INTERNATIONAL ENERGY POLICY INSTITUTE
The International Energy Policy Institute (IEPI) was created to address key policy issues in the mineral, energy and resources industries through intensive and innovative research.
MULLARD SPACE SCIENCE LABORATORY
The Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) is a world-leading research organisation delivering a broad science programme that is underpinned by a strong capability in space science instrumentation, space-domain engineering, space medicine, systems engineering and project management.
UCL expands shale research
6 August 2013
6 August 2013
Australia’s quest for a US-style shale gas revolution is under threat because of inappropriate regulation, the lack of a substantial service industry and limited resources to enable large-scale extraction, according to researchers at University College London’s Australia campus.
In an attempt to look more closely at regulation, UCL has commenced new policy research aimed at achieving an improved balance between optimising productive shale output, while at the same time minimising potential environmental impacts. It has today allocated more than $500,000 of additional PhD project funding to investigate this and other emerging projects.
UCL Australia’s research head, Professor Stefaan Simons, says frac sand, the material required to open up the channels in the shale to allow the gas to be extracted, is scarce in Australia and has to be imported in massive quantities from countries such as China. “This has serious cost implications for large scale viability of shale gas projects and unknown environmental implications,” according to Professor Simons.
“The use of imported fraccing sand and the management of unconventional gas with variable levels of CO2 are two potential areas where optimisation technologies and policies could see both improved financial returns and environmental outcomes,” Professor Simons says.
The announcement comes as students from UCL’s School of Energy and Resources, Australia, visit Olympic Dam in outback South Australia this week.
UCL has released three new BHP Billiton funded PhD research scholarships and is seeking aspiring research students to contribute to the university’s emerging research in shale and other research areas, including:
1. Life-cycle assessment of shale gas operations
2. Effectiveness of hydro-fraccing on Australian non-marine shales
3. Hyperspectral imaging instrument development for GHG monitoring and natural resource exploration
4. Environmental monitoring of coastal and offshore petroleum development
5. Use of biodiversity offsets in environmental management
Announcing the new funding in Roxby Downs this morning, the release of additional scholarships takes the number of PhD students who will be based at UCL’s Australia campus to 11.
“UCL Australia research activity is starting to generate wider interest in areas such as Australia’s quest to duplicate the US shale revolution, along with other research aimed at developing Australia’s resources sustainably. For example, UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory capability is being tuned to explore for remote resources and monitor greenhouse gases, whilst a new economic analysis about to be published will provide Australia-first estimates on the value of a future Australian uranium enrichment industry,” Professor Simons says.
“These three new scholarships, each worth more than $171,000, will strengthen the depth and interdisciplinary nature of our research. We are seeking motivated and appropriately qualified students from the full range of disciplines – geology, laws, engineering, economics, environmental science and others – to apply for one of these PhD scholarships.”
During their visit to Olympic Dam, UCL’s first-year students are visiting Australia’s largest underground mine and Arid Recovery, a major conservation program adjacent to the Olympic Dam mine. The 16 students and three staff are visiting Olympic Dam as part of the Resources Development and Sustainable Management course. View photos from the Olympic Dam field trip.
The field trip included UCL students from the UK, Nigeria, Armenia, Korea, Indonesia, Ecuador, and Uganda as well as Australian students.
PhD scholarship applications close on 30 October for commencement in February 2014. Read more on 2014 BHP Billiton scholarships.
UCL is the third oldest university in England (behind Oxford and Cambridge). It is the first UK university to have a campus in Australia.
Ranked in the top five of the world’s best universities, UCL has established its first overseas campus in Adelaide. The UCL School of Energy and Resources, Australia, opened in early 2010 and aims to provide specialist teaching and research, focussed on energy and resources.
UCL was founded in 1826 and counts 21 Nobel Prize winners among past and present alumni.