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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Academics & Research

UH continues to add to energy research resources

The Energy Research Complex, a facility just off of the Gulf Freeway and formerly known as University Business Park, has maintained its effort in leading energy research to help UH towards flagship status.

Built in 1953 and comprising 580,552 sq. feet of warehouse and office space on 68 acres of land, the complex was once home to Schlumberger, an oilfield service provider that recently opened its first multinational research and geo-engineering center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“(The acquisition of the property) represents one of the most important physical expansions in UH history and is an integral part of our goal to become the world’s foremost energy university, and a nationally competitive flagship research university,” UH President Renu Khator said in a fall 2009 news release.

Three buildings in the ERP complex now house research facilities with programs ranging from the exploration of alternative fuel sources to the efficient storage, transportation and delivery of wind-generated electricity.

The campus is home to third-party research groups, including the Wind Alliance and the Power Technology Institute, that have partnered with UH to further technological development.

ERP is also home to a new undergraduate program in petroleum engineering.

“(It) combines the fundamentals of petroleum engineering and geosciences with economics, energy law and business,” said Carl Carlucci, executive vice chancellor and vice president of administration and finances, in a June 2010 presentation on the facility’s development.

The new petroleum-engineering program was the first to be given space in ERP, with more than 20,000 square feet of laboratory, classroom and office space on two floors in building 9A. The building is to be completed and fully functional by Fall 2011.

Additionally, ERP offers space in buildings 5A and 14 that may be used for light manufacturing or assembly. UH is planning to rent the space out to small and start-up businesses that would otherwise lack the room to grow, allowing it to serve as incubator space.

Most of the ERP is currently undergoing renovations to modernize and improve the properties to accommodate new tenants, including the installation of a fiber optic backbone by Contra Electric Link, which began over the summer to support communication needs.

This is part of a $2 million refurbishment effort that also includes improvements to roads and aesthetic upgrades to buildings.

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