The Critical Role of Natural Gas in Domestic Energy Production and Use

Guest speaker, Pitt Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering and Associate Director of Pitt's Center for Energy, Götz Veser, discusses the role of natural gas as a feedstock for industrial applications especially related to natural gas upgrading on March 22, 2017.

The Center for Energy is playing a central role representing research universities in a wider proposal by the AIChE to create the Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment Manufacturing Institute (RAPID). RAPID is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI).

Buried Treasure: Preliminary Results from the Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory

The Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory, a fully-instrumented, active, commercial well drilled in Monongalia County, West Virginia in fall 2015, is offering researchers a first-of-a-kind glimpse into the inner workings of unconventional natural gas production. Enjoy a 60-minute panel presentation by three of the WVU researchers participating in the lab.

SGN Forum Panel Moderator, Dr. Tim Carr, MSEEL Director and Department of Geology & Geography Chairperson, WVU Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.Tim Carr works to develop the energy resources that the world will require over the coming century, while protecting the environment. Holder of the Marshall Miller Professor of Geology at WVU, Carr studies unconventional resources and CO2 storage and utilization in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

National and International Implications of Shale Gas Development

WVU Energy Institute Director and Chemical Engineering Professor Brian Anderson provides an update of WVU shale gas research activities and introduces panelists who describe international efforts in shale gas utilization and regulation. Dr. John Hu, WVU’s new Statler Endowed Faculty Chair for Natural Gas Utilization, presents WVU’s research plans for downstream gas conversion to fuel and chemicals. Dr. Paolo Farah, J.D., LL.M. and Assistant Professor of Public Administration, discusses his policy research on shale gas in China.

Hu comes to WVU from Koch Industries where he was charged with identifying technology growth areas related to petrochemicals and catalytic and biological processing and developing R&D strategies for commercialization. Before that, Hu served as an R&D manager at Black & Veatch charged with commercializing oil, gas, and chemical technologies. Also, Hu spent eight years as a research manager for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He has 24 U.S. patents and more than 75 peer reviewed journal and conference papers. Dr. Hu described WVU’s research plans for downstream gas conversion to fuel and chemicals in the U.S. and China.

The Shale Oil & Gas Revolution and World Energy Prices

Dr. Bahattin Buyuksahin,  colleague of Naomi Boyd, Chair of the Department of Finance in the College of Business and Economics, discusses the financial impact on shale gas developments. Dr. Buyuksahin currently heads the research about commodity markets as the Policy Adviser of Commodities at the Bank of Canada. He has more than eight years of experience in financial oil and energy markets covering the spectrum of energy derivatives markets, including financialization of commodities, the impact of financial market participants on energy price formation and volatility, the evolving regulatory framework and its effect on the structure and functioning of both the energy futures and physical markets, as well as the likely cost and benefits of proposed regulations.

Following the panel discussion,  a poster was presented by:

The Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory (MSEEL)

The Marcellus Shale Energy and Environment Laboratory (MSEEL) received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy National Energy Technology Laboratory in fall, 2014. Mike John, President of Northeast Natural Energy LLC, Robert Vagnetti, US DOE NETL Project Officer, and Tim Carr, WVU Marshall Miller Professor of Geology and MSEEL PI provided an introduction to the project slated for a well site in Monongalia County, WV. The MSEEL is located in the Morgantown Industrial Park (MIP) in Monongalia County, West Virginia, conveniently located near WVU and NETL. The area surrounding the lab has decades’ worth of groundwater and soil baseline data. Specialized water (flowback and produced), solids (cuttings), air, noise and traffic monitoring will be undertaken to develop a comprehensive environmental baseline and impact assessment. The well site is owned and operated by NNE with data from two wells drilled and operated since 2011. The MSEEL researchers will develop a geologic and engineering baseline using the previous two wells and will drill a vertical scientific observation well that will be sampled and instrumented to provide detailed reservoir information and will allow monitoring of a planned horizontal production well to be drilled in the fall of 2015.

Following the panel discussion, posters presented by researchers at the networking session included:

New Gas Transmission—the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

The U.S (EIA) notes in an October 15th report that since the summer of 2012, natural gas production in the Marcellus has outpaced the region’s pipeline infrastructure to deliver the gas to market. Fifty-eight pipeline projects are at various phases of development and are designed to move up to about 48 billion cubic feet per day (bcf/d) of Marcellus/Utica gas to markets north of the Canadian border to the deep South, east to New England and west to Illinois and beyond. Robert C. Orndorff, Jr., discusses one of the largest of these projects–the Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACL), a 1.5 bcf/d, 550-mile line from Harrison County, WV to Robeson County, NC. He is joined by Dr. John Deskins of the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research who recently has been investigating natural gas transmission and economic development and Dr. Shawn Grushecky who is using gas transmission in classroom case studies in newly launched Energy Land Management major offered by the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design.

The networking poster session featured research by recipients of the WVU Shale Gas Flash Funding Opportunity sponsored by the National Research Center for Coal and Energy and the WVU Research Office and included:

Shale Gas Utilization and Innovation—Opportunities for West Virginia

As the basic raw material of chemicals manufacturing, cheap natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shales could fire up West Virginia’s once pre-eminent chemical industry. The world’s first chemical cracker was built near Clendenin, W.Va. in the 1920s, the birthplace of the petrochemical industry. The American Chemistry Council reports that the U.S.’s $826 billion chemistry industry supports 25% of the nation’s GDP. For every chemistry industry job, more than seven other jobs are created. As director of the Chemical Alliance Zone based in Charleston, W.Va., Kevin DiGregorio has a unique perspective on the opportunities he sees for economic development with the new gas boom. Dr. DiGregorio earned his Ph.D. from the WVU Department of Chemical Engineering in 1988 and now serves as chair of the department’s visiting committee. He has more than 16 years of experience with the Union Carbide Corporation and the Dow Chemical Company. Dr. DiGregorio’s latest venture is as director of ChemCeption, the nation’s only technology incubator dedicated to the commercialization of chemistry. Joining him are Matt Harbaugh, WVU Director of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Commercialization, and Steve Cutright, Director of the Brick Street Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the WVU College of Business and Economics, whose programs can help faculty develop technology-to-market plans for their shale gas proposals to federal funding agencies that require a technology-to-market plan.

Following the presentation, an informal networking session featured posters by:

WVU Shale Gas Network Kick-Off & Forum

The kick-off featured Paul Ziemkiewicz, Director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute at WVU NRCCE, and Michael McCawley, Interim Chair of the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health Science, School of Public Health, on their collaborative research on the environmental impacts of shale gas development. Their results pointed to differences and similarities between the public’s perception of the potential environmental impacts of shale gas development and those identified through their scientific investigations.

Sponsors making the Network possible are the WVU National Research Center for Coal & Energy and the WVU Office of Research. The WVU Office of Academic Innovation supports the Network by through their videotaping and post-production services to make presentations available to faculty online for viewing at their convenience.