May 26, 2011 – The University of Utah (the U) and its new Energy Commercialization Center (ECC) were recently recognized for promoting and developing innovative energy technologies and policies. Administrators of the ECC accepted the award recently at the third annual Global New Energy Summit in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The U won the award for many efforts, but the top example listed was the creation of the ECC. It was established in 2010 after receiving a $1.05 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to help build and strengthen what it calls the nation’s “Innovation Ecosystems,” or the network of inventors and institutions that drive new technologies. Since then, the ECC has worked to build its staff and network of collaborators throughout the western U.S.
The Unsung Heroes Award seeks to identify and recognize research universities that contribute significantly to the country’s energy innovation and policy initiatives but may not be well known, according to event organizers.
“This is a great honor for us,” says Jack Hamilton, the director of the ECC. “We are still in our first year, but the atmosphere at the university has enabled us to accomplish a lot already. Our goal is to create a network of institutions across the West dedicated to commercializing new energy technologies, and we have already established the foundation of this network.”
The ECC is part of the university’s Technology Commercialization Office (TCO), which manages all of the U’s intellectual property and technology licensing efforts. The ECC takes the process a few steps further by helping pool energy technologies from multiple academic institutions and matching them with suitable companies.
The ECC helps commercialize technologies in renewable energy and energy efficiency. Current technologies in the ECC portfolio include solar technologies, wind energy technologies, and water treatment technologies all generated at the University of Utah.
“New technologies are an essential part of this country’s hope for a future of energy independence, and we want to help lead this revolution. The ECC is a great example,” says Jack Brittain, vice president for Technology Venture Development at the U. “We expect the ECC to help us accomplish that by creating alliances between academic institutions, investors and private companies.”
The Global New Energy Summit listed several qualifications when presenting the award to the University of Utah. They include demonstrated energy technology diversity, coordinating university-wide energy technology research collaboration and leadership in mining and petroleum engineering. In addition to the ECC, the award acknowledges several other examples of efforts at the U., including:
- The vision of the campus sustainability office, which works toward a more sustainable future by helping establish the U. as a leader and innovator in the field of sustainability.
- Work by the Sustainability Research Center, which brings university researchers from all disciplines and levels together to conduct funded research in sustainability-related topics.
- Green building efforts, including two current LEED-certified buildings on campus and another six that are pending certification.
“Regional assets, dogged persistence and stellar leadership have all combined to make the ECC and the University of Utah the clear choice for this award,” notes Wendolyn Holland, senior advisor at the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for the U.S. Department of Energy.
For more information about the ECC, go to www.ecc.utah.edu. Learn more about the Global New Energy Conference at www.gnes.rmtech.org. Information about technology commercialization at the U. of Utah can be found at www.techventures.utah.edu.