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IE Cleantech Corner 2021 Webinar Series


Topic: Accelerating Recycling: Policy to Unlock Supply for the Circular Economy

Date: February 11, 2021

Time: 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm ET

Guest speakers:

  • Elizabeth Biser, Senior Policy Advisor for The Recycling Partnership
  • Lily Schwarz, Federal Affairs Manager for The Recycling Partnership


Register here for Accelerating Recycling: Policy to Unlock Supply for the Circular Economy 


Attendees will join two members of The Recycling Partnership to learn more about the current state of the U.S. recycling system and proposed policy to improve recycling infrastructure. This webinar will focus on The Recycling Partnership’s Circular Economy Accelerator policy, which promotes public-private recycling partnerships in order to maximize the full potential of recycling programs and decrease waste in communities.


Watch Episodes On-Demand!


This webinar series focuses on the cleantech economy from a regional, national, and global lens. And all of our cleantech digital programs are added to this page. These videos share discussions with leading industry professionals about important cleantech work in regenerative agriculture, smart buildings, circular economy, grid modernization, the future of ports, and more. Enjoy and share!

Smart Climate Investing: How Finance Drives Environmental Impact

Green finance is explored through this fireside chat featuring Truman Semans, CEO of OS-Climate, a breakthrough Open Source solution for climate-smart investing, and Dr. Gregory Gangi, an Associate Director for the Clean Technology and Innovation program at IE, and professor for the Environment, Ecology, and Energy Program (E3P) at UNC-Chapel Hill.



Energy Policy to Power and Empower Low-Income Communities

This webinar will focus on the future of energy policy and efforts to increase equity with regards to access to clean and efficient energy. It explores solutions to the high energy burden often faced by low-income households and investigates ways to increase access to clean energy in low-income communities.

Featured speakers:

Curtis Wynn, President & CEO of Roanoke Electric Cooperative

Claire Williamson, Energy Policy Analyst at the North Carolina Justice Center

Ethan Blumenthal, Co-founder, and CEO of Good Solar



Transforming Urban Spaces into Livable, Sustainable Communities


This panel discussion explores the best ways to create livable and equitable urban spaces as we plan for a more sustainable future. Specifically, we will discuss the benefits of greenways for sustainable transport and health and effective communication to users of public transportation. The utilization of clean technology and innovations will also be highlighted in these fields, especially with consideration for equity and accessibility.

Featured speakers:

Sarah Sanford, Virginia and North Carolina Coordinator, East Coast Greenway Alliance

L’erin Jensen, Corporate Communications Specialist, Transloc

Robert Steuteville, Senior Communications Advisor, Congress for New Urbanism

Moderator: Nate Baker, Senior Associate, Clarion



Building Adaptive Legal Systems for Allocating Water in the Western United States

Water access in the western United States is controlled by property rights to water. But after water rights are initially granted, the region’s water law creates major barriers to reallocating those water rights to new uses. By 2030, models project that 61% of the region’s watersheds will have no legally unclaimed water, with little to no water reserved for ecosystems in many watersheds. The western United States is in the midst of a historically severe drought made worse by climate change, and the region’s states have some of the nation’s highest population growth. In this fireside chat, Philip will discuss recent and prospective reforms to water law in the western United States that aim to enable more adaptive water management. The program will span various topics, including water marketing, reallocation of water rights to restore ecosystems, sustainable groundwater management, and water access for Native American tribes. And this fireside chat will draw upon Philip’s research on these topics in the state of Colorado, which has some of the most developed water law and water markets in the western U.S., and the Colorado River Basin, which has been described as the most overallocated river basin in the world.

Featured speakers:

Philip Womble, PhD, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University

[Moderator] Dr. Donald Hornstein, JD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill



How Battery Storage is Evolving our Electric Grid

Our electric grid is undergoing its largest evolution since the invention of the power transmission system. The current energy evolution is pushed by the necessity to decarbonize our grid and implement renewable energy solutions. Energy storage plays an increasingly important role in the power sector’s transition to more distributed clean energy. It aids in ensuring firmer capacity during peak demand periods, smoothing the variability of renewable sources, and stabilizing energy supply chains. Electricity is essential in modern society; thus, the adoption of these storage devices is set to surge soon. In this fireside chat, panelists will discuss their roles in the energy storage evolution, drawing upon their advanced understandings of the industry.

Featured speakers:

  • David Nenon, Senior Global Supply Manager, Tesla
  • James Robinson, Energy Storage Project Development Manager, Strata Solar
  • Brian Bartholomew, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (NEF)
  • [Moderator ] Ron DiFelice, Co-founder and Managing Director, Energy Intelligence Partners



Planning for an Equitable Future in Transportation

Are public perceptions of transportation shifting as various health concerns from pollution and air quality, to public transit and social distancing, have emerged? How are communities dealing with public transit challenges and working to support those who already experience limited access and opportunity?

