Western Kentucky U Expands Biofuel Research

Western Kentucky University has announced plans to use a $500,000 federal budget line item to establish research that uses chemical reactions to create biofuels. The goal of the research is to find cheaper methods of converting agricultural products into biofuel. The research is being conducted in WKU’s Institute for Combustion Science and Environmental Technology.

Pennsylvania State U Receives $5.5 M for Clean Energy Centers

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has given Pennsylvania State University two grants, one for $2 million to create the Mid-Atlantic Clean Energy Applications Center and one for $3.5 million to create the Mid-Atlantic Solar Resource and Training Center. The Mid-Atlantic Clean Energy Applications Center will promote the adoption of clean energy technology through education and technical assistance, with an emphasis on net zero energy building technologies, combined heat and power, district energy management, and smart grid technology. The Mid-Atlantic Solar Resource and Training Center will increase the capacity of community colleges, universities, and training centers to prepare new and returning students for jobs in the solar industry.

U North Carolina, Chapel Hill Partners to Develop Off-Shore Wind Power

The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Duke Energy have signed a contract to work together to harness wind energy off the coast of North Carolina. Duke Energy will pay for the turbines and their installation off the coast of the Pamlico Sound. UNC will conduct ongoing research in areas such as ecological impact, optimization of measuring and predicting the wind resource, and demonstrating turbine performance in tropical storm conditions. The project will help to examine the potential for off-shore wind energy in North Carolina.

US Dept of Energy Announces 2009 Solar Decathlon Winners

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the winners of its 2009 Solar Competition which takes place on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Team Germany, the student team from Darmstadt, Germany, won top honors by designing, building, and operating the most attractive and efficient solar-powered home. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign took second place followed by Team California, a group of students from Santa Clara University and the California College of the Arts, in third place. The 2009 Solar Decathlon challenged 20 university-led teams from the United States and as far away as Spain, Germany, and Canada to compete in 10 contests, ranging from subjective elements such as architecture, market viability, communications, lighting design, and engineering, to technical measurements of how well the homes provided energy for space heating and cooling, hot water, home entertainment, appliances, and net metering.

US Dept of Energy Invests in University-Led Wind Research Facilities

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced new investments in three university-led wind energy research facilities. The Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Maine, and the University of Minnesota will each receive up to $8 million. The three universities will use the funding to install a 1.5 MW turbine, two 10 kW and one 100 kW floating offshore turbine prototypes, and a 2.3 MW turbine research facility respectively. The three university-led consortia have been selected to improve land-based and offshore wind turbine performance and reliability, as well as provide career educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in wind energy technologies. The three competitively selected, university-led projects will include partners from private industry, state and local governments, and other universities.

Frostburg State U Renewable Energy Ctr Receives Federal Grant

Frostburg State University’s (MD) Renewable Energy Center has been awarded an $856,350 appropriation from the U.S. Department of Energy to fund the final steps in the establishment of its Sustainable Energy Research Facility (SERF), a green, self-sufficient, off-the-grid building designed for educational research on renewable energy in the Appalachian region. The funding will make it possible to purchase research equipment and computer hardware and software, as well as to employ researchers and student assistants. The research planned at SERF will study the effectiveness of sustainable energy resources in Appalachia. Using sensors to record wind and solar energy data at numerous locations, the data will be collected at SERF for processing and analysis, used to model, design and control integrated renewable energy supply systems. The ultimate goal will be to develop a knowledge-base for renewable and clean energy resources available in the region.

Green Chemistry Center at Queen’s U Receives $13.6 Million

Green Centre Canada, to be located at Queen's University (ON) in early 2010, has received $13.6 million in funding from the Ontario government. The Center hopes to transform Green Chemistry discoveries into real-world products and industrial technologies for reducing harm to the environment. Over the next five years Green Centre Canada aims to manage the commercialization of 50 Green Chemistry technologies, leading to at least 10 license agreements, and to establish at least six start-up companies.

UC Irvine Acquires $2 Million for Renewable Energy Research

The University of California, Irvine’s Advanced Power & Energy Program (APEP) at The Henry Samueli School of Engineering has obtained $2 million of state and private funds to develop safer, cleaner, and more affordable electricity generation and transportation. APEP will use the funding to create a framework for a cost-effective and reliable energy infrastructure that relies on renewable resources – solar photovoltaics, wind and biomass fuels – and will also improve transportation, waste management, and the energy efficiency of buildings.

