In 2015, Stanford launched a campus-wide Natural Gas Initiative to examine the multifaceted questions raised by the tremendous growth in natural gas production. Several faculty are focusing on improving the efficiency of shale-gas extraction. Others are working on optimizing the benefits of using natural gas (methane) in manufacturing, transportation, electric-power generation, and the production of industrial chemicals and fuels. Researchers are also studying ways to minimize the impacts of the natural gas industry on air and water pollution, and prevent fugitive emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Others are exploring the economic and geopolitical implications of the shale-gas boom, as well as best practices for U.S. regulators. Researchers are also assessing optimal ways to integrate natural gas with renewable energy sources for electricity generation, and the potential of methane hydrates as an energy source.
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