– UALR lands NSF grant to host environmental conference

UALR lands NSF grant to host environmental conference

Dr. Lashun K. Thomas

The National Science Foundation has awarded the University of Arkansas at Little Rock a $35,773 grant to host a conference to bring together professionals in academia, industry, and government in areas of hydraulic fracturing and environmental pollution. Conference participants will come together to exchange ideas and discuss better methods of hydraulic fracturing and sustainable remedial technologies, and identify important directions in future development. The conference will feature a series of keynote talks, presentations, and panel discussions. This will be the first conference of this scale held at the UALR that will address these important issues.

Hydraulic fracturing is a commonly used technology for well stimulation to increase oil and gas production. “This technology brings tremendous benefits to people in many states, including Arkansas. However, one of the main concerns of state residents has been on pollution, especially the potential for water contamination, a current and particular concern to residents living in regions of the Marcellus Shale in New York State and Fayetteville Shale in Arkansas. Now, there is an urgent need for the development of improved fracturing fluids and methods to achieve better fracturing efficiency as well as minimize potential environmental impact.” said Dr. Lashun K. Thomas, principal investigator.

She is joined in her grant by co-investigator, Dr. Hansong Tang, an associate professor of civil engineering at the City University of New York.

The conference will be hosted on the campus of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock on April 20-21, 2015. It is expected that the conference will promote ideas to address fracturing efficiency and mitigation of environmental impact issues related to hydraulic fracturing between experts from all sectors.  Dr. Thomas hopes that the conference will provide a platform for people from industry, academia, and government to present their current research findings and exchange ideas for future directions.

“We’re excited about hosting the conference here at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and look forward to meeting with experts from across the country to try and address these important issues”, said Dr. Thomas.

The grant is effective December 1, 2014, through November 30, 2015. The project title is “Reducing the Impact of Hydraulic Shale Fracturing and Natural Gas Drilling on Environments: Development of Green Fracturing Fluids and Sustainable Remediation and Containment Technologies.”

Dr. Thomas is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Department of Construction Management & Civil and Construction Engineering at UALR and helping to administer the new environmental engineering program on the campus of UALR.

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