University of Florida Professor Wins Florida Energy Achievement Award

Dr. Ann C. Wilkie, associate professor at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), has been named winner of the third annual Florida Energy Achievement Award. The award, presented by the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), recognizes a company, organization or individual that has made a significant achievement in the efficient utilization of energy, energy conservation, energy education or renewable energy in the state of Florida.

The FSEC award committee chose Wilkie for her extensive work in alternative energy -creating bio-energy from animal waste – and her leadership in promoting awareness and understanding of renewable energy and sustainable practices.

“It’s an honor to recognize someone who has not only developed an innovative way of producing a viable source of renewable energy from a once unlikely source – animal waste – but has also found a way to provide Florida substantial environmental and economic benefits,” said Jim Fenton, director of FSEC.

Ann Wilkie firmly believes, “By failing to extract the energy from waste, society is wasting energy.”

Internationally recognized as an expert in biogas technology, Wilkie routinely works with state and local officials, industrial and agricultural producers, and private citizens to develop sustainable solutions for waste management and bioenergy production.

Wilkie “is a visionary who sees the potential to reduce our dependence on oil and other fossil fuel-based energy sources by using organic wastes and crops to produce renewable energy on a large scale,” wrote Wayne H. Smith, former director of the University of Florida’s Center for Biomass Energy Systems, in his nomination.

“Dr. Wilkie has been able to take her work in this emerging field and present it in creative and meaningful way that state policy officials can immediately understand and rally behind,” said Michael Ohlsen, manager of energy efficiency and biomass projects at the Florida Energy Office.

Smith also said, “Dr. Wilkie believes firmly that young people are the key to building a sustainable society” and “encourages them to integrate sustainable principles and practices in their careers and lifestyles.”

Wilkie will accept the award at the Florida Solar Energy Center in May, and she will present an overview of her work. In addition to receiving an award, she will also be given permanent recognition in the energy center’s complex in Cocoa.

Those interested in applying for the 2008 award should visit the FSEC Web site, www.floridaenergycenter.org, this fall for full details and an application form.

The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is the largest and most active state-supported renewable energy and efficiency institute in the United States. Created by the Florida Legislature in 1975, FSEC’s mission is to research energy technologies that enhance Florida’s and the nation’s economy and environment, and to educate the public, students and practitioners on the results of the research. Working in alternative fuels, hydrogen and fuel cells, photovoltaics, solar thermal technologies, high performance buildings, and education areas, FSEC’s 140-member staff helps provide Florida with a future of energy independence and environmental sustainability. FSEC is also responsible for testing and certification of solar systems sold in the state of Florida. For more information about FSEC, please visit www.floridaenergycenter.org, or send your questions to info@fsec.ucf.edu.

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