sequestration in a Fossil-Rich Power Sector

Abdallah Dindi, Payne Institute Fellow Kipp Coddington, Jada F. Garofalo, Wanying Wu, and Haibo Zhai write about how in 2020, the Wyoming Legislature enacted House Bill No. 0200 (HB0200), which requires utilities to generate a percentage of dispatchable and reliable low-carbon electricity by 2030. This state requirement must take into consideration “any potentially expiring federal tax credits”, such as the federal Section 45Q tax credit. This study aims to examine the potential role of economic and policy incentives that facilitate carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) deployment. July 2, 2022.

Decarbonizing the pulp and paper industry: A critical and systematic review of sociotechnical developments and policy options 6/30/2022

Decarbonizing the pulp and paper industry: A critical and systematic review of sociotechnical developments and policy options

Dylan Furszyfer Del Rio,  Benjamin K. Sovacool, Payne Institute Fellow Steve Griffiths, Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Jinsoo Kim, Aoife M. Foley, and David Rooney write about how paper has shaped society for centuries and is considered one of humanity’s most important inventions. However, pulp and paper products can be damaging to social and natural systems along their lifecycle of material extraction, processing, transportation, and waste handling. The pulp and paper industry is among the top five most energy-intensive industries globally and is the fourth largest industrial energy user. June 30, 2022. 

WILDFIRES IN ARIZONA 6/15/2022

WILDFIRES IN ARIZONA

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group student worker Elijah Mt.Castle writes about how there are multiple fires burning north of Flagstaff Arizona. The fires are burning in Coconino National Forest. They threaten multiple communities, schools, and cultural landmarks.  June 15, 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.

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.  

Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2022 5/11/2022

Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2022

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this World Economic Forum report on how the global energy transition builds on the trends from the Energy Transition Index to provide perspective on the current challenges and recommendations on how to navigate the transition through a turbulent macroeconomic and geopolitical environment. A series of compounded shocks pose short-term risks to energy affordability, sustainability, and energy security. However, the window to prevent the worst consequences of climate change is closing fast.  May 11, 2022.

Scientists in Antarctica discover a vast, salty groundwater system under the ice sheet – with implications for sea level rise 5/5/2022

Scientists in Antarctica discover a vast, salty groundwater system under the ice sheet – with implications for sea level rise

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Matthew Siegfried‘s research is featured in this article about how a new discovery deep beneath one of Antarctica’s rivers of ice could change scientists’ understanding of how the ice flows, with important implications for estimating future sea level rise.  Glacier scientists Matthew Siegfried from Colorado School of Mines, Chloe Gustafson from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and their colleagues spent 61 days living in tents on an Antarctic ice stream to collect data about the land under half a mile of ice beneath their feet. They explain what the team discovered and what it says about the behavior of ice sheets in a warming world.  May 5, 2022.

Estimating global economic well-being with unlit settlements 5/5/2022

Estimating global economic well-being with unlit settlements

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group writes about how it is well established that nighttime radiance, measured from satellites, correlates with economic prosperity across the globe.  For 49 countries spread across Africa, Asia and the Americas we are able to predict and map the wealth class obtained from ~2,400,000 geo-located households based upon the percent of unlit settlements, with an overall accuracy of 87%. May 5, 2022.  

Power Outage in Afghanistan as Seen by DNB 4/20/2022

Power Outage in Afghanistan as Seen by DNB

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Research Associate Tilottama Ghosh writes about how the economic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of the US Armed forces, which was completed on August 31st, 2021, can be viewed from ‘space.’ Areas which were lit before become dimmer or become completely dark because of the loss of electricity.  April 20, 2022.  

Project Canary Adds to Independent Stature with 3rd Party Assessment of ESG Data by Big Four Accounting & Payne Institute 3/23/2022

Project Canary Adds to Independent Stature with 3rd Party Assessment of ESG Data by Big Four Accounting & Payne Institute

The Payne Institute is happy to partner with Project Canary on methane and emissions monitoring and data science to ensure independent verification and assessment of data and operating standards.  The Payne Institute will also perform a third-party assessment of all Project Canary internal controls and data analysis.  March 23, 2022.

