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Colorado’s leadership on methane emissions survives another challenge

Colorado’s leadership on methane emissions survives another challenge

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Deputy Director Greg Clough, and Policy and Outreach Advisor Simon Lomax write this opinion piece about how Colorado is both a national and global leader on many areas of energy and climate policy, and especially when it comes to the regulation of emissions from oil and natural gas production. A decade ago, Colorado became the first state to directly regulate methane emissions from oil and natural gas facilities.  The lessons learned have influenced not only the US EPA, but other efforts globally.  May 16, 2024.

US Lawmakers Left the LNG Pause in Place, So What Next? 5/15/2024

US Lawmakers Left the LNG Pause in Place, So What Next?

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Policy and Outreach Advisor, Responsible Gas Simon Lomax, and Deputy Director Greg Clough write about how US lawmakers did not force President Joe Biden to lift his pause on LNG export approvals in exchange for the recent approval of a $95 billion security aid package for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. This likely means the US Department of Energy (DOE) can complete a review of the economic and climate impacts of LNG exports, which was the stated purpose of the pause.  May 15, 2024.

LEEDING POWER BACK TO COMMUNITIES THROUGH GREEN BUILDING CODES 5/10/2024

LEEDING POWER BACK TO COMMUNITIES THROUGH GREEN BUILDING CODES – ADVICE FOR POLICYMAKERS CONSIDERING LEED CERTIFICATION

Payne Institute Student Researcher Nathan Li compares goals of original, local green building codes and their potential for projects to use LEED certification as a path of compliance. By using his professional experience in LEED certification to analyze these codes’ language and priorities, he provide guidance on the applicability of LEED to achieve energy efficiency and renewable energy goals set by jurisdictions.  Nathan then makes suggestions to policymakers not to rely on the widespread acceptance of LEED to communicate a sustainability commitment, but instead use locally specific codes that require needed changes in their communities.  May 10, 2024.

Mines PFAS expert weighs in on regulating “forever chemicals” 5/9/2024

Mines PFAS expert weighs in on regulating “forever chemicals”

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins, University Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Colorado School of Mines, is among an international group of environmental consultants, regulators, land managers and academics that have jointly published an evaluation of differing approaches to regulation of the substances popularly known as ‘forever chemicals.’  May 9, 2024.

In the Race for Space Metals, Companies Hope to Cash In 5/8/2024

In the Race for Space Metals, Companies Hope to Cash In

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Angel Abbud-Madrid contributes to this article about how mining asteroids could, in theory, reduce the burden on Earth’s resources.  Potential applications of space-mined material abound: Asteroids contain metals like platinum and cobalt, which are used in electronics and electric vehicle batteries, respectively. Although there’s plenty of these materials on Earth, they can be more concentrated on asteroids than mountainsides, making them easier to scrape out.   May 8, 2024.

Is Green Growth Possible? 4/30/2024

Is Green Growth Possible? 

Environmental data scientist Hannah Ritchie is featured on the Ezra Klein Show, a New York Times podcast, discussing how climate technology is increasingly catching up to the world’s enormous need for clean energy and with a few changes, a more sustainable future.  The Payne Institute is mentioned as a key research organization looking at the amount of resources available to support a clean energy transition using solid data science.  April 29, 2024.  

Revitalizing the future economy: Critical mineral derivatives could bring stability 4/29/2024

Revitalizing the future economy: Critical mineral derivatives could bring stability

Payne Institute Student Researcher Reese Epper, Sustainable Finance Laboratory Program Manager Brad Handler, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how despite very likely high demand growth for some minerals, recent price drops give poor signals to investors.  Slower-than-expected growth in the electric vehicle sector, especially in China, combined with supply increases, has weighed heavily on the prices of several critical minerals. Given the long lead times to develop new supply sources, investments in mining these minerals must begin now. Yet, in the face of low prices, the mining industry is delaying projects, scaling back work and suspending operations.  April 29, 2024.  

Colorado School of Mines awarded $10.5M in fuel cell funding 4/26/2024

Colorado School of Mines awarded $10.5M in fuel cell funding

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Robert Braun is featured in this article about how his research team received three federal awards boost funding for fuel cell and hydrogen technologies research.  The team is approaching this challenge from a multidisciplinary lens, with researchers bringing experience across cutting-edge fuel-cell research capabilities including new materials development, high-temperature electrochemistry, device design and characterization, ammonia chemistry, and systems integration.  April 24, 2024.

Greenhouse Gases Life Cycle Assessment for Natural Gas and Liquefied Natural Gas 4/23/2024

Greenhouse Gases Life Cycle Assessment for Natural Gas and Liquefied Natural Gas

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this report from the National Petroleum Institute on titled Reducing GHG Emissions from the U.S. Natural Gas Supply Chain.  His contributions were made to Chapter 4 – Greenhouse Gases Life Cycle Assessment for Natural Gas and Liquefied Natural Gas.  The chapter introduces the fundamental concepts of LCA, discusses modeling GHG emissions from U.S. natural gas and LNG supply chains, quantifies life cycle GHG emissions, and explores application of LCAs in public and corporate policies.   April 23, 2024.

Drinking water for 268,000 Coloradans exceeds new limits on “forever chemicals” 4/21/2024

Drinking water for 268,000 Coloradans exceeds new limits on “forever chemicals”

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins contributes to this article about how the utilities that provide drinking water to nearly 268,000 Coloradans will need tens of millions of dollars over the next five years to comply with new federal limits on harmful “forever chemicals,” but finding the money will be a challenge — especially for small, rural systems. April 21, 2024.

Jennifer Miskimins nominated as 2026 president of Society of Petroleum Engineers 4/17/2024

Jennifer Miskimins nominated as 2026 president of Society of Petroleum Engineers

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jennifer Miskimins, professor and head of the Petroleum Engineering Department at Colorado School of Mines, has been nominated to serve as the 2026 president of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), the premier global organization for oil and gas professionals.  Dr. Miskimins is a Mines alum, Miskimins has 30 years of industry experience and has led Petroleum Engineering Department since 2020.  April 17, 2024.  

Hydrogen Tax Credit Rules Must Sync With Biden’s Climate Agenda 4/10/2024

Hydrogen Tax Credit Rules Must Sync With Biden’s Climate Agenda

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Deputy Director Greg Clough, and Responsible Gas Program Advisor Simon Lomax write about how President Joe Biden’s climate change agenda is more aggressive than anything previously in US energy and environmental policy.  But involving many federal departments and agencies in administering these initiatives introduces risks that must be managed, such as the danger of disorganization and conflicting policies from different parts of the US government that will make reducing carbon emissions slower and more expensive.  April 10, 2024.

The United States’ Strategy for Securing Critical Minerals Supplies: Can It Meet the Needs of the IRA? 4/9/2024

The United States’ Strategy for Securing Critical Minerals Supplies: Can It Meet the Needs of the IRA?

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Raphael Deberdt published this policy brief about how the United States reliance on foreign supplies of raw and processed critical minerals is pressing Washington to devise a strategy to secure short-, medium- and long-term solutions. Pressure only increased with the booming demand spurred partly by the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) policies. April 9, 2024.

Making Sense of the U.S. LNG Pause: Five Key Data Points 4/9/2024

Making Sense of the U.S. LNG Pause: Five Key Data Points

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Deputy Director Greg Clough, and Responsible Gas Program Advisor Simon Lomax write about how the Biden administration’s pause on liquefied natural gas (LNG) export approvals will be over in a matter of months.  They provide five data points offer some critical clues.  April 9, 2024.

The price of copper has been rising. That’s good news for the economy. 4/9/2024

The price of copper has been rising. That’s good news for the economy.

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange is featured on this podcast about the rising cost of copper. We say pretty regularly that if you want to figure out which way the global economy is headed, you should take a look at the price of copper. Because copper is used in so many things — power lines, appliances, vehicles, wind turbines, EV batteries. You get the picture. There is so much demand for the metal right now, the price of copper futures is at its highest since the middle of 2022. April 9, 2024.

Colorado School of Mines, Chevron announce partnership for Global Energy Future Initiative 4/8/2024

Colorado School of Mines, Chevron announce partnership for Global Energy Future Initiative

Through this partnership, Chevron will sponsor research projects and participate in steering committees and working groups, adding industry expertise to solve complex problems related to the energy transition. Chevron has been one of Mines’ strongest industry research partners for many decades and this new relationship will only strengthen that partnership. Chevron and GEFI aim to develop sustainable, secure, resilient, and adaptive energy systems and infrastructure, fostering worldwide economic development while reducing environmental impacts. April 8, 2024.

Boom goes uranium in Utah — again 4/7/2024

Boom goes uranium in Utah — again

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributes to this article about the latest concerns of the La Sal Complex, a Uranium mine 32 miles southeast of Moab.  The mine has been opened and closed and opened again over the years. The price of uranium has increased recently, and so has uranium production in Utah. The mining and processing of uranium have ignited old concerns.  April 7, 2024.

Greening the black gold? How private carbon finance can tackle oil & gas 4/5/2024

Greening the black gold? How private carbon finance can tackle oil & gas

Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler writes about how a set of entrepreneurs in the U.S. are considering how carbon finance and the Voluntary Carbon Markets (VCM) can be harnessed in new ways to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Their target: oil and natural gas wells. These entrepreneurs are looking across the “lifecycle” of a well or a whole oilfield and, in the process, targeting different GHGs. April 5, 2024.

US ratification of the ocean treaty will unlock deep sea mining 4/2/2024

US ratification of the ocean treaty will unlock deep sea mining

Payne Institute Fellow Alex Gilbert and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how hundreds of former political and military leaders are calling for the US Senate to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the impetus being to open up deep sea mining to supply critical minerals needed for clean energy and military technologies. Deep seabed resources include highly valued minerals such as cobalt, nickel, and rare earths.   April 2, 2024.  

Panel of lawmakers considers whether carbon capture holds future in Colorado 4/1/2024

Panel of lawmakers considers whether carbon capture holds future in Colorado

Payne Institute CCUS Program Manager Anna Littlefield contributed to this article about how as Colorado aims to achieve 100% net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, leaders of key state agencies argue that they can’t meet that goal without employing carbon-capture-and-sequestration techniques in hard-to-decarbonize sectors.  Ensuring the state has tools to allow and regulate such operations as fossil-fuel usage continues for the foreseeable future is a “strategic step to expediting the process.”  April 1, 2024.

Hydropower production took a hit in 2023 3/28/2024

Hydropower production took a hit in 2023

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Adrienne Marshall is on this podcast discussing how U.S. hydropower production was down 11% from the year before and dipped to a 22-year low last year, according to the federal Energy Information Administration. To make up for the hydro deficit, the U.S. bought natural gas power, which emits more carbon than hydro does, as well as some solar energy.  March 28, 2024.

New Method for Tracking Down Methane Emissions on Oil and Gas Sites 3/27/2024

New Method for Tracking Down Methane Emissions on Oil and Gas Sites

Payne Institute Student Researcher William Daniels, Faculty Fellow Dorit Hammerling, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how reducing methane emissions is a key component of short-term climate action.  Empirical data and transparent models are key pillars of emission reduction efforts.  Payne Institute researchers William Daniels, Meng Jia, and Dorit Hammerling have developed a completely open-source analytical framework for detecting single-source methane emissions, determining the source location, and estimating an emission rate using data from continuous monitoring systems (CMS).  March 27, 2024.

Energy Dept. Awards $6 Billion for Green Steel, Cement and Even Macaroni Factories 3/25/2024

Energy Dept. Awards $6 Billion for Green Steel, Cement and Even Macaroni Factories

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to this article about how industries produce 25 percent of America’s planet-warming emissions but so far have proved very hard to clean up. The Biden administration is trying by with plans to spend up to $6 billion on new technologies to cut carbon dioxide emissions from heavy industries like steel, cement, chemicals and aluminum, which are all enormous contributors to global warming but which have so far been incredibly difficult to clean up.  March 25, 2024.

Energy, material, and resource efficiency for industrial decarbonization: A systematic review of sociotechnical systems, technological innovations, and policy options 3/25/2024

Energy, material, and resource efficiency for industrial decarbonization: A systematic review of sociotechnical systems, technological innovations, and policy options

Jinsoo Kim, Benjamin K. Sovacool, Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Fellow Steve Griffiths, and Minyoung Yang write about how efficiency stands out as one of the most important options for achieving industrial decarbonization. In addition to carbon emissions reductions, improving energy, material and resource efficiency can bring many desirable benefits, such as cost savings, increased energy and resource security, and higher productivity. We conducted a comprehensive and systematic review through a socio-technical lens of more than 2.8 million references and 380 selected studies on industrial decarbonization.  March 25, 2024.

Exploring policy choices for addressing forever chemicals 3/25/2024

Exploring policy choices for addressing forever chemicals

Payne Institute Communications Associate Kristin Ziv, Student Researcher Isabel Guajardo Retamales and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how on March 20, the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) convened a pivotal hearing titled “Examining PFAS as Hazardous Substances.  The session focused on the risks associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of synthetic chemicals found in various industrial and consumer products. March 25, 2024.

Stephanie Kwon wins NSF CAREER Award for research to design new catalytic materials 3/21/2024

Stephanie Kwon wins NSF CAREER Award for research to design new catalytic materials 

Carbon-carbon (C-C) coupling reactions can be used to enhance the fuel properties of biofuels in sustainable energy applications.

Stephanie Kwon, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering at Colorado School of Mines, has received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for her work to design catalytic materials for carbon-carbon (C-C) coupling reactions. March 21, 2024.

Review of Policy Research Special Issue March 2024 3/21/2024

Review of Policy Research Special Issue March 2024

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Dr. Kathleen J. Hancock is the editor of this March 2024 edition of the RDR Special Issue on Energy Regionalism. The Special Issue’s focus on energy regionalism stems from increasing academic interest in how geographic regions compare with each other and across issues areas as well as growing interest in a wide range of energy issues, often seen through lenses other than the traditional security one and including non-state actors. Understanding how regionalisms—players, processes, institutions, and organizations—intersect with energy is directly linked to domestic and international energy policies and outcomes. The contributions cover sub-Saharan Africa, the East Mediterranean, Central America, Russia, Europe, and North America.  March 21,2024.

