May 14, 2008

Energy symposium to focus on sustainability

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale will present its final symposium on energy issues this month, focusing this time on sustainability and green technologies.

The event is set for Thursday, May 22, at the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center, 150 E. Pleasant Hill Road, Carbondale. The evening starts with refreshments at 5:30 p.m. followed by the program at 6 p.m., concluding by 8 p.m.

Connect SI, a local organization aimed at connecting public and private resources to create a sustainable and globally competitive economy, and the Coal Extraction and Utilization Research Center organized the event. The Southern Illinois Entrepreneurship Center is the co-sponsor.

John Mead, director of the coal research center, said the event will feature a timely topic.

"This forum will focus on how we use energy and how energy decisions individuals and institutions make have real and lasting environmental and economic consequences," Mead said.

The event is the latest in a series started last fall by the University and Connect SI focused on the future of energy and coal. Other topics have included coal mining and coal gasification, mine safety and biofuels.

Don Fournier, a researcher with the Smart Energy Design Assistance Center at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, is the featured speaker. Fournier will give a talk titled, "Energy at the Crossroads."

A panel of experts will join Fournier in the discussion. They include:

• Jack Kremers, professor in the School of Architecture at SIUC

• Bruce Barkau, of Tri-County Electric Cooperative

• John Freitag, of the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives

• Justin Harrell, an engineer with physical plant service at SIUC

Anyone interested in energy is welcome to attend the event, including lay people, elected leaders, educators and business people.

The event is free and open to the public and organizers encourage pre-registration. To pre-register, contact Man-Tra-Con Corp. at 618/998-0970, ext. 215; by fax at 618/998-1291, attention: Tammy Kirk; or by email at You can also write to Man-Tra-Con Corp at 3000 W. DeYoung St., Suite 800-B, Marion, Ill., 62959.