UPDATED: Click here for details about the competition on May 1, 2015!

Texas oil and gas production is key for the US and the Texas economy. Water use by the oil and gas industry is expected to increase as a result of the shale revolution. As water intensive drilling techniques spread across the state, the water used by the oil and gas industry increases accordingly.  Meanwhile, since 2011, Texas has been experiencing drought conditions while simultaneously realizing a rapidly increasing population.  The potential for energy self-sufficiency will substantially depend on industry’s success in developing integrated and sustainable water management practices.  (See, Sustainable Water Management in the Texas Oil and Gas Industry (July 2014), Blythe Lyons and John James Tintera).

For these, and other reasons, PAT challenges the graduate student teams at our universities throughout the state to address the following:

Research, evaluate and develop the most creative and economic use for water produced from hydraulic fracturing of wells, whether that solution includes recycling, disposal or discharge.  The written and oral presentations must include:

  • An innovative, yet realistic and persuasive proposal for a non-commercialized method or technology; or a modification to a method or technology that is already commercialized;
  • A business and financial model that demonstrates the financial viability and sustainability of the proposal;
  • A description of any policy, law or regulatory opportunities or barriers that enable or curtail commercialization of your proposal, and proposed recommendations for any necessary changes;
  • An understanding of the technical engineering aspects of the proposed technology or method;
  • An overview of why this technology/method is value-added for the specific geological shale formation the proposal is addressing.
  • NOTE: Each team should focus on a specific shale formation to which to apply their project proposal.

Check out the full topic description of the 2015 Texas Energy Innovation Challenge and the PAT 2015 TEIC Rules & Evaluation Form.


The teams are off and running: 20 graduate students across 5 universities (Texas A&M, UT-El Paso, UT-Austin, University of Houston and Texas Tech) are hard at work to find solutions for produced water from fracking wells and we are in the process of assigning mentor companies to each team.  Each academic institution is sponsoring one team consisting of no more than 4 graduate students that will in the aggregate represent an inter-disciplinary group representing the business school, policy/law school, geology or environmental sciences program, and engineering school at each university. Each student team is supervised by one or two faculty or staff from each of their respective universities.

Teams are also partnering with relevant industry mentors that act as an information resource to the student teams.

The oral presentation will be held on May 1, 2015.  One week prior to the oral presentations, each team will submit to Power Across Texas their final written version of the project.  Scholarship awards will be announced at the end of the oral presentations.  A panel of 7 expert judges will evaluate the written proposals as well as the in-person, oral presentations given by each student team.


  • State Senator Charles Perry (Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water & Rural Affairs)
  • State Senator Troy Fraser (Chairman of the Senate Natural Resources & Economic Development Committee)
  • State Representative Jim Keffer (Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee)
  • Railroad Commission Chairman Christi Craddick
  • Railroad Commission Commissioner David Porter
  • Railroad Commission Commissioner Ryan Sitton


Power Across Texas will award a scholarship to each of the student teams based on approved amounts by the Board of Directors and the final rankings of the judges.  The following reflects the 2015 scholarship grants available to be awarded:

  • 1st place team – $10,000
  • 2nd place team – $7,000
  • 3rd place team – $5,000
  • 4th place team – $3,000
  • 5th place team – $1500


We are looking for competition sponsors!   As a Sponsor, you have the opportunity to help shape and influence the talent of Texas’ graduate students who share an interest in the energy industry.  Scholar Sponsors are assigned to one of the university teams and are asked to do 3 things:

  1. Sponsor the university teams (each team is comprised of 4 graduate students) for a total, one-time contribution of $25,000.
  2. Identify and assign an appropriate company representative to act as a mentor or resource of information for the assigned graduate team over the course of the Spring 2015 semester (3 phone or face interactions over the semester recommended);
  3. If possible, attend the Texas Energy Innovation Challenge presentations to be given on May 1, 2015, in Austin, TX.  If the company’s team wins, we will ask if the assigned company representative will award the scholarship to their assigned team.

Click here for more information on our 2015 TEIC Sponsorship Opportunities!