Washington-Idaho Border Section

2015/2016 Climate Change and Renewable Energy Speaker Series


 WIBS and the ACS are dedicated to promoting scientific literacy and knowledge to our community. This year we are proud to host an informative speaker series that addresses the impact of climate change at both a global and local level as well as potential solutions to this 21st century problem.


Fall 2015 Seminars:                                                     

Dr. Evan DeLucia (http://www.life.illinois.edu/delucia/delucia.htm)

Nov 9 - Washington State University; FUL 201; 4:10 pm

Nov 10 – University of Idaho; REN 125; 12:30 pm

"The Changing American Landscape and its Connection to Climate"

Abstract: The earliest human civilizations managed land with fire, and later vast areas of the Earth's surface were transformed by intensive agriculture. As we change the type of vegetation on the land surface and how it is managed, we directly affect the climate system. Terrestrial ecosystems exchange greenhouse gases - carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane - with the atmosphere, determining its ability to trap heat. The type of vegetation also determines how much solar radiation is reflected and how much energy is carried away by evaporation. The DeLucia laboratory has created a single metric - climate regulating value (CRV) that quantifies how land uses affect the climate system. Second only to the expansion of intensive, row-crop agriculture, a new bioenergy economy - one that depends on plants to produce liquid fuel - has the potential to alter the coupling of land and atmosphere. By combining field scale measurements of biogeochemical processes with coupled ecological-economic models, we demonstrate that the expansion of bioenergy crops in the rain fed eastern US can provide fuel and mitigate the emission of greenhouse gases e.g. provide a favorable CRV, while having minimal effects on the food supply.  Our research suggests that expanded use of cellulosic biofuels can have a positive effect on the US energy portfolio.  

Dr. Evan DeLucia is an active researcher, educator, and innovator in the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  His major accomplishments include becoming a G. William Arends Professor of Biology, founding director of the Program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Department Head of Plant Biology, director of the School of Integrative Biology, chair of the Physiological Ecology Section of the Ecological Society, member of the American Association of Plant Physiologists, member of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations, and advisor to members of the US congress and the National Academy of Sciences on the effects of the carbon cycle and the trophic dynamics between plants and insects.  Most recently, Dr. DeLucia became director of the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment whose aim is to synergize environmental efforts on the University of Illinois campus with nearby cities by promoting green sustainability education and outreach.  Additionally, Dr. DeLucia serves as a peer-review editor for Ecology, Oecologia, Tree Physiology, and Global Change Biology.  He received his M.F.S at Yale University in forest ecology, Ph.D. at Duke University in plant ecology and physiology, was a Bullard Fellow at Harvard University, and a Fulbright Fellow at Landcare Research in New Zealand.


Solar Roadways (http://www.solarroadways.com/intro.shtml)

Nov 16 - Washington State University; FUL 201; 4:10 pm

Nov 17 – University of Idaho; REN 125; 12:30 pm 

"Solar Roadways"

Abstract: Solar Roadways (SR) is an advanced, disruptive, solar technology that proposes to replace driving and walking surfaces with an intelligent road system. SR has countless features that transform roadways into a safer, aesthetically pleasing, interactive surface. SR was specifically engineered to replace: sidewalks, parking lots, driveways, sports courts, roads, and highways with unique solar panels which can pay for themselves over time with the collection of renewable energy. This presentation will cover: the history of Solar Roadways, the prototypes and funding, research and development, features, applications, design, and technical details.  

Solar Roadways is a local company with a global solution.  Solar Roadways proposes making solar panels capable of generating enough energy to power homes and businesses, recharging electronic cars, heating the roadways to effectively manage snow and ice, illuminating road lines and sidewalks for improved safety, and improving traffic flow.  This technology would revolutionize our current roadways, aid in the economic recovery by creating thousands of jobs (computer chip manufacturing, panel assembly, installation, maintenance, system monitoring, panel refurbishing, and distribution), provide easy road maintenance (replacing one panel at a time rather than whole sections of road), and significantly reduce our dependence on fossil fuels (coal and gas).


Spring 2016 Seminars:

Dr. Kathy Hibbard (https://cce-signin.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/participants/getrec.pl?name_id=12404)

Mar 21 – Washington State University; FUL 201; 4:10 pm


Mar 22 – University of Idaho; REN 125; 12:30 pm

Dr. Kathy Hibbard is a program scientist and manager at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for carbon and ecosystems.  Simultaneously, she is a Chief Scientist for the Platform for Regional Integrated Modeling and Analysis initiative at Pacific Northwest National Lab (PNNL) to simulate complex interactions among climate, energy, water and land on decision-relevant spatial scales.  Her list of most notable accomplishments include 1) being part of the fifth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change through carbon cycling and 2) involvement in the U.S. National Climate Assessment.   She has more than 35 years of experience in atmospheric sciences and has published over 40 peer-reviewed articles. She has been selected to serve a three year term as chair of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Meetings Committee that coordinates and develops international meetings.  Her reach extends to education as she led several National Science Foundation Young Scholar’s Network workshops for social and natural scientists.   She received her Ph.D. at Texas A&M University in Biogeochemistry combining field studies and modeling to study soil carbon and nitrogen stocks of savanna soils. 


Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) (http://nnmrec.oregonstate.edu/)

Apr 5 – University of Idaho

The Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) is funded by the US Department of Energy to facilitate the development/commercialization of marine renewable energy technologies. The NNMREC is in the process of developing buoys, turbines, and other technologies capable of capturing the power of waves and tides and converting them into clean, pollution-free electricity. The Pacific Northwest with its vast coastlines provides an ideal location for testing this cutting edge technology.  Currently, there are two full-scale wave energy resource sites in Oregon (North and South Energy Test Sites), two intermediate wave sites in Washington (Puget Sound and Lake Washington), and a hydrokinetic energy research center in Alaska (Tanana River Test Site).  The South Energy Test Site, set to open in 2017, will be the first utility-scale grid-connected wave energy test site in the US.

Student Opportunities

We are presently offering the following two opportunities for student members:

1. Travel Grant Program:  Graduate and undergraduate students can apply for a travel grant of up to $300 to contribute to attendance at their first scientific meeting.  To apply, submit evidence of an abstract acceptance, a one page description of your research, and a brief letter of recommendation from a research supervisor to Jakob Magolan (jmagoaln@uidaho.edu). 

2. First year student ACS membership free!  If you are a student (or know a student) who would benefit from joining the ACS for the first time, our local section can potentially pay for your first year of membership! Interested applicants should send your application info to Scretary/Treasurer Dan Stelck (daniels@uidaho.edu)