The MIT Energy Exhibition

On April 11 and 12, 2008, the MIT Energy Conference: Technology, Policy and Entrepreneurship will offer a peek into the future with distinguished panelists, cutting-edge research, networking opportunities, and hands-on displays.

Kicking off the conference on Friday from 5-8pm is the MIT Energy Showcase, which is free and open to the public. The casual setting &ndash featuring live music, cocktails, and hors d’oeuvres &ndash has been designed to foster networking. More than 60 academic research posters and offerings from over 30 companies from the Boston area and beyond will be showcased.

New this year is the MIT Energy Exhibition, also slated for Friday evening, which will include hands-on, interactive displays on energy sources. With the help of such collaborators as Schlumberger, BP, and General Electric, displays will communicate the scale of modern energy consumption from computer usage to air travel. Plug-in and electric hybrid cars and battery technology from A123 Systems developed by MIT Prof. Yet-Ming Chiang will also be on display.

“The enthusiasm around energy in Cambridge reminds me of Silicon Valley in the 1980s,” says conference panelist Bob Metcalfe, general partner at Polaris Venture Partners, inventor of the Ethernet and founder of 3Com. “I'm excited to see what ventures might form that Friday evening.”

This spirit of innovation carries over into Saturday’s conference, which will explore the ongoing advances in technologies, the barriers for deployment of these technologies at a scale large enough to make an impact on society, and more controversial options such as nuclear power and carbon capture and sequestration.

Slated keynote speakers are MIT President Susan Hockfield, whose leadership has helped MIT launch a major Institute-wide initiative in energy research; John Dorr, partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers; and James E. Rogers, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Duke Energy.

Topics will include, among others:

  • End-use efficiency;
  • Carbon capture and sequestration;
  • Geothermal energy;
  • Transmission infrastructure;
  • Nuclear power;
  • Alternative transportation; and
  • Renewables at scale.

Panelists such as Tom Christopher, president and CEO of Areva, the world’s largest nuclear power provider, will highlight the challenges of the nation’s nuclear fleet, a source of no-carbon emission base-loaded power generation. J. Michael McQuade, senior vice president of science and technology at United Corporation, will focus on what it will take to realize the potential of energy efficiency. Many of these panels will be moderated by MIT faculty who are leading researchers in these fields.

James Schwartz, MIT Sloan MBA ’08 and managing director of the conference notes, “We are determined to move the discussion beyond potential and discuss what will really make a difference 20 years into the future.”

All conference events will be held at the Marriott Hotel in Kendall Square, 2 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA. The MIT Energy Exhibit will be held in a tent on the Marriott grounds.

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