Café Scientifique is an international movement of scientists and interested citizens who organize informal monthly discussion groups. Our goal is to provide a place for public discussion of interesting and controversial issues in contemporary science.
We are currently meeting at the Outlook Hotel 800 28th Street (frontage road) Boulder, CO 80303 (303) 443-3322
Refreshments begin at 5:30 pm and the talk starts at 6:00 pm. Traditionally the presenter will speak for 15 - 25 minutes, which is followed by a question and answer period that lasts until ~7:00 pm. We then break, however, the speaker usually stays around for individual discussion and questions with audience members that wish to talk further. In October, we will restrict attendance to fifty people. The Outlook will provide a limited food menu (meat and veggie options) for the event, and full drink service. We recommend that those wishing to order food plan on arriving by 5:30. Anyone that wants to partake of the full menu, can eat in the adjacent restaurant before or after Café Sci. To RSVP for this month's café click here. We usually meet on the second Tuesday of the month (check the website for exact dates as this sometimes varies).
The University of Colorado Chapter of Sigma Xi, and is organized by Carol Kearns and PJ Bennett. For more information or to be added to our email list for monthly notifications of Café Sci events, click here.
For more information on international Café Sci venues and the history of Café Sci, visit:
There is also a Café Sci in Denver:
March 11, 2014
Former director of NREL
Recent developments in horizontal drilling and advanced hydraulicfracturing (or fracking) techniques have greatly increased the availability of unconventional natural gas and oil in shale rock. Soon, the US may become a net gas and oil exporter. Many wonder if this abundant and low cost source of energy, using natural gas or oil will stunt the penetration of renewable energy technologies (RETs) into the US market.
It should be noted that methane (natural gas) released directly into the atmosphere during the fracking process may be small in quantity, but contributes twice as much to the greenhouse effect than CO2 does. In addition, hydraulic fracturing techniques require excessive amounts of water and can create ground water contamination problems, especially when conducted near populated areas.
Renewable energy technologies therefore do remain a priority in planning for future energy consumption worldwide because of their minimal impact on the environment. Renewable energy from wind is intermittent, and solar energy is diurnal. These drawbacks can be overcome by helping utilities develop flexible dispatch systems and smart, or digital grids.
I will do a brief review of the technology of fracking in shale rock along with its environmental impact, followed by a review of the case for climate change caused by the anthropogenic contribution of greenhouse gases. The presentation then will focus on the possible synergism between RETs and fossil fuels, to meet the ever increasing energy needs worldwide, with an eye towards minimizing the environmental impact generated by employing a synergistic effort.