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A Natural Gas Utilization Conference will be held today and Friday to address the critical efforts under way to increase the utilization of natural gas and natural gas liquids.
The conference will be held at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel, running from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today and 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, according to the conference’s website.
According to the website, the conference will be co-sponsored by both The Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research and the Ben Franklin Shale Gas Innovation and Commercialization Center, .
Matt Henderson, the shale gas asset manager at the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, said the natural gas story has been evolving at Penn State over the past several years.
"With the dramatic increase in production due to the Marcellus formation, the discussion is turning to how to use this resource," Henderson said.
Henderson said the goals of the conference are to increase awareness and provide educational opportunities on some of the technologies being developed relating to natural gas.
These technologies include using natural gas as a transportation fuel, working to downstream usage of some of the byproducts and developing natural gas to liquid, he said.
According to the conference agenda, the first day of the talks will focus on transportation. The sessions will address original equipment manufacturers offering natural gas-powered vehicles, and will involve multiple sessions discussing the fueling station and vehicle to engine conversion options.
"Penn State is helping the environment by using natural gas in all of its buses," Thomas Richard, director for the Penn State Institute for Energy and the Environment Bioenergy and Bioresource Engineering, said. "It’s helping reduce greenhouse gases one step at a time."
The first day will conclude with a reception, where several natural-gas-powered vehicles will be displayed, with the providers discussing the features and benefits of each vehicle, according to the agenda.
Richard, who is attending the conference on Friday, said he believes that when it comes to natural gas, transportation is the most significant category to improve on.
"In terms of development, the recent rise in natural gas has changed the potential in reducing greenhouse gas," Richard said.
The second day will focus on uses for the natural gas liquids and associated conversion technologies, according to the agenda. The orators will discuss current projects under way to convert and utilize natural gas liquids.
Technologies, both currently available and under development, designed to convert natural gas to liquid transportation fuels and chemicals will also be reviewed and discussed.
Professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering Russell T. Johns said he believes the conference will help State College.
Johns also mentioned that the conference would help the economy and unemployment in terms of natural gas production, as State College currently holds one of the lowest unemployment rates in the region.