- Alumni and Support & Giving
By Rashda Khan
Scientific research takes time and involves a lot of specialized equipment that come with hefty price tags. Konstantinos Kostarelos, an associate professor of petroleum engineering at the UH Cullen College of Engineering known for innovative research in the oil and gas field, can attest to this fact.
A recent gift from Chevron ETC to Kostarelos’ research lab, which is dedicated to subsurface research including enhanced oil recovery (EOR), made a huge difference to him. The donation of fluid accumulators, high pressure pumps and more will aid the professor’s research — related to EOR for conventional and unconventional oil reservoirs — and help teach students for years to come. EOR methods are needed to recover residual oil from an oil reservoir that has been producing oil for some time and the remaining oil cannot be extracted by other means.
“Since many of these pieces of equipment need to be rated for high pressure and high temperature in order to simulate reservoir conditions, they can be rather expensive due to the special material used in manufacturing them,” Kostarelos said. Looking around at the many boxes of equipment, he said “purchasing these items outright would have required substantial funding. As a result, this donation is greatly appreciated.”
The donation was made after Kostarelos discussed his needs with several employees of Chevron, who helped identify equipment the company was no longer using and arranged for it to be donated to UH.
“As a corporation we’re always looking for opportunities to help the local University, especially in the areas of science and technology,” said Greg Winslow, unit manager of Chevron’s Rock and Fluids Characterization Unit. “In particular, in petroleum engineering, which is near and dear to our heart.”
Winslow added that a strong relationship with the University is important because of the students and the future promise they hold.
“We need to hire the best and the brightest. If we can do something to help train them — through gifts of equipment and tools, offering internships — so that when they come out of college they are realistically able to function quickly within our organization that is a benefit to everyone,” he said. “They can hit the ground running and the projects get done quicker.”
The donation also holds personal significance for Winslow, who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1980 and a master’s degree in biochemistry in 1983 from UH.
“We appreciate everything that the local University is doing,” he said. “Also being an alumnus, it has great meaning to me to be able to come back and help, give back to the University and to help these programs grow.”