Appalachian State U Receives $182K for Climate Change Research

Appalachian State University (NC) has received a three-year, $182,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the relationship between the growth of the ponderosa pine and Douglas fir and the rise in carbon dioxide in the Northern Rockies. The study is in collaboration with the Department of Geography at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

Oregon Campuses Receive Federal Funding for Sustainability Projects

Portland State University and the Oregon Institute of Technology have received funding from Congress's energy and water appropriations bill for green projects. PSU receives $1 million for a green building research laboratory, and OIT received $1 million for a geothermal power generation plant.

Utah State U Students Build Three Campus Gardens

Utah State University College of Agriculture and College of Natural Resources students have presented three new campus gardens and companion interpretive panels. The gardens were completely designed and created by USU horticulture students in the Low Water Use Landscaping classes. Students from Natural Resources Interpretation classes teamed up to create interpretive wayside panels for each plot. The panels illustrate three thematic gardens, including the pollinator garden, ideas for gardening with native plants, and historical uses of Utah plants garden.

Northern Arizona U Establishes New Sustainability-Focused School

Northern Arizona University has combined the Department of Geology with the Center for Sustainable Environments to create the new School of Earth Sciences and Environmental Sustainability. The new department combines educational programs and outreach in environmental sciences, environmental studies and geology, and graduate programs in environmental sciences and policy and geology. The University hopes that by bringing these two departments together students will have more opportunities for hands on experience with federal agencies such as the National Parks Service and the Bureau of Land Management.

Portland State U Opens Green Building Research Lab

Portland State University (OR) has opened its new Green Building Research Laboratory. The lab, which will also serve as a teaching tool for students, provides a place for university researchers to work in close collaboration with industry partners to help solve the fundamental and applied research needs of the green building industry.

U Wyoming Receives Climate Change Research Grant

The University of Wyoming has received a total of $2 million in federal stimulus funds through the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health. The seven grants will fund research in climate change, astronomy, geology, insect cells, and neuroscience. The largest of the grants, $586,581, went to the Department of Atmospheric Science to research aspects of climate change.

Kalamazoo College Receives Grant for Social Justice Leadership Ctr

Kalamazoo College (MI) has received a $200,000 planning grant from the Arcus Foundation to prepare for the establishment of a social justice leadership center at the College. The center will help integrate social justice and service learning into the curriculum.

Newsweek Covers Growth in Sustainability-Focused Academic Prgms

Newsweek has published an article on the increasing number of higher education institutions that are developing and adding to sustainability themed academic programs. The article cites that there were 27 sustainability themed programs, degrees or certificates in 2007 compared to three in 2005. The programs vary from business to agriculture, all with sustainability as a core focus. Higher education institutions mentioned include College of the Atlantic (ME), Green Mountain College (VT), Barnard College (NY), University of Virginia, Montana State University, Aquinas College (MI), Oregon Institute of Technology, and Arizona State University.

Nicholls State U Partners with IBM to Prepare Students for Green Jobs

Nicholls State University (LA) and IBM are working together to help prepare students for new jobs in the information systems sector. IBM is helping the University to develop academic programs in electronic medical records, intelligent transportation, and smart energy grids.

U Montana Receives Grant for Ethanol Production Research

The Native American Research Lab at the University of Montana has received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant funds research aimed at making the production of ethanol more efficient, easier to make, and cheaper to buy. The lab has both Native students and non-Native students working on this project.

U Waterloo Students Win Hydrogen Design Contest

Students at the University of Waterloo (ON) have won the 2009 Hydrogen Education Foundation’s Hydrogen Student Design Contest. The students' submission utilizes hydrogen power as a way to provide on-demand energy when the primary electricity generated from solar and wind power is unable to meet demand. Two different teams from Wayne State University (MI) received honorable mentions. Teams from around the world competed in the competition.

Kettering U Student Installs Wind Turbine

A Kettering University (MI) student has installed a wind turbine on the roof of a campus building as part of his thesis project. The seven-foot-diameter turbine will generate electricity for campus, allow students to do hands-on research, and help prompt similar initiatives in other buildings in the area. The new installation is expected to produce one kW of energy, with a 1.5 kW capacity.

