C2E2 Clean Energy Symposium

Written by Ben Donohue & Olivia Ortegon

The Center for Clean Energy Engineering at UConn (C2E2) held its inaugural symposium at the Innovation Partnership Building (IPB) where industry professionals, undergraduate and graduate students of UConn were in attendance.  The two-day event featured special guest keynote speakers Ahmad Pesaran of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, John Ventura and Goodarz Ghanavati of Eversource, and Stephen George of ISO New England along with a panel discussion titled “Future of Hydrogen Economy and Careers in Energy”.  The panel discussion, moderated by Dr. Ripi Singh, consisted of industry guests Kathy Ayers (Nel Hydrogen) and Ryan Ouimet (former UConn graduate assistant now working at Nel Hydrogen), Degaunto Chatterjee (Eversource Energy), Natalia Macauley (Giner, Inc.) along with UConn’s Associate Research Professor, Stoyan Bliznakov. 

The event was buzzing with activity with comments of “It’s great to see the engineers on this campus discussing their projects with outside (industry professionals) and discussing what the future will hold for these kinds of projects”, as shared by Anthony Ingrassia, a UConn engineering student. Many students were excited to share their findings and work with potential employers and hear their feedback, as well as hearing about the exciting research being done in the industry world. Specifically, Arshiah Mirza expressed her excitement for the Eversource presentation and panel discussion, particularly learning about new inverters that will give more stability to the grid. “I also really enjoyed the panel discussion where industry experts talked about the hydrogen economy and how we can get there…also, how students can train themselves to be ready to work in industry”, she shared. This proved to be a great experience for students to gain a better understanding in the energy field and the research conducted in industry.

“Clean energy is definitely the future”, states Ph.D. student Alanna Gado when asked what her main takeaway of this event was. There was a surplus of optimism for the future of clean energy during this event. With many industry partners and laboratories present, as well as over 90 participants, the event exemplified the interest and importance of clean energy research. 

A spark of energy (clean of course!) and excitement came when a special surprise guest, Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm, who was accompanied by Congressman Joe Courtney and Interim President Radenka Maric, stopped by the symposium to say a few words “we are right in the middle of history being made, right in the thick of this incredible time.  We see this clean energy economy just exploding and making us an energy secure nation with clean energies so we are not relying on the volatility of fossil fuels.  It is an American strategy and a jobs strategy to help heal our planet.” 

UConn and C2E2 are conducting groundbreaking research while leaders like Secretary Granholm and Congressman Courtney help to provide our industries and students with the proper infrastructure and resources to ensure that the future of energy is clean.

“Sometimes it’s hard to tell when you’re making history when you’re in the middle of it”.
 - Secretary of Energy Granholm

The event concluded with awards for best oral and poster presentations. Winners of the oral presentations were Jack Kissane (1st place), Xingyu Wang (2nd place), Luis Ortiz (3rd place), and the poster competition winners were Jeffrey Page (1st place), Nicole Beauregard (2nd place), Ben Cohen, and Sean Small (tied for 3rd place).

Thank you to everyone who attended and we look forward to seeing the exciting developments and work of our students and industry workers. See you at next year’s event!


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