Don’t underestimate the importance of publicizing accomplishments and establishing relationships with other researchers and institutions. IREE’s behind-the-scene work has made the University of Minnesota more visible on the renewable energy scene and fostered important scientific collaboration.
Below are just a few examples of outreach initiated by IREE around University of Minnesota renewable energy research.
E3: IREE’s Annual Showcase
E3, IREE’s annual November conference, is a showcase of current technologies, environmental benefits and market opportunities in renewable energy. Last year, more than 650 attendees from business, universities and government heard some 75 speakers, including Daniel Kammen, chief technical specialist for renewable energy and energy efficiency at the World Bank. E3 is one of IREE’s most effective ways of building partnerships in business and industry and positioning Minnesota as a hub of innovation.
Global Sustainable Bioenergy Convention
IREE funding enabled the University’s Institute on the Environment to host the fifth of five continental conventions of the Global Sustainable Bioenergy Project, a worldwide collaboration of universities and institutes to envision a path to large-scale use of bioenergy. Co-chairs of the September 2010 meeting were Jon Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment, and John Sheehan, science director at IREE.
Algae Biomass Summit
Nearly 900 industry professionals from the world’s algae utilization industries met in Minneapolis in October for the fifth annual Algae Biomass Summit. Organized by the Algal Biomass Organization and co-hosted by IREE, the four-day summit brought together researchers, project developers, utility executives, venture capitalists and policy makers to seek out viable technologies and markets for renewable products derived from algae, including biofuels, animal feeds, fertilizers, plastics and food.
Worldwide Thermal Storage Experts
IREE support helped the International Energy Agency Task Force on Thermal Storage meet at the University in September. These energy experts are developing new methods to store energy derived from renewable sources, says Jane Davidson, director of mechanical engineering and U.S. representative to the group. “We publish our papers in scientific journals and we go to conferences, but there’s a big difference between doing that and having three days of having one-to-one conversations with the world’s leading experts.”
St. Anthony Falls Lab Hydropower Solutions
Officials and researchers from the National Science Foundation, DOE, national labs including Sandia and Oak Ridge, and several U.S. universities came to the University’s St. Anthony Falls Laboratory for a research workshop on marine and hydrokinetic energy and the environment, aided with an IREE grant. The St. Anthony Falls Lab’s unique facilities on the Mississippi River (pictured right) have positioned it to advance these new-generation hydropower technologies, which have the potential to harness waterpower with minimal harm to the environment.