Penn State showcases renewable energy programs for journalists

University Park, Pa. -- Penn State’s strengths in renewable and alternative energy research, teaching and public outreach were on full display during a tour of the University on Oct. 16 by international journalists.

Constanze Bandowski, a free-lance German journalist with an emphasis on energy and environment; Manfred Grotelueschen, technical editor of the German economic weekly newspaper VDI-Nachrichten and Robert Colman, editor of Green Business and Energy Management Canada magazines, are visiting industries and universities in Pittsburgh and Penn State this week as part of an informational tour sponsored by Team PA Foundation and the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Office of International Business Development.

“The tours showcase the economic strengths and vitality of Pennsylvania business and industry in what is a competitive global marketplace,” says Rich Hudic, Team PA president. “Journalists are getting a first-hand look at Pennsylvania’s economic leadership and international excellence in important industries.”

The journalists visited the MorningStar solar house, the Hybrid and Hydrogen Vehicle Research Laboratory, and the switchgrass trial fields at the Larson Agricultural Research Farm in Rock Springs among other sites during their visit to the University.

Kyle Macht, a member of the 2007 team that created the MorningStar house, and Lisa Brown, associate director of the Center for Sustainability, demonstrated the state-of-art technologies in heating, cooling and electrical systems in the 799-square-foot structure. They also showed the reclaimed slate shingles, the Pennsylvania hardwoods and other sustainable materials used in the construction.

The journalists also were able to test-drive the Challenge X hybrid electric SUV and the GM EV-1 vehicle with the hydrogen fuel cell after talking with engineering students and researchers about the research projects. USDA and Penn State agronomists also showed the field trials of switchgrass and discussed its biofuel potential.

Other presentations included university-industry research partnerships, bioenergy extension efforts, public broadcasting programs about renewable energy education and the University’s award-winning campus initiatives in environmental stewardship.

Photos of the tour are available at

Also, the journalists visited PPG Industries, Converteam Industry Service in Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Energy from Biomass and Waster conference and the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden, the most energy efficient conservatory in the world.

Previous energy tours have led to positive articles that prompted interest in Pennsyvlania and eventual initiatives by Conergy, the world’s largest solar-integration company, and Gamesa, a wind turbine company based in Spain.”

“This is the first visit to Penn State but we are already discussing a future tour,” said Nancy Franklin, director of Penn State’s Strategic Initiatives in Outreach/Extension, who organized the University’s agenda. “We are always happy to showcase our prominent research, teaching and outreach programs and our contributions to Pennsylvania’s leadership in alternative energy. We look forward to more media visits sponsored by Team PA and DCED.”

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Last Updated April 05, 2010