Green energy technology has been all over the news lately. Many countries plan to invest heavily in the technologies as a way to lessen their dependence on oil. But what exactly is green technology? And what are some of the issues surrounding it? Those and other questions will be answered at the first IEEE Green Technology Conference, to be held on 16 and 17 April, in Lubbock, Texas.
The conference will cover technologies for reducing energy use, such as home automation, home and commercial-building energy management, and reduced-energy lighting. Conference coordinator John Clifford, an IEEE graduate student member, says he hopes the conference will help spread the word on the importance of reducing energy use.
“Someone—I think an oilman—once said that if everyone used just 10 percent less power, it would make a bigger difference than giving everyone in the United States a Toyota Prius hybrid car,” Clifford says.
That’s not to say that fuel-efficient cars aren’t on the agenda. The conference will also cover alternative vehicular power sources, including plug-in electric cars. Furthermore, the conference will focus on the range of current and emerging technologies in alternate fuels, such as biomass, landfill gas, and nuclear, as well as renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, water, and geothermal. But these energy sources have their share of obstacles.
“Although we have these renewable means of generating electricity, we don’t always have ways to store their output or to integrate them into the grid,” Clifford says. However, the same plug-in hybrid vehicles that will create more power demand on the grid can also serve as temporary storage devices for power generated at times of low demand.
The conference’s location, Lubbock, is already working toward producing renewable energy. It’s an area rife with wind farms. And Texas is investing US $5 billion in updating its grid infrastructure to connect areas with surplus generation to areas of unmet demand. In addition, Texas Tech University, also in Lubbock, which will cohost the conference, has a wind-energy development center.
The social, economic, and political impact of renewable and reduced-carbon-emission energy sources are also on the agenda, as well as energy sustainability and processes for reducing carbon footprints over product life cycles.
Tutorials will cover practical skills and best practices related to green technology, the global implications of adopting green technology, and other topics, ranging from core principles of clean energy to more-advanced industry applications.
The Green Technology Conference will overlap with the annual meeting of IEEE Region 5 (the southwest United States), to be held on 17 and 18 April.