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The Sustainability Studies Minor is part of the Institute on the Environment, which itself is part of the University of Minnesota, a Big 10 land-grant research University in a major city with nearly 80,000 faculty, staff and students.  The scale, range and constantly evolving nature of research projects on this campus offers those of you who are students in the midst of this amazing campus more than you may first realize.  Why does this research matter to you?  You are the future.  And the future's energy sources, technical and human processes, efficiency techniques, tools, partnerships, business models, systems, designs.... are everywhere in the labs, offices and classrooms of the faculty and staff at the U and the industry/business/community partners we work with everyday.  So get involved in research, or at least follow the story!

Attending two excellent research conferences inspired this entry.  First was the E3 Conference (Energy, Economic and Environmental) at River Center.  Follow my links to see the keynote address about photovoltaics, which will be one part of the renewable energy future, and in which crucial steps in technological development are still underway (the opportunity for you students there), or the "superpanel" lunch discussion about food, fiber and fuel for the projected 9 billion of us who will be on the planet in a matter of decades (again, your future).  The second link connects you to live feeds, pictures and a lively blog sparked by the conference.  The final link is for the Institute on the Environment's new "eye on earth" blog covering research, politics, university opportunities, media and whatever else inspires the staff that relates to the big sustainability questions facing all of us.... and that you will answer.

The other conference I attended was on the Bioeconomy and featured a keynote by James Lovelock, creator of the concept of "Gaia"/Earth.  I also learned about "biochar" as carbon sequestration tool.  Want to know more?  Ask me, or attend a conference or at least a research lecture yourself.

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My name is Chris and I agree that biochar and renewable energy is an up and coming area. I am planning on doing my part in the biochar area. I am starting a biochar plant, small at first but if my idea works I should grow fast. The plant I am starting will produce 250 lbs of char per hour. I have a method that will charge the char and then market to farmers. If I have a soil test done to a site, I will try to match the soils needs organic fertilizers.

I would like any help or input that you may have on this topic. If you are interested you can contact me at My background is in Landscape Arch.

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This page contains a single entry by bethmt published on December 5, 2009 9:51 AM.

Sages of Sustainability was the previous entry in this blog.

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