Detection, localization, and quantification of single-source methane emissions on oil and gas production sites using point-in-space continuous monitoring systems 3/20/2024

Detection, localization, and quantification of single-source methane emissions on oil and gas production sites using point-in-space continuous monitoring systems

Payne Institute Student Researchers William S. Daniels and Meng Jia, and Faculty Fellow Dorit M. Hammerling write about how they propose a modular framework for methane emission detection, localization, and quantification on oil and gas production sites that uses concentration and wind data from point-in-space continuous monitoring systems. The framework leverages a gradient-based spike detection algorithm to estimate emission start and end times (event detection) and pattern matches simulated and observed concentrations to estimate emission source location (localization) and rate (quantification). March 20, 2024.

Nuclear Power is Tribal Power 3/19/2024

Nuclear Power is Tribal Power

Payne Institute Native American Mining and Energy Sovereignty (NAMES) Initiative Program Manager Rick Tallman, Fellow Richard Luarkie and Director Morgan D. Bazilian write about how with the newly found bipartisan political will for American nuclear power, the U.S. is poised for a uranium mining boom once again. As the inevitable debate ensues, what is often not appreciated is the essential need to gain support from our Native American communities from the very start and through the developments.  March 19, 2024.

Projecting demand for mineral-based critical materials in the energy transition for electricity 3/18/2024

Projecting demand for mineral-based critical materials in the energy transition for electricity

Payne Institute Student Researcher Gabriel Collins, Faculty Fellow Carol A. Dahl, Student Researcher Maxwell Fleming, Student Researcher Michael Tanner, Student Researcher Wilson C. Martin, Kabir Nadkarni, Fellow Sara Hastings-Simon and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how mapping the changing energy landscape toward net zero and understanding the critical material needs to support the transition are essential for demanders and suppliers as well as policy makers seeking to orchestrate the transition. They provide such decision makers for electricity markets with a transparent tool that can be easily understood and modified as our transitional knowledge improves.  March 18, 2024.

The Rise of Great Mineral Powers 3/12/2024

The Rise of Great Mineral Powers

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Communications Associate Gregory Wischer write about how minerals play a crucial role in bolstering a state’s military capabilities, defining its “mineral power.” This study assesses a state’s mineral power by evaluating its access to secure mineral supplies from four key sources: domestic production, government stockpiles, overseas production by domestic companies, and imports from aligned states. March 12, 2024.

The path to net-zero emissions runs through industry 3/12/2024

The path to net-zero emissions runs through industry

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Payne Institute Fellow Steve Griffiths and Benjamin K. Sovacool write about the recent COP28 United Nations climate conference and how leaders faced a monumental task: tackling the decarbonization of the industrial sector, responsible for over 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. To achieve emission reduction targets, urgent action is needed to curb emissions from carbon-intensive industries such as steel, cement, and chemicals. March 12, 2024.

Changing the relationship between mining and Native American Tribes 3/11/2024

Changing the relationship between mining and Native American Tribes

Payne Institute Native American Mining and Energy Sovereignty (NAMES) Initiative Program Manager Rick Tallman, Director Morgan Bazilian and Daniel Cardenas write about how the Native American Tribes stand to benefit greatly from mining and processing the critical minerals needed to drive the energy transition in the United States — but only if we acknowledge the sordid history of mining on tribal lands and properly remediate legacy issues while forging a new approach that is transparent, fair and centered on Tribal sovereignty. March 11, 2024.

Michael McGuirk Wins Negative Emissions Scialog Award 3/7/2024

Michael McGuirk Wins Negative Emissions Scialog Award

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Mike McGuirk has won a $50,000 award from the Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement’s (RSCA) Negative Emissions Science Scialog program to conduct research exploring opportunities to replace petroleum in this process with polyolefin waste, the largest type of post-consumer plastic.  March 7, 2024.

Mines’ Potential Gas Agency provides guidance for assessment of natural gas supply and demand 3/6/2024

Mines’ Potential Gas Agency provides guidance for assessment of natural gas supply and demand

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Stephen Sonnenberg led the most recent biennial assessment of the United States’ estimated natural gas resource base for the Potential Gas Committee.  The assessment reports the nation’s natural gas recoverable supply, which ensures we have the knowledge to make well-informed decisions about current natural gas usage and how it fits into the nation’s future energy strategy. March 6, 2024.

Navigating Energy’s New Frontiers: The IEA at 50 3/6/2024

Navigating Energy’s New Frontiers: The IEA at 50

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Fellow Thijs Van de Graaf write about the International Energy Agency (IEA) marking its 50-year anniversary. From its origins as a relatively unknown analytical body primarily focused on oil security for a select group of OECD members, it has evolved significantly. March 6, 2024.

Biden Cracks Down on Chinese Electric Vehicles 3/1/2024

Biden Cracks Down on Chinese Electric Vehicles

Morgan Bazilian, the Payne Institute Director, contributes to this article about how the Biden administration on Thursday ordered the U.S. Commerce Department to investigate the potential national security threats posed by Chinese-made “connected vehicles,” marking Washington’s latest push to de-risk ties from Beijing and tighten the screws on China’s tech industry. March 1, 2024.

VIIRS SENSORS SHOW BREADTH OF TEXAS WILDFIRES 2/29/2024

VIIRS SENSORS SHOW BREADTH OF TEXAS WILDFIRES

Payne Institute Research Associate Mikhail Zhizhin, Senior Research Associate Christopher Elvidge, Communications Associate Kristin Ziv, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how using the VIIRS Nightfire satellites, the Earth Observation Group at the Payne Institute for Public Policy has calculated the temperatures and spatial extent of active burning in the Texas Panhandle with their Nightfire algorithm applied to data collected by NOAA’s Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer Suite (VIIRS). February 29, 2024.

USGS, Colorado School of Mines establish joint industry program to explore potential of geologic hydrogen 2/26/2024

USGS, Colorado School of Mines establish joint industry program to explore potential of geologic hydrogen

8 companies have already signed on, including major players in mining and energy industries, geologic hydrogen start-ups.

Colorado School of Mines (Mines) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have established a joint industry program supported by leading international companies in the energy industry to study the potential of a low-carbon alternative energy source: geologic hydrogen. February 26, 2024.

LNG exports, pauses, climate impacts: Are we having the wrong debate? 2/26/2024

LNG exports, pauses, climate impacts: Are we having the wrong debate?

Payne Institute Fellow Arvind Ravikumar shares his perspective on the way we should be thinking about the future of US LNG exports.  The US Department of Energy in late January hit “pause” on its work issuing key LNG export permits. About 30 million mt/year of probable export capacity additions in the US and Mexico are at risk because of the permitting hold. February 26, 2024.

The Next Big Thing in Energy: Two Mines faculty members working on Energy Earthshots 2/20/2024

The Next Big Thing in Energy: Two Mines faculty members working on Energy Earthshots

Professors Katie Johnson and Alexis Navarre-Sitchler contributing to U.S. Department of Energy program focused on clean energy transition.

The U.S. Department of Energy has set some ambitious goals: reduce carbon emissions by 50 to 52 percent by the end of the decade, secure a 100 percent clean electrical grid by 2035 and reach a net-zero carbon economy by 2050. February 20, 2024.

EOG’S VIIRS SATELLITES CONFIRM DRONE ATTACKS ON RUSSIAN OIL INFRASTRUCTURE 2/16/2024

EOG’S VIIRS SATELLITES CONFIRM DRONE ATTACKS ON RUSSIAN OIL INFRASTRUCTURE

Payne Institute Research Associate Mikhail Zhizhin, Communications Associate Kristin Ziv, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how using the VIIRS Nightfire satellites, the Earth Observation Group at the Payne Institute for Public Policy was able to confirm several of the recent Ukrainian drone attacks on oil and gas infrastructure in Russia that have occurred over the past several weeks.  February 16, 2024.

The cleaning of U.S. natural gas; evolution of differentiated gas and related crediting mechanisms 2/15/24

The cleaning of U.S. natural gas; evolution of differentiated gas and related crediting mechanisms

Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler and Student Researcher Felix Ayaburi write about the concept of differentiated gas, the emerging role of crediting mechanisms in promoting its adoption, and the prospects for demand growth and its evolution.  After rapid growth in the supply of U.S. differentiated gas through late 2021 and 2022, demand is rising from domestic utilities and industry as well as European energy companies. February 15, 2024.

Gore-Tex maker polluted some Marylanders’ drinking water with ‘forever chemicals,’ officials say. The question is how many. 2/15/2024

Gore-Tex maker polluted some Marylanders’ drinking water with ‘forever chemicals,’ officials say. The question is how many.

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Christopher Higgins contributes to this article about how the maker of the renowned Gore-Tex waterproofing for outdoor gear polluted groundwater near two of its plants in Northeastern Maryland with a hazardous “forever chemical,” according to the Maryland Department of the Environment. February 15, 2024.

SOLAR SURGE PUTS PRESSURE ON SILVER SUPPLY (BUT LOOK FOR THE SILVER LINING) 2/14/24

SOLAR SURGE PUTS PRESSURE ON SILVER SUPPLY (BUT LOOK FOR THE SILVER LINING)

Payne Institute Communications Associate Kristin Ziv and Director Morgan Bazilian write about the global demand for solar panels and as it soars, so does the demand for silver – a key component in the manufacturing of photovoltaic (PV) panels. Solar installations are breaking records worldwide in both volume and low price, according to BloombergNEF. February 14, 2024.

Mines to receive $1.5M in federal funding to explore potential of geologic hydrogen 2/12/2024

Mines to receive $1.5M in federal funding to explore potential of geologic hydrogen

Funding part of first-ever U.S. government effort to research technologies related to stimulation and reservoir management of geologic hydrogen.

Colorado School of Mines announced today that it has been selected to receive $1.5 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). February 12, 2024.

The U.S. Military and NATO Face Serious Risks of Mineral Shortages 2/12/24

The U.S. Military and NATO Face Serious Risks of Mineral Shortages

Payne Institute Communications Associate Greg Wischer writes about how critical minerals undergird great power competition and war. These nonfuel minerals and mineral materials are vital to countries’ defense industrial bases, enabling the production of military platforms like tanks as well as munitions and artillery shells. Therefore, mineral supplies can help sustain military power, while mineral shortages can severely undermine it. February 12, 2024.

Does the US Military Have Enough Minerals for a Possible Conflict with China? Estimating Shortfalls for Military Materials 2/12/2024

Does the US Military Have Enough Minerals for a Possible Conflict with China? Estimating Shortfalls for Military Materials

Payne Institute Communications Associate Greg Wischer and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how the National Defense Stockpile is a tool to both reduce America’s reliance on foreign materials, especially materials from China, and to prepare for a possible conflict.  Material shortfalls can impact—and have impacted—U.S. warfighting ability. Better understanding the military’s projected shortfall quantities for individual materials would inform what materials—and corresponding applications—the U.S. military will most likely have shortfalls of during a conflict.  February 12, 2024.

TRANSPARENCY THROUGH TECHNOLOGY: THE VITAL LINK BETWEEN MONITORING AND PUBLIC PERCEPTION IN CCS INITIATIVES 2/9/24

TRANSPARENCY THROUGH TECHNOLOGY: THE VITAL LINK BETWEEN MONITORING AND PUBLIC PERCEPTION IN CCS INITIATIVES

Payne Institute CCUS Program Manager Anna Littlefield and Project Canary’s Charlie Losche write about how the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 has catalyzed significant growth in CCS, with projections indicating a substantial increase in capture capacity by 2035.  With this expansion comes challenges, notably in securing Class VI permits for CO2 injection, and most pressingly in maintaining public trust. February 9, 2024.

World continues to learn from Colorado’s oil-and-gas methane controls 2/8/2024

World continues to learn from Colorado’s oil-and-gas methane controls

Ten years ago this month, Colorado became the first U.S. state to directly tackle methane emissions from oil and natural gas production. Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Policy and Outreach Advisor for Responsible Gas Simon Lomax and, Program Manager of the Sustainable Finance Lab Brad Handler explore how the lessons learned in Colorado are reflected in national and international approaches to regulating methane, which has taken on new urgency recently.  February 8, 2024.

Letter from the US: Chesapeake-Southwestern merger is big deal for US LNG 2/6/2024

Letter from the US: Chesapeake-Southwestern merger is big deal for US LNG

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Policy and Outreach Advisor for Responsible Gas Simon Lomax and, Program Manager of the Sustainable Finance Lab Brad Handler comment on the Chesapeake-Southwestern merger’s potential to foster more differentiated gas use in LNG exports.  The merger comes amid a wave of multibillion dollar oil industry tie-ups, including ExxonMobil buying Texas-headquartered Pioneer Natural Resources and Chevron buying New York-headquartered Hess. February 6, 2024.

Why lithium prices have been on a roller coaster ride 2/6/2024

Why lithium prices have been on a roller coaster ride

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange is interviewed on Marketplace talking about how the prices of the metal have fallen about 80% in the past year, and two U.S. lithium companies have cut jobs and pulled back their capital spending recently. The latest is a company called Piedmont Lithium, which announced cuts Tuesday. February 6, 2024.

Ignoring Indigenous rights is making the green transition more expensive 2/2/2024

Ignoring Indigenous rights is making the green transition more expensive

Payne Institute Native American Mining and Energy Sovereignty (NAMES) Initiative Program Manager Rick Tallman contributes to this article about how as more companies look to build wind and solar farms or mine minerals for renewable energy, failing to recognize Indigenous sovereignty could make the clean energy transition a lot more expensive and much farther away.  February 2, 2024.

How Can Capturing Carbon and Monitoring Methane Play a Role in the Energy Transition? 2/2/2024

How Can Capturing Carbon and Monitoring Methane Play a Role in the Energy Transition?

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jim Crompton, Paulina Lanz, and Justine Huang are on this podcast discussing how in 2022, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reached a high of 53 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent. To bring that down to net zero, we can either stop emitting GHGs into the atmosphere, or we can pull out CO2 that has already been emitted. Also in this episode, Will Daniels, a Payne Institute student researcher is interviewed, talking about methods for detecting methane emissions from oil and gas production and the role that data might play in reducing these emissions. February 2, 2024.

