In conjunction with its university partners, Consumer Energy Alliance on Wednesday held its second Texas A&M Student Energy Discussion Series event in College Station, TX.

Roughly 100 A&M students joined CEA for a panel discussion focused on energy innovations and solutions for meeting our 21st century energy needs.  Panelists discussed population and energy usage trends, recent technological breakthroughs and work underway to make further advances, opportunities and challenges for new innovations across energy sectors, the economic and societal benefits that result from energy innovations, and the importance of creativity, initiative, and passion in securing additional advances.

Co-programming partners included the Student Conference on National Affairs, the Memorial Student Center’s Wiley Lecture Series, Texas A&M’s Society of Petroleum Engineers’ Student Chapter, and Texas A&M’s Office of the Provost, Public Partnership and Outreach. This series is sponsored by the Texas Trucking Association.

Panelists included Dr. Richard Haut, Senior Research Scientist at the Houston Advanced Research Center, Robert Stewart, President at Lime Instruments, LLC, and Nick Tillmann, Director of Client Acceleration for the Energy Sector at the Houston Technology Center. Following the presentations Texas A&M Professor Dr. Tom Blasingame moderated a Q&A discussion with the panelists.

CEA’s Beth Everage provides welcome remarks and introduces the panelists.

Dr. Haut discussed how technological advances have facilitated a revolution in the use of hydraulic fracturing, which has significantly increased access to energy resources, referring to this development as a “big, huge technology

breakthrough.”  He also cited areas for improvement, stating that “we actually reject more energy than we are using.  Maybe there is an opportunity there, for actually finding where can we get more energy, as we continue with our population increase.”

In discussing how energy innovations have improved the effectiveness and efficiency of oil and gas operations, Stewart noted that “the controls and instrumentation that we’ve developed have really been a key factor in not only reducing the costs, but also increasing the safety factor.”  Going forward, Stewart said that “we’ve got to come up with ways that we can be that innovator that we’ve always been, that leads the entire world in energy technology.”

In talking about society’s growing need for energy, Tillmann stated that “we are going to be continue to be dependent on fossil fuels…but we do need rapid growth in renewables, and we’ve got to do it in a way that’s environmentally and socially responsible.”  He added that “it’s clear that the solution is to speed up energy innovation… we’ve got to get things from invention to commercial reality a lot more quickly than we’ve been doing it…There is plenty of opportunity…it is going to take innovation, it’s going to take creativity, it’s going to take initiative, and it’s a great opportunity for all of you.”

CEA and our university partners will continue this program with another Forum in the near future.  For more information, please contact Beth Everage at eeverage@ConsumerEnergyAlliance.org.

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