University of California, Riverside

Center for Environmental Research & Technology

Summer Recap: The Events, Visitors, and Initiatives that Keep Sustainability an Ongoing Theme at CE-CERT

Summer Recap: The Events, Visitors, and Initiatives that Keep Sustainability an Ongoing Theme at CE-CERT

October 26, 2017

Summer Recap: The Events, Visitors, and Initiatives that Keep Sustainability an Ongoing Theme at CE-CERT

CE-CERT had a busy but very successful summer, with a variety of events, visits, and partnerships in support of sustainability. This summer also saw the development of many notable initiatives and partnerships, such as the Center for Renewable Natural gas and the Academic Committee on Sustainability. Below are some of this summer’s notable events and news highlights:

CE-CERT Center for Renewable Natural Gas Recognized in UC President’s Keynote Address
RNGCE-CERT’s  Center for Renewable Natural Gas (CRNG) is the first academic institution in the country that is fully dedicated to the applied research of renewable gas technologies. The importance of Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) as a part of a sustainable fuels future was acknowledged by the University of California President Janet Napolitano in her keynote address to the California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance (CCEEB) on Tuesday, July 18, 2017.

President Napolitano’s speech was delivered at the CCEEB annual policy conference in Olympic Valley, CA, where she accepted the 2017 Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Award on behalf of the UC system. This award honors environmental and economic leadership, as demonstrated by programs and activities such as the UC’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative.

In her address, President Napolitano discussed the importance of energy sources such as renewable natural gas (RNG) in reducing the use of fossil fuels in the state of California, stating that enough renewable natural gas could be produced each year to replace 75% of the diesel fuel used by vehicles across the state. She also addressed the possible economic impacts of RNG through the promotion of sustainable transportation and the development of more “green” jobs.

There is great Interest in the possibilities offered by renewable natural gas on the part of both industry and academia, as well as by the general public. The Center for Renewable Natural Gas hosted a successful symposium on May 17, 2017, the same date as the Center’s ribbon cutting ceremony. Nearly 200 attendees gathered to learn about technologies such as thermochemical RNG Production, commercial scale power to gas; RNG policy in California; and challenges to expediting commercial RNG production. California’s public utility providers also recognize the importance of RNG; the Southern California Gas Company is a key partner in the Center for Renewable Natural Gas.
NicholsMary Nichols Visits CE-CERT

CE-CERT was honored to host UC Riverside Bourns College of Engineering commencement speaker Dr. Mary Nichols for a tour and lunch on June 19, 2017. Dr. Nichols is the current chair of the California Air Resources Board, and is known for her environmental advocacy work and her long and distinguished career in public and nonprofit service. Dr. Nichols engaged in dialog with researchers, staff, and students about the work being done at the Center, and enjoyed a tour of the CE-CERT laboratories.

UCR Faculty and Students Come Together to Support Sustainability

One of the Center’s primary areas of emphasis includes understanding and developing sustainable solutions for our energy and transportation challenges. Sustainability at UCR is a popular discussion area for faculty and students from a research perspective, as well as advocating for achieving net zero campus. CE-CERT, Facilities Planning, and the Academic Ad hoc Committee on Sustainability hosted a third  sustainability workgroup composed of faculty, staff, and students on June 8, 2017, with over 45 people in attendance. One of the key tasks of this group is to assess the current sustainability efforts on campus and to develop a coordinated structure under which these activities will move forward in the future. The group is also working to gather feedback and gauge interest in such an effort, and is exploring possibilities such as the development of a sustainability curriculum, partnerships with industries that invested in sustainability, and the creation of a central sustainability institute.

Symposium Honors Clean Air Act Author Leon Billings

On May 12, 2017, CE-CERT, in partnership with the California Air Resources Board and CEERT (, hosted a symposium  to honor theBillings passing of Leon Billings, the visionary architect of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. The program included stories from close colleagues of Billings recalling how the legislation was crafted from the ground up, much of which took place right here in Southern California.  Panelists discussed the impact this and other legislation adopted by the State of California had on improving our local air quality, and its cascading impact on the entire nation and world. The event concluded with comments on the work we have ahead, including protecting the California waiver and continued progress towards clean air and climate change.




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University of California, Riverside
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Riverside, CA 92521
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Riverside, CA 92507
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