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MU Center Provides Opportunity for Economic Growth in MO

Center for Sustainable Energy joins nation's search for energy sustainability

March 30, 2009

Story Contact:  Kelsey Jackson, 573-882-8353,


COLUMBIA, Mo. - The federal stimulus package sets aside $39 billion to the Department of Energy and $20 billion for tax incentives for clean energy. How this money is spent can have significant impact on the future of energy. The University of Missouri Center for Sustainable Energy will utilize the resources at the university to coordinate and develop sustainable, affordable and renewable solutions to help meet the nation’s increasing energy needs and analyze energy policy. Workforce development, commercialization of research and federal funding of research will contribute to economic growth in Missouri.

"There is nothing as complex as energy, and 80 percent of energy consumption is a personal choice-driving, eating out, showering, etc.," said Gary Stacey, director of the Center for Sustainable Energy and MSMC Endowed Professor of Soybean Biotechnology in the Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Center. "The Center provides an 'honest-broker' analysis of the issues that underlie the myriad array of complex energy issues."

The Center for Sustainable Energy, which is a partnership between the MU College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, focuses on five areas:  policy, service, research, education and training, and commercialization and includes more than 70 MU faculty members. The center will encourage collaboration and propose partnerships with Missouri companies.

"For years, MU faculty members have been working on energy-related projects, and now, the center can coordinate these efforts and multiply the effectiveness of the research," said Stacey, who also is the associate director of the National Center for Soybean Biotechnology. "We hope to increase the visibility of energy research at the university and attract federal funding and commercialization."

The center builds on existing programs in the area of energy policy:  the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI), Economics and Management of Agrobiotechnology Center (EMAC), Center for Applied Research and Environmental Systems (CARES), the MU Extension Community Development program and the Truman School of Public Affairs.

Some projects of the Center for Sustainable Energy include:

  • Partnering with Missouri community colleges to enhance energy-related training programs;
  • Collaborating with Fort Leonard Wood to develop solar-geothermal crop storage to use in countries, such as Afghanistan;  
  • Utilizing the MU Power Plant to explore alternative energy sources, such as wood chips and corn husks;
  • Partnering with Crowder College in the area of alternative energy;
  • Working with the Center for Applied Research and Environmental Systems to create effective weatherization methods.

Stacey and Robert Reed, research associate professor of engineering will speak about the MU Center for Sustainable Energy at the 2009 Missouri Energy Summit Campus held on the Columbia campus. For more information, visit