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CENCERE Timeline



Congratulations to Our Graduates

Six students graduated from the Sustainable Energy program during the commencement ceremony on May 5, 2018.  Among the graduates, Noah Przygoda and Erica Murray received dual masters degree from Technology and Sustainable Energy, and Elizabeth Nixon received dual master degrees from Biology and Sustainable Energy.  Congratulations !!!

Spring 2018 Graduation, May 5, 2108


Visit at Rivian Automotive, Normal, IL

A group of students, faculty, national leaders visited Rivian in Normal, IL.  Rivian is an active company in the area of electric vehicle, which occupies the previous facility by Mitsubishi Motors.  Among the visitors are Kim Leftwich (President of Coles Moultrie Electric Cooperative), Peter Mhuhoro (Vice President of Cooperative Finance Cooperation), and Allen Shedd (Director of Energy Solutions, Toughstone Energy). Dr. Wuthigrai Boonsuk and Dr. Jerry Cloward (School of Technology at EIU) and Emil Wolfshoefer (Lake Land College).

Visit Rivian May 4, 2108 


Students and Faculty Participated in Key Accounts Conference by Coles Moultrie Electric Coop

Students and faculty participated in the annual key accounts conference and luncheon organized by Coles Moultrie Electric Cooperative, on May 3, 2018.  The conference gave exposure to the current issues faced by rural electric utility industry including energy generation and transmission, regulatory compliance, policy, rural development, renewable energy, and electric vehicles.

Key Accounts Conference by CMEC


Arbor Day Tree Planting at Lake Charleston

Coordinated by Grace Wilken, Dr. Scott Miners (Biology), Steve Pampero (City Planner), and Brian Jones (City Recreation Director), students, faculty and community members volunteered at Lake Charleston, to celebrate Arbor Day on Friday, April 27, 2018.  Grace's friend, Caroline, came with her from Champaign for the volunteer work.

Arbor Day Tree Planting at Lake Charleston


EIU Celebrates Arbor Day and Tree Campus USA Designation

On April 24, 2018, gathered at Old Main, a team of EIU administrators (including Provost Gatrell, Dean Minnis, Dean Klarup, Dr. Cheney and several chairs), faculty, staff and students, Mayor Brendon Combs of Charleston, city staff, as well as Charleston Rotary Club  members celebrated the Arbor Day 2018, and the news that EIU was awarded the Tree Campus USA designation.  Dean Ryan Hendrickson of the Graduate School, President Glassman and Mayor Combs gave a brief speech highlighting the collaboration among all stakeholders to make the campus and the city more sustainable.  The event was coordinated by Grace Wilken, a graduate student in Sustainable Energy.

Tree Campus USA and Arbor Day Celebration



Students and Faculty Visit Charleston Waste Water Treatment Plant

Led by Grace Wilken, a team of students and faculty visited Charleston Waste Water Treatment Plant, to learn the operation of sewage treatment process on April 19, 2018.

Visit of Charleston Waste Water Treatment Plant 4-19-2018


Grace Wilken, Won the Second Place at Illinois State Academy of Science Annual Meeting

Grace Wilken, a graduate student in Sustainable Energy, won the second place in graduate poster division of Environmental Science, at the annual meeting of Illinois State Academy of Science on April 13, 2018 in Decatur, IL.  The poster, entitled "Food Waste to Fresh Food Through Composting," is a collaborative work with Drs. Tom Canam, Nicole Hugo and Peter Ping Liu.

Grace Wilken at Illinois State Academy of Science


Center for American Rural Energy (CARE) Team Presented at Illinois

Association of Aggregate Producers

The team of Charleston Stone Electrification Project presented at Illinois Aggregate Producers Association in Springfield, IL on April 12, 2018.  The presentation is entitled "Charleston Stone and Beneficial Electrification" that is a project under the auspice of Center for American Rural Energy (CARE).  The team includes Kim Leftwich and Jim Wallace of Coles Moultrie Electric Cooperative, Tajdar Ahmed, Tanmay Pant, Ayaz Khamisani and Peter Ping Liu of CENCERE at EIU.

Kim Leftwich and Peter Ping Liu at Illinois Aggregate Producers Association Convention

Kim Leftwich and Jim Wallace at IAPA_4_12_2018

Electrification Research Team

Students Receive Awards from the University

Tajdar Ahmed, a graduate student in Sustainable Energy, received King Mertz Award of Excellence for LCBAS (Graduate School), Norm and Maria Plummer Research Award (Graduate School), and Pratima Niranjan Shah Scholarship (International Programs) and Williams Travel Award (Graduate School).

Tajdar Ahmed Receives Awards 4-5-2018

Tanmay Pant, a graduate student in Sustainable Energy, received an award as a Distinguished International Student by the International Office at the University.

Tanmay Pant Receives Award

Grace Wilken, a graduate student in Sustainable Energy, received a Distinguished Graduate Student award, Graduate Alumni Fund Research/Creative Activity award, and Norm and Maria Plummer Research award (all by Graduate School).

Grace Wilken Receives Awards


Center for American Rural Energy (CARE) Host Meeting with Lake Land College Faculty and Students

On February 9, 2018, the Center for American Rural Energy (CARE) held a meeting at CENCERE facility with faculty and students from Lake Land College and students and faculty at EIU.  Led by Joe Tillman and Emil Wolfshofer, the Technology Division of Lake Land is a consortium member of CARE.

Center for American Rural Energy Holds a Meeting with Lake Land

Lake Land Faculty and Students Meet at CENCERE 

Grace Wilken and Dr. Nicole Hugo Receive a Grant for a Golf Cart

Grace Wilken, graduate student in Sustainable Energy, Dr. Nicole Hugo of School of Family and Consumer Science, and Dr. Peter Ping Liu received a Faculty Award for Interdisciplinary Research (FAIR) grant from Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences.  The grant provided funding for us to acquire an electric golf cart that will be used to support the campus-wide composting effort.

