On February 26th, UNC-Chapel Hill hosted the first-annual N.C. Clean Tech Summit in partnership with Kenan-Flagler's Center for Sustainable Enterprise, the Research Triangle Clean Tech Cluster (RTCC), and Strata Solar. The Institute for the Environment welcomed more than 300 people from industry, academia, and state government to discuss the clean tech industry in North Carolina. The Summit sought to ignite innovation and collaboration across the state and served as an extension of the Institute's mission to seek solutions to critical environmental issues.
An emerging industry representing trillions of investment dollars worldwide, clean tech includes technologies involving solar power, biofuels, alternative transportation, electric grid modernization, water conservation, improving energy efficiency, waste reduction, and more. These technologies represent a new way of tackling environmental challenges - a shift from regulatory models to a market-driven approach. This approach has been spurred by price spikes, resource shortages, and security breaches that have become persistent threats to the global economy.
Here in the Triangle, top companies bring expertise in hardware, software, networking, and analytics that create an unparalleled base to shape the market for clean technology. The Triangle also hosts three top universities, with many more nearby. While the companies have recently launched the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster to galvanize our regional competitive advantage, the role of universities in supporting the advancement of the sector has not been clearly defined. UNC-Chapel Hill faculty are involved in an array of clean tech projects including advancing lithium ion batteries, developing new solar technology to convert the sun's energy into hydrogen fuels, and improving the efficient use of water.
Ivan discusses North Carolina's growing clean energy economy and spotlights some of the research underway at area universities in the clean energy field.
The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association is the voice for North Carolina's clean energy industry. The organization unites and empowers leaders across industry sectors to drive public policy and market development that motivates clean energy growth and economic development. NCSEA's "Making Energy Work" annual conference will be held in Charlotte on October 1 and 2.
The UNC Institute for the Environment hosts the Clean Tech Podcast Series as part of our mission to inform and engage the public. The podcast series provides a forum for discussion and updates on clean tech issues in advance of the NC Clean Tech Summit scheduled for February 2015. The views expressed by guests of the Clean Tech Podcast Series do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Institute for the Environment or the university.
Music courtesy of the UNC Marching Tar Heels.