The Colorado School of Mines, with its historic connection to fossil fuel and mineral extraction, would seem an unlikely place for a high-level pursuit of the transition from a world powered by fossil fuels to a world of clean energy, but that’s exactly what I have observed.
Even the Petroleum Engineering Department downplays petroleum extraction in its web page with the following opening lines: “As human standards of living rise, so does energy and resource consumption. Hydrocarbon energy will continue to dominate energy usage, and other non-hydrocarbon resource development, such as geothermal and subsurface resource acquisition and development, will continue to grow in importance.”
The spring 2022 edition of Mines Magazine had a major article with the headline, “Oil and gas engineers are the key to the energy transition.”
Back in February 2017, the Faculty Senate adopted a Climate Change Statement. Central to CSM’s commitment to addressing climate change is its Global Energy Future Initiative (GEFI) related to the university’s tagline, “Earth, Energy, Environment,” with a focus on Low Carbon and Renewable Energy, Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage, and Clean Water Innovations, in addition to Minerals & Metals, Supply Chain Transparency, and Oil & Gas. Under “Oil & Gas,” the GEFI web page talks about “Designing interdisciplinary research focused on the science, engineering and policy of oil and gas in the net-zero energy future” (emphasis added)
While there is a commitment to continued extraction of oil and gas, including hydraulic fracturing, I’m impressed by the recognition that saving our planet depends on transitioning from oil and gas to other forms of energy that reduce or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.
I have received the email newsletter of CSM’s Payne Institute for Public Policy for several years and have been impressed at the variety and depth of the research which it is working on with regards to climate change.
To give a sense of the depth and breadth of its research, the August 2022 email newsletter from the Payne Institute has the following headlines about different research projects, each with a detailed paragraph and a link to further information on the CSM website:
> New Winners, New Losers – Toward a New Energy Security
> Declaring a Climate Emergency Won’t Save the Planet — Energy Security Could
> Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage in the New Inflation Reduction Act
> Scrap, Sell, Auction or Repurpose? What’s the Best Business Model for Coal Plant Closure?
> How Energy Subsidy Reform Can Drive the Iranian Power Sector Towards a Low-Carbon Future
> Making Carbon Offset Disclosure Align with Climate Value
> Clearing the Non-Technical Hurdles for Carbon Capture & Sequestration
> Interest Group Power and the Passage of Nigeria’s Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) – A Multiple Streams Approach
> Tackling Ripple Effects of Renewable Energy on Mineral Supply Chain
> The Net-Zero Industry Tracker
I suggest that you Google “Colorado Schools of Mines Climate Change,” as I did, to see the many elements of CSM’s commitment to net zero energy research, climate change, and even on-campus sustainability. You’ll be impressed.
My fellow MIT alumni would never forgive me if I concluded this article without pointing out that our alma mater is equally committed to these issues and topics of research. For example, under its Climate Grand Challenges initiative, the Institute selected 27 teams as finalists from a field of nearly 100 initial proposals, representing 90 percent of MIT departments and involving almost 400 MIT faculty, senior researchers, and external collaborators. On April 11, five teams with the most promising concepts were announced as multi-year flagship projects that will receive additional funding and support to develop, implement, and scale their solutions rapidly.