WSU is ranked 10th among national universities by a prominent sustainability website for its developments in clean technology.
Clean tech is defined as products, services and processes that harness renewable materials and energy sources while dramatically reducing the production of waste products and the use of natural resources.
Shawn Lesser, president and founder of Sustainable World Capital, searches for the best examples of clean tech to post as a regular contributor to His list of the leading universities for clean technology development includes Massachusetts Institute of Technology, UC Berkeley, the University of Texas, Stanford University, the University of Michigan, the University of Colorado, University of Wisconsin, Cornell, Georgia Tech and WSU.
“With legacy expertise in agriculture, power and applied engineering, WSU’s clean technology program is rapidly growing in the clean-tech-centric Pacific Northwest,” wrote Lesser. “Plant science is the engine behind the opening last year of the Bioproducts Science and Engineering Laboratory, Battelle’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratories and the recently funded Washington State Algae Alliance.”
Lesser also pointed to WSU’s partnership with Boeing Commercial Aviation in biofuels development and the university’s success in helping several technology spin-off companies.
“Over the past few years, WSU has been working to build partnerships with the clean-tech sector to discover innovative solutions for supplying energy and improving overall quality of the environment,’’ said John Gardner, WSU’s vice president of economic development and global engagement. “We’re committed to working with partners around the region to solve problems and create economic opportunities in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. We are pleased that these efforts are paying off and have been recognized.”
Two prominent examples have been announced in the last two months:
1. Seattle-based AltAir Fuels announced that it has crafted a memorandum of understanding with 14 major airlines from the United States, Mexico, Canada and Germany to negotiate the purchase of up to 750 million gallons of renewable jet fuel and diesel derived from camelina (a Mediterranean herb) and produced by AltAir Fuels.
The renewable fuel will be produced at a new facility in Anacortes, Wash., and will replace about 10 percent of the petroleum fuel consumed annually at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, reducing carbon emissions by about 14 billion pounds over 10 years. WSU is one of several partners working on the feasibility study for this project.
2. WSU researchers will work with Avista on a demonstration project to make the city of Pullman the region’s first smart-grid community. A smart grid delivers electricity from suppliers to consumers using two-way digital technology to save energy, reduce cost and increase reliability and transparency.
The $38 million Pullman project is part of a U.S. Department of Energy smart-grid demonstration project throughout the Northwest designed to expand on existing electric infrastructure and test smart-grid technology. The project involves automation of many parts of the electric distribution system using advanced metering technology, enhanced communication and other elements of the smart grid.