August 2014 Dinner
Speaker: Dr. Vikram Rao, Executive Director, Research Triangle Energy Consortium
Date: Thursday, August 21, 2014
Topic: Sustainable Energy for North Carolina
Summary: Two new sources of energy in North Carolina are shale gas and liquid fuels from woody biomass. Sustainable development of shale gas will be facilitated by rules currently being formulated by the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission. We will discuss in particular the environmental risks and the measures to minimize these. The controversial chemicals disclosure issue will also be examined.
North Carolina is one of the largest producers of woody biomass. Much of this is a byproduct of logging. Catalytic pyrolysis holds promise for the conversion of this material to liquid fuels. Recent advances will be discussed and in particular the one ton per day pilot plant at RTI International.
Vikram Rao is Executive Director, Research Triangle Energy Consortium, www.rtec-rtp.org, a non-profit in energy founded by Duke University, North Carolina State University, RTI International and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Its mission is to illuminate national energy priorities, and those of the world by extension, and to catalyze research to address these priorities.
Dr. Rao advises the non-profit research institute RTI International, venture capitalist Energy Ventures AS, and firms BioLargo Inc., Global Energy Talent Ltd. and Integro Earth Fuels Inc. and serves on the Science Council of Royal Dutch Shell plc. He retired as Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Halliburton Company in 2008 and followed his wife to Chapel Hill, NC, where she is on the UNC faculty. Later that year he took his current position. He also serves on the North Carolina Mining and Energy Commission and chairs the Water and Waste Management Committee.
Dr. Rao’s book, Shale Gas: The Promise and the Peril was released in 2012 by RTI Press and can be found at www.rti.org/shalegasbook. It is written for general audiences and is intended to inform on the heated debate on fracturing for shale gas. The Second Edition is slated for release in August, 2014.
Dr. Rao holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras in Chennai, India, along with a master’s degree and a doctorate in engineering from Stanford University. He is the author of more than 50 publications and has been awarded 40 US patents and foreign analogs.