December 13, 2005 — With financial support obtained by the Utah Congressional Delegation for the Federal 2006 budget year, the University of Utah is pleased to announce the formation of two new research and development centers focused on energy production technologies. These two research centers are targeted at developing new technologies that will take advantage of Utah’s vast heavy oil resources contained in oil shale and oil sands, as well as the abundant coal supplies in eastern Utah. Both centers will be organized within the College of Engineering’s Institute for Combustion and Energy Studies (ICES), directed by Professor JoAnn S. Lighty. The resources of the University of Utah’s Energy and Geoscience Institute, directed by Dr. Raymond Levey, will also play a role in these new centers.
The Utah Center for Heavy Oil Research will be led by Philip J. Smith, professor and chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering. A Canadian from the Province of Alberta, Smith has ties to the gigantic oil sands resources in the northern sector of Alberta. A multidisciplinary team is being assembled to pursue research and development technologies to support the development of an industry for both the oil sands and oil shale resources.
The Utah Center for Ultra-Clean Coal Utilization will pursue development of highly efficient coal conversion technologies. Key research areas target the elimination of pollutants, greenhouse gases, and safeguarding human health and the environment. A multi-disciplinary team is being assembled for this center, which will be led by Ronald J. Pugmire, professor of chemical engineering, adjunct professor of chemistry, and associate vice president for research.