Energy forum fosters collaboration

Sustainable energy

YSU recently hosted the fourth annual Sustainable Energy Forum, which showcased new green technologies and allowed area professionals to explore new initiatives while cultivating a spirit of collaboration. Photo by Alexis Burger/The Jambar.

Youngstown State University hosted the fourth annual Sustainable Energy Forum on Monday and Tuesday.

The Sustainable Energy Forum featured technologies that optimize energy use for industrial, commercial and residential purposes — and are now ready for the public. The focus is even more narrowed to such technologies that are currently and successfully used in the region.

One of the main objectives of the forum was to build collaboration among attendees. As a result of past forums, students and faculty were able to team up with entrepreneurs to attain sponsored research funding.

On Monday, the forum featured a series of presentations conducted by both regionally and nationally known speakers.

Marc Kodack, project manager for the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy and Sustainability, spoke about net zero energy.

Kodack emphasized the importance of understanding that what we do now affects our future.

Daniel Frakes, General Motors manager of vehicle, fuels and advanced technology policy, spoke about GM’s advanced technology strategy.

When it comes to alternative energy, “GM believes there is no single solution or silver bullet,” Frakes said.

“Electric-driven vehicles are the best long-term solution,” Frakes said.

It would cost electrical vehicles 3 cents per mile, compared to 10-13 cents per mile using gas. GM also offers cars with hydrogen fuel cells that don’t need charged overnight and don’t exhaust greenhouse gases.

The forum displayed cars powered by alternative fuels. Members of Delphi, who also promoted a wireless charging system for electric models, brought the electric-powered cars.

Electrical vehicles save both energy and money, but can only be driven for approximately 100 miles before they have to be recharged.

In addition to the setup of cars, attendees of the forum heard a variety of presentations, with topics ranging from cleaner applications of fossil fuels to energy management and systems. Bruce Bille, president of Technical Staffing Professionals, attended the forum for the third year. His company is a supplier and recruiter in the advanced energy industry.

“[The experience] was very strong,” Bille said. “There was renewed interest in manufacturing in the energy industry. We are seeing an upsurge in hiring, and [we] met some good contacts, reconnected with some existing contacts and saw new things coming out. We have very high hopes for the future here in the Ohio area.”