Eastern Illinois University’s new Renewable Energy Center represents its commitment to more environmentally friendly energy solutions, and the Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE) represents the faculty and students’ support of this commitment.
CENCERE, approved by EIU’s Board of Trustees on Jan. 14, 2011, provides faculty and students with a research facility in which they can conduct hands-on investigations of various plant-based biomass sources that may be suitable as alternatives or additives to the wood chips planned for use in the Renewable Energy Center. By studying the fuel characteristics of various biomass sources, students will gain a more integrated understanding of physics, chemistry, engineering and technology.
Some goals of the Center for Clean Energy Research and Education are:
CENCERE’s research and development efforts will be crucial to the operation of the Renewable Energy Center, which must maintain a healthy spectrum of renewable biomass supplies to sustain its operation. CENCERE will not offer courses or degree programs. It will, however, serve as a demonstration site/laboratory for students pursuing EIU’s planned interdisciplinary minor in Sustainability Studies and/or the concentration in Alternative Energies and Sustainability (for majors in Applied Engineering and Technology).
Dr. Peter Ping Liu, a professor in the School of Technology, proposed and developed CENCERE with assistance from Dr. Robert Chesnut, Director of Research and Sponsored Programs. An advisory board, whose members will include faculty and administrators from participating colleges and departments, staff from Facilities Planning and Management, and possibly some representatives from area alternative fuel processors and suppliers, will handle its administration. It is supported by external grants, equipment donations from community partners, and internal reallocations. Demonstration space for the research-scale biomass gasification reactor will be provided in the Renewable Energy Center.
In addition to championing the university’s integrative learning initiative and its efforts to use energy responsibly, CENCERE will support economic development in east-central Illinois by conducting research that may provide area farmers with new markets for agricultural products and byproducts such as corn stover. In all of these ways, CENCERE will support institutional and state priorities.
For more information on CENCERE, please click here to visit its website.