 Grace Wilken Receives an Electric Golf Cart


Center for American Rural Energy (CARE) Team Visit EV-Town of Normal, IL

On January 26, 2018, our Electric Vehicle project team visited the City of Normal for its EV-Town initiative.  Since 2011, the progressive central Illinois city has launched the EV-Town initiative to promote adoption of electric vehicles.  The team is led by Kim Leftwich and Grace Wilken, and consists of Dr. Woothigrai Boonsuk, Dr. Rendong Bai and Dr. Peter Ping Liu.  The Electric Vehicle project is under the auspice of the Center for American Rural Energy (CARE).

Electric Vehicle in City Hall of Normal, IL



Center for American Rural Energy (CARE) Team Visit National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC)

On November 29, 2017, a team representing the Center for American Rural Energy (CARE) visited National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) in Lake St. Louis, MO to explore collaboration opportunities.  The meeting was hosted by Matt Moorman, Director of People Services at NISC.  The visit team was led by Kim Leftwich, and consists of Dr. Austin Cheney, Dr. Toqeer Israr, Dr. Rendong Bai and Dr. Peter Ping Liu.

NISC Visit 11-29_2017


Research Team Visit Ameren Illinois

Students and faculty on the smart grid research team visited Ameren Illinois Smart Meter Lab in Collinsville, IL on September 8, 2017.  Kirby Diller, an Ameren IT engineer, and Victoria Busch, Ameren customer engagement manager, worked with the team regarding the wireless connection between the smart meter and an in-home energy monitoring device (Rainforest EMU-2) and a communication gateway (Rainforest Eagle).

 Kirby Diller works with research team

Victoria works with research team 


Alum nus Present to Students and Faculty

Victor De La Torre is an alumnus of our Applied Engineering and Technology (AET) and Sustainable Energy programs.  He currently works at Sun Run, a solar energy company.  He made a presentation on solar industry and Sun Run, providing insights on the current status of solar energy in various markets and products offered all over the nation.  His presentation took place at 11:00 AM on Friday, September 1, 2017 in 3126 Klehm Hall. 

Victor De La Torre Presents


State Legislators Meet at CENCERE

On August 3, 2017, State Senators Dale Righter and Chapin Rose, and State Representative Reggie Phillips met at CENCERE Idea Incubator.  Kim Leftwich, President/CEO of Coles Moultrie Electric Cooperative, updated the state legislators about the Center for American Rural Energy (CARE).  In attendance were Angela Griffin, President of Coles Together, Nick Reitz, Vice President of Government Relations for the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives, Dr. Mahyar Izadi, Dean of Lumpkin College of Business and Applied Sciences, Dr. Austin Cheney, Chair of the School of Technology, and Dr. Peter Ping Liu, Director of CENCERE at EIU. 

State Legislators Meet at CENCERE


Visit Washington University in St. Louis

A team of EIU and Coles Moultrie Electric Coop visit Washington University in St. Louis, to explore possible collaboration with its Department of Energy, Environment and Chemical Engineering, on July 19, 2017.  The team includes Kim Leftwich, President/CEO of Coles Moultrie, Tim Zimmer, Director of Facility Management and Planning, James Gilbert, Chief Engineer of Renewable Energy Center, Dr. Austin Cheney, Chair of School of Technology, and Dr. Peter Ping Liu, Director of CENCERE at EIU.

Visit Washington University in St. Louis


Congressman John Shimkus Visited CENCERE

Congressman John Shimkus was presented with the concept of the Center for American Rural Energy (CARE) during his visit at CENCERE on June 1, 2017.  Attended the meeting were Kim Leftwich, Presdient/CEO of Coles Moultrie Electric Cooperative, Provost Blair Lord, Dean Mahar Izadi, Dr. Austin Cheney and Dr. Peter Ping Liu.  CARE is a result of collaboration among EIU, Coles Moultrie Electric Cooperative, Coles Together, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Lake Land College and National Rural Electric Coops Association (NRECA) in Washington, DC.

 Congressman Shimkus Visit CENCERE

Congressman Shimkus Visit CENCERE

Students and Faculty Visited Prairie Sate Generation Campus

Sponsored by our collaborator, Coles Moultrie Electric Coop, students and faculty visited Prairie State Generation Campus, in Marissa, IL on April 13, 2017. This is an electric generation facility that uses coal immediately from the mine, to generate electricity.

 Prairie State Generation Campus Visit 1

Prairie State Generation Campus Visit 2


Graduate Students Present at EIU Student Research and Creative Discovery Conference

Several graduate students in Sustainable Energy presented at EIU Student Research and Creative Discovery Conference on March 31, 2017.

EIU Student Research and Creative Discovery Conference

EIU Student Research and Creative Discovery Conference 2

Research Team Visit Ameren's Smart Meter Lab

The research team on smart grid visited Ameren's Smart Meter Lab in Collinsville, IL on March 23, 2017.  The team has collaborating with Ameren to research ways to improve consumers access to the benefits offered by smart grid.

Ameren Smart Meter Lab Visit

Ameren Smart Meter Lab Visit 2


Dr. Liu Presents at Charleston Rotary Club

Dr. Peter Ping Liu presented at Charleston Rotary Club on Feb. 28, 2017 regarding updates on Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE).  The presentation highlighted the interdisciplinary effort of MS in Sustainable Energy program, the current research on renewable energy and smart grid, as well as the collaboration with industry and community.  Click here for the presentation file.