Santa Barbara City College Receives Green Construction/Landscaping Curriculum Grant

Santa Barbara City College has received a $711,436 two-year grant from the Chancellor's Office of the California Community Colleges for green construction and landscaping curriculum. The grant comprises the planning and delivery of classes that provide students a background in green technologies and the training necessary to conduct free sustainability audits for local business and homeowners.

3 MA Campuses Install Walk-In Cooler Energy-Reduction Systems

Smith College has installed 20 "CoolTrol" systems on campus. The system reduces the amount of time a walk-in cooler's compressor runs, thereby maximizing the energy efficiency and minimizing operational costs. After an up-front cost of $50,000, the technology will save Smith about $17,000 a year in electricity. Smith also received a rebate from National Grid to invest in the energy-saving project. The installation project is the result of a class assignment undertaken by a Smith undergraduate student. The coolers will also be installed at Amherst College and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

3 Schools Receive DOE Funding for Carbon Capture Training Projects

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced that the University of Illinois, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Wyoming will each receive a portion of its $8.4 million in funding to develop sequestration technology training projects. The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois will create the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium Sequestration Technology Training Center; the University of Texas at Austin will create an alliance for Sequestration Training, Outreach, Research and Education, as part of the Gulf Coast Carbon Center, to promote the transfer of scientific knowledge and applied engineering technologies related to CO2 storage in the Gulf Coast region; and the University of Wyoming will develop the Wyoming Carbon Capture and Storage Technology Institute to implement training and technology transfer in the Wyoming and Rocky Mountain regions.

Ithaca College Launches New Dept of Env'l Studies & Science

Ithaca College (NY) has announced the creation of the Department of Environmental Studies and Science, which will house its degree programs in environmental studies and environmental science. The two majors were previously under the umbrella of the environmental studies program.

NCSE to Create Climate Solutions Learning Community

The National Science Foundation has awarded the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) a $1.7 million grant to build CAMEL (Climate, Adaptation, and Mitigation E-Learning), a nationwide learning community that will engage educators and scholars to develop curriculum at the undergraduate level based on the best available research and most effective teaching methods. It will also focus on faculty development, community building, and the cyberinfrastructure to disseminate innovative strategies. The three-year project will focus initially on expanding the curricular materials on climate science and solutions available to undergraduate students. Content will include an interdisciplinary treatment of climate change causes and consequences and solutions relevant to regional, national, and global scales. Once the project is completed, a virtual tool chest of teaching and learning resources on climate solutions will be freely available online for use by universities and colleges nationwide.

U Adelaide Biodiesel Bike Taken on Trek Across Australia

A University of Adelaide (Australia) biodiesel motorcycle designed and built by mechanical engineering students has been chosen to be used for a 20,000 km trek across Australia to show its performance ability. The BioBike, which runs on used cooking oil and fats, won acclaim for generating minimal greenhouse gas emissions in completing a 3000km trek in 2007 between Darwin and Adelaide in seven days.

Emory U Promotes Green Initiatives at New Student Orientation

Emory University (GA) has begun an initiative to make its future student orientation events more sustainable. This year's event featured recycling, composting at three different events, and compostable flatware and locally produced foods during the opening dinner.

U Illinois Chicago Prof to Develop Climate Change Diagnostic Toolbox

A University of Illinois at Chicago mathematician has received a $473,000 National Science Foundation Career Award to create a "diagnostic toolbox" - a new set of algorithms that will provide a computational framework to aid climatologists in their predictions about climate change. Rafail Abramov hopes the math tool will help climate scientists narrow down parameters to ones that will make a difference.

U Wisconsin, Green Bay Plants Organic Campus Garden

The University of Wisconsin, Green Bay has planted an organic garden next to the campus's Student Union. The 1,200-square-foot garden contains tomatoes, onions, peppers, potatoes, lettuce, and edible flowers. The project, which was spearheaded by an environmental science and policy graduate student, is funded through the student government and will eventually include workshops on composting, seed germination and saving, and preparing food from the garden.

Babson College, Oregon Inst of Technology Partner for Green Curriculum

Babson College's (MA) Fast Track MBA Program and Oregon Institute of Technology's Renewable Energy Engineering Program have announced a partnership to explore business application for renewable energy technologies. In the pilot program, Babson MBA students in the Northwest region will be matched with students at OIT's Portland campus who are enrolled in the Renewable Energy Engineering program to address business challenges of projects focused on renewable energy products, services, or systems. The goal is to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation that could result in commercializing new green technologies.

