MINNEAPOLIS -- The call to arms from President Obama for renewable energy is a call being answered at the University of Minnesota.
Heeding that call is Professor of Chemical Engineering, Lanny Schmidt.
"This is not an expense we cannot afford to do, we must do it," Schmidt said of the quest to create sustainable energy choices.
Schmidt's research focuses on the next generation of bio fuels.
"We are turning agricultural residue like corn stalk that has no use, turning those into gas and diesel fuels," Schmidt said.
In his opinion this has to happen.
America's reliance on foreign oil is not only expensive and getting more so by the day, it is in his mind not sustainable.
Beyond fuels for the engine energy for the home is being highly researched at the U.
Two teams that work with Professor Schmidt are studying solar panels, specifically how to create them in mass quantities cheaply.
"Creating this very thin film but its absorption of lots of light and when it absorbs that it can create electricity," Assistant Professor Russell Holmes explained of his work in producing a film that acts as a solar panel.
The idea is to mass produce a film, one hundred billionths of a meter thick to put on our rooftops and our exterior walls to power, by way of the sun, everything from homes to businesses.
Another way to do it is with a liquid that might be painted on a structure. That research is being led by Eray Aydil.
"This is a suspension particle, put it on the surface, it dries and then makes a thin film," Aydil said explaining the liquid.
Yes these projects may be years away but they are being dreamt of right here at home in Minnesota and f they work that not only creates sustainable energy but jobs here at home.
"Renewable energy in the long run isn't going to cost money, its going to save money," Professor Schmidt said.
(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)