Saving energy, reducing greenhouse gases, saving and creating jobs will top the agenda Tuesday (Jan. 26) as several West Virginia University faculty members and industry colleagues head to Charleston for the 10th Annual Industries of the Future-West Virginia Day in the Capitol.

Whether it’s turning carbon dioxide into methanol or managing the state’s forests for carbon sequestration, or more traditional concepts, faculty members will present their ideas to the Senate Economic Development at 9 a.m., and then join more than 20 exhibitors representing the state’s manufacturing and technology sector, the university, government agencies, and industry associations in the Capitol Rotunda to showcase their work.

“We’ll be emphasizing near-term research that can help the state transition to a more efficient and more competitive economy with fewer greenhouse gas emissions – what I like to call ‘transtech energy research,’ ” said IOF-WV Director and WVU Professor Carl Irwin. Irwin operates the IOF-WV with sponsorship from the State Division of Energy, the West Virginia Development Office and the West Virginia University National Research Center for Coal and Energy.

Industrial and Management Systems Engineering Professor Bhaskaran Gopolakrishnan will describe money-saving energy assessment programs available free to state and regional manufacturers. Gopalakrishnan recently received an additional $500,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for the assessments.

Shawn Grushecky, assistant director of the Appalachian Hardwoods Center at WVU, will describe how forestry management may actually be a better option for sequestering carbon dioxide than even geologic sequestration.

Physics Professor James Lewis will present an innovative technology that he and Chemistry Assistant Professor Michael Shi are developing to capture carbon dioxide and convert it into methanol using sunlight.

Also, Wheeling-Nisshin will be honored with the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Industrial Energy Efficiency. The award will be presented West Virginia Commerce Secretary Kelly Goes at a luncheon in the Governor’s Mansion tent. The steel maker, located in Follansbee, W.Va., has worked with the IOF-WV program for nearly a decade, both as a research partner and as a recipient of services such as energy assessments.

“Wheeling-Nisshin has been invaluable to IOF-WV, providing reality-checks and guidance for the research program,” Irwin said. “Their involvement with the IOF-WV team helped them save nearly $500,000 per year on their energy bills.”

The event is open to the public. Registration for the luncheon is required. Contact Angela Shock at (304) 293-2867 ext. 5434 or For more information about IOF-WV, visit



CONTACT: Kathleen Cullen, WVU NRCCE
304-293-2867 ext. 5403