Science & Technology
Partial Eclipse Viewing Held at WIU-QC PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Tami S. Seitz   
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 10:26
MOLINE, IL – A viewing event for an upcoming partial solar eclipse will be held from 4:30-6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 23 on the northwest corner of the Western Illinois University-Quad Cities Library, 3300 River Drive, Moline, IL. 

The event is open free to the public. An observation area, with a telescope and viewing glasses, will be set up on the patio outside the library weather permitting, or inside the library to accommodate cooler temperatures.
"After last month's blood moon, when the earth blocked the sun's light, on Oct. 23 the moon is returning the favor and will partially block the sun's light from reaching earth. The solar telescope will also permit viewers to see sun spots and any coronal activity on the sun," according to WIU College of Arts and Sciences Assistant Dean James Rabchuk, who will be in attendance at the viewing to answer any questions.

The event is sponsored by the WIU-QC the Liberal Arts and Sciences Student Organization (LASSO). 

For more information, contact James Rabchuk at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
Attend the World’s Largest Grassroots Solar Event on Saturday, October 4th, 2014! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Brian Prybil   
Tuesday, 23 September 2014 07:32

MOLINE, ILLINOIS, September 22, 2014: Brighten your day with solar! View renewable energy systems in action. The Illinois Solar Tour is a FREE self-guided, statewide open house that demonstrates how Illinois homes and businesses are using solar, wind, and geothermal to become energy independent.

This event is coordinated nationally by the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society in collaboration with dozens of outstanding partner organizations. Attending the tour will allow communities across the country the opportunity to see new and innovative technologies locally that will benefit the environment on a global level. Americans have a voice in how they get their energy. Visiting homes on the tour will allow visitors to learn, engage and be a part of the solution to current energy challenges.

Illinois home and business owners with renewable energy installations will be providing tours on Saturday, October 4th from 10 am to 2 pm. Tour hosts will answer questions on how you can harness the power of the sun and wind to fuel your home and business.

There is a host site to visit in the Quad Cities!

The Prybil residence (3507 32nd St., Moline) is recognized as a clean energy leader and has been selected to be part of the 2014 Illinois Solar Tour. Stop by to see their self-installed photovoltaic system and learn how you can reduce your monthly utility bills, increase property values, and be part of the energy solution.

With 50 sites throughout Illinois, there is a Solar Tour host site near you. Stop in to see how solar energy can brighten your day!

To register for these free events visit www.illinoissolartour.org.

About the Illinois Solar Energy Association

Established in 1975 The Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA) is a non-profit organization that promotes the widespread application of renewable energy through education and advocacy. As the Illinois chapter of the American Solar Energy Society, ISEA is the local resource for educational classes, events, renewable energy related policy developments, local news and access to local renewable energy vendors. www.illinoissolar.org

About the American Solar Energy Society

For more than 50 years the American Solar Energy Society has led the renewable energy revolution. It is the nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the use of solar energy, energy efficiency, and other sustainable technologies across North America. ASES leads national efforts to promote solar energy education, public outreach, and advocacy. www.ases.org

National Solar Tour Link

 http://www.ases.org/solar-tour/

 
USDA Invests $68 Million in 540 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects Nationwide PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by USDA Office of Communications   
Monday, 22 September 2014 08:47

Funding includes loan guarantees and grants for solar energy to create jobs, promote energy independence and advance the use of renewable fuels

BUNN, N.C., Sept. 18, 2014 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is investing in 540 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide.

“These loan guarantees and grants will have far-reaching impacts nationwide, particularly in the rural communities where these projects are located,” Vilsack said. “Investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency will continue the unprecedented increase in home-grown energy sources and American energy independence we’ve seen in recent years. This is creating jobs, providing new economic opportunities and leading the way to a more secure energy future.”

Secretary Vilsack made the announcement while in North Carolina to highlight USDA's investments in rural renewable energy projects, as part of the Obama Administration's 'all-of-the-above' energy strategy. It is the most recent of a series of USDA actions to strengthen the country’s energy sector. Two weeks ago, Vilsack announced a $105 million loan guarantee to a company that will produce jet fuel from municipal solid waste.

Today’s funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP was created by the 2008 Farm Bill and was reauthorized by the recently passed 2014 Farm Bill.

