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ODU Team Leads VCERC Day at General Assembly

Representatives from Old Dominion University-including John Broderick, acting president, and Patrick Hatcher, Batten Endowed Chair in Physical Sciences-took leading roles in VCERC Day Feb. 4 at the 2009 Virginia General Assembly in Richmond. VCERC is the acronym for the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium, which is headquartered at ODU and of which Hatcher is executive director.

Around 60 people, many of them state legislators and their staff members, attended the event in the General Assembly Building to hear presentations and see demonstrations about the alternative energy research being conducted by scientists and engineers associated with VCERC. (Hatcher is pictured with Delegate John Cosgrove.)

The consortium was created by the 2006 General Assembly, and the legislature has appropriated about $3 million in startup funds. VCERC also includes researchers from Virginia Tech, James Madison University, the University of Virginia, Hampton University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Norfolk State University and the College of William and Mary.

A key project of VCERC involves algae-to-biodiesel research. This encompasses the growing of algae in wastewater to strip unwanted nutrients from treatment-plant discharges while also creating biomass that can be converted to fuel. Hatcher directs the algae-to-biodiesel project.

George Hagerman of Virginia Tech, who is the VCERC director of research, heads another consortium initiative looking into the possibility of wind farming off the Virginia coast. Hagerman appeared at VCERC Day, as did ODU oceanography researcher Jose Blanco-Garcia, who also is working on the wind farming project.

Others from ODU who participated in VCERC Day included Aron Stubbins, an assistant professor of chemistry, who serves as the consortium's assistant director; Adair Johnson, a research associate affiliated with VCERC; and Dana Oblak of the VCERC headquarters staff.

This article was posted on: February 10, 2009

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