East Central Illinois Consortium of Economic and Energy Security in Progress

Efforts were started in Fall 2016 and discussions are ongoing to form East Central Illinois Consortium of Economic and Energy Security.  Community supports are being secured and a steering committee is being formed with five major partners including Coles Moultrie Electric Cooperative, Eastern Illinois University, Coles Together, Lake Land College, and Illinois Sustainable Technology Center at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Feb. 2017. Click here for the announcement.


Students and Faculty Toured Solar and Geothermal Applications at Lake Land College

Students and faculty visited the solar and geothermal applications at Lake Land College, Mattoon, IL on Feb. 9. 2017. 

Visit Lake Land College




 Graduate Students and Faculty Visited Ameren (Smart Grid) Technology Application Center

A team of graduate students and faculty visited Ameren Illinois (Smart Grid) Technology Application Center in Champaign, IL on November 4, 2016.

 Ameren Technology Application Center


Graduate Students and Faculty Presented at Annual Conference of Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE)

Jeffrey O. Chandler, Ayaz Khamisani, Haizhou Li, Chirag Pansuriya,  Dr. Rendong Bai and Dr. Wutthigrai Boonsuk presented at the annual ATMAE conference in Orlando, FL on November 2-4, 2016.  Dr. Boonsuk also led a team of students to the robotics completion at the conference.

Ayaz Khamisani at ATMAE Conference, Orlando, FL


Graduate Student Featured in "Global Ties, Local Lives" Forum

Tajdar Ahmed, a graduate student in Sustainable Energy, was a featured panelist in "Global Ties, Local Lives" forum at EIU, on November 2, 2016.  More details can be found here.

Tajdar Ahmed


Students Participated in Illinois Solar Tour in Charleston and Champaign-Urbana, IL

Students participated in open houses organized by Illinois Solar Energy Association, as the Illinois Solar Tour on Oct.1, 2016.

Illinois Solar Tour Excel Eco Cleaning_10_1_2016 Illinois Solar Tour Excel Eco Cleaning Charleston ILScorr Willenbrock Home in Champaign IL


 Chirag Pansuriya wrote: "Thanks to the 2016 Illinois Solar Tour organized by the Illinois Solar Energy Association (ISEA), some graduate students were able to visit the solar sites hosted by Greg Badger (Excel Eco Clean) and Scott Willenbrock in Charleston and Champaign accordingly. Interestingly, 69 solar panels and a geothermal unit in Scott Willenbrock’s "net-zero" home produce enough power for his home, two electric cars (Tesla S and Chevy Volt), and to provide electricity back to the grid. "It's not only about the environment, but it also makes economic sense" asserted both Scott Willenbrock and Greg Badger, who can be an inspiration for the households and businesses in the Coles County."


Graduate Student Attended Conference at Institute of Sustainability, Energy and Environment, 2016

Chirag Pansuriya, a graduate student, has attended the conference iSEE 2016 by Institute of Sustainability, Energy and Environment in University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on Sep 13, 2016.  
(In Photo, Chirag Pansuriya with the KR Sridhar, the founder and CEO of Bloom Energy.)

Graduate Student Visited Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

On September 1, 2016, Inali Wahane, a graduate student in Sustainable Energy, visited MIT in Cambridge, MA.  She joined in an information session on Leadership in Global Operations (LGO), an interdisciplinary dual degree program of MBA and Engineering.  She also had the opportunity to interact with various faculty and students while at MIT.

 Inali Wahane Visited MIT


Graduate Student Did Internship in Washington, DC and Attended Summer Institute in Chicago.

Chirag Pansuriya, a second-year graduate student, interned with Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) (formerly Solar Electric Power Association) and Climate Institute in Washington D.C during last summer. In SEPA, he analyzed the trend of solar market growth in Q1 2016 along with providing the research assistance for SEPA's Solar Market Snapshot 2015. As a graduate research fellow at Climate Institute, he developed the techno-economic case study of Ultra-Capacitor Batteries and its application in Electronic Rickshaws. Furthermore, he also was selected for 2-week summer program by Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy (SISE) in University of Illinois, Chicago in August. 

Chirag Pansuriya Internship at SEPA


Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) Published a 2016 Report on State Universities to Promote Green Technology Industry.

Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) Published its 2016 Report on Efforts by State Universities to Promote Green Technology Industry.  Click here for the full report. 


Five Students Graduated from Master of Science in Sustainable Energy Program during Spring 2016

Five graduate students became alumni of the Master of Science in Sustainable Energy program after the Spring graduation commencement on May 7, 2016. For more photos, click here.


Sustainable Energy Students Visited Lakeland College for Wind, Geothermal and Solar Energy Applications, April 28, 2016

On April 28, 2016, twelve graduate students in Sustainable Energy together with faculty visited the wind turbines, campus wide geothermal heating and air conditioning, and roof top solar projects at Lakeland College.  This trip is a part of the Practicum required for the graduate degree program.



Dr. Cheney, Chair of the School of Technology, Received William Kirk International Education Leadership Award, April 22, 2016

Dr. Austin Cheney, chair of the School of Technology, received William Kirk International Education Leadership award presented by EIU President Glassman and Dr. William Kirk on April 22, 2016.  He was noted for his excellent leadership in expanding the graduate programs in Technology at EIU. 



Living the Grid Life Starts Occupying Part of Idea Incubator at CENCERE, April 18, 2016

Joshua Amacher, owner of Living the Grid Life, starts using a part of CENCERE Idea Incubator space on April 18, 2016.  The licensing agreement is for a year.  During the period, he intends to use the space as a showcase for his business in solar energy and construction.  He plans to display his products and to interact with his customers within the Idea Incubator.  For the business information, click here to access the company website.

