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The University of Utah’s Institute for Clean and Secure Energy hosted its annual conference on development of oil shale and oil sands May 7 at the Rice-Eccles Stadium tower.
The Unconventional Fuels Conference focused on how computer modeling of unconventional fuel reservoirs impacts development and how economic and environmental factors could constrain development.
Oil shale and oil sands are unconventional sources for crude oil that require extensive processing to release liquid hydrocarbons for fuel. In March, the U.S. Department of the Interior ruled that 680,000 acres of federal land in the western United States would be made available for research and development of oil shale and oil sands technologies. Nearly 130,000 acres of this land are in Utah.
“Given the abundance of unconventional fuels such as oil shale and oil sands in Utah, the push for development of the state’s energy resources by Gov. [Gary] Herbert, and the concern of many over the implications of large-scale development, this conference serves as a valuable platform for conveying information about unconventional fuels development to the general public,” said conference organizer Jennifer Spinti, a research associate professor of chemical engineering at the University of Utah.
This year’s conference featured plenary speakers Juan Palma, Utah director of the federal Bureau of Land Management, and Pierre Allix, unconventional resources program manager at Total S.A., a French integrated oil and gas company.
Other speakers included Neil Pogorelsky, prinicipal economist with HDR Decision Economics and Anne Mariah Tapp, land and public policy fellow with the Grand Canyon Trust.
Now in its eighth year, the Unconventional Fuels Conference is supported by the Institute for Clean and Secure Energy through the U.S. Department of Energy.
The institute’s mission is education through interdisciplinary research on high-temperature fuel processing for energy generation, and related environmental, health, policy and performance issues.