New Purdue institute focuses first event on renewable energy, fossil fuels
September 17, 2013
The inaugural event planned by Purdue University’s new Institute for Civic Communication focused on renewable energy, fossil fuels and Purdue’s impact in these areas.
Purdue researchers, scientists, industry specialists and C-SPAN founder Brian Lamb spoke Friday in Purdue’s Loeb Playhouse at “A New Energy Future,” which was sponsored by PICC and Bloomberg View.
PICC grew out of Purdue’s Project Impact program. The university announced this month that a $1 million gift from a fund run by the late Bill Daniels, a cable television pioneer, will support the institute for four years.
“A forum that brings scientists, industry leaders and journalists together to address energy and environmental challenges is a great opportunity to move forward with the group’s next phase,” said Ambassador Carolyn Curiel, the founder and executive director of PICC.
The forum featured an interview between Lamb and UPS director Michael Eskew, a panel discussion featuring a senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Energy Policy and the Environment and a Bloomberg View New Energy Finance analyst.
It also featured a discussion between three Purdue faculty members focused on possible “game changers” in the energy sector.
Maureen McCann, director of Purdue’s Energy Center and a professor of biological sciences, said her ideas for the energy sector — lose weight, recycle, consume locally, be efficient and mimic nature — remind her of a New Year’s resolutions list.
“What would happen if we could make ultralight, ultrastrong materials and reduce the weight of the vehicles we drive?” McCann asked. On average, between 14 and 26 percent of the energy from gasoline pumped into tanks moves cars, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. “What would happen if we became energy locavores?”
James Braun, a Herrick professor of engineering, said moving toward a more sustainable path when it comes to buildings is a challenge that needs to be dealt with. Braun said it is often easier to make inroads in the automobile industry than in the building industry.
“It’s much easier to do that than to retrofit the building stock (across) the country,” Braun said. “Buildings are not mass-produced. There’s no chance to really test new concepts. You’ve got one shot at it.”
The key to solving these challenges, the professors said, is to train a new generation of scientists and experts that are trained in a variety of fields, including engineering, economics, biology, chemistry and computer science.
“The problems we have in energy and climate change are really complicated problems,” said Wally Tyner, the James & Lois Ackerman Professor of agricultural economics. “We need people who can speak languages across these disciplines to solve these problems.”
June 22, 2016
Groups of high schoolers eagerly lined up Tuesday morning at Purdue University to test how well their handcrafted wind turbines would perform when stacked against the power of four fans. The kids were competing to create a turbine that would generate the most energy as a part of a challenge for the Duke Energy Academy at Purdue. The annual academy, now in its fifth year, brings in U.S. high school students to learn about renewable energy with hopes they'll be inspired to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields and solve energy challenges. "We want these students to be the leaders of tomorrow," said Pankaj Sharma, managing director of the Purdue Energy Center and Global Sustainability Institute. The academy lasts throughout the week and is hosting 52 students and 27 teachers from mainly Indiana schools, though about 20 percent come from outside states, said Tolu Omotoso, a civil engineering graduate student and coordinator for the academy.Read Full Story