Biden’s EV agenda hits mining world’s boom-and-bust cycle

Biden’s EV agenda hits mining world’s boom-and-bust cycle

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributed to this article about how President Joe Biden’s electric vehicle agenda could be in for a roller coaster ride, but this time it can’t be blamed on thorny politics, range anxiety or the effect of falling temperatures on chargers. Instead the focus now is on the price of lithium. The price of the key EV battery ingredient plummeted in recent months, not because of any policy action but due to the simple laws of supply and demand.  January 31, 2024.

Mines alumni working to create a zero-carbon steel future 1/31/2024

Mines alumni working to create a zero-carbon steel future 

Steve Sparkowich ’89 and Daniel Wright ’21 work on the inert anode team at green steel startup Boston Metal.

Steel is one of the most important construction materials in the world, giving buildings and bridges a sound structure and adding strength and stability to the most common construction material globally: concrete. Global crude steel production reached nearly 2 billion tons in 2022, and demand is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. But the steel industry creates 11 percent of global carbon emissions and 7 percent of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Though many companies are working toward reducing the industry’s outsized carbon footprint, two Orediggers are lending their expertise to an innovative zero-carbon method of producing the material at green steel startup Boston Metal. January 31, 2024.

Colorado School of Mines, Idaho National Laboratory expand research partnership 1/31/2024Colorado School of Mines, Idaho National Laboratory expand research partnership 1/31/2024

Colorado School of Mines, Idaho National Laboratory expand research partnership

Energy storage, geothermal energy and next-generation mining are among topics for five-year collaboration.

Colorado School of Mines and Idaho National Laboratory have agreed to expand their joint efforts in scientific research for the next five years. A memorandum of understanding signed in late October establishes a framework for both institutions to collaborate on projects involved with energy storage, high-temperature fuel cells, geothermal energy systems, nuclear fuel cycle and reactor engineering, environmental science, and next-generation mining science and engineering. January 31, 2024. 

LNG Exports Shouldn’t Be the Next Keystone Campaign 1/26/2024

LNG Exports Shouldn’t Be the Next Keystone Campaign

Payne Institute Fellow Liam Denning writes this article on the greenest White House the US has ever seen also happens to preside over a record-breaking domestic oil and gas boom. While that complicates Republican talking points, it also stokes a conflict within President Joe Biden’s own party that has now found its battleground: Liquefied natural gas. January 26,2024.

How Does a “Reverse Sprinkler” Work? Researchers Solve Decades-Old Physics Puzzle 01/26/24

How Does a “Reverse Sprinkler” Work? Researchers Solve Decades-Old Physics Puzzle

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Brennan Sprinkle contributes to this article about how for decades scientists have been trying to solve Feynman’s Sprinkler Problem: How does a sprinkler running in reverse—in which the water flows into the device rather than out of it—work? Through a series of experiments, a team of mathematicians has figured out how flowing fluids exert forces and move structures, thereby revealing the answer to this long-standing mystery. January 26, 2024.

What is the Cost of Going Green? (Part B) 1/23/24

WHAT IS THE COST OF GOING GREEN? Perspectives from Ghana (PART B)

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jim Crompton, Paulina Lanz, and Justine Huang are on this podcast (part B) discussing what the real costs of going green are, and who is going to pay the bill?  In Part B of the episode, Jim chats with a panel of Payne Institute student researchers from Ghana at the Colorado School of Mines – Eben Manful-Sam, John Ayaburi, Rueben Anafo and Felix Ayaburi– who help us better understand the challenges of sustainable development from a sub-Saharan Africa perspective. January 23, 2024.

What is the Cost of Going Green? (Part A) 1/19/2024

What is the Cost of Going Green? (Part A)

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jim Crompton, Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler, Paulina Lanz, and Justine Huang are on this podcast discussing what are the real costs of going green, and who is going to pay the bill?  Brad Handler breaks down why we are still investing so much in fossil fuels, the investments that might be needed to support the growth of renewable energy, and how we might redirect investments towards developing countries that will play a large role in the energy transition. We also dive into why oil companies have been so profitable, whether divesting from fossil fuels is a good idea, and the role that Wall Street and the fossil fuel industry might play in the energy transition.  January 19, 2024.

Building Trust through an Equitable and Inclusive Energy Transition 1/17/2024

Building Trust through an Equitable and Inclusive Energy Transition

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this report by the World Economic Forum that provides a framework and 10 critical questions, aiming to build trust, encourage collaboration and guide policy-makers and business leaders in the energy sector towards advancing a just, equitable and inclusive energy transition.  January 17, 2024.

Fast-growing ‘carbon-neutral’ energy company ramps up oil and gas production 1/16/2024

Fast-growing ‘carbon-neutral’ energy company ramps up oil and gas production

Payne Institute Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler contributed to this article about the Canadian wildfires this past summer, killing at least 17 people and burning more than 45.7 million acres — blazes that were made 50% more intense by climate change fueled by the burning of fossil fuels — some Canadians took out their anger on their country’s pension plan. They demanded that the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board stop investing their retirement savings in a Colorado oil and gas company that’s ramped up its extraction activity in recent years, drilling near homes, schools and parks.  January 16, 2024.  

First Uranium Mines to Dig in the US in Eight Years Begin Operations Near Grand Canyon 1/15/2024

First Uranium Mines to Dig in the US in Eight Years Begin Operations Near Grand Canyon

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributes to this article about the push for more nuclear energy and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  How it has spiked uranium prices, leading mines for the element to begin operating again in the U.S. despite long-term environmental and health impacts. January 15, 2024.

Analysis of world trade data with machine learning to enhance policies of mineral supply chain transparency 1/13/2024

Analysis of world trade data with machine learning to enhance policies of mineral supply chain transparency

Umut Mete Saka, Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Sebnem Düzgün, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how utilizing machine learning to help the integration of supply chains worldwide and the establishment of resilient material flows emphasize the significance of transparency on mineral supplies. As regulations and policies around mineral supply become more stringent, organizations are actively seeking effective tools to assess the transparency of their supply chains.  January 13, 2024.

Comparing methods for criticality and security in minerals for clean energy 1/13/2024

Comparing methods for criticality and security in minerals for clean energy

Mines Advanced Energy Systems Student Eliza Hotchkiss, Maria Paz Urdaneta, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how energy security goals, supply chain risks, production growth, and market dynamics will shape the future of critical mineral methodologies.  This paper reviews two methodologies employed for critical mineral identification from nations committed to clean energy transitions.  January 13, 2024.

Saudi Arabia wants to be the Saudi Arabia of minerals 1/11/2024

Saudi Arabia wants to be the Saudi Arabia of minerals

Vice President for Global Initiatives John Bradford contributed to this article about how Saudi Arabia is eyeing to fuel its post-oil future with mineral resources.  On January 10th the government revised its estimate of the value of its buried mineral wealth from $1.3trn to $2.5trn. This includes deposits of gold, copper and zinc.  January 11, 2024.

The US shale magnate trying to sell oil and gas jobs to Generation Z 1/8/2024

The US shale magnate trying to sell oil and gas jobs to Generation Z

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jennifer Miskimins contributed to this article about how US shale magnate Harold Hamm is leading attempts to lure an increasingly skeptical younger generation to the oil and gas industry as climate concerns and job insecurity dent the attractiveness of the industry for graduates and skilled tradespeople. January 8, 2024.

 

Lithium nexus: Energy, geopolitics, and socio-environmental impacts in Mexico’s Sonora project 12/22/2023

Lithium nexus: Energy, geopolitics, and socio-environmental impacts in Mexico’s Sonora project

Vlado Vivoda, Payne Institute Director Morgan D. Bazilian, Asmaa Khadim, Natalie Ralph, and Ghaleb Krame write about how the global transition to low-carbon energy systems has dramatically increased the demand for lithium, essential for energy storage and transport electrification—with lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries as the dominant technology in both market segments.  Enter the Sonora Lithium Project in Mexico, home to what could be one of the world’s largest lithium deposits.  This paper delves into these challenges using the Sonora Project as a lens, aiming to provide clarity and insights for various decision-makers, stakeholders, and researchers.  December 22, 2023.

Students tackle upcycling, reducing waste streams in Cornerstone Design 12/18/2023

Students tackle upcycling, reducing waste streams in Cornerstone Design

Winning team used AI to better inform public on recycling practices.

Earth has a waste problem. Processing materials, fuels and food contributes to up to half of greenhouse gas emissions – and recycling isn’t a perfect solution, either, requiring its own energy to re-process and break down materials, not to mention transportation and the re-manufacturing of goods. December 18, 2024.

Solid oxide fuel cell at Colorado Fuel Cell Center now helping to power Mines campus 12/18/2023

Solid oxide fuel cell at Colorado Fuel Cell Center now helping to power Mines campus 

First-of-its-kind prototype capable of generating almost 30 kW of electric power from natural gas, low-carbon fuels.

Researchers at Colorado School of Mines are currently testing a novel pressurized solid oxide fuel cell power module that is capable of generating almost 30 kilowatts of electric power from natural gas and low-carbon fuels. December 18, 2023.

Nations strike historic deal to transition off fossil fuels 12/13/2023

Nations strike historic deal to transition off fossil fuels

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this article about how nearly 200 countries agreed to “transitioning away” from fossil fuels in energy systems in an agreement reached at the global climate summit.  The use of the “transitioning away” language comes after a contentious debate about whether or not the agreement should “phase out” fossil fuels or simply reduce their use.  December 13, 2023.

COP28: 5 big takeaways on a historic climate agreement 12/13/2023

COP28: 5 big takeaways on a historic climate agreement

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this article about how this year’s United Nations Climate Conference (COP28) has ended with a historic new agreement: For the first time, world governments have said countries should transition away from fossil fuels.  Climate advocates have praised it as a step forward, but also raised concerns about potential loopholes in its language and criticized it for not going further as the climate crisis deepens — and fossil fuel production continues to increase. December 13, 2023.

What does the groundbreaking COP28 agreement mean for the US? 12/13/2023

What does the groundbreaking COP28 agreement mean for the US?

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this article about how the unprecedented agreement reached at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai this week is unlikely to prompt a dramatic upheaval in the U.S. energy landscape, but it could bolster efforts to shift the country toward energy sources that are less harmful to the planet. The text, released Wednesday, calls for a “transition away” from planet-warming fossil fuels, marking the first time such language has appeared in a COP agreement. It further calls for tripling renewable energy development and doubling energy efficiency.  December 13, 2023.

Transition finance advances at COP28 12/12/2023

Transition finance advances at COP28

Payne Institute Program Manager Brad Handler writes about how announcements made during the COP28 climate talks signal progress on several fronts when it comes to unlocking finance to support the energy transition.  Transition finance holds the key in terms of giving the owners of emitting assets the financial incentive for closure or conversion, but flows of transition finance have not risen to the challenge so far.   December 12, 2023.

STACKING 45Q WITH VOLUNTARY CARBON MARKETS 12/11/2023

STACKING 45Q WITH VOLUNTARY CARBON MARKETS

Payne Institute CCUS Program Manager Anna Littlefield and Fellows Siew Chiang and Mike Matson write about how CCS has been at the forefront of decarbonization commitments in public and private sectors, with the development of CCS projects rapidly accelerating in the U.S. following the signing of federal incentives of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).  They explore the economic pathways for carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects, beginning with “credit stacking” voluntary carbon market credits and Section 45Q tax credits, with additional pieces on both the California-based Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Section 45Z tax credit.  December 11, 2023.

Why the U.S. has a serious mining worker shortage 12/8/2023

Why the U.S. has a serious mining worker shortage

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jessica Smith and Research Associate Juliet Akamboe contributed to this news video about the role that miners play in the transition to green energy.  The demand for rare earth minerals such as lithium, cobalt and copper, critical components used to make batteries for electric vehicles and smartphones, is on the rise, and with it, the need for the expertise of miners.  December 8, 2023.

Vietnam Renewables: Investment Priorities 12/6/2023

Vietnam Renewables: Investment Priorities

Centre for Climate Finance & Investment at Imperial College Business School led a team, including the Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler, to write “Vietnam Renewables: Investment Priorities”, a review of prospects and challenges to deploy more renewable energy in the country. The report offers specific steps for further renewable power deployment in Vietnam in the context of its economic growth and incredible resource potential (solar and wind), through a combination of policy and market mechanisms. December 6, 2023.

Enabling Finance for Net-Zero Energy Transitions 12/6/2023

Enabling Finance for Net-Zero Energy Transitions

Payne Institute Program Manager Bradley Handler, Director Morgan Bazilian, and Fellow Johannes Urpelainen and others write about how the key issue of financing of the transition required in the energy sector to get to net-zero targets. It identifies key technologies, maps them to potential sources of finance, identifies key barriers to at scale deployment, and suggests potential solutions to these barriers.  Policy solutions include setting net-zero targets and creating sector specific pathways, enabling cost-effective procurement, providing supporting policies, and enabling a diverse financial sector. Financial solutions include development of risk-mitigation instruments, blended finance funds, and innovative financial products.   December 6, 2023.

OGCI accelerates action to tackle global oil and gas methane emissions 12/5/2023

OGCI accelerates action to tackle global oil and gas methane emissions

The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) announced at COP28 that it has stepped up activities on methane detection and flaring to help more companies reduce methane emissions from their oil and gas operations.  OGCI expanded its flagship Satellite Monitoring Campaign (SMC) to include more countries and assets. This was complemented by work with the World Bank’s Global Flaring and Methane Reduction Partnership (GFMR) and US-based Payne Institute for Public Policy to launch a more accessible platform on global gas flaring data.  December 5, 2023.

U.S. EV Makers Are Still Stuck on China. The Stakes Are Rising. 12/5/2023

U.S. EV Makers Are Still Stuck on China. The Stakes Are Rising.

Payne Institute Student Researcher Isabel Guajardo, Program Manager Brad Handler and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how U.S. automakers are dependent on China for important aspects of EV construction. It’s in the interests of the U.S. economy to accommodate the current shortcomings, work with allies, and make long-term investments toward more robust and resilient sourcing.  December 5, 2023.

