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College of Agriculture and Technology to host Renewable Energy Development conference April 19

March 31, 2010 -- In its commitment to actively promote renewable energy development in the region, Arkansas State University’s College of Agriculture and Technology will host a one-day conference on Monday, April 19, in the Mockingbird Room of the Reng Student Services Center/Student Union, 101 N. Caraway Road, from 8:30 a.m.-4:45 p.m. The conference, Renewable Energy in Arkansas: Opportunities for Economic Development, will include invited speakers from industry, outreach, government, research, and education sectors. The stakeholders in various aspects of renewable energy will present their vision for the development of the Arkansas economy through alternative and green energy sources. An overview of current efforts and challenges in areas of renewable energy will be provided. There will be four sessions dealing with the vision of renewable energy, renewable energy research, educational opportunities, and outreach and economic development. The conference is free, but registration is required to reserve space.  A buffet lunch will be provided. The deadline for registration is April 9.

Confirmed speakers include Chris Benson, director, Arkansas Energy Office; Dr. Jim Purcell, director, Arkansas Department of Higher Education; Dr. Gregory Phillips, dean, College of Agriculture and Technology, ASU;
Reinhard Sander, vice president, Mechanical Engineering, Nordex USA; Dr. Alan Mantooth, director, National Center for Reliable Electric Power Transmission at the University of Arkansas; Dr. Elizabeth Hood, professor, Agriculture and Technology, ASU; Dr. Alex Biris, director, Nanotechnology Center at the University of Arkansas-Little Rock; Christopher Charlton, wind specialist, Greenway Renewable Energy; Dr. Srikant Gir, director, Research and Technology, Biofuel Energy and Sustainable Technologies, at the University of Memphis; Dr. Gauri Guha, professor, Environmental Economics, ASU; Dr. Paul Mixon, associate professor, Electrical Engineering, ASU; Tracy McGraw, director, Center of Excellence in Renewable Energy Technology Education; ASU; Dr. Samy Sadaka, extension engineer, University of Arkansas Extension Services; Timothy Smith, programs director, USDA Rural Development; Dr. Julie Carrier, professor, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, University of Arkansas; Dr. Thomas Dodson, associate professor, Department of Psychology and Counseling, ASU; and Jerry Adams, president, Arkansas Research Alliance. More speakers may be added before the conference.

The College of Agriculture and Technology recently announced it would offer a bachelor of applied science with an emphasis in renewable energy technology.  This new four-year degree emphasis area was made possible through a partnership with Arkansas Delta Training and Education Consortium (ADTEC). Students will pursue the associate in applied science (AAS) degree at an ADTEC institution and will continue to ASU-Jonesboro for their bachelor’s degree in applied science (BAS) in renewable energy technology. The courses for the program will be provided through distance learning technologies. Apart from the BAS degree, the Renewable Energy Technology program is also developing other educational opportunities and avenues to fulfill the students’ interest as well as workforce development for green energy jobs.

Career opportunities in renewable energy technology include biofuels production and distribution, solar thermal and photovoltics and manufacturing, wind energy power generation and turbine manufacturing, the hydrogen fuel cell transportation industry, energy conservation, efficiency and management, and research and development opportunities in new renewable energy technologies. Renewable energy technology is also an emerging market for small businesses. Both federal and state governments are actively promoting green energy development and energy efficiency through several incentives and programs. More details of the ongoing alternative energy programs are available at the Arkansas Energy Office website.

Registration and conference information is available at the College of Agriculture and Technology website ( ). Questions should be directed to Dr. Paresh Patel, director, renewable energy technology program, at (870) 733-6044, or to Dr. Rajesh Sharma, assistant professor, renewable energy technology, at (870) 733-6018.

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