The announcement comes on a day when President Obama is announcing new executive actions to further advance the development of solar technologies across the country. These new investments in solar will reduce America's energy consumption, cut carbon pollution by nearly 300 million metric tons – equivalent to taking more than 60 million cars off the road for a year – and save businesses nearly $45 billion on their energy bills. The renewed effort to invest in solar energy also includes commitments from a broad coalition of 50 public and private sector partners, including leading industry, community development organizations and housing providers in 28 states. To learn more about this new Obama Administration initiative to increase the use of solar power, visit the White House website.

“USDA is proud to play a key role in Obama Administration’s efforts to promote the use of solar technologies," Vilsack said. "Of the REAP projects funded today, 240 projects are for solar investments of $5.2 million in grants and $55.3 million in loans.”

During Secretary Vilsack's trip to North Carolina, he visited Progress Solar in Bunn, N.C., which received a $3.4 million REAP loan guarantee in 2012 for installation of a solar array. Progress Solar now produces enough solar energy to power 540 average-sized homes each year. The 4.5 megawatt array was developed by North Carolina-based O2 Energies, Inc. The Progress Solar site is a dual-use solar power plant and a working farm where a 10th generation farming family raises free range sheep and lambs. The project serves as a test site for herd management best practices on a solar farm, and the goal is to model future collaborative efforts that marry solar-energy production with agriculture production. This is the seventh solar farm venture that O2 Energies has developed in North Carolina.

In North Carolina alone, Vilsack announced $55.3 million in new REAP program loan guarantees and grants for 22 solar energy projects. For example, USDA is awarding a $3 million loan guarantee to Broadway Solar Center, LLC to help finance a 5 megawatt solar array in Columbus County, a $4.9 million loan guarantee for a similar project in Hertford County and a $2.1 million guarantee for a project in Warren County.

In total, Vilsack announced $68 million in REAP loan guarantees and grants today. Funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.

Eligible agricultural producers and rural small businesses may use REAP funds to make energy efficiency improvements or install renewable energy systems including solar, wind, renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters), small hydroelectric, ocean energy, hydrogen, and geothermal.

Since the start of the Obama Administration, REAP has supported more than 8,800 renewable energy and energy efficiency projects nationwide. During this period, USDA has provided more than $276 million in grants and $268 million in loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small business owners.

President Obama’s historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.

###

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users)

 
Cracking the Code to Innovation PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Friday, 19 September 2014 09:18
7 Steps That Guarantee Success

Everyone says they want innovation in their organization, but when an ambitious employee offers it to a CEO, for example, the idea is often shot down, says Dr. Neal Thornberry, faculty director for innovation initiatives at the Naval Postgraduate School in California.

“Senior leaders often miss the value-creating potential of a new concept because they either don’t take the time to really listen and delve into it, or the innovating employee presents it in the wrong way,” says Thornberry, who recently published “Innovation Judo,” (www.NealThornberry.com ), based on his years of experience teaching innovation at Babson College and advising an array of corporate clients, from the Ford Co. and IBM to Cisco Systems.

“Innovation should be presented as opportunities, not ideas. Opportunities have gravitas while ideas do not!”

Thornberry outlines a template for innovation that work:

•  Intention: Once the “why” is answered, leaders have the beginnings of a legitimate roadmap to innovation’s fruition. This is no small task and requires some soul searching.

“I once worked with an executive committee, and I got six different ideas for what ‘innovation’ meant,” he says. “One wanted new products, another focused on creative cost-cutting, and the president wanted a more innovative culture. The group needed to agree on their intent before anything else.”

•  Infrastructure: This is where you designate who is responsible for what. It’s tough, because the average employee will not risk new responsibility and potential risk without incentive. Some companies create units specifically focused on innovation, while others try to change the company culture in order to foster innovation throughout.  “Creating a culture takes too long,” Thornberry says. “Don’t wait for that.”

•  Investigation: What do you know about the problem? IDEO may be the world’s premier organization for investigating innovative solutions. Suffice to say that the organization doesn’t skimp on collecting and analyzing data. At this point, data collection is crucial, whereas brainstorming often proves to be a waste of time if the participants come in with the same ideas, knowledge and opinions that they had last week with no new learning in their pockets.