Mines researchers receive $3M in DoD funding to develop processes to not just remove but destroy PFAS 12/1/2023

Mines researchers receive $3M in DoD funding to develop processes to not just remove but destroy PFAS

Research team will design, build and demonstrate an integrated system of 3 technologies for removal, concentration and destruction of PFAS in contaminated water streams.

Although poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) can be reliably removed from contaminated water resources, the best available treatment approaches use separation processes that create an issue all their own. December 1, 2023.

COLORADO FUEL CELL CENTER NOW POWERING MINES CAMPUS 11/30/2023

COLORADO FUEL CELL CENTER NOW POWERING MINES CAMPUS

The research team at the Colorado Fuel Cell Center is now powering the Mines electrical grid as part of a U.S.Department of Energy program on low-carbon, distributed electricity generation. The program is managed through DoE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), and features a fuel-cell / reciprocating engine hybrid system targeting 100 kW of net electricity generation at 70% efficiency under natural gas fuel, more than double the efficiency of today’s conventional electric generators.  November 30, 2023.

Where the World Is (and Isn’t) Making Progress on Climate Change 11/30/2023

Where the World Is (and Isn’t) Making Progress on Climate Change

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this article about how emissions from electricity and transportation are projected to fall over time, a new report finds, but industry remains a major climate challenge.  To tackle dangerous global warming, countries have started to clean up their power plants and cars. But emissions from heavy industry — like cement, steel or chemical factories — have been harder to curb and are now on pace to become by far the world’s largest source of planet-warming pollution.  November 30, 2023.

AS AMERICA’S MILITARY REARMS, IT NEEDS MINERALS—AND LOTS OF THEM 11/29/2023

AS AMERICA’S MILITARY REARMS, IT NEEDS MINERALS—AND LOTS OF THEM

Payne Institute Fellow Gregory Wischer, Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Macdonald Amoah write about how the US military is attempting to quickly replenish diminished weapons stocks in its largest production ramp-up in decades. To ensure a secure, resilient, and sufficient mineral supply for its platforms and munitions, the Department of Defense should refine its approach to mineral stockpiling, its engagement with mineral mining and refining, and its implementation of mineral recycling.  November 29, 2023.

Tesla’s Cybertruck Is Two Years Late and Still Crazy 11/29/2023

Tesla’s Cybertruck Is Two Years Late and Still Crazy

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow John Speer contributed to this article about how after years of delays, Tesla will livestream its Cybertruck delivery event Thursday. Car experts still can’t believe it’s trying to mass-produce a vehicle with such a challenging design.  One theme of the Cybertruck’s off-kilter aesthetic is simplicity—straight lines, bare surfaces, sharp corners. Taking that approach actually makes building the thing a lot more complex.  November 29, 2023.

Net-Zero Industry Tracker 2023 11/28/2023

Net-Zero Industry Tracker 2023 

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, a World Economic Forum Advisory Council Member, contributed to the second edition of the Net-Zero Industry Tracker report provides a detailed analysis of the progress heavy industrial and transport sectors are making worldwide, in their efforts to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. These sectors, which account for more than 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions, need multifaceted solutions that accelerate the speed of technology development, build supporting infrastructure, and raise necessary capital to finance the transformation.  November 28, 2023.

Forever chemical study planned for Schriever Space Force Base focused on soils 11/26/2023

Forever chemical study planned for Schriever Space Force Base focused on soils

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Christopher Higgins contributes to this article about how PFAS or “forever chemicals” leach into the groundwater and pose a health risk, they sit in soils — where they can be washed out or otherwise treated before they reach an aquifer. The chemicals can cause a range of health problems at high levels in humans.  Researchers from the Colorado School of Mines and Clarkson University expect to compare nine different strategies for removing firefighting foam from the soils at the Schriever Space Force Base to help inform how soils at other sites could be treated in the future.  November 26, 2023.

Align the VCM with Internal Carbon Pricing 11/21/2023

Align the VCM with internal carbon pricing

Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler writes about how companies can boost confidence in the voluntary market by using their internal carbon prices as reference points against which to measure the implied climate contribution of their purchased offsets. November 21, 2023.

 

Students tackle energy problems at GEFI Innov8x Challenge 11/21/2023

Students tackle energy problems at GEFI Innov8x Challenge

Mines Global Energy Future Initiative and the McNeil Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation hosted the 2023 Global Energy Future Initiative (GEFI) Innov8x Challenge on November 3.  The challenges were presented by two energy companies: Chevron and ConocoPhillips. Chevron asked the teams to find creative ways to re-purpose produced water in the Permian Basin, while ConocoPhillips had teams envision ways to make a heater treater used in oil and gas operations more efficient and produce less emissions.  In addition to providing students with real-world opportunities to innovate for the likes of Chevron and ConocoPhillips, companies gain fresh perspectives and practical, out-of-the-box solutions.  November 21, 2023.

The Fifth National Climate Assessment 11/14/2023

The Fifth National Climate Assessment

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian was one of the contributing authors of the U.S. Government’s preeminent report on climate change impacts, risks, and responses. It is a congressionally mandated interagency effort that provides the scientific foundation to support informed decision-making across the United States.  However, without deeper cuts in global net greenhouse gas emissions and accelerated adaptation efforts, severe climate risks to the United States will continue to grow.  November 14, 2023.

How can Colorado attack “forever chemicals” tainting military soil? School of Mines is leading the way to find out. 11/13/2023

How can Colorado attack “forever chemicals” tainting military soil? School of Mines is leading the way to find out.

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins contributes to this article about how nine different techniques for getting PFAS out of toxic dirt will be tested next year at Schriever Space Force Base near Colorado Springs.  Even the environmental watchdogs cataloging the depressing toll of “forever chemicals” throughout the food chain say they are encouraged by the School of Mines test.  November 13, 2023.  

EMPOWERING OR REPRESSIVE: NAVIGATING THE COMPLEXITIES OF RENEWABLE PORTFOLIO STANDARDS IN THE US 11/13/2023

Empowering or Repressive: Navigating the Complexities of Renewable Portfolio Standards in the US

Payne Institute Student Researcher Siddhant Kulkarni and Program Manager Anna Littlefield write about how Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) represent a strategic push by governments to usher in an era of clean, renewable energy. While RPS are not the only policy-mechanisms that incentivize renewable energy, they have been in place for decades across the world. Data from the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA) shows that worldwide installed renewable energy capacity has almost doubled in the last decade, thanks in part to the RPS policies implemented. In the US these regulations are particular to individual states and aim to combat increasing greenhouse gas emissions and by extension, climate change.  November 13, 2023.

Project to test technologies to clean up contaminated materials set to start at Colorado Springs-area military base 11/10/2023

Project to test technologies to clean up contaminated materials set to start at Colorado Springs-area military base

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins contributes to this article about how a project headed by the Colorado School of Mines to test the best clean up methods for PFAS-contaminated materials is set to begin next summer on Schriever Space Force Base.  According to Christopher Higgins, a School of Mines professor working on the Department of Defense-funded project, those working on the project will be testing six different PFAS clean up technologies on soils they say the base has set aside for testing in an effort to see which is the most effective on a larger scale.  November 10, 2023.

WHAT IF AMERICA’S MINERAL-INTENSIVE MILITARY RUNS OUT OF MINERALS? 11/10/2023

WHAT IF AMERICA’S MINERAL-INTENSIVE MILITARY RUNS OUT OF MINERALS?

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian, Macdonald Amoah, Gregory Wischer, and Juliet Akamboe write about how minerals still undergird warfighting technology, including defense platforms and munitions.  Like previous junctions in human history, the current period will be defined by minerals and the warfighting technology that they enable. November 10, 2023.

Fighting Climate Change with Carbon Offsets and Fossil Fuel Retirement Credits 11/10/2023

Fighting Climate Change with Carbon Offsets and Fossil Fuel Retirement Credits

Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler is one of two guests today on the S&P Global Energy Evolution podcast.  They are talking about carbon offset markets and oil and gas retirement credits. What function do these tools serve in the broader decarbonization push, and how exactly are we calculating them anyway? November 10, 2023.

Native American Energy Sovereignty is key to American Energy Security 11/9/2023

Native American Energy Sovereignty is key to American Energy Security

Payne Institute Native American Mining and Energy Sovereignty (NAMES) Initiative Program Manager Rick Tallman, Daniel Cardenas, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how as the energy transition plays out across the United States, tribal communities see both a tremendous opportunity and a direct threat to their sovereignty. The immense natural resources of tribal lands will almost certainly be needed to help secure the future of American energy security. At the same time, a history of energy exploitation has left reservation communities with systemic problems and unmet needs that energy policy makers, regulators and industry leaders must acknowledge, understand, and address in any go-forward plans.  November 9, 2023.

A Pathway to Responsible Mining in Indian Country 11/09/2023

A Pathway to Responsible Mining in Indian Country

Payne Institute Program Managers Rick Tallman and Brad Handler, Director Morgan Bazilian and Daniel Cardenas write about how the demand for minerals critical to both the energy transition and U.S. national security is growing rapidly. At the same time, the reliability of the global supply chain is being challenged by geopolitical events. The result is a growing call to bring more mining for these critical minerals back to the United States, where the vast majority of critical mineral reserves are located on or within 35 miles of Native American reservations.  November 9, 2023.

Tabares-Velasco awarded two DOE grants for work toward energy efficiency at any income level 11/7/2023

Tabares-Velasco awarded two DOE grants for work toward energy efficiency at any income level

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Paulo Tabares-Velasco is featured in this article about receiving funding from the DOE Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) program, for two projects specifically aimed at making energy efficiency, electrification and resiliency possibility for communities in Colorado: a home battery energy storage system for retrofitted housing in in Colorado and a new heat pump water heater with latent heat storage in low-income housing.  November 7, 2023.

CFCC CRANKS 10KW CARBON FREE 11/6/2023

CFCC CRANKS 10KW CARBON FREE

The research team at the Colorado Fuel Cell Center recently generated 10 kW of carbon-free electricity with hydrogen-fueled solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). This power level is the highest ever demonstrated at the CFCC, and serves as a stepping-stone towards the 30-kW target prescribed in our Department of Energy “INTEGRATE” research and development program. November 6, 2023.

Mines alum creates business out of microscopic masterpieces 11/1/2023

Mines alum creates business out of microscopic masterpieces

A geologist by training, Teresa Johnson ’10, MS ’15 combines science, art and sustainability through the personal and home decor brand Terra Persona.

If you’ve ever looked at a rock sample under a microscope, you might think you’re looking at an intricate piece of abstract art. November 1, 2023.

Measurement-based differentiation of low-emission global natural gas supply chains 11/2/2023

Measurement-based differentiation of low-emission global natural gas supply chains

Payne Institute Fellow Arvind P. Ravikumar, Erin E. Tullos, David T. Allen, Ben Cahill, Steven P. Hamburg, Daniel Zimmerle, Thomas A. Fox, Manfredi Caltagirone, Lara Owens, Robert Stout, Andrew J. Grimes, Tania M. Fernandez, Carrie Jenks, Riley Duren, Antoine Halff, Payne Institute Director Morgan D. Bazilian, and Stefanie Rucker write about how a differentiated natural gas market is emerging as a key mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across global natural gas supply chains. Trust in such voluntary markets across civil society, industry and governments depends on a transparent framework for reporting independently verifiable and accurate emissions data.  November 2, 2023.

Colleges and companies collaborate to study PFAS soil purification methods at Schriever SFB 11/1/2023

Colleges and companies collaborate to study PFAS soil purification methods at Schriever SFB

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins contributes to this article about how a team of scientists at the Colorado School of Mines alongside other major universities will be testing out soil purification technologies at Schriever Space Force Base.  It’s an international effort to defeat what is commonly known as “Forever Chemicals.”  The three universities and five companies, both foreign and domestic, are testing technologies to get these chemicals out of soils. The work is funded by the Department of Defense.  November 1, 2023.

‘Lunar gold rush’: NASA wants to mine the moon 11/1/2023

‘Lunar gold rush’: NASA wants to mine the moon

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Angel Abbud-Madrid contributes to this article about how mining the moon isn’t just fodder for the movies.  Scientists at NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey are using their Earthly expertise to identify and catalog resources on the celestial body to look for valuable materials — from minerals and crushed rock that can be used to make dwellings and equipment, to ice that can be turned into drinking water and even rocket fuel.  November 1, 2023.

Critical mineral demand estimates for low-carbon technologies: What do they tell us and how can they evolve? 10/31/2023

Critical mineral demand estimates for low-carbon technologies: What do they tell us and how can they evolve?

Mines Student Researcher Jordy Lee Calderon, Faculty Fellows Nicole Smith and Elizabeth Holley, and Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian write about how the transition to low-carbon energy systems will increase demand for a range of critical minerals and metals. As a result, several quantitative demand models have been developed to help understand the projected scale of growth and if, and to what extent, material shortages may become an obstacle to the deployment of clean energy technologies. October 31, 2023.

GUEST CONTRIBUTOR Circumventing the Chokepoint: Can the US Produce More Rare Earths? 10/30/2023

Circumventing the Chokepoint: Can the US Produce More Rare Earths?

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Gregory Wischer write about China’s dominance in the production of heavy rare earths affords it leverage over US national security and economic prosperity. To reduce this vulnerability, the US government has sought to increase domestic rare production, but to limited effect. To better encourage private sector investment in American rare earth projects, the industry’s high barriers to entry—including capital costs, technical challenges, and an incumbent oligopoly—must be addressed.  October 30, 2023.

VCMs’ other fragmentation problem 10/27/2023

VCMs’ other fragmentation problem

Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Manager Brad Handler writes about how in mid-October, he had the opportunity to attend and present at the biannual World Investment Forum (WIF), sponsored by the UN Conference on Trade and Development. The WIF’s goal is to spur more sustainable development investment in low- and middle-income economies. The agenda included full-throated support for voluntary carbon markets (VCMs), to lure capital towards the energy transition and to help countries meet decarbonisation commitments set out under their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).  October 27, 2023.

