By Dr. Russell Chianelli, University of Texas at El Paso, Materials Research & Technology Institute
The “Energy Quarterly” section in the December issue of MRS Bulletin features an interview with Dr. Raymond Orbach, the founder of the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, and formerly the director of the Office of Science of the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Orbach discusses the global energy perspective in a way that few others can. He focuses on his institute’s initiatives in addressing the multiple problems that the United States faces in the future of energy, including economics, energy security, and environmental issues.
There are two issues that he believes are crucial: shale gas, which has transformed energy security concerns and has raised environmental challenges, and energy storage, which is needed to store base-load levels of electricity produced from wind power. He emphasizes that research at universities is crucial, and energy materials research is an area where students can make a difference through their career choices.