Colorado clean energy policy landscape: A case study 3/11/2022

Colorado clean energy policy landscape: A case study

Eliza Hotchkiss, Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, William Toor, and Keith Hay write about how for decades, countries, states, and municipalities have established energy policies to address local air pollution and global climate change goals. The thousands of policies and measures enacted globally take various forms but are aimed at different sectors of the economy. These policies are the result of a complicated process of analysis, budgeting, management, and politics.  This paper provides an overview of the recent legislative sessions, and how the policies enacted support the Colorado Climate Change Roadmap.  March 11, 2022.

The VIIRS Day/Night Band: A Flicker Meter in Space? 3/9/2022

The VIIRS Day/Night Band: A Flicker Meter in Space?

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Director Christopher Elvidge, Researcher Mikhail Zhizhin, David Keith, Steven D. Miller, Researcher Feng Chi Hsu, Researcher Tilottama Ghosh, Sharolyn J. Anderson,Christian K. Monrad, Director Morgan Bazilian, Jay Taneja, Paul C. Sutton, John Barentine, William S. Kowalik, Christopher C. M. Kyba, Dee W. Pack, and Faculty Fellow Dorit Hammerling write about how the VIIRS day/night band (DNB) high gain stage (HGS) pixel effective dwell time is in the range of 2–3 milliseconds (ms), which is about one third of the flicker cycle present in lighting powered by alternating current. Thus, if flicker is present, it induces random fluctuations in nightly DNB radiances. This results in increased variance in DNB temporal profiles.  Over time, there is a trend towards the reduction of flicker in outdoor lighting through the replacement of HID with low-flicker LED sources. This study indicates that the effects of LED conversions on the brightness and steadiness of outdoor lighting can be analyzed with VIIRS DNB temporal profiles.  March 9, 2022.  

Mines to support new U.S. Department of Energy entrepreneurship program 3/8/2022

Mines to support new U.S. Department of Energy entrepreneurship program

Payne Institute Fellow Werner Kuhr, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation(E&I) at Mines, will support West Gate, the Department of Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office new lab-embedded entrepreneurship program, at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. West Gate will provide mentorship and technical resources for promising cleantech innovators, and Mines will be supporting the effort with office space at the Beck Venture Center. Additionally, West Gate innovators will have the opportunity to participate in E&I programs like Innov8x, where they can pose problems that Mines students from all departments can brainstorm and help define, as well as come up with new potential solutions.  March 8, 2022. 

Most Downloaded Paper Award 2021 3/6/2022

Most Downloaded Paper Award 2021

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Director Christopher Elvidge received the 2021 Most Downloaded Paper Award from the Journal of Environmental Management (JEM) for the co-authored article titled Light Pollution in USA and Europe: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.  The Award recognizes papers published in JEM in a given year (2019 in this case) that received the highest numbers of downloads (Web of Science) in the following three years including the year of publication (2019-2021 in this case). Dr. Elvidge’s contribution to the scientific advancement of resources, conservation and recycling fields has been highly recognized.  March 6, 2022.

Satellite imagery shows Ukraine going dark 3/3/2022

Satellite imagery shows Ukraine going dark

The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group provided the satellite images for this article about how as Ukraine defends against a Russian invasion, lights across the country have dimmed.  Before Russian forces invaded Ukraine on February 24, nighttime satellite imagery captured the bright lights of Kyiv, Kharkiv, Rivne and other urban areas. Now that same imagery shows a country that has gone dark, steeling itself against a brutal and unprovoked military attack.  We compared the average nightly lightscape of Ukraine in January to February 25, the night after the invasion began, and found a dramatic reduction in lights across the country.  March 3, 2022.

