Youngstown State University held it’s fifth annual Sustainable Energy Forum on Monday and Tuesday.
The forum hosted more than 200 students, energy industry leaders, government officials and entrepreneurs.
This year’s event focused on three areas: successful sustainable and clean air technologies, natural gas and water recourses, and additive manufacturing and the impact on energy and energy technology.
In past years, entrepreneurs along students and faculty teamed up to effectively pursue sponsored research funding.
However, this year a great amount of funding has already come to YSU just days before the forum. Siemens Corporation announced on Thursday that they would be donating a grant worth $440 million to the YSU College of STEM.
Michael Hripko, YSU Director of Research and Economic Development, is excited about the diversity that the event brings to the community.
“The forum has a good track record for supporting the industry, as well as students getting the opportunity and chance to interact with the companies here,” Hripko said.
Rep. Sean O’Brien said he feels that one of the local companies at the event, National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, also referred to as NAMII, is a program we need as a country to move forward.
“America will remain a world leader due to NAMII here in Youngstown, where it will focus on 3-D technology,” O’Brien said.
STEM students Edward Mullan and Tai Robinson have hands-on experience working with NAMII’s 3-D technology. Mullan and Robinson operated a machine at the event, which is capable of turning plastic into what they designed on the computer.
“This machine is just a toy; however, the large ones are capable of making custom biological parts, such as body parts,” Mullan said. “It’s all about using your brain to come up with new technology.”
YSU President Cynthia Anderson kicked off the event on Monday discussing previous years as well as the future.
“This forum has had a tremendous amount of success due to collaboration, and Youngstown is on a roll due to that collaboration between this university and this community,” Anderson said.
Rep. Tim Ryan also spoke Monday. He said he feels that we have a great team in the Valley with a great opportunity for economic gain.
“Most of us have been identified by the collapse of the steel industry,” Ryan said. “We need to begin to appreciate the Marcellus Shale due to the economics because the opportunities we have here are exciting, and America is ready for a new project.”
The event also featured the MINDDRIVE car. The electric car is traveling from Kansas City Missouri to Washington D.C.
The car made a stop at the forum on Monday for a chance for its technology to be displayed. The creative aspect to the car is that it uses social media to govern the vehicles power.
The forum continued on Tuesday with more panelists, as well as the featured speaker Eric Marquis, who is Quebec’s government official of the Midwest.
Marquis spoke on the possibilities of a sustainable energy partnership between The Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence region.
“We have a opportunity to lead the country and world in the next industrial revolution. We just need the level of excitement to reshape things,” Ryan said.