Oct 24, 2006- UT President Announce $3.6 Million Federal Research Award for Alternative Energy
"The Department of Defense joins as a new partner because it also understands that America has to change. The Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines know they can't depend on imported oil. They know we have to find new ways of powering the future."
University of Toledo President Lloyd Jacobs expressed the gratitude of the university community for Congresswoman Kaptur's efforts in securing the support of the Defense Department. "This is a celebration of perseverance," he said. "It's a big dream to think we can harness the energy of the sun, but it's actually not just our democracy but all of humanity that can benefit from this kind of work."
Congresswoman Kaptur reiterated her commitment to helping America achieve energy independence. She said the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen will anchor one end of the proposed high-technology corridor in west Toledo.
Establishment of a Department of Defense research center for alternative energy was UT's top federal research priority during the current federal fiscal year, and Congresswoman Kaptur, a senior member of Congress, championed the project from her position on the defense subcommittee of House Appropriations.
She also noted the importance of alternative energy to U.S. troops deployed in remote and often difficult environments, such as Afghanistan. She has heard from military leaders who have expressed the need for lightweight and portable energy transmission systems to increase the flexibility and mobility of American forces.
Today's announcement of $3.6 million comes on top of five previous $1 million federal awards to support the university's path-breaking photovoltaic research. Within the past year, second-generation thin film products have achieved commercial manufacturing success, but existing designs will not meet the projected needs of the U.S. military.
In her remarks, Congresswoman Kaptur acknowledged the contributions to alternative energy research by the late Harold Biggers, head of Libbey Owens Ford, "who believed enough in this region to push the physics of glass," and the late Harold McMaster, whom she described as "a modern-day Thomas Alva Edison." She said Mr. McMaster saw the potential of glass not just for automobiles and building materials, but also for the production of energy.
Ms. Kaptur said Mr. McMaster once asked for her support for a new business that would capture the energy of the sun in a field 50 miles long and 50 miles wide. "I don't know if I can get enough federal demonstration dollars for something 50 miles by 50 miles," she recalled replying to him. "Do you think maybe we could do something a little smaller? But, really, we've been about that ever since that time."