Satellite Data Provides Insights about the Russian Invasion of Ukraine 3/2/2022

Satellite Data Provides Insights about the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

The Payne Institute’s Earth Observation Group (EOG) can capture a unique view of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine using satellite data provided by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) onboard a Joint Polar Satellite System co-operated by NOAA and NASA. The EOG’s VIIRS Nighttime Lights (VNL) product can display nighttime lights while the group’s VIIRS Nightfire (VNF) product can detect thermal anomalies on the Earth’s surface.  March 2, 2022.

Managing upstream oil and gas emissions: A public health oriented approach 2/26/2022

Managing upstream oil and gas emissions: A public health oriented approach

Payne Institute Program Manager Jordy Lee, C. Sorenson, Payne Institute Fellow Jay Lemery, Payne Institute Student Scholar C.F. Workman, H. Lindstadt, and Payne Institute Director Morgan D. Bazilian discuss how oil and natural gas are the largest primary global energy sources, and upstream gas emissions from these fuels can impact global climate change and local public health. This paper employs a public health-oriented perspective that reviews grey and academic literature, industry data, technical reports, and policy trends to highlight issues of emissions monitoring. February 26, 2022.

Mike McGuirk wins NSF CAREER Award to explore chalcogen bonding for next-gen materials 2/25/2022

Mike McGuirk wins NSF CAREER Award to explore chalcogen bonding for next-gen materials

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Mike McGuirk has received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for research that could contribute to the discovery of new materials for solar energy production, low density conductors and more.  McGuirk will receive $756,000 over five years for the project, which will focus on chalcogen bonding, a recently discovered interaction between molecules that scientists believe could lead to the realization of a new class of crystalline framework materials: Chalcogen-Bonded Organic Frameworks.  February 25, 2022.  

VNF DETECTS OIL CONTAINER EXPLOSION 2/4/2022

VNF DETECTS OIL CONTAINER EXPLOSION

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Research Associate Tamara Sparks detected the explosion of the Trinity Spirit, a floating oil production, storage, and offloading vessel, which exploded and caught fire off the coast of Nigeria early on Feb 2, 2022. February 4, 2022. 

Decarbonizing the ceramics industry: A systematic and critical review of policy options, developments and sociotechnical systems 2/2/2022

Decarbonizing the ceramics industry: A systematic and critical review of policy options, developments and sociotechnical systems

Dylan D. Furszyfer Del Rio, Benjamin K. Sovacool, Aoife M.Foley, Payne Fellow Steve Griffiths, Payne Director Morgan Bazilian, Jinsoo Kim, and David Rooney write about how ceramics are considered one of the greatest and earliest most useful successes of humankind. However, ceramics can be highly damaging to natural and social systems during their lifecycle, from material extraction to waste handling.  This critical and systematic review seeks to identify alternatives to mitigate the climate effects of ceramics products and processes to make their lifecycle more sustainable.  February 2, 2022.

Green Cold War or Climate Anarchy? Together We Can Decide 1/25/2022

Green Cold War or Climate Anarchy? Together We Can Decide

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this article about how climate change is going to reshape the world, whether we succeed at tackling it or not. That’s no longer a statement coming only from scientists, but from the insurance industry, too. Governments and corporate boards are very interested in trying to diminish risks, but also capture opportunities.  January 25, 2022.

Rare earth element resource evaluation of coal byproducts: A case study from the Powder River Basin, Wyoming 1/22/2022

Rare earth element resource evaluation of coal byproducts: A case study from the Powder River Basin, Wyoming

D.A. Bagdonasa, A.J. Enriquez, Payne Fellow K.A. Coddington, D.C. Finnoff, J.F. McLaughlin, Payne Director M.D. Bazilian, E.H. Phillips, and T.L.McLing write about domestic Rare Earth Element sources and production are limited in the United States and currently rely on final processing overseas. Increasing demand and resource security domestically has led to significant investigation into rare earth element domestic resources. Much of this work focuses on unconventional potential ore stocks, including coal and coal byproducts. This investigation focuses on coal byproducts generated as ash from coal burning power stations. January 22, 2022.

