A best-selling book from the 1980s proclaimed: "All I ever
really needed to know, I learned in kindergarten." Richard Haut,
Ph.D., can relate to that feeling-his present career in
environmental research was strongly influenced by childhood advice
from his mother.
"My mom told me three things that really stayed
with me," he recalls. That advice: Leave the world better than you
found it; always remember to take just what you need and nothing
more; and, if you harm somebody or
make it right.
Today, Haut is senior research scientist at the
Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), which focuses much of its
attention on helping human civilization live in harmony with
Haut earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical
engineering from Rose-Hulman in 1974, followed by a master's in
aerospace engineering from the University of Tennessee and a Ph.D.
from Old Dominion University. An interest in fluid mechanics led
him to the oil and gas industry, where he spent much of his career
Needless to say, that industry hasn't always
gotten along well with environmentalists. Haut's current work is
all about exploring ways to make the business more environmentally
friendly by demonstrating that where there is a will, there's a way
for the environment and the energy business to coexist
At HARC, Haut has been principal investigator for
Environmentally Friendly Drilling Systems program, aimed at
reducing the impact of petroleum drilling and production. It
identifies new technologies and helps to commercialize them. Haut
also has been director of HARC's Sustainable Technologies Group,
investigating everything from green building systems and materials
reducing emissions into the air.
Haut's sphere of influence is growing all the
time. He helped create the Houston chapter of the U.S. Green
Building Council, and played a key role in the Solar America
Communities demonstration project in Houston. His expertise was
tapped following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and he chairs
the Environmental Advisory Group of the Research Partnership to
Secure Energy for America. Haut sees tremendous future in
clean-burning natural gas, noting that America has a 175-year
supply, and that automakers are working to build cars that are
powered by natural gas.