GOVERNMENTS’ RECENT STEPS TO ADVANCE CLIMATE IMPACT; SELECT WORLD INVESTMENT FORUM HIGHLIGHTS 10/25/2023

GOVERNMENTS’ RECENT STEPS TO ADVANCE CLIMATE IMPACT; SELECT WORLD INVESTMENT FORUM HIGHLIGHTS

Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler writes about the 8th World Investment Forum focused on spurring sustainable development across low and middle income economies. The challenges loomed large, as speakers noted that not only were absolute spending levels far short of what was needed to be “on track” to meet energy transition and SDG targets, but that recent spending in the developing world was far too concentrated in select economies.  October 25, 2023.

America’s Trade War With China Spills Into Clean Energy 10/24/2023

America’s Trade War With China Spills Into Clean Energy

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to this article about how what began as a dispute over world-leading computer chips is now rocking the auto and clean energy industries. The new restrictions show that America and China’s growing trade battle over “dual-use technologies” — tools and materials that can be used by both civilians and the military — is proving difficult to contain. What began as a dispute over world-leading computer chips is now rocking the auto and clean energy industries.  October 24, 2023.  

Things Are Looking Up for Asteroid Mining 10/20/2023

Things Are Looking Up for Asteroid Mining

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributed to this article about how asteroids are rich with the metals used in clean energy technologies. As demand soars, advocates argue that mining them in space might be better than mining them on Earth. While some companies are exploring the controversial idea of scooping cobalt, nickel, and platinum from the seafloor, some asteroids could harbor the same minerals in abundance—and have no wildlife that could be harmed during their extraction.  October 20, 2023.

China limits exports of graphite, a key mineral for EV batteries 10/20/2023

China limits exports of graphite, a key mineral for EV batteries

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian is featured on this podcast about how China said Friday that it would start requiring stricter permits on exports of graphite, a key mineral component of pencils, but perhaps more importantly, a key mineral component of electric vehicle batteries.  It’s the latest development in a China-U.S. trade war that’s making the transition to a green economy more expensive.  October 20, 2023.

Are PFAS really ‘forever chemicals’? It’s complicated. Here’s what to know 10/19/2023

Are PFAS really ‘forever chemicals’? It’s complicated. Here’s what to know

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Christopher Higgins contributed to this article about how for the past five years, public awareness around PFAS, or “forever chemicals,” has been growing in the U.S.  A growing body of evidence has shown that long-term exposure, even to low traces of these chemicals, can cause severe health issues that include cancer, developmental effects and reproductive disorders.  October 19, 2023.

TAKING THE FIGHT TO FOREVER CHEMICALS 10/16/2023

TAKING THE FIGHT TO FOREVER CHEMICALS

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Chris Higgins is featured in an article about how Mines launched a broad-based research initiative earlier this year to advance scientific understanding of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs, and develop practical engineering solutions to address these so-called “forever chemicals,” one of the largest-scale environmental and public health challenges facing the U.S. today. October 16, 2023

SHAPING THE NEXT TECHNOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE 10/16/2023

SHAPING THE NEXT TECHNOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Sebnem Düzgün is featured in an article about how the world is now in the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: a cyber-physical expansion that is, according to the World Economic Forum, “blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres.” October 16, 2023

Modular Carbon Capture and The Inflation Reduction Act 10/12/2023

Modular Carbon Capture and The Inflation Reduction Act

Payne Institute Program Manager Anna Littlefield writes about how as the field of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) continues to evolve, the importance of modular carbon capture technologies has become increasingly apparent. August of 2023 marked the one-year anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) being signed into law, and its potential to incentivize smaller-scale capture systems is manifesting in modular capture innovation. October 12, 2023.

Energy Security, Critical Minerals, and Energy Policy 10/11/2023

Energy Security, Critical Minerals, and Energy Policy

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian is on this podcast discussing domestic and international energy security, critical minerals, and energy policy.  A lot of the narrative on critical minerals revolves around the supply chain demand that comes from the 17 rare earth minerals needed for computer chips, batteries, solar energy, and other needs.  October 11, 2023.  

Mining execs warn of disconnect between metals appetite, pace of new projects 10/5/2023

Mining execs warn of disconnect between metals appetite, pace of new projects

The Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this article about how lithium, like that extracted from the Silver Peak mine in Nevada, plays a major role in energy transition technologies. However, it is just one of many metals needed by the sector and mining companies fret that permitting is not happening fast enough to keep up with demand for several commodities.  October 5, 2023.

Energy Security at the UN High-Level Week: More Heat Than Light 10/3/2023

Energy Security at the UN High-Level Week: More Heat Than Light

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Fellow Cullen Hendrix write about how U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called the 78th United Nations General Assembly High-Level Week a “one-of-a-kind opportunity each year to harness the power of diplomacy and collaborate on solutions to global challenges.” But from an energy security perspective, the meetings only spotlighted the mismatch between the nature of the world’s shared problems and the institutions and tools designed to address them. October 3, 2023.

Iron batteries offer an energy transition lesson 10/2/2023

Iron batteries offer an energy transition lesson

Payne Institute Program Manager Simon Lomax writes about how to build a zero-carbon economy, we need technologies that can store large amounts of energy for a long time.  But in Colorado, a promising new battery technology is being prepared for use by the state’s largest utility, Xcel Energy. It’s called an “iron-air” battery and, quite fittingly, it will be built in the iron and steel town of Pueblo.  October 2, 2023.  

Payne Institute report assesses supply chain variables for critical minerals 9/29/2023

Payne Institute report assesses supply chain variables for critical minerals

The Payne Institute for Public Policy at Colorado School of Mines released The State of Critical Minerals Report 2023. The analysis examines how the increasing demand for the critical minerals necessary to power a green economy will impact global communities, markets, national security, and geopolitics.  The United States Geological Survey suggests that lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese, and graphite are the metals needed to power electric vehicles. Alternatively, arsenic, gallium, germanium, indium, and tellurium are essential to constructing solar panels. September 29, 2023.

PAYNE INSTITUTE TO CONVENE TALKS ON DIFFERENTIATED GAS VERIFICATION STANDARDS IN COLLABORATION WITH EEMDL RESEARCH PARTNERSHIP 9/28/2023

PAYNE INSTITUTE TO CONVENE TALKS ON DIFFERENTIATED GAS VERIFICATION STANDARDS IN COLLABORATION WITH EEMDL RESEARCH PARTNERSHIP

As part of its ongoing work with the Energy Emissions Modeling and Data Lab (EEMDL), the Payne Institute for Public Policy at the Colorado School of Mines is commencing a new stakeholder dialogue focused on the independent verification of standards and other governance issues in the rapidly evolving differentiated gas market.  EEMDL was established in early 2023 to improve the accuracy of greenhouse gas measurement and accounting across global energy supply chains, starting with methane emissions. September 28, 2023.

Payne Institute for Public Policy Releases First Annual State of Critical Minerals Report

Payne Institute for Public Policy Releases First Annual State of Critical Minerals Report

The Payne Institute at the Colorado School of Mines released today its first annual State of Critical Minerals Report on the growing demand for critical minerals and their impact on energy transitions, communities, markets, national security and geopolitics.  The energy transition—and increased demand for electric cars, solar panels and other low-carbon technologies—is reliant on critical minerals. Many of these minerals, however, are mined and processed in adversarial nations or countries with low environmental, labor and human rights standards. In fact, of the 50 minerals identified on the U.S. Geological Survey Critical Minerals List, the U.S. is 100 percent reliant on imports for 12 and more than 50 percent dependent for 31.  September 26, 2023.

THE STATE OF CRITICAL MINERALS REPORT 2023 9/26/2023

THE STATE OF CRITICAL MINERALS REPORT 2023

The Payne Institute for Public Policy and the Colorado School of Mines has released our inaugural annual State of Critical Minerals Report. The report is aimed at contributing to the important discourse on critical minerals and how to harness them in a more sustainable manner as a catalyst to the energy transition and by extension, climate action. It explores various parts of the critical minerals value chain and the interplay of these segments in driving a successful minerals industry.  The report covers geopolitics and what that means for national security, the demand and supply dynamics of critical minerals markets, financial markets and investments, the future of sustainable mining and the environment, and social governance (ESG) factors confronting the industry.  September 26, 2023.  

Prospects for American cobalt Reactions to mine proposals in Minnesota and Idaho 9/25/

Prospects for American cobalt Reactions to mine proposals in Minnesota and Idaho

Payne Institute Research Associate Aaron Malone, Faculty Fellows Nicole Smith and Elizabeth Holley, and Student Researcher Tinzar Htun write about how cobalt is a critical mineral for electric vehicles and the transition to renewable energy.  Two leading prospective regions for U.S. cobalt production, in Minnesota and Idaho. Our central aim is to understand why reactions to mining proposals have been divergent, with polarized, intractable debates that have stalled projects in Minnesota while proposed mines in Idaho have advanced with minimal controversy. We summarize the geology and mining methods of each project before analyzing similarities and differences in responses, organizing our analysis around facets of environment, identity and legitimacy, politics, and economy.  September 25, 2023.

FIRST ANNUAL CRITICAL MINERALS SYMPOSIUM 9/21&22/2023

FIRST ANNUAL CRITICAL MINERALS SYMPOSIUM

The Colorado School of Mines Payne Institute for Public Policy hosted the first annual Critical Minerals Symposium in Golden, Colorado. The event brought together more than 200 leaders from industry, academia, and government to address a broad range of complex challenges associated with critical minerals.  The event was opened with remarks from Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources Chairman, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Ranking Member, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), watch their video replays here.  September 21 and 22, 2023.  

What Does Energy Transition Mean To You? 9/18/2023

What Does Energy Transition Mean To You?

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jim Crompton is a co-host on this podcast hosting Dr. Ershaghi, Director of the Ershaghi Center for Energy Transition (E-CET), on the history of the energy transitions; where we stand in the race to net zero; the role that governments, private sector, and individuals play in the energy transition; and the importance of combating misinformation.  Also featured, Mathew Davis, a Master’s student in petroleum engineering at USC, on how he defines energy transition and the role that petroleum engineering plays in the energy transition.  September 18, 2023.  

U.S. House debates which minerals should be considered “critical” 9/14/2023

U.S. House debates which minerals should be considered “critical”

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Dr. Roderick Eggert contributes to this article about how a recent U.S. House hearing that centered on a relatively unknown segment of federal energy policy quickly evolved into a discussion on how much the government should prioritize mining.  The Committee on Natural Resources focused on the U.S. Geological Survey’s list of critical minerals. The tally list includes several dozen well-known elements like aluminum, platinum and titanium. It also has lesser-known minerals – like lithium, cobalt and neodymium – that are used in modern technologies such as cell phone batteries and semiconductors.  September 14, 2023.

Mines faculty member testifies before U.S. House committee on critical minerals 9/13/2023

Mines faculty member testifies before U.S. House committee on critical minerals

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Dr. Roderick Eggert testified before the U.S. House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy & Mineral Resources on critical minerals and the structure and role of the U.S. Geological Survey’s critical minerals list.  As the United States rapidly accelerates its transition to a clean energy future, there is a growing focus on the role of critical minerals, many of which are mined, processed, and transported around the globe through complex supply chains.  September 13, 2023.

How Big Oil’s wastewater could fuel the EV revolution 9/12/2023

How Big Oil’s wastewater could fuel the EV revolution

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributes to this article about how since oil and gas drilling began nearly 150 years ago, the salty wastewater it produces has been a nuisance for operators. Now, the electric vehicle revolution could turn the industry’s billions of barrels of brine into dollars. Oil and gas companies are eyeing their own byproduct — along with naturally occurring brine found deep underground — as a source of lithium, a highly sought-after metal needed to make EV batteries.  September 12, 2023.

New Arizona mines unearth new conflicts: resist climate change or protect fragile landscapes? 9/7/2023

New Arizona mines unearth new conflicts: resist climate change or protect fragile landscapes?

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Rod Eggert and Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this article about how South32 is one of many prospective miners in the West in a position to capitalize on a national appetite for homegrown US sourced minerals.  However, in Arizona, It also would change a landscape that many prize as a unique biological mixing zone in forested mountain ranges like the Patagonias. Arizona’s Sky Islands form an archipelago of oases above the desert, alive with migratory birds, bats and big cats.  September 7, 2023.

The African Climate Summit – Averting the Climate Crisis 9/5/2023

The African Climate Summit – Averting the Climate Crisis

Payne Institute Research Associate Juliet Akamboe and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how climate change poses a significant threat to Africa, a continent already grappling with challenges including poverty and a lack of access to basic human needs like clean water, healthcare, education, jobs and electricity. Africa is already witnessing severe environmental consequences with changing rainfall patterns, severe droughts and extreme weather conditions, which are stalling socio-economic development.  The inaugural Africa Climate Summit (ACS) taking place in Nairobi, this week is a great forum to discuss the role Africa can play in bridging the gap between the Global North and South in addressing the climate crisis.  September 5, 2023.

NIGER, URANIUM, AND THE COUP D’ETAT 9/1/2023

NIGER, URANIUM, AND THE COUP D’ETAT

Payne Institute ESG Researcher Baba Freeman writes about how the recent coup d’etat in Niger, a key supplier of uranium, has created some level of anxiety in the market and brought forward new questions for stakeholders across the industry and the West African sub-region. The event calls for a fresh look at the potential market impact and the way forward to resolving the current disputation in a manner that preserves Niger’s development agenda, minimizes political risk to investors, and aids the emergence of a more resilient global critical minerals supply chain.  September 1, 2023.

How Colorado’s oil and gas industry helps and hurts the economy 8/30/2023

How Colorado’s oil and gas industry helps and hurts the economy

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributes to this article about how economic benefits, like jobs and tax revenue, weigh against costs, like clean-up of environmental damage.  As Colorado’s oil and gas industry plans to drill hundreds of new wells along the Front Range in the coming years, residents want to know how the financial benefits and costs of those operations will affect their lives. The answer is complicated, and not all economists agree.  August 30, 2023.

