UH Hosts Congressional Hearing About the Future of Carbon Capture Research By Janet Miranda

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On Nov. 22nd the University of Houston hosted the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space & Technology for a field hearing on future research and development on carbon capture, utilization and storage. The hearing was held at the Hilton University of Houston.

The hearing included testimony from Ramanan Krishnamoorti, chief energy officer and professor of chemical engineering at the University of Houston. Among other scientists and industry experts who testified were Jeffrey Long, faculty senior scientist, Materials Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Greg Kennedy, senior project director, NRG Energy and director of Asset Management, Petra Nova Project; Roger Dewing, director of technology CCUS, Air Products and Chemicals, Inc.; and Nigel Jenvey, global head of carbon management, Gaffney Cline & Associates.

The hearing highlighted the importance of higher education institutions in developing carbon management technologies and policies, bringing the spotlight directly to the scene of the action.

“Here in Houston, we know energy. When it comes to energy innovation, this is its home,” U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, acting committee chair, said in her opening statement. “Right now, we are experiencing an energy renaissance, one that has reduced costs and increased investment here and around the world.”

With rising concern about climate change, carbon capture, utilization and storage will play a critical role in reducing carbon emissions. At the same time, a growing global population will increase the need for affordable and sustainable energy over the next century.

“The University of Houston is uniquely positioned to play a leading role in delivering the innovative solutions that will be required to address both of these global-scale imperatives,” Krishnamoorti told the committee.

The university established the Center for Carbon Management in Energy (CCME) a year ago, led by Charles McConnell, a longtime energy executive and former assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Energy. The CCME takes a multidisciplinary approach to address the carbon challenge, integrating scientific advances and technology with public policy and business strategies.

In his testimony, Krishnamoorti highlighted the central role higher education has played in advancing carbon management research, describing the impact UH has had in providing innovative technological and policy suggestions to address carbon emissions.

The efforts include advancing cost-effective direct air capture (DAC) technologies, discovering new uses for carbon dioxide in order to reduce the carbon footprint of energy production, and helping to meet growing energy demand in India in collaboration with Oil India Limited. That project is led by Ganesh Thakur, Distinguished Professor of petroleum engineering and director of UH Energy Industrial Partnerships, and has demonstrated the use of carbon capture to boost oil recovery in a depleted oil field.

“Ongoing research and projects at the University of Houston are focused on delivering measurable results through technological, financial, policy and legal breakthroughs,” said Krishnamoorti. “We remain committed to serving the city of Houston, Texas and the United States through our wide-ranging educational and research offerings, partnerships with local and global entities, and contributions to the community.”