TCU Energy Institute

At the TCU Energy Institute, our research primarily focuses on domestic energy sources. This includes transportation fuels, shale gas, geothermal and wind energy. The Energy Institute operates a large shale core storage facility that is open for student, faculty and industry research. We also work closely with the Institute for Environmental Studies for wind studies in Texas. In addition, we have cooperative research agreements with the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, also known as BRIT, for energy impacted renovation studies.

Selected Examples of Current Research:

  • Breyer, J.A., Alsleben, H., and Enderlin, M.B., Predicting Fracability In Shale Reservoirs, in AAPG/SPE/SEG/SPWLA Hedberg Research Conference “Critical Assessment of Shale Resource Plays”
  • Swofford, J. and Slattery, M.C. “Public attitudes of wind energy in Texas: local communities in close proximity to wind farms and their effect on decision making”, Energy Policy, 38, 2508-2519.
  • Holbrook, John, NSF SEES Workshop, Tracking an Energy Elephant, PI among three co-PI’s organizing research priorities for the New NSF SEES (Science, Engineering, and Education for sustainability), Emphasis Geothermal Energy form Sedimentary Basins
  • Morgan, Tamie, GIS tracking of Disposal Wells & GIS Siting of New Natural Gas Refueling Stations.
  • Breyer, J.A., Alsleben, H., and Enderlin, M.B., Best of Hedberg: Predicting Fracability In Shale Reservoirs
  • Morgan, Ken, “Researching Alternative Fuels for Transportation Needs in the U.S.”
  • Holbrook, John, 2011, NSF SEES Workshop, Natural and Engineered Carbon Sequestration, One of four co-PI’s organizing research priorities for the New NSF SEES Program, Emphasis CO2 Sequestration.
  • Lastly, TCU was recently selected to be the Center for a global Research Coordination Network (RCN) focused on geothermal energy from sedimentary rock basins. There are lots of exciting energy research opportunities through our Energy Institute. Our focus is on “researching domestic energy solutions” for America.


Here are some other areas we conduct research in:

Geothermal Basin Studies

TCU will soon be a new center for a global research network of scholars focused on the basic science and engineering questions that need to be addressed to make large-scale geothermal energy from sedimentary basins a reality. The work and proposals are to be done by individual researchers across the country, sometimes in cooperation with international colleagues.

The Research Coordination Network, funded by the National Science Foundation, is intended to provide a vehicle for this group to interact, share information, develop research priorities, and overall coordinate what is thus far a highly dispersed group into a team with more focused goals. As much as anything, this new center will serve as a facilitator of individual research ideas and initiatives. One big virtual geothermal university with a faculty of a couple hundred if you will. TCU will be the node for this research effort and will be the go-to place for geothermal energy information and collegial links. The TCU Energy Institute will play a large role in this project moving forward.

Wind Initiative

In partnership with the University of Oxford in England, TCU students and faculty are undertaking basic research on the environmental, socio-economic and carbon implications of wind energy. This five-year, multi-million dollar research initiative is funded by NextEra Energy Resources, the nation’s largest wind energy producer. The research is coordinated by IES, with field research conducted at several NextEra sites throughout Texas. The goal is to provide sound scientific data about the integration of wind energy into our ecological community.

Our students and staff members often collaborate with the Wind Initiative team to conduct research on wind and other alternative energies. To learn more, Wind Research Initiative.

GIS for Energy Studies

With a university ESRI ArcGIS site license, the Center for GIS and Remote Sensing serves as a focal point for campus wide education and research related to geographic data collection and analysis. In particular, the Center focuses on teaching the latest mapping technologies to assist in the search of energy and environmental solutions for our nation and planet.

The center houses 28 work stations dedicated to teaching and research in geological and environmental science mapping. Many students use this facility to study energy related problems that lend themselves to GIS solutions such as: well pad siting, locating new potential locations for NGV refueling stations, wind farm mapping etc. For more information, visit

Shale Core Research

The TCU Core Storage Facility began as an idea from members of the Energy Institute’s Board of Advisors, as well as a number of faculty in the Geology Department to help the industry keep Barnett Shale core locally in Fort Worth.

Beginning in 2009, Professor John Breyer began to coordinate receiving and researching the donated core. EOG and Matador Resources were the first companies to deposit several pallets of core. This was followed by a generous donation from Pioneer Natural Resources to construct offices and a climate controlled viewing area in 2010. 

Today, the 9,000 square foot facility houses thousands of feet of organized and well-kept core from all over the region. Our current team of faculty and staff keep the facility open for private viewing, tours, workshops and student research related to the geology, sedimentology, petrophysics and geochemistry of the core samples stored on site. For more information, visit