We decided to turn to four transportation experts with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field to gain their input on the matter. We welcome Anne Phillips, Principal Planner from the DCHC-MPO Transportation Planning department; Jeffrey Sullivan, Communication Outreach Manager for Chapel Hill Transit; Adie Tomer, Fellow from the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institute; and Bergen Watterson, Transportation Planning Manager for the Town of Chapel Hill.

Watch as we sit down with these wonderful panelists to discuss transportation during COVID, current and future projects in the region, and how communities can learn and move forward in an equitable manner.




Moving Towards Circular Agriculture: Lessons from The Netherlands; an Interactive Presentation and Q&A with Dr. Saskia Visser

  • Dr. Saskia Visser, Head of Program in Circular and Climate Neutral Society at Wageningen University and Research
  • Dr. Susanne Kjemtrup, Independent Consultant, Phyta Biotech Consulting, LLC

** For additional perspective, watch this video featuring Dr. Visser.



Moving Towards Zero Net Energy Buildings

A panel of building performance professionals will provide insight into the role of zero net energy (ZNE) buildings in the broader clean tech economy. Specifically, attendees will learn:

• The type of clean tech in which zero net energy fits into the broader industry

• Industry trends driving adoption of these strategies

• Growth opportunities for zero net energy in the near future and beyond

• Resources in North Carolina that make zero net energy growth possible

• Actions needed to maximize resources

• Recent, current and upcoming zero net energy projects

• Experience that young professionals and students need to earn a position with a company working in zero net energy

  • Ryan Miller, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, North Carolina Building Performance Association
  • Barry Buckman, Principal, SfL+a Architects
  • Raynor Smith, VP and Chief Operating Officer, Building Clarity
  • Mark Johnson, Thermal Battery Sales Leader, CALMAC


Carbon Farming: Sequestering Carbon through Agriculture

To seriously address the changing world climate, carbon contributions from human activity must be withdrawn from the atmosphere. Today, regenerative farming and other practices show promise in sequestering carbon. How can carbon withdrawal be measured, what are existing and new technologies, and how does the economics play out? In this webinar you will learn insights from professionals who are at the center of this evolving agtech and clean tech economic drive.

  • Dr. Susanne Kjemtrup, Independent Consultant, Phyta Biotech Consulting, LLC
  • Matt Russell, Executive Director, Iowa Interfaith Power and Light
  • Aldyen Donnelly, Director of Carbon Economics, Nori
  • Hugh MacGillivray, Chief Commercial Officer, Anuvia Plant Nutrients
  • Christine Morgan,
  • Mark Tracy, CEO, Cloud Agronomics


Biobased Plastics: Back to the Future for a Circular Economy

This panel focused on the resurgence of biobased and nature-made plastics as building blocks from nature for product manufacturing, as part of a low carbon future. The discussion goes beyond the biodegradable plastics movement, explores the rise of the petrochemical industry, and clarifies the biobased-biodegradable plastics universe. The panel talks about trends in new materials development and the renewed focus on biobased plastics by manufacturers. Panelists shared their vision and experience around sustainability, a lower carbon footprint, unique material performance characteristics, as well as industry collaborations to ensure commercial success.

  • Moderator: Jaap Schut, VP New Business Development & Director Americas, PACE Business Partners
  • Nate Miranda, Director Innovation Platforms and Sustainability, TC Transcontinental
  • Paul Darby, VP of Marketing, Novamont North America
  • Michael Mang, Director of Materials Technology, Danimer Scientific



Grid Modernization

This panel focuses on the changes needed to construct a modern electric grid. There are significant edge-of-grid challenges that require updated infrastructure to allow for wind and other renewable energy across North Carolina and beyond. How can electric distribution between rural to urban locations be addressed? Our existing grid does not allow for robust renewable capacity. What are the different variables that need to change to enable the construction of a modern grid?

  • Noah Kittner, Assistant Professor, Dept of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Jennifer Chen, Senior Counsel, Federal Energy Policy, Nicholas Institute, Duke University
  • Gary Rackliffe, Vice President of Smart Grids, North America, ABB


The Future of Ports: Cleantech, Digitization and New Economy Jobs

This panel focuses on the role of cleantech in data-driven efficiencies and operations of ports. Specifically, the discussion will include: digitization of logistics, smart cities, electrification, cybersecurity, Homeland Security and coastal resiliency. Moreover, the panel will discuss the economic development opportunities within working ports as venues to create new, economically resilient jobs for our coastal communities.

Moderator: Mark Huang, Co-founder and Managing Director, SeaAhead

Kit Chope, Vice President, Sustainability, The Port of Virginia

Lincoln Wood, Electrification Policy Manager, Southern Company

Steffen Knodt, Director, Digital Ventures, Wartsila




For additional clean tech programming, please follow us on social media or check back to this page for updates. 

UNC Clean Tech Summit Innovating to a Clean Economy