Proposed West Africa-Europe Gas Pipelines Will Fail Without a Radical Shift in Thinking

PROPOSED WEST AFRICA-EUROPE GAS PIPELINES WILL FAIL WITHOUT A RADICAL SHIFT IN THINKING

Payne Institute ESG Researcher Baba Freeman writes about how the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 injected a renewed urgency into Western European countries’ energy security concerns and led to an increase in demand for non-Russian sources of oil and gas. Consequently, Europe is expected to take a larger share of future LNG supplies even as greenfield pipeline projects are being conceived to supply West African gas to Western Europe. These projects include the Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline (TSGP) and the Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline (NMGP) but may not be able to adequately meet these projects’ future obligations.  August 29, 2023. 

The need for balance in the regulation of the oil and natural gas industry 8/29/2023

The need for balance in the regulation of the oil and natural gas industry

Payne Institute Faculty Fellows Jennifer Miskimins and Jim Crompton write about how to get the balance between environmental action and economic reality right, we all need more collaboration.   Over the past several years, Colorado has implemented precedent-setting regulations, from baseline groundwater testing and monitoring, to air regulations targeting methane leak detection and repair. But we still have a long way to go, and while it’s not an easy road for regulators, it’s crucial we stay the course.  August 29, 2023.  

Faster permits alone won’t build a U.S. clean-energy supply chain 8/25/2023

Faster permits alone won’t build a U.S. clean-energy supply chain

Payne Institute Responsible Gas Program Manager Simon Lomax, Director Morgan Bazilian, and Elizabeth Wilson write about a faster permitting process for U.S. mining projects may be just around the corner, thanks to regulatory reforms that were wrapped into the debt-ceiling compromise between President Joe Biden and congressional Republicans. It’s a major breakthrough for climate action. Mines produce the raw materials used in electric cars, solar panels, power lines and other technologies that cut carbon emissions and slow the pace of climate change. A clean energy revolution is a minerals and mining revolution.  August 25, 2023. 

Contemporary ice sheet thinning drives subglacial groundwater exfiltration with potential feedbacks on glacier flow 8/18/2023

Contemporary ice sheet thinning drives subglacial groundwater exfiltration with potential feedbacks on glacier flow

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Matthew Siegfried and Alexander A. Robel, Shi J. Sim, Colin Meyer, and Mines alum Chloe D. Gustafson write about how groundwater-laden sedimentary aquifers are extensive beneath large portions of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. A reduction in the mechanical loading of aquifers is known to lead to groundwater exfiltration, a discharge of groundwater from the aquifer. Here, we provide a simple expression predicting exfiltration rates under a thinning ice sheet.   August 18, 2023. 

Discovering Hidden Offshore Lighting Structures with Multiyear Low-Light Imaging Satellite Data 8/18/2023

Discovering Hidden Offshore Lighting Structures with Multiyear Low-Light Imaging Satellite Data

Payne Institute Earth Observation Group Christopher Elvidge, Tilottama Ghosh, Namrata Chatterjee, Mikhail Zhizhin and Morgan Bazilian write about how in 2015, the Earth Observation Group developed the VIIRS Boat Detection (VBD) product and today several fishery agencies use VBD data to monitor fishing activity and compliance with closures. Recently EOG compiled the full record VBD detections as a 15 arc second global grid. The record spans 2012-2021 in Asia and 2017-2021 elsewhere.  Upon reviewing the multiyear accumulation of VBD detections we were surprised to find a diversity of previously unseen lighting features. The additional features include lit platforms, transit lanes, and vessel anchorages associated with ports and passage straits.  August 18, 2023.

INVESTORS IN AFRICAN MINING VENTURES MUST REFRESH THEIR RISK MANAGEMENT PROCESSES

INVESTORS IN AFRICAN MINING VENTURES MUST REFRESH THEIR RISK MANAGEMENT PROCESSES

Payne Institute Research Associate Baba Freeman writes about how the frequency of coup d’etats in the Sahel region is troubling and calls for mining investors to refresh their political risk assessment processes. The recent trend of militarization must surely prod investors to further assess the likelihood and possible impact of military interventions and incorporate key takeaways from current events into their risk management tools and processes. While the risk of a total loss of capital due to outright warfare can be assessed deterministically, subjective measures of political instability can substantially impact the “country risk” premium that mining investors must pay over and above the risk-free cost of capital.  August 17, 2023.  

Investors in African Mining Ventures Must Refresh Their Risk Management Processes

Investors in African Mining Ventures Must Refresh Their Risk Management Processes

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PAYNE INSTITUTE COMMENTARY SERIES: COMMENTARY

Investors in African Mining Ventures Must Refresh Their Risk Management Processes

By Baba Freeman

August 17, 2023

Despite the spread of democracy in the post-Soviet era, there is a substantial threat of military takeovers in frontier economies. The frequency of coup d’etats in the Sahel region is troubling and calls for mining investors to refresh their political risk assessment processes. The recent coup in Niger and the sudden outbreak of war in Sudan, both in 2023, bring the risk of political instability and a breakdown of law and order into sharp focus. These events are more troubling when viewed within the continuum of recent military takeovers in Mali (2020), Guinea (2021), and Burkina Faso (2022), countries that produce important minerals such as manganese, zinc, uranium, bauxite, iron ore, and gold. Niger, the latest arena for military takeover is an emerging producer of oil and gas as EU countries seek out non-Russian sources of hydrocarbons. Its stability as a host nation is also essential to the success of the proposed Trans Sahara Gas Pipeline (TSGP) which was conceived to carry gas from the Niger Delta to Western European markets.

Military takeovers can dampen return on investment and discourage FDI.

The recent trend of militarization must surely prod investors to further assess the likelihood and possible impact of military interventions and incorporate key takeaways from current events into their risk management tools and processes. While the risk of a total loss of capital due to outright warfare can be assessed deterministically, subjective measures of political instability can substantially impact the “country risk” premium that mining investors must pay over and above the risk-free cost of capital. At present, the African region has the highest risk premium among the regions of the world. At about nine percent, it is more than double the global average risk premium of about four percent ex-U.S. It is likely that the threat of political instability from militarization contributes immensely to this situation.

Furthermore, the possibility of sudden, undemocratic changes to governments increases political risk insurance premiums that investors must pay as the risk of breach of contract, arbitrary changes to tax and royalty rates, political violence, and force majeure disruptions to contracted supply increase. The recent case of the Canadian miner, Global Atomic Corp., (TSX: GLO) which has substantial exposure to uranium operations in Niger, shows how political risk can impact business outcomes over short periods. Its market capitalization dropped by about 50% within two weeks of the military coup in Niger.

Common factors across recent events can be indicative of future coup d’etats.

Given the potential for substantial commercial losses, investors must identify if there are commonalities across Sahelian countries where coups and military takeovers have recently occurred. One visible attribute that cuts across the latter countries is that their armed forces have played an increasing role in public life. Political scientists such as Svolik (2012) had earlier noted that military takeovers are more likely to occur when a country’s political elite increases its reliance on the military to retain political power. In Sudan, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) was the instrument that the Sudanese government used to assert its power over the Darfur region in Western Sudan in the past. The refusal of the RSF leadership to accept incorporation into the Sudanese army was the immediate cause of the outbreak of war in Sudan.

In Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, the profile of the armed forces also rose steadily in the last decade as they were deployed to quash separatists and insurgents that took up arms against national governments across the region. The technical capabilities and the political standing of these militaries may also have been bolstered by military aid flowing steadily from Western countries.  

Investors must commit to a deep understanding of political-military interactions and strengthen their risk management tools and processes.

There are several implications of these insights. The first is that an understanding of the politics of military intervention can enhance investors’ assessments of risk outcomes and lead to improvements in risk management. Hence, investors must develop predictive analysis capabilities to address non-trivial questions relating to the possibility of military interventions in a country’s affairs and the potential for diffusion across international boundaries within a subregion. Going by the thesis above, countries such as Cameroun, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Benin which are increasingly reliant on their armed forces to battle insurgents, face an elevated risk of military takeovers. It should be noted though that even where some factors may be pointing towards militarization, the potential for such to occur may be equally dependent on other prevailing factors such as the geographic concentration of fighting men and the ideological orientation of a country’s military leaders. For example, while the Pakistani army has controlled political power for long periods, neighboring India has never experienced a military coup. Investors must also note that it is plausible that a prolonged military conflict may also lead to a reduction in a country’s overall risk profile by raising the warfighting proficiency and professionalism of its armed forces. Hence, current conflicts may ultimately raise a country’s ability to provide security to its citizens and enhance its ability to attract foreign direct investment.

Secondly, because of the often-feeble resistance of the Sahelian countries’ populations to military takeovers, investors with long-term commitments in the region should seek opportunities to partner with NGOs, civil society groups and development agencies to strengthen democratic processes, increase government accountability, and boost society-wide preference for democracy over military takeovers.

In conclusion, the benefits of better assessment and management of risks coming from military takeovers cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, investors in extractive industries should consider increasing their capability for geopolitical risk assessment and embrace sustained board-level focus on the character of military-political relationships in the countries where they operate or are planning to operate.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Baba Freeman
Payne Institute for Public Policy, Energy and Natural Resources Researcher

Baba Freeman is a researcher at the Payne Institute for Public Policy, with a focus on the energy and natural resources sector. He has a background in oil and gas financial management and in management consulting. He has worked internationally in different business and consulting roles in both developed and emerging market countries.

Baba has a bachelor’s degree in Applied Geophysics, and master’s degrees in Mineral Economics and Natural Resources and Energy Policy from the Colorado School of Mines.

ABOUT THE PAYNE INSTITUTE

The mission of the Payne Institute at Colorado School of Mines is to provide world-class scientific insights, helping to inform and shape public policy on earth resources, energy, and environment. The Institute was established with an endowment from Jim and Arlene Payne, and seeks to link the strong scientific and engineering research and expertise at Mines with issues related to public policy and national security.

The Payne Institute Commentary Series offers independent insights and research on a wide range of topics related to energy, natural resources, and environmental policy. The series accommodates three categories namely: Viewpoints, Essays, and Working Papers.

For more information about the Payne Institute please visit:
https://payneinstitute.mines.edu/

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DISCLAIMER: The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs, viewpoints, or official policies of the Payne Institute or the Colorado School of Mines.

Critical Minerals Outlooks Comparison 8/15/2023

Critical Minerals Outlooks Comparison

Payne Institute Research Associate Juliet Akamboe, student researchers Ebenezer Manful-Sam, Felix Ayaburi, Director Morgan Bazilian and IEF’s Mason Hamilton write a critical minerals report about how with the acceleration of energy transitions, clean energy technologies have rapidly emerged as the segment with the fastest growth in demand in critical minerals supply chains and markets.  Highlighting key insights for critical minerals decisionmakers, the report analyses eleven publicly available reports from eight agencies and organizations across different geographies, spanning from 2019 to 2023.  August 15, 2023.

Olympus deal is key first for RSG market 8/8/2023

Olympus deal is key first for RSG market

Payne Institute Program Manager Brad Handler writes about how the long-term deal signed by Olympus Energy marked an important evolution in the development of a market for environmentally responsible US natural gas. Olympus Energy, a private upstream and midstream natural gas developer, entered into a long-term agreement with natural gas marketing firm Tenaska Marketing Ventures to sell ‘responsibly sourced gas’ (RSG).  August 8, 2023.

Big Oil’s Talent Crisis: High Salaries Are No Longer Enough 8/6/2023

Big Oil’s Talent Crisis: High Salaries Are No Longer Enough

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jennifer Miskimins contributes to this article about how energy companies scramble to attract engineers as young workers fret over climate and job security.  At U.S. colleges, the pool of new entrants for petroleum-engineering programs has shrunk to its smallest size since before the fracking boom began more than a decade ago. European universities, which have historically provided many of the engineers for companies with operations across the Middle East and Asia, are seeing similar trends. August 6, 2023.  

COLORADO FUEL CELL CENTER PARTNERS WITH CERES TO ENHANCE SOLID-OXIDE FUEL CELL PERFORMANCE 7/28/2023

7/28/2023COLORADO FUEL CELL CENTER PARTNERS WITH CERES TO ENHANCE SOLID-OXIDE FUEL CELL PERFORMANCE

Professor Ryan O’Hayre of the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department and Professor Neal Sullivan of the Mechanical Engineering Department are partnering with the research and development team at Ceres (Horsham, UK) to enhance the performance of solid-oxide fuel cells (SOFCs). The O’Hayre – Sullivan research team is exploring the value brought by novel materials in boosting the performance of Ceres’ unique metal-supported SOFCs.  The Ceres solid-oxide technology replaces the ceramic backbone of more-conventional SOFCs with a steel support. This technology is the centerpiece to its highly efficient, fuel flexible, robust and economic fuel cells and electrolyzers. The Ceres technology can be used in a wide range of industry applications to decarbonize industry including distributed power, motive, and marine. In parallel to this cell-development research, CSM is currently developing a 100-kW, 70%-efficient hybrid electric generator based on Ceres’ technology through funding provided by the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (DoE – ARPA-E).” July 28, 2023.

The Economics of Natural Gas Flaring and Methane Emissions in US Shale: An Agenda for Research and Policy 7/26/2023

The Economics of Natural Gas Flaring and Methane Emissions in US Shale: An Agenda for Research and Policy

Mark Agerton, Payne Faculty Fellow Ben Gilbert, and Gregory B. Upton Jr. write about how natural gas flaring and methane emissions (F&M) are linked environmental issues for US shale oil and gas operations. Flaring refers to burning natural gas when regulatory, infrastructure, and market constraints make it infeasible to capture it when drilling for oil. In this paper, we lay out an agenda for researchers and policy makers. We describe why F&M are linked, both physically and in terms of policy. July 26, 2023.

Today’s energy economy is building Colorado’s zero-carbon future 7/26/2023

Today’s energy economy is building Colorado’s zero-carbon future

Payne Institute Program Managers Anna Littlefield, Simon Lomax, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how the transition to a zero-carbon economy may look like a case of “out with the old, in with the new.” Dig deeper and the reality is much different, however.   Many of the skills, technologies and scientific research that support the energy sources we use today are also essential for developing the new energy sources of tomorrow.  July 26, 2023.

Electrical engineering researchers work to find the energy balance 7/25/2023

Electrical engineering researchers work to find the energy balance

Control systems expand the scope of renewable and hybrid energy technologies.

