Texas A&M to lead new Ocean Energy Safety Institute
BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, TX – The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) will collaborate with stakeholders in the energy sector, several national laboratories and universities in 10 states as the manager of a new Ocean Energy Safety Institute (OESI ).
The goals of the new OESI include safer workplaces, better environmental stewardship and greater energy security in the United States.
Through technological advancements, monitoring equipment and workforce training, OESI will strive to mitigate environmental and safety risks to conventional and renewable energy technologies and prevent geohazards, work process incidents and oil spills at sea.
The consortium is organized under an agreement announced in May between TEES and the Office of Environmental Safety and Enforcement of the US Department of the Interior and the US Department of Energy. The agreement provides for up to $ 40 million from the federal government over five years, as well as approximately $ 12 million in investments from consortium members.
A smaller scale OESI was operated until recently by TEES and two other universities in Texas. Today, OESI comprises 16 universities in 10 states, including Texas A&M University and Prairie View A&M University. It also involves several national laboratories and more than 20 stakeholders representing conventional and renewable energies – including wind and marine energy and offshore hydrokinetic – from each offshore energy producing region.
“Tell us how we can help you and we’ll be there,” said John Sharp, chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. “We are delighted to contribute to the energy sector. It fuels so many jobs in Texas and across the country. “
Mr. Katherine Banks, President of Texas A&M, is the principal investigator of the OESI project. She commended her team for bringing together a wide range of stakeholders from the energy industry and academia.
The universities involved in OESI represent Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, California, Washington, and Alaska.
“We are pleased that the federal government has chosen Texas A&M to support the energy sector,” Banks said. “TEES has nationally recognized expertise in conducting cutting-edge research and development. “
John Pappas, director of operations for the TEES center and an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Ocean Engineering at Texas A&M, is the program manager for the OESI project. He called the new consortium a “game changer”.
“We look forward to being part of the next generation of safety and environmental protection technologies for offshore power generation,” said Pappas. “Our team is extraordinarily diverse, creative and talented. It will offer new solutions and new ways of thinking.
TEES will be responsible for developing a project roadmap in consultation with consortium members. Once approved by federal officials, the roadmap becomes a guide for individual projects with annual goals.
While the Interior Ministry’s Office of Environmental Security and Enforcement and the Ministry of Energy will provide expertise, direction and oversight through a Joint Steering Committee (JSC) , the OESI will operate independently. The JSC will include experts in oil and gas, offshore wind, and marine and hydrokinetic energy, which is the method of converting energy from waves, tides, ocean currents and thermal gradients and salt dissolved in electricity.
Faisal Khan will be the technical director of OESI. A professor of chemical engineering, Khan is a leading researcher in offshore technology and safety engineering. He pointed out that the consortium projects will involve researchers from various fields of engineering: oceanic, industrial, chemical, civil, mechanical and others.
“This is a multidisciplinary and holistic approach,” Khan said. “We will provide technical support and safety and environmental protection technologies for oil, gas, wind and wave power generation.”