Minerals and the clean-energy transition: the basics 1/21/2022

Minerals and the clean-energy transition: the basics

The Payne Institute research is featured in this article and podcast about a lot of the talk in the energy world, and the minerals needed by clean-energy technologies and whether mineral supply problems might pose a threat to the clean-energy transition.  The US, like most developed countries, has become highly import-dependent in minerals.  January 21, 2022.

Ex-post analysis of energy subsidy removal through integrated energy systems modelling 1/15/2022

Ex-post analysis of energy subsidy removal through integrated energy systems modelling

V. Aryanpur, M. Ghahremani, S. Mamipour, M. Fattahi, B. ´O Gallach´oir, Payne Director Morgan D. Bazilian, and J. Glynn write about how energy subsidies can incentivise the overconsumption of energy resources and contribute to other economic or social distortions. In this paper, an ex-post analysis is presented that explores the extent to which electricity subsidy reform could have reduced Iran’s energy demand during the period 1984–2017. It also quantifies the techno-economic and environmental benefits that could have been achieved through such reforms.  January 15, 2022.

How Satellite Monitoring Can Help Protect Refugees 1/4/2022

How Satellite Monitoring Can Help Protect Refugees

Payne Institute Communications Associate Elsa Barron, Earth Observation Group Director Christopher Elvidge, Researcher Feng Chi, Hsu, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how we are crafting one response to the plights of refugees worldwide through a satellite monitoring technology called Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite Lumen Watch. The technology is a prototype developed by the Earth Observation Group in order to monitor changes in nighttime light radiance in geographic locations of interest. Currently, the software monitors the light radiance of two refugee settlements: the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, and Al-Jufaynah Camp in Marib City, Yemen, which hosts thousands of people who have been internally displaced by the civil war.  January 4, 2022.  

Water for energy: Characterizing co-evolving energy and water systems under twin climate and energy system nonstationarities 1/3/2022

Water for energy: Characterizing co-evolving energy and water systems under twin climate and energy system nonstationarities

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Adrienne Marshall and Emily Grubert write about how as water-for-energy quantification efforts progress, research should emphasize decision support for energy system design, incorporating crucial hydrologic dynamics.  Beyond the location of water use, relative scarcity, and potential competing uses, these include sub-daily to interannual temporal dynamics, the impacts of climate change on these dimensions, potential feedbacks between energy and water systems, and the impacts of hydrologic variability or change on policy-based incentive structures. This article reviews prior US-focused efforts to quantify water use for energy, highlights why these nonstationarities are analytically relevant with a brief policy case study, and highlights research needs for decision support under twin nonstationarities. January 3, 2022.  

THE EMERGING GLOBAL NATURAL GAS MARKET AND THE ENERGY CRISIS OF 2021-2022 12/14/2021

THE EMERGING GLOBAL NATURAL GAS MARKET AND THE ENERGY CRISIS OF 2021-2022

Payne Institute Fellow Alex Gilbert, Director Morgan D. Bazilian, and Samantha Gross write about the the ongoing energy crisis of late 2021 looks sure to move into 2022. It has already had wide-ranging impacts on economics, the environment, and security. This essay considers a few of the tensions arising for government policy, investors, and consumers. The crisis has three distinct elements: COVID-19 and supply chain disruptions, greater interconnectedness of natural gas markets, and signs of energy price
volatility during the energy transition away from fossil fuels. December 14, 2021.

Giant cracks push imperilled Antarctic glacier closer to collapse 12/14/2021

Giant cracks push imperilled Antarctic glacier closer to collapse

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Matthew Siegfried is featured in this article about how research suggests that giant fractures in the floating ice of Antarctica’s massive Thwaites Glacier — a fast-melting formation that has become an icon of climate change — could shatter part of the shelf within five years.  December 14, 2021.

