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Published: 1/16/2009

UT to promote its energy work in Abu Dhabi

BY MEGHAN GILBERT
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The University of Toledo is traveling across the world to expand its global presence in alternative energy.

It is the only university in the country with a booth in the American Pavilion of the World Future Energy Summit early next week in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

A group of four from UT planned to leave today for the Middle East to tout UT's work in alternative energy and how attractive Ohio is for such investment.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the only other American research university taking part and it has a separate area in the exhibit.

"We have some technology that's really in demand in the world," said Frank Calzonetti, vice president of research development for UT. "We're trying to take this to the world."

More than 15,000 people are expected to attend the conference and exhibit, including international businesses and political leaders.

This is the second year of the World Future Energy Summit.

UT's display is called "Ohio Future Energy" and also includes information about what the state of Ohio is doing in alternative energy.

It is on a corner lot expected to get a lot of traffic, said Diane Miller, UT's assistant director of incubation.

"Participating in this makes it easier for us to make a statement that we're serious about this research and industry," she said.

Next to UT's display will be one from Xunlight Corp., a solar panel manufacturer and developer in Toledo that got its start in a UT incubator.

The university is investing $27,000 to make the trip.

The UT group will leave today and come back on Thursday. The conference is Monday through Wednesday.

UT received $10,000 toward the costs and put up $17,000 itself, but that money will pay for itself if this marketing can bring in one job, Mr. Calzonetti said.

The goal is to get information out about UT's research, its successful incubation programs for start-up businesses, the Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization at UT, and its economic development work with the Science, Technology, and Innovation Enterprises corridor.

With this kind of marketing in a venue with large international companies and countries with money to invest, such as China, it could bring attention to Toledo as a place for their North American expansion, Mr. Calzonetti said. "What we don't want to do is just sell the technology," he said. "We want to attract investment here."

The state is of the same mind.

Bob Grevey, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Development, said the department gave marketing materials to the university to share at the exhibit that tout the state's efforts in photovoltaics and how the state can help with global markets, such as export capabilities.

"We're tremendously interested in advanced energies and being on the leading edge of that technology because we perceive it to be a growth industry," he said. He said the state is working with UT because such outreach is a great way to create jobs and share the state's success stories.

"We're in a lucky position of having been working on this for a number of years now," Mr. Grevey said.

Contact Meghan Gilbert at:

mgilbert@theblade.com

or 419-724-6134.



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