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ODU's Hatcher Appointed to New Virginia Commission on Energy and Environment

Patrick G. Hatcher, Old Dominion University's Batten Endowed Chair in Physical Sciences and executive director of the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium (VCERC), has been appointed to the Virginia Commission on Energy and Environment that was created by the 2008 General Assembly.

Hatcher, who was appointed by the Senate Rules Committee, will be one of four non-legislative citizen members with expertise on energy issues who will serve on the 15-member commission. His four-year term begins this month, and the panel's first meeting will be July 17.

Responsibilities and powers of the commission include:

· Identify reliable supplies of energy and the upgrading of the state's energy infrastructure.

· Evaluate energy efficiency goals and programs that reduce energy consumption.

· Evaluate research, development and use of alternative and renewable sources of energy.

· Evaluate the impact of state and federal energy statutes and regulations and the impact of "carbon taxing."

· Make studies, reports or recommendations on measures and proposals that affect Virginia's energy future.

· Report annually on its activities to the General Assembly and governor.

Hatcher is known worldwide for his energy-related research. A geochemist, he won the American Chemical Society's 2005 ACS Geochemistry Division Medal.

Over the past two decades, he has developed innovative ways to analyze hard-to-analyze compounds. Organic molecules-those originating with living organisms, as well as those that are synthesized-are typically very large and complicated, and their structures have been difficult to elucidate. But Hatcher's creative analytical strategies have given science a much better understanding of coal, petroleum and natural polymers, of the ways sediment and soil interact with pollutants at the molecular level, and of how natural organic material can thwart the treatment of drinking water. His work also has advanced biochemical studies of proteins and other biological compounds.

He directs the College of Sciences Major Instrumentation Cluster (COSMIC@ODU), which includes a $1.3 million 12-Tesla Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance (FT-ICR) mass spectrometer that was installed in 2006 and has become a monument of sorts to the university's increased emphasis upon research.

In 2007 he became the first executive director of VCERC and has led an initiative to create biodiesel fuel from algae

This article was posted on: July 1, 2008

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