March 14 lecture at WID: Atmospheric Impacts of Expanded Natural Gas Use,

University of Texas professor David T. Allen will present a lecture on the Atmospheric Impacts of Expanded Natural Gas Use on Thursday, March 14 at 4:15 p.m. in the DeLuca Auditorium, Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery. Allen is Gertz Regents Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Resources at the University of Texas at Austin. A reception will be held immediately afterwards in WID’s Town Center

Lecture abstract:  Hydraulic fracturing of shale formations (shale gas) is projected by the Energy Information Administration to become the dominant source of domestic natural gas supply over the next several decades, potentially transforming the nation’s energy landscape. However, the environmental impacts associated with ‘‘fracking’’ for shale gas have made it controversial in some communities, and some communities are seeking to ban it.  This presentation will focus on air quality impacts associated with hydraulic fracturing.  Data and modeling on emissions and impacts of photochemically active air pollutants, toxic air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions will be described.

In addition to addressing the direct atmospheric impacts of expanded natural gas production, indirect effects will also be described.  Widespread availability of shale gas, and limited capacities for transporting shale gas to global markets, can drive down natural gas prices, which in turn, can impact the use of natural gas in electricity generation.   Natural gas production in Texas and the Texas grid will be used as a case study for examining these indirect consequences of expanded natural gas availability.

This Roy F. Weston Distinguished Lecture is sponsored by the Office of Sustainability and the Nelson Institute Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment.