Photo by Bas van Breukelen on Unsplash.

The Energy Institute at The University of Texas at Austin has funded 12 research projects through its 2024 Strategic Energy Seed Grant Program, covering a broad range of key research areas, from battery production and carbon capture to clean hydrogen, produced water treatment, and industrial decarbonization. The program is made possible with funding by corporate partners Bidra, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell and SLB.

“The program aims to leverage UT’s extensive education and research capacity in energy to accelerate innovation and benefit society as rapidly as possible,” says Brian Korgel, director of The Energy Institute and Rashid Engineering Regents Chair Professor in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering.

The challenges are huge—global energy needs continue to grow, and securing energy supply, while alleviating energy poverty globally and dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, remains a priority.

"Because our industry partners can scale new technologies quickly, our collaboration helps ensure that UT’s research has an impact where it's most needed, unlocking new business opportunities for our region and beyond, and ultimately, helping to build a more resilient economy.”

The funding supports graduate students and post-doctoral fellows engaging in collaborative energy research in strategic areas of interest. Several Texas ChE-related research projects were amongst the final twelve that were funded and selected from more than 60 proposals.

Projects included in the 2024 Strategic Energy Seed Grant Program are:


Scalable tissue-inspired lithium extraction electrochemical membranes: Professors Venkat Ganesan (chemical engineering), Manish Kumar (environmental engineering) and Harekrushna Behera (environmental engineering)


De-risking carbon capture with amine solvents using high resolution mass spectrometer methods: Research Associate Fred Closmann, (chemical enginering, Ph.D. ’11), Assistant Professor Pawel Misztal (environmental enginering) and Mass Spectrometry Facility Director Ian Riddington (chemistry)


Distributed and electrified green ammonia production using plasma-catalysis: Professors Charles B. (Buddie) Mullins (chemical engineering) and Michael Webber (mechanical engineering), Assistant Professor Thomas Underwood (aerospace engineering) 

Enhancing the durability of electrocatalysts for the oxygen evolution reaction through strong metal-support interactions: Professor Delia Milliron (chemical engineering) and Assistant Professor Joaquin Resasco (chemical engineering)


Evaluation of a novel integrated ceramic membrane/hollow fiber membrane contactor process for produced water reuse: Senior Research Engineer: Senior Research Engineer Frank Seibert, (separations research program, Ph.D. ’86) and Professor Lynn Katz (civil engineering) 

For a complete list of funded projects: Energy Institute.