The University Lands project is Green-Fee funded. The goal of the project is to explore methods of reducing, offsetting, and sequestering greenhouse gases from oil and gas production on University Lands in West Texas that are economically viable and compatible with current uses. University Lands are surface and mineral rights of 2.1 million acres in 19 West Texas counties belonging to the University of Texas and Texas A&M Systems. Revenue from oil and gas production leases there contributes to the UT Austin Available University Fund. This study is thus focused on not only environmental benefits, but also maintaining profits and finding political feasibility.
The report will cover environmental, economic, and feasibility criteria and the following energy reproduction methods will receive scores based on the outcomes:
● Solar energy
● Wind energy
● Natural gas with Carbon Capture and Storage
● Nuclear energy
These methods are comparable largely due to data available from the Energy Institute.
Other methods assessed in the report will include production technology that reduces methane leaks and emissions, algae ponds used to sequester carbon and produce biofuel, using wastewater brine to irrigate sequestering vegetation, geothermal energy, and a “reducing drilling” scenario.
The researchers hope this project becomes a building block that future researchers at UT Austin build off of to encourage more innovative uses of University Lands to make it a sustainable, long-lasting resource.