03.01.05 NOTES Tuesday@REI: "Prelude to the New Energy Debate in Northeast Ohio"

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 03/02/2005 - 02:00.

Herb Crowther assembled an excellent and diverse panel of experts with a range of backgrounds, affiliations and interests related to the future of "energy" and implications on Earth and here in NEO - "scientists, entrepreneurs, energy specialists, economic development and community development professionals". The session flowed as follows:

Ed Morrison - REI - gave a quick overview of his Open Source Economic Development framework and how that applies to this alternative energy discussion.

Dick Medvick - Hydrogen Standards Engineer, Swagelok - gave a fascinating overview of the wide-world of energy, mapping all the "Sources of energy on planet Earth" and providing a template for evaluating energy sources. Dick is involved in setting standards for transport of hydrogen for that new economy, so he is very involved in the future of the industry... and NEO innovator Swagelok will play an important role.

Peter Ehlers - Alternative Fuels Market Manager, Swagelok - spoke of alternative energy successes around the world today - explaining rapid change in fuel sourcing for transportation especially in major markets like India, China and South America. He sees Compressed Natural Gas as an important available bridge to the hydrogen economy his co-worker Medvick is helping make reality for the future. Thus, we conclude, what should NEO do to become more involved with existing alternative fuels strategies?

James Halloran - Senior Energy and Utility Analyst, National City Private Client Group Investments - proved economists at National City Bank know their stuff - and that James is also on the board of local biofuel manufacturer Liquid Resources shows he does more than sit on the energy sidelines and reflect. But his reflections are valuable, and sobering - we're running out of fossil fuel (and he points out natural gas is not exception) so we need other alternatives... demand is skyrocketing. Economist that he is, his questions is how much fuel are we delivering today - how much will we delive next year - and his answer is we will not deliver enough in the near future.

Elaine Barnes - Alternative fuels: Executive Director, Cleveland Green Building Coalition; Board of Directors, Central Ohio Clean Fuels Coalition - briefly pointed out there are federal funds available for alternative energy projects and anyone interested in accessing such funding should feel free to contact her.

Steve Watts - Green Energy Ohio - spoke of recent success in NEO with Wind Power, that Green Energy Ohio has been funded to conduct advanced analysis of wind resources across the state, and stressed the enormous potential of wind as a power source and industry here.

Phillip Jenkins - Photovoltaics and flight experiments - NASA - spoke of lessons to be learned from technologies and strategies used by NASA in space programs, and his interest in alternative energy strategies for Earth. Phillip has great interest in solar power and points out while NEO may not seem to have good solar resources the Mars explores have been running fr over a year on solar under significantly worse sunlight conditions. Conclusion is solar is an important alternative power source and more research will lead to better solutions - this should be a priority world-wide and in NEO - NASA appears to have related intellectual value to contribute, which should be explored.

David Sinclair - President, Advanced Hydro Solutions - speaks of the overlooked potential of Hydro - his company is re-building hydro capacity in existing dams, including one in this region - sees huge underutilized opportunity to tap in this generally clean power source.

Cyrus Taylor, Ph.D. - Director of the Physics Entrepreneurship Program; Coordinator of Case's Science Entrepreneurship Programs,Co-Director of InTICE, the Institute for Technology Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship - spoke of his interest to drive physics entrepreneurship in this region - appreciates the importance of the collaboration he was participating in today and sees great opportunity in such public, open dialogue. Supports expansion of this initiative.

Phil Lane ­ Biofuels, Owner, Analog Motors LLC - gave a brief overview of the importance and value of creating biofuels industry and consumer awareness here in NEO - concluding we either become leaders in this industry or we lose significant economic opportunity - liquid resources is one success and we need more - biofuels are here and now and will grow dramatically in importance - what is NEO waiting for?

Q&A ranged from how the budget cuts at NASA will impact future alternative energy research there, to what is the future of nuclear, to how dams impact fish populations - and there were interesting answers across the panel. Fantastic group of experts sharing valuable insight. Presentations and some more thoughts will be posted here as available.