New Mexico State U Receives Solar Funding

New Mexico State University's Southwest Technology Development Institute, a part of the Institute for Energy and the Environment (IEE), has received $1.75 million from the U.S. Department of Energy for leadership and operation of the Solar America Board for Codes and Standards (Solar ABCs). Led by the Technology Development Institute, the Solar ABCs is a 10-member consortium of public and private entities that develops national and international codes and standards.

Roger Williams U Receives Grant for Sustainability Study Abroad

Roger Williams University (RI) has secured a federal grant to create an Interdisciplinary Sustainability Study Abroad Program in the Republic of Turkey. The U.S. State Department's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs awarded $96,798 to support the RWU initiative which includes a partnership with Turkish educational institutions to collaborate on issues related to urbanization, pollution remediation, green building design and construction, renewable energy, and public policy.

U Arkansas Partners with PepsiCo to Research Product Sustainability

The University of Arkansas has announced a partnership with PepsiCo to support research on how to create more sustainable products. Under the agreement, PepsiCo will provide a $300,000 grant over three years to UA's Applied Sustainability Center to focus on product sustainability, including life-cycle assessment and a sustainable food index.

U California, Merced to Lead Multi-Campus Solar Energy Research

The University of California, Merced has received a $2.25 million five-year grant to fund a new UC-wide solar energy research program. California Advanced Solar Technologies Institute (CAST) researchers will cover the development of novel photovoltaic devices, which convert sunlight into electricity, and thermal energy for cooling of buildings, industry, and other applications. Other participating institutions include the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, Santa Barbara.

U Central Florida to Install Thermal Energy Storage Facility

The University of Central Florida has announced plans to install a thermal energy storage facility to be in operation by the end of September. The $3 million facility is expected to save UCF around $685,000 annually.

Western Kentucky U to Add Service Learning to State Env'l Ed Prgms

Western Kentucky University’s Center for Environmental Education and Sustainability has announced plans to lead a two-year, $1.5 million project to integrate service learning into environmental education programs in Kentucky. WKU and three other yet-to-be-determined Kentucky universities will incorporate service learning into their teacher education programs. Students in those courses will use service-learning to assess energy use in public buildings near campus and develop a project to decrease energy usage in their target buildings. The project is expected to engage about 360 college students and 4,000 elementary and secondary school students.

Aberdeen U Receives Funding for New Green Energy Center

Aberdeen University (United Kingdom) has opened the Scottish European Green Energy Center. The Center has received £2.6 million to help coordinate the development and distribution of renewable energy technologies. Located in Scotland, the Center will work to develop carbon capture and offshore wind and tidal power systems.

U Minnesota Awards Renewable Energy & Env Scholarships

The University of Minnesota’s Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (IREE), in partnership with the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, has selected 14 projects as part of the 2009 renewable energy scholarship program. The scholarship winners receive a stipend of up to $1,700 each. The students must assist with a faculty member’s research or carry out their own projects under faculty supervision. To fulfill the scholarship objectives, the projects must focus on expanding IREE’s renewable energy research portfolio at the University of Minnesota.

U New Hampshire Receives $953K for Energy Efficiency Prgms

Two University of New Hampshire energy efficiency programs - the New Hampshire Carbon Challenge (NHCC) and Carbon Solutions New England (CSNE) - have been awarded more than $953,000 from the New Hampshire Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Fund (GHGERF) to further their efforts. NHCC, a joint initiative of UNH and Clean Air-Cool Planet, received a two-year, $813,402 grant and will partner with the New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association to develop web-based energy-efficiency tools that homeowners can use to reduce their energy usage. CSNE, a UNH-based public-private partnership designed to promote collective action to achieve a clean, secure energy future, secured $139,945 for one year to track, analyze, and report on projects funded by the GHGERF. The grant was made through the Public Utilities Commission as part of the emissions reductions fund, which are monies raised through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a mandatory, market-based effort in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

USA Today, Inside Higher Ed Cover Increase in Sustainability Curriculum

USA Today has published an article on the increase in the number of college and university academic programs that incorporate sustainability into their curriculum. The article attributes the growth, in part, to increasing student interest in green careers. Institutions mentioned include the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University (MA), Arizona State University, Bucknell University (PA), and Kalamazoo Valley Community College (MI). In related news, Inside Higher Ed has published an article on the increase in academic programs and faculties that focus specifically on sustainability. Colleges and universities noted in the piece include Arizona State University, State University of New York at Stony Brook Southampton, Dalhousie University (NS), Colorado State University, Chatham University (PA), College of the Atlantic (ME), State University of New York's College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and the University of Washington.

