Category Archives: Energy Talks

Energy Talks is a weekly informal discussion series. Every week, 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 Spring 2015 we will meet every 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:

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

February 13–Nuclear Power

There has been a lot of discussion nationally and globally about whether nuclear power is a pathway to a lower carbon future or whether it is a risk worth taking. France’s electricity comes dominantly from nuclear power, Germany is trying to reduce its use of nuclear for electricity generation, and Japan may be restarting some of the nuclear power plants that it closed after the Fukushima meltdown. We will present some of the viewpoints and then open the floor for discussion.

February 6–Oil Prices

This week we will be talking about oil prices. We will discuss reasons why prices might have fallen for the last six months and  why and if that decline is over. We will also discuss what affect oil prices have on the economy and the energy system. We will first review what some analysts think about these questions and then discuss our own thoughts and knowledge. If you want to review the state of oil in the US, look over the EIA’s current data and analysis of what’s up with oil.

December 5 — Natural Gas Power Plants

This week we will be discussing natural gas power generation. Natural gas is currently one of the fastest growing energy sources. We will compare the different types of gas-fired power generation such as simple cycle, combined cycle, and reciprocating engine technologies. We’ll then talk about the pros and cons of natural gas and compare it with other energy sources like coal. Feel free to check out some information about natural gas power generation before Friday.

This Energy Talks will also lead nicely into our tour of the Plains End natural gas power plant south of Boulder during the afternoon. If you are joining for the tour, we’ll be leaving shortly after Energy Talks and will return to CU around 3:30. Find out more information and reserve your spot on the tour here (or through our events calendar).