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Youngstown State University’s fifth annual Sustainable Energy Forum began Monday amid a growing attraction as energy-related businesses become more and more intertwined with the area’s economic growth.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s technology lab employee Cynthia Powell was one of several speakers on Monday.
She said her office works with oil and gas companies to help them keep an eye on environmental safety as well as oil and gas production.
“We are providing that scientific understanding that, yes, whenever you frack, whenever you horizontal drill for these resources, that you can do it safely and sustainably,” Powell said.
The two-day event will focus on technology that can have an immediate impact on energy savings.
Particular focus will be placed on sustainable and clean energy technologies that are being successfully implemented within the region, natural gas and water resources and additive manufacturing and its impact on energy and energy technology.
The event will feature more than 200 academicians, energy industry leaders, government officials and entrepreneurs, and will be held in the Chestnut Room of Kilcawley Center on campus.
“Faculty members, the students, energy companies and entrepreneurs, getting them all in the same room talking over coffee, getting a chance to explore ideas and solve problems,” said YSU’s Michael Hripko.
State Rep. Sean O’Brien, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan and Ed Morris, the director of National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, are some of the featured speakers.
Among the displays were additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, displays. The energy forum also gave businesses a chance to network.
“Trying to decide how to process their materials in a way that they get more production for less energy input,” said Lawrence Boyd of Energy Industries of Ohio, an Independence-based company.
While many may think of wind and solar power as sustainable energy sources, experts said it also means exploring energy responsibly.
“So we want to make sure that whenever we take for example that shale natural gas out of the earth that we’re not making an environmental impact that will haunt generations in the future,” Powell said.