The Earth Hour

Friday, March 29, 2024

Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,

Happy Friday!

Regardless of our perspectives, efficient utilization of energy resources is of prime importance given the limitations of readily available resources. As I have discussed in the past, discoveries and advances in renewables, fusion and fission energy generation, will address the growing energy needs of the world. But what are the measures that we can take today toward energy efficiency? Simple acts such as time of use and automation (efficiency) and a bit of good old-fashioned consumption control (conservation) will go a long way without significant impact on operational outcomes.

Many of us, as individuals and members of organizations and societies, take the abundance of ready-to-use energy for granted. After all, the “juice” out of the wall socket is always reliably available, until of course it isn’t! How does it feel to live by candlelight, walk to work, live without modern appliances or, dare I say, no internet? After all, it was not so long ago when life was not automated or facilitated. Well, we can all simulate that lifestyle for ourselves, even for one short hour, and see if it indeed feels like a long hour! You see, many around the world observed Earth Hour by turning off non-essential lights for one hour this past weekend. In fact, people from more than 130 countries logged more than 1.5 million hours collectively in the lights-off event this year alone. Originally, the event aimed to increase awareness of energy consumption and its effects on the planet. It has evolved and now aims to bring people together for one hour to address a wider range of challenges facing the planet with the goal of working together to solve those challenges.

Addressing the balance of the environmental equation, our Missouri S&T researchers are working to reduce industrial process emission of greenhouse gases and, at the same time, capturing and efficiently depositing existing atmospheric carbon.

Central to the efficient use of energy, we are accelerating energy innovation through our Missouri S&T Energy Technology Incubator (ETI). Research teams can receive seed grants from the ETI to support their work developing critical contributions to the critical challenges associated with energy production for the world of tomorrow. Moreover, our faculty and students’ participation in a hydrogen energy collaborative highlights S&T’s role in driving innovation in hydrogen technologies and clean energy.

Critical to the efficient distribution of energy is the design of the power grid of the future and transmission of generated power. Supported by the National Science Foundation, our power engineering faculty and graduate students are working collaboratively with industry partners to develop an agile process to plan for reliable grids for the future.

In addition to ongoing research contributions, the university also looks at energy consumption across campus and strives to reduce our footprint and achieve cost savings. Our geothermal energy system will double in its capacity by 2026 to reduce our reliance on electrical power and reduce carbon emissions and water usage.

Finally, and on a lighter, totally unrelated subject, as I write this note, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Opening Day for Major League Baseball. Opening Daysignals the promise of spring, and I, like many, look forward to all the games, all the passion and debate. Albeit a game, baseball offers many lessons in life and persistence. After all, even Hall of Famers record more misses than hits. Yet, by believing in themselves and their hard work to “hit it out of the park,” they do indeed hit it out of the park.

As Michael Jordan famously said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

In that light, every day is an opening day and a new opportunity to swing the bat.

Go Cardinals!



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Mohammad Dehghani, PhD
Chancellor | 573-341-4116

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