Big Data and AI in Advancing Geothermal Energy 12/13/2021

Big Data and AI in Advancing Geothermal Energy

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow H. Sebnem Düzgün looks at geothermal resources are subsurface and require costly discovery, exploration, development and operation processes. But mining engineers @ Colorado School of Mines are finding answers in Big Data and AI. Energy Resources Intelligence (ERI) is an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based prediction system that supports investment decisions in geothermal. The ERI system produces accurate footprints of potential subsurface geothermal resources using deep-learning algorithms, multimodal big data analytics and statistical- and machine-learning (SML) methods, which lead to cost reductions in geothermal discovery and exploration.  December 13, 2021.  

Cross-Sensor Nighttime Lights Image Calibration for DMSP/OLS and SNPP/VIIRS with Residual U-Net 12/10/2021

Cross-Sensor Nighttime Lights Image Calibration for DMSP/OLS and SNPP/VIIRS with Residual U-Net

Dmitry Nechaev, Payne Research Associate Mikhail Zhizhin, Alexey Poyda, Payne Research Associate Tilottama Ghosh, Payne Research Associate Feng-Chi Hsu, and Payne Senior Research Associate, Director of Earth Observation Group Christopher Elvidge write about how remote sensing of nighttime lights (NTL) is widely used in socio-economic studies of economic growth, urbanization, stability of power grid, environmental light pollution, pandemics and military conflicts. Currently, NTL data are collected with two sensors: (1) Operational Line-scan System (OLS) onboard the satellites from the Defense Meteorology Satellite Program (DMSP) and (2) Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) onboard the Suomi NPP (SNPP) and NOAA-20 satellites from the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS). However, the nighttime images acquired by these two sensors are incompatible in spatial resolution and dynamic range. To address this problem, we propose a method for the cross-sensor calibration with residual U-net convolutional neural network (CNN).  December 10, 2021.

Large-Scale Controlled Experiment Demonstrates Effectiveness of Methane Leak Detection and Repair Programs at Oil and Gas Facilities 12/9/2021

Large-Scale Controlled Experiment Demonstrates Effectiveness of Methane Leak Detection and Repair Programs at Oil and Gas Facilities

Jiayang (Lyra) Wang, Brenna Barlow, Wes Funk, Cooper Robinson, Adam Brandt, and Payne Institute Fellow Arvind P. Ravikumar write about the importance of reducing methane emissions from oil and gas operations as a near-term climate action is widely recognized. Most jurisdictions around the globe using leak detection and repair (LDAR) programs to find and fix methane leaks. In this work, we empirically evaluate the efficacy of LDAR programs using a large-scale, bottom-up, randomized controlled field experiment across ~200 oil and gas sites in Canada. We find that tanks are the single largest source of emissions, contributing to nearly 60% of total emissions. The average number of leaks at treatment sites that underwent repair reduced by ~50% compared to control site.  December 9, 2021.

Extending the DMSP Nighttime Lights Time Series beyond 2013 12/9/2021

Extending the DMSP Nighttime Lights Time Series beyond 2013

Payne Research Associate Tilottama Ghosh, Kimberly E. Baugh, Payne Senior Research Associate, Director of Earth Observation Group Christopher Elvidge, Payne Research Associate Mikhail Zhizhin, Alexey Poyda, and Payne Research Associate Feng-Chi Hsu write about data collected by the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program’s Operational Linescan System (DMSP-OLS) sensors have been archived and processed by the Earth Observation Group (EOG) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to make global maps of nighttime images since 1994. Over the years, the EOG has developed automatic algorithms to make Stable Lights composites from the OLS visible band data by removing the transient lights from fires and fishing boats. The ephemeral lights are removed based on their high brightness and short duration. However, the six original satellites collecting DMSP data gradually shifted from day/night orbit to dawn/dusk orbit, which is to an earlier overpass time. At the beginning of 2014, the F18 satellite was no longer collecting usable nighttime data, and the focus had shifted to processing global nighttime images from Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) Day/Night Band (DNB) data. Nevertheless, it was soon discovered that the F15 and F16 satellites had started collecting pre-dawn nighttime data from 2012 onwards. Therefore, the established algorithms of the previous years were extended to process OLS data from 2013 onwards.  December 9, 2021.

