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$300,000 USDA Award to Increase Research in Energy Sustainability at UTEP


Dr. Taboada, Dr. Espiritu and Dr. Gonzalez
Dr. Taboada, Dr. Espiritu and Dr. Gonzalez
 
Drs. Jose F. Espiritu (PI) and Heidi A. Taboada (Co-PI), Assistant Professors in the Department of Industrial, Manufacturing and Systems Engineering and Dr. Virgilio Gonzalez (Co-PI) from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, have been awarded nearly $300,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to increase research and education in Renewable Energy Systems and Natural Resources.

The 3-year project, titled “Building Expertise on Energy Sustainability (BEES)” will provide funds to graduate and undergraduate students to work in different projects in the area of energy sustainability. The USDA award will help to build research and education programs at UTEP to fill the needs of government agencies and industry.

According to Dr. Espiritu, the United States is currently facing a critical challenge to transform the current fossil fuel-based energy economy to a stable and sustainable energy economy. “This transformation must be achieved in a timely manner to increase U.S. energy independence. Therefore, there is an urgent necessity to develop and implement new courses that prepare students to work with and produce renewable energy systems.”

“Human capital development in the sustainable energy sector is of vital importance, and Universities can - and must - play a very important role in helping students understand the complex connections and interdependencies between the environment, energy sources, and the economy,” said Dr. Taboada. “The requested USDA funds will help fill this current research and educational gap.”

“Students will realize that many of the challenges require the collaboration between multiple disciplines,” said Dr. Gonzalez. “There are many opportunities to work in the energy sector and this program will provide common foundations to our students.”