Colorado State University experts in natural gas and environmental sustainability came together Oct. 26 for a scientific conference to help the community understand the natural gas economy and its impacts in Colorado and around the globe.

Former Gov. Bill Ritter who now directs CSU’s Center for the New Energy Economy, Bryan Willson, director of CSU’s Clean Energy Supercluster, and Diana Wall, director of the School of Global Environmental Sustainability, hosted the conference, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., at the Marriott Fort Collins, 350 E. Horsetooth Road.

“Colorado State offers a comprehensive list of experts on every aspect of the natural gas economy – from training the next generation of geologists to reducing emissions at the wellhead and land reclamation,” said Willson, whose laboratory has worked with industry officials for more than 20 years to reduce the environmental impacts of natural gas drilling. “This conference is meant to educate the public about the technology of natural gas production, and explore the environmental concerns and the complexities facing the industry.”

“The university can provide credible, multi-disciplinary solutions to the complex problems facing the industry,” said Wall, a University Distinguished Professor in biology at Colorado State. “Colorado State, more than any other institution, can directly address all the issues – water, land use, production, air, policy and cultural – that are now demanding public attention and discussion.”

Morning sessions focused on “Natural Gas 101” with scientists talking about the geology of natural gas, drilling and completion, processing and distribution, the role of water in hydraulic fracturing and other processes and the supply outlook.

Afternoon panels included:

1:40-2:40 p.m.: “Increasing the use of natural gas: Is that a good thing?”
Speakers: Tim Reeser, executive director of Cenergy, commercial arm of CSU’s Clean Energy Supercluster; Ken Carlson, CSU professor of civil and environmental engineering; Mark Williams, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at CU-Boulder; Barb Kirkmeyer, Weld County Commissioner; and Sybil Sharvelle, CSU assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.

2:55-3:55 p.m.: “The role of regulations in the natural gas industry”
Speakers: Former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, director of CSU’s Center for the New Energy Economy; Kate Fay, Environmental Protection Agency; and David Neslin, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

4-5 p.m.: “Beyond our borders: Natural gas in a global context”
Speakers: Bryan Willson, director of CSU’s Clean Energy Supercluster and Michael Orlando, Economic Advisors.