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University of Wyoming Foundation

Donor Stories

Anadarko Supports Energy Research Excellence

AnadarkoDr. Vladimir Alvarado in the UW Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering is trying to solve a sticky problem that's been around for a while: What do you do with the so-called "dirty water" that is produced from oil drilling. His solution? After conditioning this oil and water mix for stability, re-inject it. This serves three purposes: 1) it's a better way to dispose of the water, 2) 3‑5% more oil is recovered, which is actually quite a lot, and 3) it saves money.

For this research, he was awarded one of the first round of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation's Energy Resource Recovery Program prizes.

"This funding serves to produce data, which allows me to seek larger funding," Dr. Alvarado says. "I can't go to an oil company or the Department of Energy if I don't have preliminary data."

This program provides competitive awards to faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates in areas of partnership that focus on the exploration, development, or production of crude oil or natural gas as sources of energy.

"These fellowships recognize excellence among UW's young and developing energy faculty and students, and the funding provides them with opportunities to further their research," says Mark Northam, Director of the School of Energy Resources.

Industry developments that researchers may focus on include energy resource recovery maximization, critical midstream infrastructure development, minimization of the development footprint, development of the future energy workforce, reform of the permitting and regulatory process, enhanced oil recovery, carbon dioxide sequestration, water management, and other technical issues.

"Wyoming is blessed with an abundance of energy resources, and we are honored to play an integral role in advancing the technology and knowledge that helps develop these resources in a safe and environmentally sound manner," says Jim Kleckner, Anadarko Vice President, Operations, and member of the Wyoming Energy Resources Council. "Through our partnership with the University of Wyoming and the Anadarko Energy Resource Recovery Program, we hope to continue attracting talented engineering students and faculty that will keep Wyoming at the forefront of our nation's energy future."

The endowment funds faculty fellowships, graduate student fellowships, and experiential learning (undergraduate) internships. The faculty fellowship provides support for the research of young, energetic, talented faculty and serves to attract them to energy and energy-related research, further promoting and sustaining this area of distinction for UW.

Graduate fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis to graduate students conducting research in energy disciplines. Graduate students are key research partners for faculty. Experiential learning internships are awarded to outstanding juniors or seniors, who then have the opportunity to engage in oil and natural gas recovery research.

The awards are in the amounts of $15,000 for faculty, $5,000 for graduate students, and $4,000 for undergraduates. In order to receive an award, faculty and students alike present proposals and are selected by an award committee consisting of the Director of the School of Energy Resources  and faculty members from within the principal energy resource recovery disciplines. The funds can be flexibly applied and therefore can go to areas of high need.

These fellowships also connect faculty and students from across campus, including the disciplines of chemical, petroleum, civil, environmental, and mechanical engineering, geology and geophysics, and chemistry.


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