 Living the Grid Life


Students Received Distinguished Graduate Student Awards, April 7, 2016

Daniel Hector Flore, a Fulbright Scholar from Hondurus, received a distinguished graduate student award, representing Master of Science in Sustainable Energy program.


Ryan Kalinoski, a dual degree graduate student in Sustainable Energy and Biological Science, received a distinguished graduate student award, representing Biological Science program.



Zip Cars Are On Campus

Zip car dark blue  Red Zip Car  Zip car sign


The Zip cars are on campus! Drive by the E parking lot, located in back of Lincoln Hall and check them out. By signing up at www.zipcar.com/eiu, you now have the ability to rent a car for an hour or how ever long you need one. No need to bring a car to campus anymore. Save the parking fee; save making a car payment and insurance payment; avoid trying to find a parking spot day after day.


Academy of Lifelong Learning Tours CENCERE

March 1, 2016

 Tour starts in Idea Incubator   In the Processing Lab  Outside the Analytical Lab

The Academy of Lifelong Learning sponsored a tour of the CENCERE building on Tuesday March 1, 2016. Members were given a private tour of the building. CENCERE has EIU's new capability of research and education in clean and sustainable energy. It is a showcase of integration of energy production at Renewable Energy Center and student researching and learning for a sustainable future. They learned about the Idea Incubator, the Gasifier Room, the Processing Lab, and the Analytical Lab. They also saw the plot of 13 acres where renewable resource crops were planted approximately four years ago.


zipcar sign

It's Coming! EIU Will Have Zipcars Soon

Check back frequently to find out about the progress of EIU's latest green innovation. Zipcars will be located in the E parking lot, south of the LSD housing complex. In the meantime, check out www.zipcar.com/eiu.



 Arif Jalbani

Arif Jalbani Chosen as Wolfram Research Student Ambassador

Arif Jalbani, a graduate student completing a dual Master’s degree in Sustainable Energy/Technology in addition to being a graduate assistant for CENCERE, has been selected as the EIU Student Ambassador for Wolfram Research, a computer, web, and cloud software company headquartered in Champaign, Illinois. This is a pilot program that selects one student in the top technical tier from each university to interface with students.

The company offers Student Ambassadors real-world experience while still in an academic setting, connections with both other students and industry innovators, and the opportunity to present projects and publish their results.

As an Ambassador, Jalbani will host talks and workshops with interested students and collaborate with other Ambassadors on coding projects, events, and an informative newsletter. He will also be able to attend the Wolfram Technology Conference in 2016, featuring speakers and presenters from international and national universities as well as corporations.



Dr. Wahby Hosts Annual Holiday Dinner for International Students

Dr. Wafeek Wahby hosted his annual holiday dinner for international students at Lincoln Garden in Charleston. The restaurant provided the meals and staff and international students from EIU had an enjoyable evening. Here is a link from WCIA Channel 3 in Champaign about the dinner:



EIU Sends Team to Annual ATMAE Conference in Pittsburgh

A team of ten faculty members and eight graduate students attended the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) Conference held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania November 11-14, 2015. Several faculty members and students presented research during the conference. They included Dr. Isaac Slaven, Dr. Austin Cheney, Dr. Peter Liu, Dr. Wutthigrai Boonsuk, Dr. Jerry Cloward, Dr. David W Melton, Dr. Redong Bai, Dr. Chao Wen, Dr. Wafeek S. Wahby, Mr. Ernest Echefu, Mr. Sailesh Adhikari, Mr. Arif Jalbani, Mr. Seyedramin Ramin Khalilinejad, Mr. Rishank Chandra Puram, Mr. Sean T Roberts, Mr. Daniel T Stock, Mr. Haizhou Li, Mr. Brendan Clary, and  Ms. Stephany Fonseca.

 This year's conference theme was "Building Bridges" . Papers were selected on a "double blind" peer review. The EIU team presented a total of sixteen different papers. No more than 49% papers submitted for a given track are accepted for presentation.


Dr. Wahby:  2015 Recipient of The ATMAE University Faculty Academic Excellence Award

Wafeek Wahby, professor of construction technology in the School of Technology and member of numerous national and international professional societies, is the recipient of the 2015 ATMAE Faculty Excellence Award: University Faculty Award for Academic Excellence. This prestigious award is presented by the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) to recognize the superior performance and achievements of those university faculty who have a demonstrated record of excellence and achievements in their profession, besides their personal integrity, character, and national or international organizational leadership roles.

Wahby was recognized for continually earning superior evaluations by students, peers, department chairs and administration for his exemplary work at EIU for almost two decades in teaching, research and service to the profession, academe and community. The 2015 ATMAE Faculty Excellence Award will be presented to Wahby during the ATMAE Awards Luncheon on Friday, Nov. 13, at the 2015 ATMAE Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa.


Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy 

August 6-8, 2015

Nalini Priya Uppri, a graduate student in the EIU Master of Science in Sustainable Energy, attended the Summer Institute on Sustainability and Energy in Chicago, IL  Aug. 6-18, 2015.  This is a full conference workshop organized by Energy Initiatives and UI Labs of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Click here to view the powerpoint presentation slides for her research project Biz-E-Bikes: Reinventing the Wheel. Click here to read her research paper, co-authored by Andrew Beck, Electric-assist Bicycle Retrofits in the City of Chicago

Second Annual United Nations Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Forum

May 2015

Rajesh Venkata Goriparthi, a graduate student in the EIU Master of Science Sustainable Energy program, attended the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Forum on May 7-9, 2015, in New York City.  The conference was organized by United Nations. Click here for more information about this forum.

