Tech Named ‘Unsung Hero’ At Energy Summit

SOCORRO, N.M. March 24, 2010 – The Global New Energy Summit represented a milestone for New Mexico Tech. The university won the “Unsung Heroes Award” for energy innovation during the summit March 23 in Santa Fe.

New Mexico Tech President Dr. Daniel H. Lopez accepted the award for the university, which was recognized for research in traditional and renewable energy arenas.

“If ‘unsung’ means ‘behind the scenes’ or doing work without an Academy Award, then New Mexico Tech is far less ‘unsung’ after this award,” Lopez said.

John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil and currently the chief executive of the Citizens Alliance for Affordable Energy, presented the award. In his introduction, he said New Mexico Tech is internationally known for its security technology research.

“Inspired by this legacy of know-how, New Mexico Tech has established a research initiative in renewable energies,” Hofmeister said. “While East Coast and West Coast technical schools have established brands, Tech has been unsung until now. New Mexico Tech takes its place at the table of national energy technology innovation.”

Tech was noted for five specific areas of innovation in energy research. First, the conference organizers praised Tech’s seismic imaging work, which has direct benefit in identifying oil and gas reserves and develops data for geothermal exploration.

Second, the award committee noted that Tech has been aggressive in developing both geothermal energy for campus and adding geothermal engineering education within the hydrology department.

Tech’s third highlight was its work in carbon sequestration, specifically the new academic program aimed at training the first generation of engineers in the growing industry of carbon capture and storage.

The fourth feather in Tech’s cap is Smart Grid research. Using the university’s anti-terrorism training facility in Playas, energy researchers are examining how to reliably incorporate renewable energy into existing power grids.

Finally, Tech was honored for launching the New Mexico Center for Energy Policy, which bridges the gulf between energy producers and policy makers and positions the state as a national leader in the ongoing energy debate.

“From our origins as an institute of mining and technology, we have developed new energy bridges to the future,” Lopez said. “We are the first senior research university to connect energy technology to energy policy in a formal setting.”

He said the university’s research goal is to develop commercially viable innovations that have the long-term benefits. Tech’s exceptional faculty are molding students to be the next generation of leaders in energy innovation, he said.

“This guarantees that New Mexico Tech will have, through our students, a fingerprint on the achievement of a future low carbon economy and nation,” he said.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech