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VCERC Research Gets Boost from Climate Change Action Agreement Between Virginia and the United Kingdom

Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine on Thursday, Feb. 12, announced a "Climate Change Action Agreement" between the state and the United Kingdom, and in doing so he noted the promising alternative energy research being conducted by the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium (VCERC), which is headquartered at Old Dominion University.

Kaine signed the agreement at the State Capitol together with Her Majesty's Ambassador to the United States, Sir Nigel Sheinwald. The document commits each government to the common goal of making more climate-friendly economic and political decisions.

"Virginia and the UK recognize that climate change is a global phenomenon and combating it requires global partnerships," said Kaine. "Sir Nigel and I believe this agreement will help bring together Virginia and UK researchers, entrepreneurs and environmental educators to achieve greenhouse gas reductions, promote energy efficiency and independence, and promote the development of a green economy."

ODU Acting President John R. Broderick said he was pleased by the agreement and by the governor's comments about the contributions of VCERC. "This consortium is proving to be very valuable to Virginia," he said. "It is finding ways we can utilize abundant resources for climate-friendly energy production, and this is evidence of the good things that can happen when Virginia's research institutions work together to solve a problem. Collaborations between VCERC and UK researchers could speed the development of green technologies on both sides of the Atlantic."

Other than ODU, the consortium includes Virginia Tech, James Madison University, the College of William and Mary, Norfolk State University, Hampton University, the University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University.

California, Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan already have entered into climate change agreements with the UK. The document includes an action list calling for the governments to develop technology to mitigate and reduce the effects of climate change, as well as to encourage climate-friendly economic development.

The Virginia-UK agreement recognizes shared assets such as projects and facilities to promote offshore renewable energy production. Kaine noted that his 2007 Virginia Energy Plan encourages research and development of energy sources from offshore wind, currents and algae biomass. "Virginia's colleges and universities and the Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium are considered leaders in the development of this technology domestically, while the UK is recognized internationally as a leader in offshore tidal- and wind-energy research and production," said the governor's announcement.

About 15 researchers at ODU are associated with VCERC, and Patrick Hatcher, the university's Batten Endowed Chair in Physical Sciences, is the consortium's executive director. ODU is heading up VCERC research in the production of biodiesel fuel from algae biomass, and its engineers and scientists are involved in studies of tidal- and wind-energy energy production.

This article was posted on: February 12, 2009

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