Innovations in renewable technology are rocketing ahead, but they can only advance so far without control systems, which manage and regulate how a technology operates. A car, for example, is full of control systems: fuel injection, anti-lock brakes, cruise control, to just name three. The same is true for mechanisms that harness and transfer renewable energy into usable energy. July 25, 2023.

The Energy Transition Will Require Cobalt. America’s Only Mine Can’t Get Off the Ground. 7/22/2023

The Energy Transition Will Require Cobalt. America’s Only Mine Can’t Get Off the Ground.

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Rod Eggert contributed to this article about how the U.S. is playing catch-up in battery supply chains dominated by China.  Economists and executives warn similar challenges lie ahead in the race to build renewable-energy infrastructure. Many of the richest deposits of commodities required lie elsewhere, while firms extracting them in the U.S. or its allies face higher environmental standards, greater labor costs and limited interest from Wall Street. July 22, 2023.

Transitional dynamics from mercury to cyanide-based processing in artisanal and small-scale gold mining: Social, economic, geochemical, and environmental considerations 7/21/2023

Transitional dynamics from mercury to cyanide-based processing in artisanal and small-scale gold mining: Social, economic, geochemical, and environmental considerations

Payne Institute Research Associate Aaron Malone and Faculty Fellow Nicole Smith and others examine the environmental issues around artisanal gold mining, in particular highlighting often-overlooked problems that are occurring as more of the sector incorporates cyanide processing. The common sense among policy makers and the international community is that anything that decreases use of mercury is an improvement – but what we show is that the current transition phase, with mercury and cyanide use overlapping, actually makes environmental problems worse. In this regard, it is important not to be complacent or imagine that artisanal gold mining’s environmental problems will fix themselves. July 21, 2023.

Mines professor to chair federal advisory committee on energy transition, metal markets 7/20/2023

Mines professor to chair federal advisory committee on energy transition, metal markets

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange, the director of the Mineral and Energy Economics program, will lead Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) subcommittee (an independent agency of the U.S. government).  Dr. Lange will lead a team of stakeholders to examine the role of critical metals in transitional energy sources and their potential impact on derivatives markets.  July 20, 2023.

Geochemistry is how this Mines alum is helping the environment 7/19/2024

Geochemistry is how this Mines alum is helping the environment

Jeff Gillow PhD ’06 is a technical expert and vice president at Arcadis, focusing on geochemistry for manufacturing, industrial and mining companies.

Witnessing sea life in the Caribbean. Shipwrecks in the Eastern United States. A love of scuba diving as a teenager grew Jeff Gillow’s PhD ’06 interest in the environment. While he once thought that interest would take him into a career as a marine scientist, he saw greater opportunity and a chance to enhance the environment in a different way as a geochemist. It has taken him from being a part of nuclear clean-up to having a positive effect on water as it relates to mining. July 19, 2024.

The Defense Production Act’s Role in the Clean Energy Transition 7/17/2023

The Defense Production Act’s Role in the Clean Energy Transition

Payne Institute Fellow Joshua Busby, Emily Holland, Director Morgan Bazilian, and Paul Orszag write about how the Defense Production Act (DPA) has been invoked by President Biden to address U.S. dependence on imports of critical minerals and the battery supply chain.  The Biden administration has been pushing for greater domestic production and sourcing of minerals to assist with the clean energy transition, a process that the administration classifies as an existential security priority.  July 17, 2023.  

Minnesota locked in global dilemma: More copper and nickel are needed, but mine development slow 7/15/2023

Minnesota locked in global dilemma: More copper and nickel are needed, but mine development slow

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to this article about how the demand for copper and nickel is surging thanks to a worldwide transition to clean electricity and electric vehicles, which is driven by government policy and improving economics. But the mineral supply is not keeping up: No one, it seems, wants a hardrock mine as a neighbor. July 15, 2023.

Mining Profile – Ghana 7/13/2023

Mining Profile – Ghana

The Payne Institute looks at the current mining profile of Ghana, in the first of a series of informational snapshots of mining around the world.  July 13, 2023.

Sonnenberg recognized with RMS AAPG Robert J. Weimer Lifetime Contribution Award 7/12/2023

Sonnenberg recognized with RMS AAPG Robert J. Weimer Lifetime Contribution Award

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Stephen Sonnenberg was awarded the RMS AAPG Robert J. Weimer Lifetime Contribution Award for contributions to the practice of geosciences and petroleum geology in the Rocky Mountain region.  Sonnenberg’s research focuses on unconventional reservoirs, sequence stratigraphy, tectonic influence on sedimentation, and petroleum geology.  July 12, 2023.

Characterization work aims to address cost of green hydrogen technologies 7/10/2023

Characterization work aims to address cost of green hydrogen technologies

Chemistry’s Svitlana Pylypenko is looking for answers to questions of cost, durability and performance at the microscopic — and even nano — scale.

The appeal of green hydrogen is clear, but before hydrogen fuel cell and electrolyzer technologies can be adopted on a commercial scale, questions of cost, durability and performance still need to be addressed. July 10, 2023.

Mines researchers discovering new ceramic materials to support the hydrogen economy 7/10/2023

Mines researchers discovering new ceramic materials to support the hydrogen economy

Ryan O’Hayre and his team are focused on the development of protonic ceramics, with applications in all sorts of electrochemical energy conversion technologies.

Electrolysis plays a significant role in sourcing hydrogen for use in fuel cells and other energy technologies. But the ceramic materials used in the electrolysis process must withstand unique stresses and conditions to operate efficiently. July 10, 2023.

Mines team creating hydrogen membranes for use in nuclear fusion power plants 7/10/2023

Mines team creating hydrogen membranes for use in nuclear fusion power plants

The project, led by Chemical and Biological Engineering’s Colin Wolden, is funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E).

Fusion, the process that powers the sun and the stars, has long been a part of the conversation about low-carbon sources of electricity. Unlike nuclear power generated through fission, less waste is generated as a byproduct of fusion. However, there isn’t currently a process that successfully produces power through fusion in a way that is cost effective, efficient and safe.

Green hydrogen: Colorado School of Mines researchers empowering future of energy 7/10/2023

Green hydrogen: Colorado School of Mines researchers empowering future of energy 

A closer look at hydrogen’s role in the energy transition and the Mines researchers working on this critical challenge.

Hydrogen has emerged as a key player in the energy transition, identified by the International Energy Agency as a “versatile energy carrier” that has a diverse range of applications and can be deployed in a variety of sectors. July 10, 2023.

China Controls Minerals That Run the World—and It Just Fired a Warning Shot at U.S. 7/7/2023

China Controls Minerals That Run the World—and It Just Fired a Warning Shot at U.S.

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this article about how Beijing’s export restrictions on two minerals this week show it is willing to use its dominance to rock Western supply chains.  China’s decision this week to restrict the export of two minerals used in semiconductors, solar panels and missile systems was more than a trade salvo.  It was a reminder of its dominant hold over the world’s mineral resources.  July 7, 2023.

China Fires a Fresh Salvo in the Chip War 7/6/2023

China Fires a Fresh Salvo in the Chip War

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to this article about how Beijing’s export restrictions on two metals may not be a death blow, but they are likely to serve as a warning shot.  U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen began a key diplomatic trip to Beijing on Thursday, just days after China unveiled new metal export restrictions and warned of stronger countermeasures—escalatory moves designed to showcase its geopolitical leverage and willingness to hit back at Western measures.  July 6, 2023.

Professor Carol Dahl receives OPEC Award for research 7/5/2023

Professor Carol Dahl receives OPEC Award for research

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Carol Dahl received an OPEC Award for Research that was given in recognition of a career dedicated to the objective study and balanced analysis of the energy sector.  This award, established in 2004, honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to enhancing knowledge of the petroleum industry and oil-related issues (on page 38). July 5, 2023.  

The Global Energy Landscape 7/5/2023

The Global Energy Landscape

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian is on this podcast discussing the intersection of policy and climate technology, how to drive energy access in the global south, Dr. Bazilian’s work at the UN and World Bank, how to facilitate the energy transition in the U.S., the importance of community engagement, and many other topics.  July 5, 2023.

NDAA takes aim at critical mineral supply chain 6/30/2023

NDAA takes aim at critical mineral supply chain

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributes to this article about how the Pentagon needs to address reliance on Chinese-dominated weapons materials, lawmakers say.  Lawmakers are mulling a slew of new authorities and reporting requirements designed to shore up the U.S. supply chain of critical minerals as tensions with China deepen.   June 30, 2023.

Payne Institute Responsible Gas Initiative Report 6/30/2023

Payne Institute Responsible Gas Initiative Report

In early March 2023, the Payne Institute for Public Policy convened the inaugural Responsible Gas Symposium in Golden, Colorado. This report summarizes some of the major themes of discussion and lessons learned during and after the symposium, amid increasingly urgent domestic and international efforts to reduce methane emissions from all sectors of the economy, including the oil and natural gas industry.  June 30, 2023.

The U.S. Strategic Minerals Situation Is Critical 6/30/2023

The U.S. Strategic Minerals Situation Is Critical

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian contributed to this article about how desperate to diversify away from Beijing, Washington is ramping up efforts to jump-start its struggling domestic industry.  Washington’s focus on plugging strategic vulnerabilities amid worsening U.S.-China relations has also reignited U.S. efforts to control crucial, yet often overlooked, materials: critical minerals.  June 30, 2023.

The 2023 CCNow Journalism Awards Finalists 6/28/2023

The 2023 CCNow Journalism Awards – Finalists

The Payne Institute Earth Observation Group contributed satellite imagery to this 2023 CCNow Finalist for Journalism Award (Up In Flames article in Reuters) that analyzed the flaring sites across Mexico.  The article is about how gas flaring soars in Mexico, derailing its climate change pledges as it seeks to boost oil output. The new data suggests that in spite of signing an international pledge to reduce methane emissions, Mexico is moving in the opposite direction from a global push to rapidly reduce greenhouse gas production. June 28, 2023.  

Rising Costs’ Impact on Renewable Power Generation 6/27/2023

Rising Costs’ Impact on Renewable Power Generation

Payne Institute Program Manager Brad Handler and student researcher Mason Shandy write about how the inflationary pressures that have gripped the global economy over the last 18 months, along with central banks’ efforts to lessen them, are weighing on the economics of building new power generation. Despite recent evidence of some moderation in these inflationary pressures, it is reasonable to expect that they will persist for some time.  These higher costs disproportionately impact development of variable renewable energy (VRE), such as wind and solar, and in emerging market (EM) economies.  June 27, 2023.  

A new attempt at building a carbon futures market 6/27/2023

A new attempt at building a carbon futures market

Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler writes about how Climate Impact X is the latest operator to try to foster exchange-based trade in voluntary carbon credits.  Singapore-based Climate Impact X (CIX) launched its CIX Exchange for the voluntary carbon market (VCM) in early June to some fanfare about the city-state’s carbon trading ambitions. It is the carbon industry’s latest attempt to foster the growth of exchange-based trading in the VCM, as well as of a futures business.  June 27, 2023.

HONG KONG UNIVERSITY WELCOMES CFCC PH.D. CANDIDATE CHARLIE MEISEL! 6/26/2023

HONG KONG UNIVERSITY WELCOMES CFCC PH.D. CANDIDATE CHARLIE MEISEL!

Ph.D. Candidate Charlie Meisel was welcomed to present his research from the Colorado Fuel Cell Center to Prof. Francesco Ciucci and his research team at the School of EngineeringThe Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The visit in June of 2023 provided Charlie with an outstanding perspective on the research underway by Prof. Ciucci and his team, and the exciting developments in materials research in Hong Kong. Charlie also got enjoy some time in the wonderful city of Hong Kong. We thank Prof. Cuicci and his team for their hospitality. June 26, 2023.

Understanding America’s technological tit-for-tat with China 6/25/2023

Understanding America’s technological tit-for-tat with China

Fabian Villalobos and Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian write about how the U.S. and China engage in a decades long, high stakes, increasingly brutal game, elbowing one another to gain and maintain advantage across several technological and manufacturing capabilities. This tit-for-tat has most recently led to sweeping legislation in the U.S., such as the CHIPS and Science Act, which aims to stymie China’s technological innovation and dominance over supply chains, especially for advanced products that are crucial for modern economies and warfare.  June 25, 2023.

The pros and cons of getting cobalt from Idaho 6/22/2023

The pros and cons of getting cobalt from Idaho

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Elizabeth Holley is featured on a news show discussing the prospects of cobalt mining in the U.S. amid heightened demand for EV batteries. She says the U.S. lacks cobalt processing plants but Idaho’s cobalt belt has potential for producing the mineral.  June 22, 2023.

Why China dominates the world’s EV supply chain 6/20/2023

Why China dominates the world’s EV supply chain

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian is featured on this podcast discussing that after a rare visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Beijing this week, a group of lawmakers are meeting with American car companies to urge them to lessen their reliance on Chinese electric vehicle parts — especially batteries.  To build its refining capacity, the U.S. will have to cite, permit and develop infrastructure, which is hard to accomplish.  June 20, 2023.

Price volatility, human rights, and decarbonization challenges in global solar supply chains 6/17/2023

Price volatility, human rights, and decarbonization challenges in global solar supply chains

Payne Institute Fellow Dustin Mulvaney and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how from 2020 through 2022 the solar industry experienced supply chain disruptions that caused price increases and trade restrictions, causing project delays and cancelations.  Fixing the weak links in solar supply chain, where a significant sourcing is from China, will require multiple interventions that diversify the geography of manufacturing and lead some countries to re-shore production. Increased attention to sustainability and low carbon manufacturing initiatives through public policy, standards, and certification would hasten these developments and maximize the benefits of solar investments.  June 17, 2023.

GLOBAL ENERGY FUTURE INITIATIVE BRINGS INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO THE TABLE 6/9/2023

GLOBAL ENERGY FUTURE INITIATIVE BRINGS INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO THE TABLE

Mines Global Energy Future Initiative (GEFI) is creating partnerships to forge solutions for society’s greatest energy challenges. But creating effective partnerships that address many facets of a problem is tricky. Mines has expertise across the gamut of disciplines required to tackle these problems and a new framework for the interdisciplinary research needed to spark innovation and attract external partners. Mines has put together a powerhouse list of energy-related experts and our connections to industry and other partners to build a structure for unprecedented collaboration.  June 9, 2023.  

