Nonprofit Center Ushers in a New Generation of Energy Diversity

To advance Michigan’s emerging Alternative Energy Technology (AET) industry, the NextEnergy Center’s new research facilities will promote and fund R&D projects and technology commercialization.

The center is a nonprofit corporation to focus on the responsible growth of tomorrow’s energy technology industry. NextEnergy’s holistic approach to developing AET includes academic programs to educate the new workforce. Working in partnership with several Michigan colleges and universities to develop educational curriculum at the certificate, undergraduate degree and graduate level degree programs in AET, NextEnergy has committed more than $1.3 million in grants to seven Michigan institutions. More than 1,800 students have enrolled in these programs since they were piloted in 2004. “It is with great excitement that we officially open NextEnergy Center today and power up a new era in alternative energy development and economic growth for Michigan and the nation,” said James Croce, CEO of NextEnergy. “NextEnergy seeks to lead the nation in achieving economic security through energy diversity by bringing to commercialization a variety of alternative energy sources that, together, can make drastic reductions in our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, including imported petroleum.” In addition to the work NextEnergy is doing with hydrogen and distributed generation, Croce announced the Biodiesel Value Chain, which includes the National Biofuels Energy Laboratory, DaimlerChrysler, the US Environmental Protection Agency, Biodiesel Industries, Robert Bosch Corporation, Delphi Corporation, Biodiesel Industries, the U.S. Army Tank Command, Wayne State University, and the US Department of Energy. Other tenants in its R&D complex include Alternative Power Supply, Biomass Energy Solutions, NanoScience Engineering, Nextek Power Systems, REB Research & Consulting, and Select Engineering Services. NextEnergy will work closely with SES on programs including the DOD Design Engineering Support Program, working with Southwest Research Institute’s lab to focus joint programs on alternative energy, alternative fuels and vehicles of the future, and with Titan Energy Development, developer of emergency vehicles supplying supplemental power, potable water, satellite communications, and clean air. NextEnergy Center’s Microgrid Power Pavilion enables system integration as well as testing and validation for use by technology system developers, integrators and technicians working in the accelerator labs or elsewhere. The Microgrid includes on-site electrical power generation; fuel cells, internal and external combustion engine generators, and renewable power systems; thermal recovery and distribution; advanced communications and controls; multiple fuel sources (natural gas, hydrogen, biofuels and synthetic fuels); and a modular design and construction that provides for cost-effective installation of new technologies as needed by researchers to test and prove their technologies. NextEnergy’s Alternative Fuel Testing Platform can be used by researchers for advancing the development and application of hydrogen, natural gas, biofuels and synthetic fuels.
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