Green energy experts share ideas online and on WWJ

April 22, 2008

DETROIT—Michigan’s top green energy experts and innovators will share their ideas Tuesday during a 14-hour marathon broadcast of Earth Day-related news coverage from Michigan’s University Research Corridor.

WWJ Newsradio 950 will broadcast from the campus of Wayne State University in partnership with WSU’s URC partners, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, starting at 5 a.m. Tuesday. The broadcast is also sponsored by NextEnergy and will feature special green energy-related interviews airing at 40 minutes past the hour.

After they air, the interviews will be archived as podcasts and be available at and The experts include:

5:40 a.m.: Fred Reinhart, WSU vice president for research and technology commercialization, working to get university-developed technology into the marketplace.

6:40 a.m.: Bruce Dale, MSU professor of Chemical Engineering and former chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Michigan State University nationally renowned Michigan State University expert on biofuels and ethanol.

7:40 a.m.: Two top URC energy researchers, U-M’s Levi Thompson, and WSU’s Simon Ng, will discuss joint URC efforts to bring researchers together to find “revolutionary but feasible” solutions to the nation’s energy challenges.

8:40 a.m.: Soji Adelaja, director of MSU’s Land Policy Institute, will talk about the institute’s studies looking at the potential for developing wind energy in Michigan as well as research looking at the state’s green infrastructure.

9:40 a.m.: Bob Marans, who heads the U-M Energy Study is looking at big questions such as energy and behavior. For example, if cars need to be “plugged in” to re-charge all night, are people willing to do that? How will it impact the stressed energy grid when a car would use more electricity than a house? The study shows that two-thirds would be willing to work in cooler offices to further conserve energy.

10:40 a.m.: Carol Miller, chair of civil engineering at Wayne State, has done extensive research on related to the environment. She will discuss water contamination and ways to save wetlands.

11:40 a.m.: Robin Boyle, professor and chair of WSU’s geography and urban planning department, is an expert on urban economic development, urban policy and community planning. He’ll discuss green architecture, making your home or office more environmentally friendly.

12:40 p.m.: WSU students Sarah Kubik and Andrew Maggetti will discuss their efforts to build a greener campus through groups such as Recycle Detroit, a volunteer-based collaborative effort of Detroit businesses, residents and students to improve Detroit’s environment and Student Environmental Action Leaders, an effort to promote sustainability on campus.

1:40 p.m.: Ralph Kummler, dean of the WSU College of Engineering and Jim Sears, associate vice president with WSU’s Office of Facilities Planning & Management, talk about research efforts underway into alternative energy and environmental impact of such developments as well as ways the university works to save energy.

2:40 p.m.: Gary Was, director of U-M’s Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute, and Carl Simon, director of U-M’s Center for Complex Systems, talk about multiple U-M efforts to connect the scientific as well as social challenges related to creating a more mobile, greener Michigan.

3:40 p.m.: Greg Auner, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of Smart Sensors and Integrated Microsystems program at WSU, talks about cutting-edge research involving real-time biosensor water monitoring systems.

4:40 p.m.: Joan Rose, the Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research at Michigan State University, is an internationally known expert on water, water quality and public safety. She is the co-director of the Center for Advancing Microbial Risk Assessment (CAMRA) and the director of the Center for Water Sciences.

5:40 p.m.: Michael Bernitsas, director of U-M’s Marine Renewable Energy Lab, developed a machine that wrings energy out of river and ocean currents. The machine harnesses power from tiny alternating eddies fish use to help them swim faster. He is working with the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority on a pilot project in the Detroit River. “If we could harness just 0.1 percent of the ocean energy, we would be able to cover the energy needs of 15 billion people,” Bernitsas says.

Throughout the day: Interviews with experts participating in Tuesday’s “Embracing a Green Michigan” conference, including:

  • Stanley “Skip” Pruss, the governor’s chief energy adviser, who will outline “Michigan’s Plans for Alternative Energy.”
  • Jim Croce, CEO of NextEnergy.
  • Stephen Forrest, U-M vice president for research.
  • Randal Charlton, director of TechTown and founder of Asterand.
  • Mary Beth Stanek, General Motors Corp. director of energy and environmental policy.
  • Ray Siada, corporate energy manager, Guardian Industries.
  • Fred Keller, chairman and CEO of Cascade Energy Inc., Grand Rapids.
  • Ronald Krupitzer, vice president, automotive application, American Iron and Steel Institute.
  • Aaron Crum, co-founder of AMI Adaptive Materials Inc., Ann Arbor.

The conference, 7:30 a.m.-noon Tuesday, will be held at Wayne State’s Community Arts Auditorium, 450 Reuther Mall.

The URC universities are leaders in different aspects of green energy research. WSU attracted NextEnergy to its TechTown research park and established an innovative alternative energy program while MSU opened a new alternative energy center and attracted its largest research grant, $50 million for developing biofuel technology. U-M is home to the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute and is a leader in the development of solar energy, fuel cells, batteries and other technology.

WWJ Newsradio 950 is owned and operated by CBS Radio, one of the largest major-market radio operators in the United States. A division of CBS Corp., CBS Radio operates 140 radio stations, the majority of which are in the nation’s top 50 markets. CBS Radio also owns and operates WVMV-FM, WOMC-FM, WYCD-FM, and WXYT-FM/AM in Detroit.