University to receive renewable energy research funding

12/1/2009 - By: Staff Report

The University of Nevada, Reno, as part of the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE), has received additional funding from the U.S. Department of Energy for renewable energy research.

NSHE has received $5.7 million over the past two fiscal years from the Department of Energy, including the latest installment of $3.2 million, which will be used for the Nevada Renewable Energy Consortium. The consortium consists of NSHE member institutions Nevada, Desert Research Institute and UNLV, along with participating community colleges. The effort by the NSHE institutions is considered critical in making the state of Nevada the leader in the utilization of renewable energy sources to promote a cleaner environment and more secure nation.

The support is the result of funding secured by U.S. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) through Federal Energy and Water Development appropriations bills.

“With Nevada’s rich abundance of natural resources, renewable energy research is an area where NSHE is poised to help get Nevada’s economy back on track,” said Dan Klaich, NSHE chancellor.

“Senator Reid is committed to promoting renewable energy projects and we are grateful for his efforts here in his home state.”

“Initiatives such as this are exactly how higher education bolsters the state economy,” added University President Milt Glick. “Our Renewable Energy Center, with its wide spectrum of research, educational programs and emphasis on business development, enables us to bring a strong portfolio of expertise to the consortium. We are pleased to have this funding from the DOE and to move forward with this important collaboration.”

The goal of the NSHE consortium is to establish and enhance collaborative research in the areas of biofuels, solar and geothermal energy. In addition, the consortium will support the expansion of workforce training programs in renewable energy technologies in participating community colleges.

“This consortium is a collaborative effort among the institutions and with business and industry stakeholders,” said Stephen Wells, president of DRI. “We will engage in coordinated and complementary activities related to renewable energy research, development, demonstration, deployment, commercialization, education and training.”

DRI and the University are working on methods for identifying hidden geothermal reserves. The goal is to improve the efficiency of locating and ultimately harvesting geothermal reservoirs.

The University and UNLV have active solar energy research and development efforts underway focused on improving the efficiency and cost of solar energy production, as well as the use of solar energy in hybrid energy systems.

“UNLV is delighted to be partnering with DRI and UNR to develop a green economy for Nevada,” said Neal Smatresk, president of UNLV. “UNLV’s solar research tower will provide fundamental research tools in discovering new and more effective solar energy production technologies. In addition, this project and others will further our efforts to transform Las Vegas into a worldwide solar energy research capital.”

By building on the ongoing successful partnerships between union apprentice programs and Nevada community colleges and by following the example of the current joint effort between DRI and Truckee Meadows Community College, the consortium will support the workforce development and technical training in addition to the research.


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