First Annual Research and Creative Activity Symposium

April 23, 2015

Lumpkin College of Business & Applied Sciences along with the EIU School of Technology and the School of Family and Consumer Sciences presented the First Annual Research and Creative Activity Symposium on April 23 in Lumpkin Hall on the EIU campus. Following Opening Remarks by Dean Mahyar Izadi and Provost Blair Lord, students gave oral presentations of their research. Posters supporting student research were shown in the Roberson Auditorium.  

Click here to read the symposium overview and summary of oral presentations. Click here to view photos of the event. 

First Annual Hover Cup Competition

April 11, 2015

The first annual Hover Cup competition was held Saturday, April 11 at McAfee Gym on the EIU campus.  First place winner was Flipper.  Hyperdrive came in second place. Hyperdrive Engage won an award for Best Design and Most Creative. The event was sponsored by the Society for Physics Students, ATMAE and The Penalty Box.  Click here to view pictures from this event.

Practicum Students Track Sun Position

March 12, 2015solar rays 2

Students participating in a practicum for the MS in Sustainable Energy are tracking the position of the sun rays in reference to the Renewable Energy Center solar panels. This allows students to monitor the efficiency of the solar rays. Click here to view more pictures.

Duel Master's Degree between Sustainable Energy and Biological Sciences

March 4, 2015

A new dual Master of Science degree program between Sustainable Energy and Biological Sciences (thesis and internship options) has been approved by the College of Sciences Curriculum Committee. 

The dual degree program is an excellent blending of two programs because of the significant overlap of research and education interests between these two programs. Bioenergy is a sub-discipline within the sustainable energy field that focuses on using organisms directly or indirectly for sustainable energy production. This newly approved dual master’s degree program allows graduate candidates to pursue an MS in Sustainable Energy and an MS in Biological Sciences concurrently.

Distinguished Graduate Student Nominations 

The Distinguished Graduate Student award is presented by the Graduate School every Spring semester during an award ceremony on April.  Each program/department will send nomination(s) to the EIU Graduate School. The Master of Science in Sustainable Energy plans to nominate one candidate this Spring semester. Students are eligible if they are enrolled during the academic year and have completed a minimum of nine semester hours with a cumulative grade point average of 3.50 or better in graduate study. Click here for more information about nominating a student for this prestigious award.

Fulbright Scholar Picks EIU’s Sustainable Energy Program 

Hector Daniel Flores cares about keeping Earth sustainable. So it’s only fitting that Flores picked Eastern Illinois University’s sustainable energy program to pursue his interests. Yet, unlike other students, Flores had the power to pick from any master’s program in the United States. And he chose EIU.

Flores, an international student from Honduras, earned the recognition as a Fulbright Scholar. The highly competitive scholar program is sponsored by the U.S. State Department, for the purpose of attracting others from different countries to study in the United States. The program pays for their schooling, and the scholars work with an adviser to pick a program that matches their academic interests. To Flores, it was only natural to pick EIU’s sustainable energy program focused on creating leaders and managers in the growing field. Click here to read more. 

CENCERE Director Invited to Speak at National Energy Education Summit

January 26, 2015

Dr. LiuDr. Peter Ping Liu was invited to speak at the 2015 National Energy Education Summit in Washington, DC on January 26, 2015 on behalf of Center of Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE) at EIU. 

The summit is organized by National Council of Energy Research and Education Leaders (CEREL).  It was designed to build, improve and expand energy education by sharing best practices and catalyzing new initiatives and partnerships in energy education. 

Featured speakers include Dr. Dan Arvizu, Director of National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Dr. Dan Kammen, Director of Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at University of California, Berkley, and Dr. Michael Webber, Deputy Director of the Energy Institute at University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Liu’s topic was about the multi-disciplinary program development and delivery of EIU's Master of Science in Sustainable Energy by ten departments/schools at Eastern Illinois University. Click here to view the slides from Dr. Liu's presentation.


CENCERE Director Receives ATMAE Award

December 2014

Dr. LiuPeter Ping Liu, coordinator of Graduate Studies in the School of Technology and director of the Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE) at EIU, was awarded the Association for Technology, Management and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) Faculty Excellence Award for 2014. 

The award is for faculty having primary responsibilities in four-year institutions offering technology, engineering technology, technology management or applied engineering programs, and selection is based on excellence in teaching, research and service to the profession. Liu has been an exemplary leader at EIU for cross-disciplinary curricular efforts, external grant acquisition and relationship development, and service to the institution and profession. He also spearheaded development of a new multi-disciplinary EIU Master of Science Degree in Sustainable Energy. Click here to read more about Dr. Liu and his exemplary accomplishments.

CENCERE Idea Incubator Available for Clients Soon

December 2014

With the official opening of the CENCERE facility approaching, the CENCERE Director, Dr. Peter Ping Liu, and Advisory Board members have begun searching for businesses and entrepreneurs to lease the Idea Incubator located in the new CENCERE facility. 

Dr. Peter Ping Lui states, “We are looking for businesses or entrepreneurs outside of the university engaged in sustainable energy and technology ventures.  Ideally, we’d like to find businesses poised to contribute to the regional economy." Click here for more information about the CENCERE Idea Incubator.

New Dual Degree MS Program Approved

October 3, 2014

A new dual degree program for students to obtain a Master’s Degree in Sustainable Energy and the Professional Science Master’s in Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) has been approved by the College of Sciences Curriculum Committee. The dual Master’s Degree between the Professional Science Master’s in Geographic Information Sciences (GISci) and the Master of Science (MS) in Sustainable Energy is an excellent blending of two programs because of their shared focus in preparing students in applied science and technology with a management focus. The mission of a dual master’s degree program is to allow graduate candidates to pursue complementary programs of graduate study simultaneously.