•  Ideation: The fourth step is also the most fun and, unfortunately, is the part many companies leap to. This is dangerous because you may uncover many exciting and good ideas, but if the right context and focus aren’t provided up front, and team members cannot get on the same page, then a company is wasting its time. That is why intentmust be the first step for any company seeking to increase innovation. Innovation should be viewed as a set of tools or processes, and not a destination.

•  Identification: Here’s where the rubber meets the road on innovation. Whereas the previous step was creative, now logic and subtraction must be applied to focus on a result. Again, ideas are great, but they must be grounded in reality. An entrepreneurial attitude is required here, one that enables the winnowing of ideas, leaving only those with real value-creating potential.

“Innovation without the entrepreneurial mindset is fun but folly,” Thornberry notes.

•  Infection: Does anyone care about what you’ve come up with? Will excitement spread during this infection phase? Now is the time to find out. Pilot testing, experimentation and speaking directly with potential customers begin to give you an idea of how innovative and valuable an idea is. This phase is part selling, part research and part science. If people can’t feel, touch or experience your new idea in part or whole, they probably won’t get it. This is where the innovator has a chance to reshape their idea into an opportunity, mitigate risk, assess resistance and build allies for their endeavor.

•  Implementation/Integration: While many talk about this final phase, they often fail to address the integration part. Implementation refers to tactics that are employed in order to put an idea into practice. This is actually a perilous phase because, in order for implementation to be successful, the idea must first be successfully integrated with other activities in the business and aligned with strategy. An innovation, despite its support from the top, can still fail if a department cannot work with it.

About Neal Thornberry, Ph.D.

Neal Thornberry, Ph.D., is the founder and CEO of IMSTRAT, LLC a consulting firm that specializes in helping private and public sector organizations develop innovation strategies that create economic value by increasing an organization’s effectiveness and efficiency. A respected thought leader in innovation, Thornberry is a highly sought-after international speaker and consultant. He  also serves as the faculty director for innovation initiatives at the Center for Executive Education at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. Thornberry, author of “InnovationJudo:Disarming Roadblocks & Blockheads on the Path to Creativity” (www.NealThornberry.com), holds a doctorate in organizational psychology and specializes in innovation, corporate entrepreneurship, leadership and organizational transformation.

 
Iowa Biodiesel Board to present Governor Branstad with award PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Science & Technology
Written by Iowa Biodiesel Board   
Monday, 15 September 2014 08:52

REG’s Chad Stone also to be named IBB chair at Annual Meeting

ANKENY, Iowa – Iowa biodiesel business leaders and farmers will present Governor Terry Branstad with the “Biodiesel Champion” award tomorrow, during the Annual Meeting of the Iowa Biodiesel Board.

“Governor Branstad has shown steadfast support for state biodiesel programs and incentives, helping Iowa secure its position as the top biodiesel-producing state,” said Grant Kimberley, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. “He also shows bold national leadership in making an outspoken, compelling case for expanding biodiesel under the federal Renewable Fuels Standard.”

Branstad serves as vice chair of the Governors’ Biofuels Coalition. In December, he was the only governor to testify at an Environmental Protection Agency hearing on the RFS.

“I want to thank the Iowa Biodiesel Board for the honor of being named a ‘Biodiesel Champion,’” said Branstad. “Iowa’s robust renewable fuel sector is a critical component of Iowa’s strong economic position. I’ve long been a strong supporter of renewable fuels like biodiesel, and will continue promoting innovation within this growing industry.”

Also at the meeting, Chad Stone, chief financial officer of Renewable Energy Group, Inc., will become the new chair of the Iowa Biodiesel Board. He replaces biodiesel producer and petroleum distributor Mark Cobb.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to lead the Iowa Biodiesel Board and excited to continue the outstanding advocacy efforts of Mark Cobb, our board members and staff,” said Stone. “IBB has, and will continue to play an instrumental role in promoting the economic, energy security and environmental benefits that biodiesel provides to Iowa and America.”

Biodiesel is made from a diverse mix of resources. These include recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats. It is the first EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide. In 2013, Iowa’s 12 biodiesel plants produced about 230 million gallons of biodiesel. This supports more than 7,000 jobs throughout the value chain.

The Iowa Biodiesel Board is a state trade association representing the biodiesel industry.

 
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