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Friday, May 22, 2009

Sustainable energy research center planned for Milwaukee

From an article by Kathleen Gallagher in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

A California couple has pledged $5 million to endow a chair at Marquette University's engineering school.

The Thomas H. and Suzanne M. Werner Chair in Secure and Renewable Energy Systems will lead a multidisciplinary research cluster of four to six faculty members and develop an advanced curriculum, said Stan Jaskolski, Marquette's dean of engineering.

Marquette is working with the Milwaukee School of Engineering and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to create a major research cluster for sustainable energy, Jaskolski said.

"Gifts like this are just tremendous momentum builders," he said.

Thomas Werner said his vision for the program is that it "trains new technologists in a new field and primes the pump for America to be the innovator in renewable energy."

"Our hope is that we see tangible accomplishments in a field that's important to the planet," Werner said.

The gift will position Marquette as a leader in southeastern Wisconsin in this academic area, where students will work with faculty to pursue fields such as solar electric energy generation, modern electric drives and the design of products that make energy consumption more efficient, said Jaskolski, who was previously Eaton Corp.'s chief technology officer.

It also will help strengthen Wisconsin's growing "clean tech" sector, which includes water, wind, solar, geothermal and biofuel technologies spread across many areas of the state, said Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council.

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