Lumpkin Family Donates Land for Biomass Research

August 2014

lumpkin land

Through a donation by the Lumpkin family of Mattoon, EIU Sustainable Energy students are now working with nearly 120 acres of farmland to research switchgrass and big bluestem to create biomass renewable energy.

For some students at Eastern Illinois University, the traditional, enclosed classroom will soon be replaced with acres of wind-blown native grasses.

Via an arrangement that Thomas Canam, assistant professor of biological sciences, terms a “win-win-win situation for everyone,” some local landowners have agreed to allow Eastern to use nearly 120 acres of their Coles County property for research.  Students and faculty of the university, as well as others, eagerly anticipate those enhanced research opportunities.  And, in turn, area farmers will gain additional insight into potential alternative crops.

“This project is going to be helpful to us in so many ways,” Canam said. To read more, click here.

Indeck Solar Energy Project provides Solar Research Opportunities

June 2014

In June, the Indeck Solar Energy Project was established to provide  EIU MS in Sustainable Energy graduate students with the tools to research solar energy and compare the efficiency of solar energy products. Click here to view pictures of this exciting research project.  You can also view the energy production levels on a daily basis by clicking here.

CENCERE Facility Now Open

April 25, 2014

ribbon cuttingThe EIU Center for Clean Energy Research and Education officially opened its doors on Friday April 25.  To read the EIU detailed story, Clean Energy Center Opens for First Time, click here.

To read the detailed story from the Mattoon/Charleston Journal Gazette & Times Courier, New Research Facility Now Open at EIU, click here.

Renewable Energy Mentorship Program Students Celebrate CENCERE Facility Opening

April 25, 2014

mentorship The EIU Renewable Energy  Mentorship Program, which includes students from  Charleston High School, participated in the CENCERE Facility Grand Opening on  Friday, April 25. To read how these students have been part of the CENCERE facility, click here.

 This new facility will be instrumental in their studies in renewable energy. For more  information about these students and the Renewable Energy Mentorship Program, click here.


CENCERE Facility Grand Opening Scheduled 

April 25, 2014

Eastern Illinois University will continue its commitment to the emerging field of sustainable energy with the grand opening of the Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE) research facility Friday, April 25. 

The 5,000-plus-square-foot building will house a research facility in which faculty and students can conduct hands-on investigations of biomass sources that may be suitable as alternatives or additives to the wood chips being used in Eastern’s Renewable Energy Center. The new facility contains a storage and processing area, room for a laboratory-scale gasifier and an analytical lab.

Community members and local businesses will even get the opportunity to connect with students and faculty through an ‘idea incubator.’ The idea incubator will allow the community to come in and use the facility and professional knowledge to help foster their own projects and businesses.

The ribbon cutting ceremony will begin at 11:30 a.m. followed by light refreshments. To read the detailed story from the Mattoon/Charleston Journal Gazette & Times Courier, click here.


U.S. Rep. John Shimkus Tours Eastern's CENCERE Facility and Renewable Energy Center

April 15, 2014

This week Rep. John Shimkus got a sneak peak the new CENCERE Facility and toured the Renewable Energy Center with EIU President, William Perry. Detailed story from the Mattoon/Charleston Journal Gazette & Times Courier can be found here.


Two Students Graduate with MS in Sustainable Energy

December 14, 2013

At the Fall 2013 Commencement Ceremony, Rob Raschke was the first to graduate from the EIU dual-degree program. Rob received a Master of Science in Technology and Master of Science in Sustainable Energy. David Stack, who also graduated in the fall 2013 ceremony, received a Master of Science in Sustainable Energy. 

rob and dave

Rob Raschke                                  David Stack

EIU Featured in "The Greenest Colleges: Princeton Review List"

Eastern Illinois University is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to The Princeton Review. The well-known education services company selected EIU for inclusion in the just-released edition of its free downloadable book, "The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2013 Edition." Green Colleges.

The Princeton Review's Guide states, “With all of its sustainability initiatives coming to fruition, Eastern Illinois University is proving why it was “green before it became a buzzword.” A recent member of the Tree Campus USA, the campus is committed to planting and maintaining trees, as well as providing service-learning opportunities for interested students.

RECThe school’s vision is that “knowledge and experience shared through responsible campus-wide involvement in utilities conservation promotes a lifelong commitment to preserving our precious natural resources for future generations.” Since implementing recycling practices, more than a million pounds of waste have been diverted from landfills each year for the past twelve years, while cutting yearly waste production from 4.1 million pounds to 3.2 million during that same span. Reinforcing its dedication to sustainability, Eastern Illinois signed the Illinois Sustainable University Compact and adopted numerous provisions. Performance contracts have cut energy consumption by 33 percent and potable water consumption by a stunning 55 percent due to the use of campus pond water to maintain athletic facilities’ turf. Recycling programs have been implemented in every building across campus, and 90 percent of cleaning products are Green Seal-certified. In 2011, the school celebrated the opening of its Renewable Energy Center, utilizing biomass gasification that replaced the former coal plant that had fueled the campus for almost 80 years. Research projects range from converting synthesis gas into renewable energy to examining sociological and environmental issues surrounding the use of biomass as an energy source”


EIU Breaks Ground for Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE)

March 1, 2013

On March 1, 2013, the Board of Trustees, President Perry, and Charleston Area Charitable Foundation broke ground for the building of Center for Clean Energy Research and Education, north of the Renewable Energy Center. Detailed story can be found here.

