PITTSBURGH, March 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A team of Carnegie Mellon University researchers are scheduled to visit Capitol Hill March 13 to encourage U.S. regional and state officials to establish a government-university- industry research and education initiative to inform the public about issues surrounding shale gas and the environment so the nation can better prepare for its energy future.
A recently released guide published by energy experts at CMU's Scott Institute for Energy Innovation provides policymakers with a primer on shale gas development and an overview of CMU research results assessing the impact of shale gas development on water resources, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions and orphaned shale gas wells.
Shale gas production is increasing at a rapid rate and is expected to produce half of the U.S. natural gas supply by 2040. An initiative is needed because insufficient research is in place to assess the impact of shale gas operations and the public needs unbiased information informed by science and engineering, according to Carnegie Mellon researchers.
For example, in Pennsylvania alone, there are a little more than 100 surface water monitoring stations for 86,000 miles of rivers and streams and almost 4,000 lakes, reservoirs and ponds – yet approximately 80 percent of Pennsylvania's land mass is included in the Marcellus Shale geological formation.
"In addition, a government-university-industry initiative can provide a 'firewall' between the funding of research and research priorities, set a common basis for conflict of interest policies, reduce duplication of research efforts, and focus on policymaker information needs. Industry involvement is important in identifying research priorities, using research results to establish best practices, and providing the information researchers need to better understand shale gas operations. As a result, industry initiation and leadership are key criteria for the success of such an initiative," said Deborah D. Stine, professor of the practice in CMU's novel Department of Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) and associate director for policy outreach at the Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.
A key mission of the Scott Institute, established last fall, is to take a systems approach to energy issues — collecting information and research results throughout CMU — to provide an up-to-date understanding of energy issues facing today's policymakers. Policymakers face complex systems of economic, environmental, regulatory, social and business, and job implications when they make decisions regarding shale gas development. A new multidisciplinary research initiative could help develop a systems approach to assessing the risk and uncertainties associated with shale gas development.
A team of researchers will brief administration and Congressional staff about its results and discuss its recommendations for a new multidisciplinary research initiative to help develop a systems approach to assess the risk and uncertainties associated with shale-gas development. The team includes: Jeanne VanBriesen, professor of civil and environmental engineering; Michael Griffin, associate professor of EPP and the Tepper School of Business, and executive director of the Green Design Institute; Allen Robinson, head of the Mechanical Engineering Department; and Austin Mitchell, a Ph.D. student in EPP.
The proposed initiative also would expand the ability of participants to transform limited resources into improved results, create greater access to information making the program more efficient, enhance project credibility and provide greater access to financial resources from private firms and individuals.
For additional information, please see www.cmu.edu/energy.
About Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon (www.cmu.edu) is a private, internationally ranked research university with programs in areas ranging from science, technology and business, to public policy, the humanities and the arts. More than 12,000 students in the university's seven schools and colleges benefit from a small student-to-faculty ratio and an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. A global university, Carnegie Mellon's main campus in the United States is in Pittsburgh, Pa. It has campuses in California's Silicon Valley and Qatar, and programs in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and Mexico. The university is in the midst of "Inspire Innovation: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University," which aims to build its endowment, support faculty, students and innovative research, and enhance the physical campus with equipment and facility improvements.
SOURCE Carnegie Mellon University