CU-Boulder Announces Development Of Sustainable Energy Initiative

March 16, 2006

The University of Colorado at Boulder has launched a Renewable and Sustainable Energy Initiative to coordinate the university's already extensive campus resources devoted to energy coursework and research, mobilizing resources to underscore CU-Boulder's leadership in energy innovation.

"Colorado can become a national, and even global, leader in transforming the ways in which energy is produced and utilized," said Carl Koval, a professor in the CU-Boulder chemistry department. "Through the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Initiative, we are building on an already impressive set of accomplishments."

Koval cites campus studies of economically viable solar photon conversion systems, hydrogen production from water and solar irradiation, biofuels development, identification of legal barriers to the use of new energy sources, public attitudes about energy and other topics pointing to the depth of energy programs at CU-Boulder.

Beyond CU-Boulder's technical and research expertise in traditional energy sources, the campus is poised to lead in the discovery and implementation of economically viable sources of renewable energy, Koval said.

A town hall meeting will examine energy issues across a spectrum of disciplines in the first public forum sponsored by the initiative March 21 at 3:30 p.m. in Hale Science, room 270. The interdisciplinary nature of the initiative also will be among the topics discussed.

"In addition to having great science and engineering, CU-Boulder is a great source of business and social expertise," Koval said. "Smart business models and methods to encourage social acceptance of new technologies are both critical components," of the energy initiative, he added.

CU-Boulder already partners with several Colorado-based federal organizations that conduct related research including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden; the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder; and the Denver office of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Strengthening and expanding those partnerships, particularly with NREL, is another one of the goals of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Initiative, Koval said. Others include:

o Bringing together CU-Boulder researchers from a broad range of disciplines to address innovation, entrepreneurship and transformation in energy development and use;

o Strengthening ties with entrepreneurs, businesses and utilities to use research findings and new knowledge;

o Preparing funding proposals on a variety of topics to submit to federal and state agencies;

o Developing an interdisciplinary research and graduate program to train future leaders and innovators;

o Developing courses and learning experiences that will encourage broad participation by undergraduates;

o Fostering community engagement and outreach that applies knowledge, technologies and best practices to unmet needs.

Public participation is welcome at the March 21 town hall meeting.

For more information about CU-Boulder's Renewable and Sustainable Energy Initiative, visit www.colorado.edu/insidecu/archives/2006/2-28/chancellor.html .

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