Eastern breaks ground for new clean energy research center

CENCERE Ground Breaking and Site Preparation  

March 1, 2013

Eastern retained an architect who met with a group of faculty and administrators during the fall of 2012. Using the input from this group, the architect drafted the design of a new building. The new building will include space for three types of research and teaching: a biomass storage and processing area, a room for the laboratory-scale gasifier, and an analytical lab. The new building will also house an "idea incubator." This space is intended for use by local individuals who use the space to develop concepts in clean energy. We hope the idea incubator will contribute to the local economy by initiating or attracting companies to develop technology in collaboration with Eastern.

CGS Approved First Dual-Degree Program Proposal at EIU

January 15, 2013

The Council of Graduate Studies (CGS) at EIU has approved EIU's first ever dual-degree program proposal between Master of Science in Technology and Master of Science in Sustainable Energy.  The dual-degree program provides students opportunities to pursue both degrees with 12 credit hours of overlapping courses applied toward both degrees.



IBHE Approved MS in Sustainable Energy Program by EIU

December 4, 2012

The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) officially approved the new Master of Science in Sustainable Energy program to be delivered by Eastern Illinois University.

BOT Approved MS in Sustainable Energy Program and CENCERE Location

June 18, 2012

The Board of Trustees (BOT) has approved the Master of Science in Sustainable Energy program, presented by Provost Blair Lord. Upon a presentation and recommendation by President Perry, BOT also approved the location of CENCERE building north of the Renewable Energy Center.

Bioenergy Crop Planting

Three of the most promising bioenergy crops were planted in the Renewable Energy Center field trial plots at Eastern Illinois University in the spring of 2012: hybrid poplar, switchgrass and Miscanthus. Two different hybrid poplar lines (donated from GreenWood Resources) were planted on April 24 in two acres as 12” cuttings (i.e. sticks) directly into the soil. The switchgrass was planted as seed (from Blade Energy Crops) on one acre using a standard seed drill on May 19. The Miscanthus (a perennial grass from New Energy Farms) was planted on one acre as small rooted plugs using a custom-built planter on May 25. The growth, productivity and physiology of these crops will be examined and compared over several years. The utility of the biomass from these crops for bioenergy production (e.g. gasification) will also be explored. These crops will be a resource for teaching and research through the Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE) at Eastern Illinois University.


EIU Board to Vote on Location of Energy Site

The future location of the new Center for Clean Energy Research and Education Facility is now up to the vote of the Eastern Illinois University Board of Trustees. The potential location for the 4,300-square-foot building would be north of the already existing Renewable Energy Center. President Bill Perry conducted community meetings to introduce plans for the building and to address any comments or concern residents had. 

Clean Energy Research Facility Planned in Charleston

Eastern Illinois University will be breaking ground on its new Center for Clean Energy Research and Education Facility this fall. The new academic building will supply a place for students and faculty members to conduct renewable energy research and make connections with schools in the Charleston area so other students in the community can learn about renewable energy. 


Mitchell Sempowicz Mitchell Sempowicz  Runs Go Kart with Biomasss GasifierMitchell Sempowicz  Runs Go Kart with Biomasss Gasifier

Mitchell Sempowicz, a graduate student in the School of Technology, has successfully designed and constructed a downdraft straightified biomass gasifier during Spring 2012.  Using the syngas from the gasifier, he was able to run a go-kart twice this semester.  This is a project of independent study under the supervision of Dr. Jerry Cloward.  Great job, Mitchell. More photos.

Eastern takes third in International District Energy Association (IDEA) Video Contest

February 29, 2012

A team of Eastern Illinois University students made a respectable showing, coming in third behind Princeton and Harvard in the International District Energy Association’s first campus energy video contest. Click here for more information about this event. 

A video produced by Keith Sutterfield of Effingham, Wesley Smith of Chicago and Bobson Mercier of Ft. Myers, Fla., was chosen over entries from New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College, Texas A&M and the University of Connecticut. Click here to view the video on Youtube.

EIU Featured in "The Greenest Colleges: Princeton Review List"

Eastern Illinois University is one of the most environmentally responsible colleges in the United States and Canada, according to The Princeton Review. The well-known education services company selected EIU for inclusion in the just-released second annual edition of its free downloadable book, "The Princeton Review's Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition." Greenest Colleges.

Environmental Sustainability interdisciplinary Minor

February 9, 2012

The Council on Academic Affairs (CAA) approved the new Environmental Sustainability Interdisciplinary Minor on February 9th, 2012.  This minor provides students with the skillset needed to be competitive in a job market focused on the applications of environmental sustainability.  Students will take courses in alternative energies and sustainability as well as biogeochemical aspects of environmental sustainability.  The minor also provides examples of the applications of environmental sustainability to various social systems.

Master of Science in Sustainable Energy Approved

February 7, 2012

The Council for Graduate Studies (CGS) approved the new Master of Science in Sustainable Energy program on February 7th, 2012.  The program vision is to provide Leaders for Energy Industry.  Students will have a solid understanding of the sciences and technology related to energy production, conversion, utilization and conservation.  Students will also understand the economic, environmental and policy impact of a sustainable energy practice for a sustainable society.  In addition, students will develop the research and communication ability to be effective leaders in the energy industry.

Eastern received a three-year, $198,695 grant from the National Science Foundation for the Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE). The project, "Enhancing Undergraduate Education Through Student-Led Research in Biomass Renewable Energy", will position EIU as a strong leader in educating students about renewable energy and biomass research. The research team is led by Dr. Peter Liu and includes fellow School of Technology faculty members Dr. Jerry Cloward, Dr. Rendong Bai, Dr. Issac Slaven and Dr. David Melton, as well as Dr. Rose Gong, Department of Secondary Education and Foundations.


