[January 13, 2006]

Canton Tech to offer bachelor's degree in alternative, renewable energy

(Watertown Daily Times (NY) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Jan. 13--CANTON -- With the demand for renewable energy rising, Canton College of Technology is launching a four-year degree program in alternative and renewable energy applications this fall. The program is among a handful offered across the country.


"There is a need for trained people working in the field of alternative energies," said Jeremy D. Brown, Canton Tech provost and vice president of academic affairs.

Federal and state government leaders have recently pushed to make the country more dependent on renewable energies. Legislation mandates at least 25 percent of the power generated in New York be from renewable sources by 2013.

"There are a wide variety of energy options they will get to experience," said Michael L. Newtown, Canton Tech assistant professor of mechanical engineering.

The program will teach students about fuel cells, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and solar power and biofuels. Canton Tech already operates several environmentally friendly renewable energy sources, including the ability to make biodiesel fuel.

A methane digester will also begin supplying natural gas to the campus from manure produced at a nearly farm this fall. The digester will capture the methane gas produced by the teRiele family farm's 600-plus cows and pipe it under Route 68 to furnaces on campus. The digester is expected to generate about 500 kilowatts of power.

"That will be a good research opportunity for students to get data and information from," Mr. Newtown said.

The college wants to create laboratory space for the program in Nevaldine Hall when the building is renovated in the next few years, Mr. Brown said. The college also hopes to take advantage of teaching opportunities through the wind turbine farm in Lewis County.

Several specialty courses on renewable energies were created for the program, including classes in wind turbines, fuel cells, automotive fuel cells, geothermal energy, biofuels and solar power. Students will be required to study courses in physics, algebra, calculus, computer applications, communication, economics, business law, fluid mechanics, environmental science and chemistry.

Canton Tech is hoping to partner with Fulton-Montgomery Community College in Johnstown to offer an associate's degree in alternative energies there. The State University of New York and state Education Department recently approved the four-year degree program at Canton Tech.

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