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UW Grants Fund Collaborative Energy Research

May 21, 2015

Researchers from the University of Wyoming have joined with colleagues in the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) to pursue research intended to provide new insights on geothermal energy and unconventional oil and gas reservoirs.

They will do so with graduate assistants funded by a new UW program to address the country’s and the region’s energy challenges through collaborations among CAES members. CAES is a consortium of the Idaho National Laboratory (INL), UW, Boise State University, the University of Idaho and Idaho State University.

Recently announced as winners of UW’s first CAES Competitive Graduate Assistantship Program grants are:

-- Assistant Professors Kam Ng and Gang Tan of UW’s Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, along with Robert Podgorney of INL. They will research thermal-hydro-mechanical interaction for geothermal energy and well-bore stability studies. Their goal is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of unconventional geothermal energy production, which has the potential to significantly augment the energy portfolio of the Rocky Mountain region and the nation.

-- Associate Professor John Kaszuba and Ph.D. candidate Quinn Miller in UW’s Department of Geology and Geophysics, and Professor Darryl Butt of Boise State University’s College of Engineering. Their focus is fluid-rock interactions in the evolution of pore networks in unconventional reservoirs. The research will provide vital insights into the effects of hydraulic fracturing on fundamental interactions with reservoir rocks. Ultimately, this information is central to increasing oil and gas production from unconventional reservoirs.

“The highly innovative research represented by these projects illustrates the value added from collaborative interactions made possible by UW’s involvement with CAES,” says Don Roth, deputy director for academics in UW’s School of Energy Resources and associate director of CAES. “These projects directly address our overarching goals of workforce development; interdisciplinary collaborations leading to increased energy academics, research and development; and connecting with industry in transformational, large-scale programs. We hope to expand the program in succeeding years in support of Wyoming’s energy focus.”

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