February 15, 2007

Talk explores future of sustainable energy

You’ve read about global warming and energy challenges in the newspaper. If you drive, you’ve probably paid the price at the pump.

Now get the details behind one of the biggest environmental issues of our time – sustainable energy – from a professor who has spent years grappling with the issue.

Tim Marbach, Sacramento State professor of mechanical engineering, will deliver a talk titled, “Sustainable Energy: Challenges and Solutions,” at 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the University Union’s Hinde Auditorium.

The talk is part of a new science and technology lecture series designed for a general audience, which is presented by the University’s Center for STEM Excellence (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Promotional support is provided by KXJZ 90.9 FM, Capital Public Radio.

In his lecture, Marbach will discuss the current status of our energy usage, the challenges looming and some of the possible solutions.

“Energy is widely considered the most important challenge faced by our generation,” Marbach says. “We must identify the problem with a holistic, global viewpoint before we can begin solving it. We can then assess our efforts thus far and effectively move toward a more sustainable world. My goal is to explain the science behind energy challenges and renewable technologies in terms that everyone can understand.”

Americans burn more than 320 billion gallons of petroleum, 1 billion tons of coal and 22 trillion cubic feet of natural gas each year. Despite ongoing research and development, renewable energy sources still constitute less than 3 percent of energy supplies.

Tom Landerholm, director of the Center for STEM Excellence, says, “Professor Marbach’s lecture is particularly timely. There is a large push in California to reduce emissions by reducing carbon-based burning. Local communities – such as Sacramento, Davis and Roseville – have gotten behind clean energy initiatives and both local industries and universities are part of the mix. Tim Marbach’s work is central to this regional approach.”

An expert in sustainable and clean energy, Marbach’s primary research is in biofuel production, low-emissions combustion techniques and mesoscale power systems. He has worked in fuels and lubricants research at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas and gas turbine design in control at Siemens Westinghouse Power Corporation in Orlando, Florida. His current projects include urban wind power and thermochemical conversion of biomass into ethanol.

Marbach received a bachelor’s degree in engineering science from St. Mary’s University and a doctorate degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He has received the U.S. Department of Energy’s Gas Turbine Industrial Fellowship and the U.S. Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need Fellowship in environmentally benign energy utilization.

Through the STEM Scholars Public Lecture Series, Sacramento State’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics scholars discuss current topics in their fields and share their research with the Sacramento community. Talks are free and are designed for a general audience.

For more information, contact the Center for STEM Excellence at (916) 278-2789 or visit www.csus.edu/stem. For media assistance, contact the Sacramento State Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.