Wayne State U Receives $1.5M to Reduce Energy Waste

Wayne State University (MI) has received $1.48 million from the Great Lakes Protection Fund to help reduce energy waste in the Detroit water system. The University is developing computer software to reduce energy use in the system, which pumps 675 million gallons a day in a 1,079-square-mile area with 126 communities in eight counties.

Keene State College Establishes Env'l Studies Department

Keene State College (NH) has created a Department of Environmental Studies. The courses in the new department will focus on how people interact with the environment, incorporating the natural world as well as social and political systems.

UNESCO, Microsoft Announce Partnership for Green Training

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Microsoft Corp. have announced a joint task force to help higher education institutions worldwide meet the growing challenge of supporting economic stimulus efforts and work-force development strategies. The UNESCO-Microsoft Task Force on Higher Education and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) will create a strategic plan of action to identify how ICT can be used by governments as a catalyst for change. The Task Force will also seek to ensure that students are equipped to drive and support economic growth and to address major development challenges such as those related to the environment.

Federal Agencies Announce Biofuels Research Grants

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have announced up to $6.3 million in funding for genomics-enabled research leading to the improved use of plant feedstocks for biofuel production. Awards have been given to the University of Georgia, Michigan Technological University, the University of Florida, and the University of Nebraska.

North Carolina State U Receives $1.3M to Improve Hybrid Car Batteries

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $1.3 million to faculty in North Carolina State University's Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center to improve the batteries that help power plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The grant will support research into the development and use of electrospinning technology to integrate lithium alloy and carbon into novel composite nanofiber anodes, which hold more energy, cost less and tolerate abuse better than materials found in existing batteries.

U Arkansas Sustainability Research Ctr Receives PepsiCo Grant

The University of Arkansas Applied Sustainability Center has received a $300,000 grant from PepsiCo. The Center works with a wide range of partners, including other UA colleges, for the rapid development of sustainable business practices and to promote their application across the retail and consumer goods industries.

Universities Receives DOE Funding for Wind Energy Research

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the selection of 28 new wind energy research projects for up to $13.8 million in funding. The higher education institutions that will receive a portion of the funding include: the University of Nebraska, Lincoln; University of Massachusetts, Lowell; Illinois Institute of Technology; New Mexico State University; the University of Michigan; the University of Colorado; Tennessee Technological University; the University of Texas at Austin; and the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

U Tennessee Opens Biodiesel Production Facility

The University of Tennessee has opened a biodiesel production facility on its agricultural campus. The production facility will convert waste fryer oil from Knoxville area restaurants into useable fuel and will serve as a research center for other agricultural fuels like soybean oil and oilseed crops. The facility can produce up to 380,000 gallons of biodiesel annually, which will supply UT and local businesses.

Trident Tech, Virginia Tech Partner for Sustainability Initiatives

Trident Technical College (SC) and Virginia Tech have announced a joint initiative called TTC Green, a program that seeks to expand TTC's energy efficiency and sustainability efforts at all three of its campuses. Virginia Tech will help the College to develop curricula that will enhance TTC's program offerings to include green building construction, engineering technology, and management curricula and certifications that lead to green careers. Virginia Tech experts will also consult with TTC officials as the college develops a comprehensive energy efficiency retrofit program.

U Maine, U Southern Maine Receives $20M for Sustainability Initiative

The University of Maine and the University of Southern Maine have received a $20 million National Science Foundation EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) grant for a new project called the Sustainability Solutions Initiative. The research portion of the five-year initiative will bring together core research teams from UM and USM, as well as government and industry stakeholders, to work to improve the science and practice of sustainable development. Researchers will also collaborate with non-profit organizations focused on community development in rural Maine. The project will begin by focusing on problems related to urbanization, forest management, and climate change.