Archive for the ‘Feature Story’ Category
Over the past few months, high oil and gasoline prices have had pundits and politicians flailing away about what we should do. On the one hand, some believe the United States is sitting on countless oil deposits, and the quickest, best solution is to poke holes in the ground and watch gas prices fall. On the other hand, weathered industry professionals, such as retired oil baron, T. Boone Pickens, realize an immediate need for independence from oil, whether domestic or foreign. In Pickens’ recently purchased TV spots, he clearly states that “we can’t drill our way out of this emergency,” and in a recent interview with CNN’s Lou Dobbs he said America should utilize its cleaner, cheaper, abundant resources, such as natural gas, wind and solar power.
The U.S. consumes about 21 million barrels of oil per day (mbd) – roughly 25 percent of total world oil production. We import almost two-thirds of what we use (14 mbd ) from foreign countries. The cost of these imports is approaching $2 billion per day ($700 billion per year at $136 per barrel). This is a significant drain, both on the finances of individual households and on our national economic security.
What are the near term (three to five-year) options?
Through collaboration between the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Nanoscience Technology Center (NSTC) and the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a group of researchers from both UCF institutes will travel to Romania in June 2009 to participate in a five-day workshop exploring new developments in nanoscience and solar energy. The goal of this workshop is to formulate ideas about how to stimulate and give direction to future research collaborations between Romanian and UCF research teams.
Like most industries throughout the world, the resort industry is seeing a growing trend in the use of renewable energy and “green” practices. More and more hotels in tourist destinations across the globe are trying to be good stewards to their visitors, as well as to the environment, by utilizing renewable energy applications for powering their facilities, rather than passing off the current high energy costs to customers through higher rates. Seeing the industry take such positive strides is what inspired researchers at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) to develop a program to promote eco-tourism in the Caribbean, one of the most popular tourist destinations, and around the world.