LCSN: EYE ON RESEARCH: NMSU faculty work to improve electrical grid technology

October 26, 2009. Retrieved online October 26, 2009 from M. Therese Shakra for the Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — New Mexico State University faculty from the Institute for Energy and the Environment and the College of Engineering were awarded a $1 million Department of Energy grant to demonstrate a renewable energy-based microgrid in partnership with an electric utility company. Algae-based biofuel will be tested and evaluated to facilitate the microgrid electricity generation and transmission.

There is a critical need to renew our nation’s electrical infrastructure, the physical electricity network known as the grid. U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu referred to this need through a popular comparison at the recent “Re-Energize America” conference at NMSU.

“If Alexander Graham Bell were somehow transported to the 21st century, he would not begin to recognize the components of modern telephony — cell phones, texting, cell towers, PDAs, etc. — while Thomas Edison, one of the (electric) grid’s key early architects, would be totally familiar with the grid,” he said. Chu also described how the National Academy of Engineering identified the single most important engineering achievement of the 20th century as electrification because of the grid, surpassing the Internet and the interstate highway system.

Read the article.

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