University of Pittsburgh
August 22, 2011

MEDIA ADVISORY: Executive Director of Pitt’s Center for Energy to Address Third Annual Energy Summit Aug. 24

Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH—Donald Shields, executive director of the University of Pittsburgh Center for Energy, codirector of Pitt's Swanson Institute for Technical Excellence, and director of corporate relations in the University's Swanson School of Engineering, will give the keynote address at the welcome dinner for the Third Annual Energy Summit hosted by the Women in Government Foundation, Inc.

The summit, to be held Wednesday, Aug. 24, and Thursday, Aug. 25, in Pittsburgh, will convene women state legislators from across the United States to discuss current and emerging energy policies, including production, transmission, innovations and new technology, green building, and energy efficiency.

In his talk, which will take place at 7 p.m. Aug. 24, in the Omni William Penn Hotel, 530 William Penn Place, Downtown. Shields will cover the latest in energy research being conducted at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Energy, including energy efficiency, advanced materials, carbon management, and energy diversification, as well as the following topics:

  • The scale of the global energy challenge;
  • Electricity and electric power generation;
  • A portfolio approach to electric power generation;
  • Some special aspects of Pittsburgh and the role the University plays in Western Pennsylvania’s energy economy; and
  • How the changing energy landscape might impact the various home regions of the state legislators in attendance.

The Center for Energy, housed in the University's Swanson School of Engineering, is dedicated to improving energy technology development and sustainability, including energy efficiency, advanced materials for demanding energy technologies, carbon management, and energy diversification.

“The strengths of Pitt's Center for Energy lie in its comprehensive and wide-ranging energy expertise throughout the spectrum of power generation sources: gas, coal, nuclear, and renewables,” says Shields. “The center brings together faculty and students from across the University to help Pitt contribute to the global energy challenges we face.”

With more than 70 faculty members from diverse disciplines, the center undertakes research ranging from clean coal technologies to harnessing solar energy and including subjects as diverse as synthetic and biomass-derived fuels, gas hydrates, high-temperature coatings, and fuel cells.

The center’s current initiatives include cleaner combustion of coal and the conversion of coal to clean-energy sources, carbon dioxide sequestration and conversion, new technologies for hydrogen storage and transportation, new sensors for more efficient fossil-fuel plants, more efficient turbines for power production, novel technologies for harnessing solar energy, and new materials that enhance performance in harsh environments.

“Moving beyond research, we are developing through education the next generation of the workforce by preparing our students for careers in the energy field,” Shields says.

In addition to offering graduate and undergraduate courses in nuclear power, power transmission, and mining engineering, the center works with private-sector partners to develop solutions and to create new jobs in research, manufacturing, technology, and other sectors, making Southwestern Pennsylvania a hub for energy innovation.

For more information on Pitt's Center for Energy, visit




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