The renaissance taking place in the U.S. due to increased production of natural gas from shale is changing the energy marketplace. The use of natural gas in combined heat and power is receiving increased attention as a way to reduce the overall use of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas production.
However, the natural gas bubble should not cause policy makers to slow the move toward renewable energy and introduction of automation technology such as smart grids.
Time of day pricing of power, use of demand response techniques, and smart grids are important ingredients that favor intermittent power sources. Increased usage of thermal storage systems will enable industrial and building energy users to deal with the dynamic power conditions and more.
Thomas F. Edgar
Thomas F. Edgar, a chemical engineer who has been at The University of Texas at Austin faculty for more than 40 years, now serves as the interim director of the Energy Institute.
Edgar’s current energy research covers renewable energy, combined heat and power, energy storage, and improved oil recovery (www.che.utexas.edu/edgar_group). His research group develops modeling, control and optimization tools to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprint.