“WSU is responsible for shaping our current and future cleantech innovators across sustainable energy, environment and agriculture – not to mention playing a hands-on role in critical analysis, research and development initiatives that impact our state each and every day,” said J. Thomas Ranken, president & CEO of the alliance. “We are truly fortunate to have a research and academic institution of WSU’s caliber.”
The university’s land grant mission means WSU takes cleantech beyond research and into communities, both through outreach and technology transfer. In the past 5 years, WSU filed 198 provisional and full cleantech patents and signed 55 licensing agreements and seven start-up company spinoffs.
The award was presented at the CleanTech Alliance’s Fourth Annual Meeting in Seattle. WSU is a member of this trade association that was established in 2007 to facilitate the generation and growth of cleantech-focused companies and jobs, educational programs, research, products and services.
History of cleantech research
WSU’s strong foundation in engineering and agriculture makes the university a national leader in clean technology. Faculty were impacting energy use as far back as the 1920s, when professor Homer Dana helped the planners of the Grand Coulee dam understand the region’s energy needs.
Today WSU addresses energy needs with 16 research centers and labs leading the way in aviation biofuels, smart grid, advanced composite and bio-based materials, anaerobic digestion, air and water quality, sustainable building design, and organic and precision agriculture – a diverse portfolio that earned WSU a national top-10 cleantech university recognition in 2010.
“We are honored to receive this award as a testament to WSU’s long history of anticipating and responding to the increasing local and global need for renewable energy and other clean technologies,” said Ralph Cavalieri, associate vice president for research at WSU.
Land-grant education, outreach
Research in clean technology often includes outreach components, such as the $40 million Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance, an aviation biofuels coalition led by WSU that puts a large emphasis in fostering energy literacy among young people.
Through partnerships with sustainability-focused organizations like Boeing, Alaska Airlines, McKinstry, Avista, Element 8, The Bullitt Foundation and participation in the Clean Energy Fund, WSU supports business competitiveness through innovation.
WSU is also inspiring the next generation of cleantech problem solvers and innovators with the annual Imagine Tomorrow conference, which encourages high school students to find solutions to global energy and sustainability challenges.
The new PACCAR Environmental Technology building, dedicated to interdisciplinary cleantech development, stands as further testament that WSU will continue to be a cornerstone in the cleantech economy for years to come.
Ralph Cavalieri, WSU Office of Alternative Energy, 509-335-4854, firstname.lastname@example.org