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The California Council on Science and Technology, a nonpartisan advisory group chartered by the state Legislature in 1988, has identified “energy supply” as one of the top-10 science and technology issues facing California. At UC Irvine, scientists are leading a team to design the world’s first zero-emission, fossil-fuel-fired central power plant. Another project studies the use of biomass – including agriculture crop waste – to generate electricity in central plants. Researchers also are studying distributed generation, a relatively new trend toward producing power from a variety of sources such as stationary fuel cells closer to the end user to improve energy efficiency.
Researchers with the Advanced Power and Energy Program work closely with the state and federal government to address the need for a reliable, cost-effective and environmentally acceptable energy supply. With this goal, researchers target increasingly safe and efficient forms of environmentally sustainable energy production. The program, affiliated with The Henry Samueli School of Engineering, has three components:
* The National Fuel Cell Research Center, established by Southern California Edison in 1992 and relocated to UCI in 1997, is recognized worldwide. The center was the first university fuel cell research program established in the United States and is recognized as the foremost fuel cell systems research program in the nation. For more information, visit www.nfcrc.uci.edu.
* The UCI Combustion Laboratory was founded in 1970 and is recognized as the most comprehensive university gas-turbine-combustion research program in the world. Combustion technologies used in centralized power plants produce more than 80 percent of the nation’s electricity. For more information, visit www.ucicl.uci.edu.
* The Pacific Rim Consortium on Energy, Combustion and the Environment was established in 1992 to advance the evolution of energy- and environmental-control technologies and to encourage informed decision-making on issues relating to energy production, economic development and the environment. For more information, visit www.parcon.uci.edu.
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