Analyzing a deadly confrontation to understand the roots of conflict in artisanal and small-scale mining: A case study from Arequipa, Peru 6/7/2023

Analyzing a deadly confrontation to understand the roots of conflict in artisanal and small-scale mining: A case study from Arequipa, Peru

Payne Institute Research Associate Aaron Malone, Faculty Fellow Nicole M. Smith, Eliseo Zeballos Zeballos, Rolando Quispe Aquino, Ubaldo Tapia Huamaní, Jerónimo Miguel Gutiérrez Soncco, Guido Salas, Zacarias Madariaga Coaquira, Jose Herrera Bedoya write about how conflicts around large-scale mining are common and widely researched, but artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) features sparingly in the mining conflict literature, despite the prevalence of ASM conflicts. This paper examines ASM conflicts, focusing on a central case study from Arequipa, Peru, where violence between rival ASM groups and a mining company resulted in 15 deaths between 2020 and 2022. June 7, 2023.

Zimbabwe’s Attack on Carbon Offsets 6/6/2023

Zimbabwe’s attack on carbon offsets

Payne Institute Program Manager Brad Handler and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how Zimbabwe’s announcement that it is canceling all carbon offset contracts in its borders and demanding a larger government share of any new ones is wearily familiar to those who have experience with resource nationalization.  But tearing up contracts can only set a bad precedent for developing economies seeking to attract investment that might benefit their communities.  June 6, 2023.

Colorado (CDPHE/AQD) Rule Making Verifying Methane Emissions Reporting 6/5/2023

Colorado (CDPHE/AQD) Rule Making Verifying Methane Emissions Reporting

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Jim Crompton, and Student Researchers Ebenezer Manful-Sam, Wyatt Lindsey and Pierluigi Nichilo write about how reducing greenhouse gases, especially methane emissions, from oil and gas production activities is one of the major themes of regulatory actions both at state, provincial and federal levels in North America as part of society’s path for addressing climate change. One of the biggest barriers for methane reduction is not financial or technology, but rather a lack of rigorous and transparent data. In 2021, Colorado’s Air Quality Control Commission adopted a rule that limits how much greenhouse gas can be emitted per barrel of oil and gas produced.  June 5, 2023.

Cobalt mineralogy at the Iron Creek deposit, Idaho cobalt belt, USA: Implications for domestic critical mineral production 6/2/2023

Cobalt mineralogy at the Iron Creek deposit, Idaho cobalt belt, USA: Implications for domestic critical mineral production

Payne Institute Faculty Fellows Elizabeth Holley, Erik Spiller, Rod Eggert and others co-wrote this paper about how current U.S. policies aim to establish domestic supply chains of critical minerals for the energy transition. The Iron Creek deposit in the Idaho cobalt belt (ICB) is one of the most promising cobalt (Co) targets. Our case study illustrates the importance of mineralogy in strategic evaluations of critical mineral potential.  June 2, 2023.

The United States Needs a Shift in Perspective on Mining 6/1/2023

The United States Needs a Shift in Perspective on Mining

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Program Manager Simon Lomax write about how the energy transition involves more than a move away from high-carbon fuels to low- and zero-carbon fuels. It also entails the fundamental reorganization of the global economy around so-called critical minerals—the metals and other raw materials needed to build electric cars, solar panels, power lines, and other technologies that cut carbon emissions. The United States needs to build new mines and expand existing mines. Rather than stop digging, the United States needs to start.  June 1, 2023.

Why we must act now on critical minerals for a greener future 5/26/2023

Why we must act now on critical minerals for a greener future

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Simon Moores write about how critical minerals are vital for modern technology and the advent of electric vehicles have driven them to the top of the geopolitical agenda.  However, there is a big gap between supply and demand, as well as a disconnect between miners and users of these key raw materials.  Stakeholders must act now to enable the energy storage revolution, with decisions made now impacting the geopolitical order of the next century.  May 26, 2023.

Mines researchers working to understand critical materials deposits within Earth’s subsurface 5/25/2023

Mines researchers working to understand critical materials deposits within Earth’s subsurface

Center to Advance the Science of Exploration to Reclamation in Mining is focused on finding efficient, sustainable workflows to improve supply chain

A renewable, green future full of electric cars, wind turbines, solar panels and smart technology is on the horizon. But for the sun to rise in this new dawn, these devices must be manufactured. Doing so requires a supply of certain minerals—often rare earth elements—with unique magnetic, catalytic and luminescent properties. May 25, 2023.

 

Saudi to play significant part in mineral supply 5/24/2023

Saudi to play significant part in mineral supply

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian discussed how Saudi Arabia’s entry to the mineral supply equation is “significant.”  The intent for Saudi Arabia to be a key player in the mineral supply chain for the critical minerals space was there in Saudi Arabia, as well as the building blocks to have a downstream presence through processing industries. This was, however, not without its challenges.  May 24, 2023.

EV manufacturers look ahead amid high lithium demand 5/24/2023

EV manufacturers look ahead amid high lithium demand

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian is featured on this podcast discussing on how EV manufacturers are dealing with increased competition to secure lithium used to produce batteries.  May 23, 2023.

What You Should Do Is What You Can Do 5/23/2023

What You Should Do Is What You Can Do

Payne Institute Research Associate Baba Freeman is on this podcast discussing how as the world shifts toward green technology, how can African countries with abundant rare mineral reserves navigate and benefit from this change? What role do global financial systems play in responsibly investing in these minerals? With an in-depth analysis of the implications for developing countries in Africa and across the globe.  May 23, 2023.

Chevron’s $7.6B purchase of PDC Energy creates the biggest oil and gas company in Colorado 5/23/2023

Chevron’s $7.6B purchase of PDC Energy creates the biggest oil and gas company in Colorado

Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler contributed to this article about how the Denver-based PDC Energy’s share price sagged under concerns over increased regulation, but the company has received 1,000 drilling permits in the last 10 months.  Chevron Corp. is buying PDC Energy in a $7.6 billion deal that will make it by far and away the largest oil and gas producer in Colorado and continues a trend in the state of bigger companies gobbling up smaller ones.  May 23, 2023.  

What are critical minerals – and why are they key to a greener future? 5/23/023

What are critical minerals – and why are they key to a greener future?

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and Simon Moores write about how critical minerals – the once forgotten elements crucial to modern day technology – have made it to the top of the geopolitical agenda. A global battery arms race, driven by the advent of electric vehicles (EVs), has seen a step change in demand for lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite, manganese and rare earths.  A supply demand mismatch, especially for lithium, has created a tremendous raw material disconnect between those building gigafactories and EVs – and those that mine these elements critical for their function.  May 23, 2023.  

Feds allot $33 million to study carbon capture and storage in Pueblo region 5/22/2023

Feds allot $33 million to study carbon capture and storage in Pueblo region

Mines Global Energy Future Integrated CCUS Initiative Director Manika Prasad is leading the team from the Colorado School of Mines, the Los Alamos National Library and a private company, Carbon America, that were recently awarded a $32.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to study carbon capture and storage in the Pueblo area.  May 22, 2023.

Ensuring Sustainable Supply of Critical Minerals for a Clean, Just and Inclusive Energy Transition 5/22/2023

Ensuring Sustainable Supply of Critical Minerals for a Clean, Just and Inclusive Energy Transition

Payne Institute Director Morgan Bazilian and other researchers write about how the global clean energy transition involves large-scale deployment of a suite of renewable energy, energy storage and other new technologies. These are highly mineral-intensive and accelerated adoption of such technologies will significantly increase the demand for critical minerals (CMs). Challenges to sustainable supply of CMs include inadequate investment in mining, increased and more volatile prices, higher supply risks, negative environmental and social impacts, concerns about corruption, misuse of public finances, and weak governance. May 22, 2023.

Harnessing the VCM to retire orphaned oil and gas wells 5/19/2023

Harnessing the VCM to retire orphaned oil and gas wells

Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Manager Brad Handler writes about how the American Carbon Registry (ACR), a greenhouse gas registry, has released a methodology for creating carbon offset credits from plugging orphaned oil and gas wells.  These offset credits will be the first of their type to be issued through a major registry for the voluntary carbon market (VCM).  May 19, 2023.

Colorado School of Mines and Carbon America awarded $32.6M from U.S. Department of Energy CarbonSAFE Initiative 5/19/2023

Colorado School of Mines and Carbon America awarded $32.6M from U.S. Department of Energy CarbonSAFE Initiative

Mines Director of Global Energy Future Initiative – Integrated CCUS Initiative Manika Prasad is part of a team of Mines researchers that received funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to support the development of a regional CO2 storage hub in concert with local stakeholders. Colorado School of Mines, Carbon America and Los Alamos National Laboratory have been awarded $32.6 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Carbon Storage Assurance Facility Enterprise (CarbonSAFE) initiative to advance the development of a potential carbon storage hub for the Pueblo, Colorado area.  May 19, 2023.

Colorado School of Mines launches interdisciplinary research initiative to tackle “forever chemicals” 5/18/2023

Colorado School of Mines launches interdisciplinary research initiative to tackle “forever chemicals”

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Christopher Higgins, Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will be the lead investigator of the new initiative. PFAS@Mines will focus on development of treatment strategies for most challenging PFAS sites, improved methods to characterize human exposure.  May 18, 2023.

Colorado gets $32 million to create carbon-stuffing hub underground at Pueblo 5/18/2023

Colorado gets $32 million to create carbon-stuffing hub underground at Pueblo

The Colorado School of Mines Global Energy Future Integrated CCUS Initiative received $32 million from the federal Department of Energy to study and develop a carbon sequestration hub in southern Colorado, considered a key to meeting greenhouse gas reduction goals in coming years.  The hub will be located in the Pueblo area, where massive carbon emissions from two power plants and cement kiln, among other major carbon producers, may need to be stuffed underground to meet state and U.S. climate change targets. The large DOE grant gives School of Mines and partners — including Los Alamos National Laboratory — financing to define and drill test sites, and set the boundaries for a carbon sink in the Lyons Sandstone formation thousands of feet beneath Pueblo County.  May 18, 2023.  

Ambitious EPA Rules to Face Stark Permitting Reality 5/17/2023

Ambitious EPA Rules to Face Stark Permitting Reality

Payne Institute Program Manager’s Anna Littlefield and Brad Handler, and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how in early May EPA proposed major new carbon emissions standards for coal and many gas-fired electric power plants. Prominent among the options is carbon capture and storage (CCS)—this represents a unique and significant possibility for the technology. The proposal highlights the pressing need to accelerate permitting of CO2 pipelines and injection wells.  May 17, 2023.

Biden is scrambling for minerals. This U.S. cobalt mine just closed. 5/12/2023

Biden is scrambling for minerals. This U.S. cobalt mine just closed.

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow Ian Lange contributes to this article about how White House clean energy adviser John Podesta this week touted a cobalt mine in Idaho as just one example of a new domestic critical mineral project getting permits and coming online to support a booming electric vehicle industry.  There’s just one problem: The mine quietly stopped construction in late March, a victim not of government red tape but of the vagaries of a global marketplace.  May 12, 2023.

Russia’s War in Ukraine: Green Policies in a New Energy Geopolitics 5/8/2023

Russia’s War in Ukraine: Green Policies in a New Energy Geopolitics

Payne Institute Fellow Andreas Goldthau and Director Morgan Bazilian write about how Russia’s brutal aggression has wreaked devastation in Ukraine for more than a year. It has also forced a fundamental rethink of geopolitics. Central to that new thinking is the role of energy security and how to manage the insecurities created by the lopsided dependencies exposed by the conflict.  May 8, 2023.

Avoiding old geopolitical paradigms for new energy challenges 5/4/2023

Avoiding old geopolitical paradigms for new energy challenges

Payne Institute Sustainable Finance Lab Program Manager Brad Handler writes about how the US needs critical minerals for the energy transition, but its strategy for securing supplies should not mirror its approach to fossil fuels.  Washington has clearly woken up to the need to secure critical raw minerals (CRM), but it risks overlaying old frameworks onto new challenges.  May 4, 2023.

How can we decarbonize the metals industry? Mines researchers are working toward the answers. 5/3/2023

How can we decarbonize the metals industry? Mines researchers are working toward the answers

Payne Institute Faculty Fellow John Speer is featured in this article about how in the U.S. and around the world, there’s a push to cut greenhouse gas emissions by the metals industry.  Decarbonization in the metals industry has already begun in the United States, and we’re one of the cleanest steel industries in the world.  May 3, 2023.

CUSTOM SKI DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING EVENT HIGHLIGHTED BY ROCKY MOUNTAIN PBS 5/1/2023

CUSTOM SKI DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING EVENT HIGHLIGHTED BY ROCKY MOUNTAIN PBS

Owen Hildreth, Mechanical Engineering Associate Professor at Colorado School of Mines, sponsored a manufacturing education event with partners Denver Art Street and Community Skis.  Eight artists from the Denver urban area were selected to design and manufacture custom skis. Art Street, a Denver based non-profit creative provides industry training programs for underserved youth.  Community Skis provides education based ski fabricating workshops.  The three partners were highlighted recently by Rocky Mountain PBS.   Funding for the event was provided by Colorado Fuel Cell Center at the Colorado School of Mines and from the National Science Foundation. May 1, 2023.

The Mining Boom is Coming, but Where Can Their Workers Live? 4/28/2023

The Mining Boom is Coming, but Where Can Their Workers Live?

Payne Institute Research Associate Caitlin McKennie writes about how building out a robust talent pipeline for the mining sector through providing quality jobs to workers and advancement opportunities (i.e., training, upskilling, and next skilling efforts) will be a central factor for ramping up domestic critical mineral production and strengthening U.S. energy security. Yet, the labor force associated with nonfuel mineral mining in the U.S. has remained roughly stagnate over the last five years, and aligns with new statistics coming from employers.  April 28, 2023.