UT Energy Bulletin | October 2021

Energy@UT News

New Technology Can Quickly and Cheaply Purify Drinking Water 

Guihua Yu, Associate Professor at the Cockrell School, and his team developed a hydrogel tablet that can rapidly purify contaminated water. The process requires zero energy input and doesn’t create harmful byproducts. The research was supported by grants from the Energy Institute at UT Austin and the Dreyfus Foundation. Read more about the findings here
Carbon Storage Deep in the Sea Could Be Boosted by Supercharged Compounds 

Vaibhav Bahadur, Associate Professor at the Cockrell School, was the lead author of a new research paper about capturing and converting CO2 into hydrates. These hydrates would then be stored to prevent the carbon from furthering climate change damage. Read the article here
UT Professor Wins the 2021 Electrochemical Society’s Battery Division Technology Award

Arumugam Manthiram was recognized 
for development of sustainable, more affordable battery chemistries and technology. “We have successfully eliminated expensive cobalt from the current lithium-ion batteries and are currently doing work to replace metal-based electrode materials with sulfur in lithium batteries.” 
News from Around Campus
  • Energy Institute: Dave Tuttle, research associate, commends Tesla’s astute decision to locate manufacturing facility in Travis County
  • Cockrell School | Department of Mechanical Engineering: Arumugam Manthiram, materials science researcher, and his graduate student team try to develop the next generation of electric vehicle battery technology without the harmful mining process of cobalt. “What the world really needs are batteries made from elements that don’t have to be mined at all.”
  • LBJ School: Varun Rai, Associate Dean for Research, speaks on the Texas Legislature’s response to the February 2021 winter storm grid failures. Listen to the podcast here.
  • Cockrell School | Department of Mechanical Engineering: Joshua Rhodes, research associate, comments on the climate impacts of cryptocurrency mining in Ars Technica and in Forbes.
  • School of Architecture: Professor Junfeng Jiao collaborates with Austin Transportation Department and the nonprofit, Jail to Jobs, to test a new solar-powered mobility hub in north Austin neighborhood. Read about the project to eliminate “transit deserts” here.
  • Cockrell School | Department of Chemical Engineering: Professors co-author paper on extracting lithium from brine water. Read about how hydraulic fracturing water in Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale could produce lithium for 300 electric vehicle batteries per week here.
  • Cockrell School | Department of Mechanical Engineering: Joshua Rhodes, research associate, provides context for Biden’s proposed tenfold increase in solar power investments. Read the full conversation here.
  • McCombs School | Department of Information Risk, & Operations Management: Professor Edward Anderson explains how the impact of hurricanes has compounded the vehicle microchip shortage. Read about the subsequent economic impacts here.
  • LBJ School | RGK Center: CONNECT program students help develop climate resilience handbook for southeast Austin neighborhood. Read about the nonprofit partnership project here
Upcoming Events
October 12: Sustainability Trends for the Real Estate Industry

Join virtually for a discussion with Akshai Rao, Senior Vice President, Ancillary Services, Yardi Systems. Event Details
October 15:  Disaster Decision Making: Integrated Prediction and Optimization

How come we still have devastating weather-related tragedies despite increasingly powerful weather prediction tools? Event Details

October 20-21:  Connecting the Dots Virtual Conference

UT Austin Portugal is hosting a free conference over two half-day sessions including a masterclass on next generation batteries. Registration deadline is Oct. 13, 2021. Event Details


October 27-29: GeoGulf Conference

Annual GeoGulf Conference registration is open. This year’s theme is “Sustaining Geoscience through the Energy Transition.” Event Details
November 8: Connecting Dots Virtual Lecture

Teresa Gali–Izard, experienced landscape architect, presents new methodology in working with the limiting factors of climate and geology, transforming constrains into opportunities. Event Details
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