Category Archives: Energy Talks

Energy Talks is a weekly informal discussion series. Every session, a topic is chosen and a few articles are posted on the site, for background information. Free lunch is provided by the club, and discussion is always a nice break from your daily routine.

For Fall 2015 we will meet every other Friday of classes at 12 noon in Koelbel 220.

If you have an idea for a topic or want to lead a session, fill out this form:

11/13 Energy Talks- (not so) Scary Nuclear Energy

Join us at noon in Koelbel 220 this Friday the 13th we will be looking at Nuclear Energy, which seems to scare a lot of people.  The discussion will be on the negative aspects of the last generation of nuclear reactors and the promise of new Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors (LFTR’s) and learn how they work!
Of course we will have lots of other videos on hand for wherever the conversation ends up going.  As always, free Half-Fast subs!

10/16 Energy Talks w/ special guest John Tobin- Confessions of an Energy Price Forecaster

John Tobin is the Executive Director of the Energy LITERACY Project, Inc.  This program is attempting to address the public perception of energy and, therefore, the energy industry by promoting balanced educational and informational programs that are based on the irreversible, interlocking nature of Energy in all of its forms, including conservation and energy efficiency, the role energy plays in fueling the Economy and the impact our choices of energy has on the Environment.

John has been a Distinguished Lecturer for the Society of Petroleum Engineers, speaking on public energy education and policy issues.  The mainstream media often calls on John as an expert on energy price and policy.  

He has been an adjunct (or more appropriately “a junk”) instructor at the Colorado School of Mines, Department of Petroleum Engineering.  His course taught energy economics and project evaluation techniques, emphasizing the investment decision process in light of the many uncertainties faced in any business.

His 50 years of experience includes, in addition to the above activities, positions with ARCO, Scientific Software Corp., Martin Marietta and Eastman Kodak.  He has BS (1964) and MS (1966) degrees from the University of Rochester, NY in Mechanical and Aerospace Sciences.  He is a recovering engineer and believes that he is eminently qualified as an energy economist in that he has no academic biases to screw up his views.  

Tobin has authored numerous papers on energy price and forecasting, the investment decision process, reserve estimation, energy policy and public energy education. These papers and articles have been presented at various professional conferences and published in many professional and trade publications. These papers and presentations are the basis of an annual trilogy of reports entitled, “Confessions of an Energy Price Forecaster”.

10/2 Energy Talks- Transporation

Come and join us for another session of CU Energy Club’s Energy Talks from noon to 1pm in Koelbel 220! The objective of the Energy Talks series is to bring in speakers from the energy industry and research communities and/or other students and professionals, drawing attention to new and innovative ideas, strategies, and technologies in the energy field.

Our topic this week is transportation. Transportation consumes more than a quarter of US energy, and is still largely dominated by fossil fuels, particularly oil. We will explore how energy is used in the transportation sector and what options are available and emerging to reduce our energy demand in this sector and for using alternative fuel sources.

All are welcome to join us, eat some food, and participate in the discussion, regardless of your knowledge or background. Hope to see you there!

9/18- Electricity Generation: Current trends and future outlook

Come and join us in Koelbel 220 for the CU Energy Club’s first Energy Talks session of the 2015-2016 school year from noon to 1:00 pm on Friday, September 18th! The objective of the Energy Talks series is to bring in speakers from the energy industry and research communities, drawing attention to new and innovative ideas, strategies, and technologies in the energy field.

Come learn and discuss electricity generation as we take a look at the current technologies and trends as well as the future outlook.  All are welcome to join us, eat some food, and participate in the discussion, regardless of your knowledge or background.  If you want to learn about electricity generation basics beforehand, feel free to watch this short video: or if you want to dig into the capacity factors of electricity generation power plants around the world, check out this article:

Hope to see you there!

4/17- Energy Talks: Special Guest Frank Kreith

Fossil Fuel Divestment for a Sustainable Future

Frank Kreith will join us to discuss transitions to sustainable energy. He will combine information about possible options for a sustainable energy future and how fossil based industries would be a poor investment economically as these futures are realized. Frank Kreith has spent seven decades researching and and teaching about renewable energy. He will join us to share his knowledge on possible energy futures with a focus on sustainable pathways. He is also the author of the book Sunrise Delayed- A Personal History of Solar Energy.

4/10- Biofuels with special guest speaker Don Scott (Energy Talks)

This wee for Energy Talks we will have special guest Don Scott speaking about biofuels.  He will be discussing the basics of biodiesel, biodiesel policy, the future of biodiesel, jobs that are available in the biodiesel industry, and how students can get involved.

Don serves as Director of Sustainability for the National Biodiesel Board. Don’s program areas build science and awareness to ensure that biodiesel production meets today’s needs for environmental stewardship, economic prosperity, and quality of life without compromising future generations’ ability to meet these needs for themselves.

Don is a licensed Professional Engineer with a civil engineering degree from the University of Missouri–Columbia.  Prior to joining the National Biodiesel Board, Don was an Environmental Engineer for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.  His work there focused on protecting clean, plentiful drinking water. Don enjoys driving and working on diesel engines, and joined the NBB team to help the biodiesel industry grow as a sustainable alternative to traditional transportation fuels.



4/3- Automotive Technology Energy Talks!

Driving is everywhere.  The auto industry is a very dynamic and needs to respond to energy demands. Look into how we get around from the energy needs of gasoline car to a diesel truck and how large companies are now investing their engines to be fossil free.  This talk will feature videos about how typical engines, frames, and other physical features of cars impact it’s energy efficiency. Even the GPS saves energy too! Come down and enjoy some subs and learn about personal transportation.

Energy Talks: Energy Entrepreneurship!

In light of the upcoming Energy Frontiers Conference focused in entrepreneurship through startups, government, larger scale industry, and other avenues, this week’s Energy Talks will be focused on energy entrepreneurship. We will cover this topic using two articles as our basis. The first details the measures that the UN is taking to promote sustainable development through entrepreneurship. This includes the role of governmental policies in encouraging entrepreneurs to pursue the novel ideas that they develop in energy-related fields, as well as the importance of this new technology being adopted by developing countries. This article will then tie into the second article, which focuses on how young people can change the game of energy entrepreneurship, and the need for opportunities to exist for these individuals to grow their enterprises. Between these two articles, we will be more equipped prior to Energy Frontiers to understand the complexity of the dynamics between startups, government, and industry in furthering energy innovation.

3/6 Energy Talks: NREL

This week, energy talks will be focusing on the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in preparation for Energy Frontiers on March 19th, where the keynote speaker will be Dr. Dan Arvizu, Director of NREL, and the panel discussions will have several panelists that are connected to NREL.  Did you know that the CU Energy Club is the student alliance of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI) which is a joint institute between CU and NREL, so we are officially connected to this amazing national laboratory!

This talk will provide an overview of NREL, highlight some of their ongoing research efforts, and hopefully hear some cool NREL projects that all of you know about!   For more info on NREL visit their website,, or watch this NREL overview Youtube Video.

As always, free Half-Fast Subs!  Hope to see you there!

Special Guest John Perlin–February 27

Come join us for a special Energy Talks with our guest John Perlin, author of “Let It Shine: The 6000-Year Story of Solar Energy.” Listen to an engaging presentation as John “pairs the successes and failures of solar pioneers with discussions of how early and modern people made use of the sun. Discussions  pair a history of mankind’s achievements with documentation of the solar industry hallmarks of change. The result is an excellent, extensive, yet lively survey of solar energy ideas through the centuries.’-Midwest