Decarbonizing the glass industry: A critical and systematic review of developments, sociotechnical systems and policy options 12/3/2021

Decarbonizing the glass industry: A critical and systematic review of developments, sociotechnical systems and policy options

Dylan D. Furszyfer Del Rio, Benjamin K. Sovacool, Aoife M. Foley, Payne Institute Fellow Steve Griffiths, Director Morgan Bazilian, Jinsoo Kim, and David Rooney write about how glass is a material inextricably linked with human civilization. However, environmental issues relating to the glass industry are not just limited to the manufacturing stage, but also from raw materials extraction, which impacts local ecosystems and creates other environmental challenges associated with tailing ponds, waste disposal and landfills. This systematic review poses five questions to examine these issues and themes.  December 3, 2021.

Phasing out coal plants worldwide won’t be easy. These four approaches could help 12/2/2021

Phasing out coal plants worldwide won’t be easy. These four approaches could help

Payne Institute Researcher Brad Handler, Katie Auth, and Director Morgan D. Bazilian write about how reducing coal use around the world is critical for decreasing air pollution and addressing climate change, yet global coal consumption continues to grow in some regions. At the recent U.N. climate negotiations, countries agreed to “phase down” coal use, but achieving these goals won’t be easy, or cheap — and that’s where innovative financing comes in. Our research suggests that getting the right financial structures in place can help countries bring the dirtiest forms of power offline faster and accelerate new clean energy deployment.  December 2, 2021.

Solving a large energy system optimization model using an open-source solver 11/25/2021

Solving a large energy system optimization model using an open-source solver

Colorado School of Mines and NREL Advanced Energy Systems PhD Candidate Madeline Macmillan, Kelly Eurek, Wesley Cole, and Director Morgan D. Bazilian write about how open-source energy models are becoming more widely used for electric power systems planning. The solutions for these models are often computed using commercial optimization solvers, which require licensing fees that can be a potential barrier for certain organizations and researchers. This study explores the ability of the open-source COIN-OR linear programming (CLP) solver to compute solutions for the Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) model—a large-scale, open-access electricity system planning model for the United States developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).   November 25, 2021.

Structural resolution and mechanistic insight into hydrogen adsorption in flexible ZIF-7 11/24/2021

Structural resolution and mechanistic insight into hydrogen adsorption in flexible ZIF-7

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow C. Michael McGuirk and authors write about how flexible metal–organic frameworks offer a route towards high useable hydrogen storage capacities with minimal swings in pressure and temperature via step-shaped adsorption and desorption profiles. Yet, the understanding of hydrogen-induced flexibility in candidate storage materials remains incomplete. Here, we investigate the hydrogen storage properties of a quintessential flexible metal–organic framework, ZIF-7. We use high-pressure isothermal hydrogen adsorption measurements to identify the pressure–temperature conditions of the hydrogen-induced structural transition in ZIF-7. November 24, 2021.

Improving Satellite Monitoring of Methane Emissions 11/9/2021

Improving Satellite Monitoring of Methane Emissions – Data science is fundamental to better emissions tracking

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Dorit Hammerling, Researcher William Daniels, Director Morgan Bazilian, and Communications Associate Brooke Bowser write about how reducing methane emissions is a focus of addressing climate change. To do so effectively requires a robust monitoring and reporting system. Using data science, researchers at the Payne Institute are able to reduce the limitations of existing satellite data by providing localized estimations of methane fields to help fill the gaps of current monitoring.  November 9, 2021.

 

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DISCLAIMER: The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed are those of the author alone and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs, viewpoints, or official policies of the Payne Institute or Colorado School of Mines.