Integrative Learning and Renewable Energy

November 7, 2011

Congratulations to Dr. Richard G. Jones, Jr. for leading undergraduate and graduate students to hold a Public Presentation of "Integrative Learning and Renewable Energy," in Arcola/Tuscola room at MLK Union at Eastern Illinois University, on November 7, 2011  Presenters from  the School of Technology include Wei (Wilson) Wang and Christopher Frederick, both graduate students. 

integrative learning

Presenters from Introduction to Speech Communication Honors include Kyle Burton (The War Against Carbon), Fiona Finnegan (The Basics of Biogas), Moriah Ord (Corn as Biomass), Zac Call (Green Architecture) and Katie VanHootegem (Green Schools).  Dr. Jones also gave closing remarks on Integrative Learning.  For more photos, click here.

Homecoming Demonstration on Renewable Energy

October 22, 2011

At Homecoming, Dr. Jerry Cloward and Wei Wang (graduate assistant) showcased the complete biomass gasification system.  Dan Johnson displayed the bio-diesel project with a Jetta car fueled by bio-diesel produced from the laboratory of biological sciences.  


Many people showed interests in renewable energy research and education at EIU.  For more photos click here.

EIU Renewable Energy Center Grand Opening 

October 7, 2011REC

EUI's grand opening ceremony for its new state-of-the-art Renewable Energy Center is scheduled for 2 p.m. on the afternoon of Friday,  Oct. 7, 2011. This recent addition to EIU's extensive sustainability efforts is located at 2110 18th Street in Charleston, IL. 

Eastern’s Renewable Energy Center is one of the largest biomass renewable energy projects in the country. It houses four boilers. Two boilers burn biomass — any biological material from wood chips to switchgrass —while the others burn natural gas with a fuel oil backup. EIU’s campus energy needs can be met by running any two of the four boilers.

The facility is based on gasification technology, which is a two-stage combustion process. In the first stage, fuel is heated to a high temperate in a low-oxygen environment, which creates synthetic natural gas. In the second stage, gas is captured and combined with additional oxygen to combust just like natural gas. In this two-stage process, there is a much lower incidence of carryover. It is a much cleaner burning process compared to coal burning, and the efficiency lost is only about 5 percent of the traditional natural gas process. Basically, it produces cleaner emissions for a small energy premium. Click here for more information about EIU's Renewable Energy Center.

Panel on Renewable Energy held for Honors Speech Class

September 21, 2011

An expert panel on renewable energy was held for Dr. Richard Jones' honors speech class on September 21, 2011.  Students learned about the Renewable Energy Center and other sustainability practices at EIU.  They were introduced the basic concept of biomass gasification, its economic impact as well as environmental significance.  

 Panel on Renewable Energy

The panel includes Dr. Issac Slaven (Technology), Dr. Jerry Cloward (Technology), Gary Reed (Director of Facility Planning and Management) and Dr. Peter Ping Liu.  For more photos, click here.

Successful Gasifier Operation

September 14, 2011

Led by Dr. Jerry Cloward, CENCERE gasifier project team ran the gasifier successfully on September 14, 2011.  The gasifier was tuned and operated at the designed parameters.  The team includes Wei Wang (graduate student), Dr. Xia Xia Hu (visiting scholar from China), Dr. Mori Toosi, and Dr. Peter Ping Liu.  Associate Dean Jeanne Snyder and Dean Mahyar Izadi also participated in the test run. 


The project was sponsored by Charleston Area Charitable Foundation, in memory of Robert M. & Virginia C. Moore.  For more photos, click here.

Tropical Maize Biofuel and Forage Crop Field Day

September 9, 2011

On September 9, 2011, Wei Wang (graduate student), Dr. Xia Xia Hu (visiting scholar from China), Dr. Jerry Cloward, Dr. Peter Ping Liu, Gary Reed (Director of Facility Planning and Management), and Paul McCann (Treasurer) attended the Tropical Maize Field Day at the Schetter Farm south of Brighton, IL. 

tropical maize

The Field Day was organized by University of Illinois Extension Services.  For more photos, click here.  

January 14, 2010

Eastern's Board of Trustees approved the formation of the Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE) program.


December 14, 2010

Eastern’s old steam plant burned its last coal on Dec. 14, 2010. 

September 1, 2010

Eastern's President Perry presented the CENCERE vision in his State of the University Address to faculty and staff.

July 1, 2010

The concept for the Center for Clean Energy Research and Education (CENCERE) was developed.

Summer 2010

Dr. Robert Chesnut and Dr. Peter Ping Liu met with several EIU departments to discuss the CENCERE concept duirng summer.

June 15, 2010

Dr. Hans P. Blashek, University of Illinois Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research, provided EIU with a written report addressing Eastern's Renewable Energy Center and the opportunities in energy research.

April 9, 2010

Dr. Hans P. Blashek, University of Illinois Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research, visited the EIU campus and toured the Renewable Energy Center under construction. Dr. Hans P. Blashek also met with Eastern's president and vice president to discuss the Renewable Energy Center. Later that day, he met with deans, departmental chairs dand faculty. 

Early Spring 2010

Provost Blair Lord led several campus meetings addressing need for integrated learning with the Renewable Energy Center.


EIU Renewable Energy Construction Begins

Under the umbrella of an $80 million performance contract with Honeywell International, EIU has broken ground for the Renewable Energy Center to be located on 18th Street in Charleston, IL.  The Renewable Energy Center will replace EIU's failing coal burning plant that the campus has used since 1928.  The current plant featues some original equipment from over 80 years ago. With parts out of production. EIU has been forced to manufacture replacement parts when they became necessary — a time-consuming endeavor that was also costly, because any stoppage of the coal-burning boilers necessitated the use of the more expensive natural gas units. The new steam plant is expected to result in an 80 percent reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions.