Dr. Fredrick Semazzi of N.C. State University, left, and Dr. Brian Sims of the Department of Psychology talk after Tuesday’s presentation.
Even the best climate data do little good if policy-makers don’t make effective use of them (and you don’t need to look any further than North Carolina for a demonstration). And the best intentions of engaged policy-makers are ineffective if they’re not informed by reliable climate data, which is the situation, for example, in the Horn of Africa.
Climate scientists around the world have some ideas about how to fix those disconnects. Dr. Fredrick Semazzi of N.C. State University briefed an interdisciplinary group of N.C. A&T faculty members and students Tuesday on the Global Framework for Climate Services, the main research component of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP). Semazzi is an internationally prominent climate researcher and member of the Joint Scientific Committee of the WCRP.
One of the global framework’s strategies is to bring together climate researchers and end users, including leaders of government and the private sector. The key to success is involving end users at the beginning of the process, in defining research questions, Semazzi said.
“You can’t simply do the research and hope that someone finds a use for it,” he said. “Research needs to be responsive and synchronized with application.”
Researchers have successfully engaged government leaders in Africa, but huge gaps in observation capability on the continent have limited the effectiveness of their work. Now, with $75 million in international funding secured for demonstration projects, the gaps between capabilities and needs are starting to be addressed. Dr. Semazzi himself is leading a team in developing a hydroclimate project for the critical Lake Victoria Basin region.
Some government agencies and businesses aren’t waiting for the energy industry to start delivering on the promise of biofuels. Increasingly, in North Carolina and other states, they’re moving ahead on their own.
Their progress will be the subject of the second annual statewide conference on civic and small-scale biofuel projects, to be held next month at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering.
The event is organized by the Biofuels Center of North Carolina and is hosted by N.C. A&T and the Joint School. It will feature talks and case studies on smaller-scale biofuel and biomass production projects operating in North Carolina (including Charlotte, Hickory, and Raleigh), Florida, and Alabama.
Speakers will include officials of state and local government agencies, the private sector, and universities.
The conference will be held Thursday December 13, beginning at 10 a.m. It will conclude with a 3 p.m. tour of biofuel and bioproduct research and development projects at the JSNN. There is no fee to attend. Registration information and the full agenda are at the conference website.
The full title of the event is “Civic and Small-scale Biofuels Statewide: A Second Annual Convening of Civic, Production, and Agency Parties.”
Worth noting: Some places aren’t quite ready to move on such opportunities. A local case in point is reported in today’s edition of the News & Record.
An interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has launched a five-year, $5 million project to make the production of advanced biofuels more efficient and affordable.
The NSF CREST Bioenergy Center’s goal is to make biomass a more viable source of renewable energy by developing the basic science and technology that will make energy conversions more efficient and costs more affordable.
The center is conducting fundamental research toward the development of advanced thermochemical biomass conversion technology to produce liquid transportation fuels and hydrogen.
The project is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program.
The center’s research will specifically target the production of high quality synthesis gas from biomass gasification, nanocatalysts for the conversion of syngas to bioethanol, and the production of high purity hydrogen for fuel cell applications.
If you’re a reporter in North Carolina, a good story about hog waste is always a winner. Our state has a lot of hogs, and, once you get near a bunch of them, you don’t necessarily need your sense of sight to find them.
We’ve already seen some news coverage of Dr. Ellie Fini and her technology to use hog manure as a source for the binder used in asphalt. In addition to usefully disposing of the hog waste, it would also reduce the amount of more expensive petroleum-derived binder needed in asphalt production. Now News 14, the local Time Warner Cable news channel, checks in with this video report on Fini’s research.
Energy and the environment are much on the minds of social business entrepreneurs among UNC system students. The system’s North Carolina Social Business Conference on Thursday included a business-plan competition for student teams with entries from all 17 campuses. Several initiatives focused on energy and the enironment, including food distribution. Poverty and microfinance were also addressed by multiple groups.
A total of 31 teams entered.
The winning teams were from N.C. State University, first place; Fayetteville State University, second; and UNC-Chapel Hill, third. Among the nine finalists was one of the N.C. A&T teams.
The winners’ social business ideas are:
Two top Aggie researchers are featured in a video produced by North Carolina Farm Bureau Magazine. Dr. Ipek Goktepe of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences talks about her research to extend the shelf life of fresh produce, particularly lettuce and spinach, and Dr. Abolghasem Shahbazi of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design discusses his work using agricultural waste to produce biofuel.
North Carolina A&T will be involved with two significant events for researchers in August. If you’re interested in either one, now is the time to register.
- Ethical Dimensions of Coupled Natural and Human Systems Research: Monday August 13-Tuesday August 14, all day each day, Fort IRC, Room 410. N.C. A&T and Penn State faculty will conduct a this workshop for A&T faculty, post-docs, and doctoral students in the sciences and engineering who are interested in integrating the ethical dimensions of coupled natural and human systems into their classes. Registration continues through July 15.
- Nanomanufacturing conference: Wednesday, August 15, all day, at the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering. Nanotechnology and nanomanufacturing are creating jobs in clean energy, aerospace, medicine and biotech, materials and other areas. The Nanomanufacturing Conference is one of the nation’s premier Advanced Manufacturing conferences, featuring national and international nanotech innovators, leading researchers, government leaders and visionaries.