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Appalachian and Ching Yun University share interest in renewable energy education

biodieselTaiwan_t.jpgBOONE—Although separated by more than 8,000 miles, a common interest in green energy has forged a partnership between Appalachian State University and Ching Yun University (CYU).

In March, the two institutions entered an agreement to develop faculty and student exchanges, and participate in collaborative research activities and joint publication of research papers. In just four months, the partnership is flourishing. Two faculty from Appalachian’s Department of Technology spent two weeks at CYU to conduct seminars and two CYU faculty will be on campus in July for two weeks. In addition, eight CYU students currently are enrolled in summer school at Appalachian.

Dr. Ta-Wei Lee and Jeremy Ferrell.jpg
Dr. Ta-Wei Lee, president of Ching Yun University in Taiwan, recently visited Appalachian State University’s biodiesel and education research lab. Lee was on campus to learn more about the university’s sustainable development and alternative energy programs. Pictured with Lee is Jeremy Ferrell, left, who compares the difference in biodiesel fuel processed from rapeseed and Canola oil, which also is produced from rapeseed but is more highly refined. Ferrell is biodiesel operations and outreach manager at Appalachian. (Photo by University Photographer Marie Freeman)

Recently, Dr. Ta-Wei Lee, president of CYU, visited Appalachian to learn more about the university’s alternative and sustainable energy programs. Lee said developing green energy is a focus countrywide.

“Our university is focused on solar and wind energy. Biofuel production is a new field for us to explore,” Lee said. “We really appreciate the chance to collaborate with Appalachian State.”

Appalachian’s biodiesel and education research lab produces biodiesel from used fryer oil collected from Food Services on campus and from rapeseed and sunflower seeds. The lab’s closed-loop biodiesel processing facility is powered by solar panels installed on the building’s roof. The waste product, glycerin, is recycled into soap or composted,.

CYU is the first major university in Taiwan to focus on renewable energy. The university established a Green Energy Center in 2002 that develops technologies related to green energy by enhancing research skills, providing coalition courses, promoting industrial-academic cooperation, and offering extension education. The center conducts research in the fields of photovoltaic systems, wind-power systems, fuel cells and hydrothermal systems.