Colorado St. aims to energize renewables |

Colorado St. aims to energize renewables

Judith Kohler
Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado ” Colorado State University has launched a renewable energy “supercluster” that will focus on moving research and development into clean energy and energy efficiency from the lab to the marketplace.

CSU President Larry Penley joined Gov. Bill Ritter and Colorado Sens. Wayne Allard and Ken Salazar to make the announcement Thursday at the state Capitol.

Ritter has made developing “a new energy economy” that stresses renewable energy and clean energy, such as coal plants that capture carbon dioxide emissions, a cornerstone of his administration.

“We see this moving the agenda full speed ahead,” Ritter said during a news conference in the first-floor foyer of the capitol.

Last year, Colorado State unveiled plans for two “superclusters” in the research of cancer and infectious diseases and getting new medicines and technology to consumers faster.

The business arm of the new energy program will be called Cenergy and will concentrate on getting new renewable energy technology to market, either through startup or existing companies.

“Universities must go beyond the creation of ideas and realize the potential that they have to bring about market-based, enterprise solutions to one of our greatest challenges: global climate change,” Penley said.

While dealing with climate change, countries will also struggle with rising demands for energy and plummeting supplies of oil and other fossil fuels, said Colorado State professor Bryan Willson, the new program’s chief scientific officer. He said U.S. energy demand will jump 25 percent over the next 25 years and higher in other countries.

“We believe that solutions are possible on a massive scale,” Willson said.

More than 100 faculty members from departments in all the colleges at Colorado State will be involved in the energy supercluster. Willson said research and development will be done in four areas: solar power, wind power, biofuels and energy efficiency.

Willson is a co-founder of Envirofit International, which developed and has teamed up with companies to produce cleaner-burning two-stroke engines and cooking stoves in developing countries. He also helped found Solix Biofuels, which is working to commercialize technology to produce oil from algae.

The research and development for the ventures took place at Colorado State. The new energy supercluster will expand the work.

Allard said the program is “one great step forward” to making Colorado a renewable energy capital. The Republican lawmaker, a veterinarian and Colorado State graduate, said it also builds on the partnerships among CSU, the University of Colorado, Colorado School of Mines and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

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