AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas at Austin is leading a new energy consortium in partnership with six New Mexico and Texas universities and two national laboratories for development of the Permian Energy Development Laboratory. The memorandum of understanding reflects a shared goal of conducting advanced energy research, educating the next generation of energy professionals, and supporting energy-intensive communities and the natural resources on which they depend.
The Permian Basin is a unique energy and environmental resource spanning Texas and New Mexico. It is the largest petroleum-producing basin in the United States. It is also a major producer of solar and wind power and has the capacity to launch the next generation of energy resources.
“The Permian Basin drives the global landscape of energy technologies, providing significant economic benefits to local communities in the region, the states of Texas and New Mexico, and the United States economy,” said Brian Korgel, Rashid Engineering Regents Chair Professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering and director of the UT Energy Institute. “Collaborating paves the road for future economic resiliency across the region and increased sustainability.”
The new lab’s scientific research and technology deployment efforts will focus on four primary areas of inquiry:
- Advanced energy, fuels and integration.
- Carbon and materials management.
- Water, land and agriculture.
- Economic development.
Education and workforce efforts will introduce students to advanced energy concepts to prepare them to excel in the technology and energy careers of the future, create higher education credentials that support employment in Texas’ cutting-edge energy industries, and encourage advanced energy job creation and entrepreneurship.
The lab’s community engagement efforts will include short- and long-term programs, including town hall meetings to gather initial input for creating an entrepreneur resource center and scholarship programs to prepare students to work with new energy technologies. The goal is to create opportunities for everyone living in and around the energy sector and share the benefits and costs fairly.
“The Permian Energy Development Lab will ensure the region drives the global landscape of energy technologies,” said Marilu Hastings, chair of the UT Energy Institute Advisory Board and executive vice president of the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, who launched the effort. “The Permian has the resources, know-how and workforce to ensure success. Working as partners, we will position Texas and southeast New Mexico to win the race to build the world’s next-generation energy technologies.”
In addition to UT Austin, participating institutions include the Houston Advanced Research Center, Midland College, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, New Mexico State University, New Mexico Tech, Odessa College, Sandia National Laboratories, The University of Texas at El Paso and The University of Texas Permian Basin. The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation incubated the startup organization.