By Melissa There is no denying that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) contributes to the cleantech market. We know this firsthand because we do green public relations for two of those companies: Sun Catalytix (spun out by Professor Dan Nocera) and XL Hybrids (spun out by MIT alumni). Earlier this month, we attended the MIT Technology Showcase and Conference, which highlighted all the local innovations, as well as key – and sometimes controversial – energy topics from industry leaders. These leaders included the likes of Marvin Odum of Shell Oil and Tom Sloan of the Kansas House of Representatives, as well as several well-established MIT energy professors. But one topic that resonated as we continue to work with companies that are creating technology for hybrid electric vehicles is the shale gas issue. With gas prices continuing to rise and fluctuate, consumers and politicians are researching alternative forms of transportation and the future of our gas supply. Some are championing hybrid electric vehicles and others are researching other oil and gas options like shale gas. In case you haven't heard, some in the industry say that shale gas provides domestic abundance, reduces greenhouse gases and increases jobs. Shell recently announced that it received China's 1st shale gas deal, helping to identify the right technology to unlock China's potentially large shale gas resource in the next few years. But the panel at the conference highlighted more of the hard risks and environmental impacts such as groundwater contamination, wastewater disposal, truck traffic noise and use of hydraulic fracturing. So will shale gas prevail? The panelists disputed that:
A research lifecycle analysis of the entire process needs to be done in order to fully understand if these supplies can be developed and produced in an environmentally sound way.
Time will tell.
We'll all stay tuned as MIT and other experts focus on this research. In the meantime, we'll continue to focus on the readily available green technological innovations that are making an impact on today's society.
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