The center, funded by a $500,000 university seed grant over two years and anticipating donations from member companies, aims to position the industry known to be the worst greenhouse gas emissions offenders as instead the leader in reducing the environmental impact of carbon worldwide. The center will develop technology, draft policy proposals and perform research on the capture, storage and utilization of carbon.
Oil and gas companies have a vested interest in developing carbon capture and utilization technology. By pumping carbon into the ground during the production process, energy companies can get more barrels out. As the
Experts at the university said that based on discussions with industry partners, they believe oil and gas companies’ shareholders are driving the strides on carbon management.
“They have significant shareholder pressure to start moving on this,” Krishnamoorti said.
Currently, the majority of carbon dioxide that Occidental uses is produced from natural underground reservoirs. If it could, on an industrial scale, be captured from emissions sources and then used to pump oil, greenhouse gas emissions would substantially decrease, experts at the
Some environmentalists say this process, known as enhanced oil recovery, continues reliance on fossil fuels instead of moving toward renewable energy sources. But,
“We all know that we need to get to a low carbon future, but you can’t simply stop what we’re doing today without it being massively disruptive to industry and people’s lives,” McConnell said.
He said the center will aim to be an unbiased leader in how to achieve a low-carbon future, with efforts driven by oil and gas production, petrochemicals and electric power sectors.
The center, launched last Monday, will work over the coming months to find member companies to participate or donate. The university expects to have several big energy companies signed on by April.
“They are the ones with the technical know-how, and the size, scale and capital required to tackle this issue,” Krishnamoorti said. “It’s not going to come from the ‘Googles and Microsofts,’ or the government incentives. There isn’t enough incentive in the world.”
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