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Clean Energy Alternatives: Pennsylvania Has “Home-Grown” Solutions

Pennsylvania’s coal resources helped fuel the growth of American industry and played a significant role in the Industrial Revolution — but not without consequence. Pennsylvania was also one of the first in the country that had to deal with the impact of environmental pollution.

The state that helped to energize a nation is now in the midst of a “Clean Tech” movement — an initiative which will create a new generation of alternative/clean energy-related developments, industries, and high-tech job opportunities.  The Industrial Revolution and the role played by Pennsylvania is an important part of our history; the clean energy movement is a critical element in the Commonwealth’s future.

Pennsylvania is home to an abundance of natural resources, world class research universities, and a robust entrepreneurial spirit.  These three ingredients are the recipe for “home grown” solutions that will develop into cutting edge commercial applications for clean, alternative energy.

The Governor’s Alternative Energy Program (AEDP) was created to incent collaboration among the private sector, entrepreneurs, academia, and government to reduce dependence on foreign fuels and expand clean/alternative energy technology. One of the key components of the Governor’s plan was the funding of translational research projects – projects intended to identify and test commercial applications of discoveries emerging from our state universities and labs in order to gauge commercial potential.

Institutions such as Penn State University, Carnegie Mellon, Bucknell, and Temple are just a few examples of the robust system of higher education housed in this state now playing a major role in developing energy innovations.  Projects currently being conducted at these universities in areas such as transforming biomass to liquid fuel, the gasification of glycerin, storage of solar heat, conversion of high value crops into fuel, heat exchanger technology, wind farms, and fuel cell applications are important steps toward energy independence in Pennsylvania and the nation.