October 7-10, 2008    Evanston, IL, USA


Plenary 1 - Wednesday Oct. 8th

Energy Technology and the Environment: Advances in Renewables

James R. Maughan, Ph.D.

General Manager, Product Service and Warranty
GE Wind Energy
Schenectady, NY


In meeting society’s increasing demand for energy, the environmental impact of any particular choice is emerging as a business factor as significant as efficiency, fuel availability, security, or even cost. This in turn is driving the development of new options that reduce environmental impact, often at the expense of other factors, forcing larger choices to be made.

This lecture will focus on the promise and perils of some of these new energy technologies under development at GE Energy and elsewhere. Options range from improving current applications such as steam-cooled gas turbines, coal gasification with CO2 sequestration, nuclear power, and wind turbines to advancing newer potential solutions such as solid oxide fuel cell hybrids, organic photovoltaics, hot dry rock energy, superconducting electrical systems, and a broad hydrogen economy, possibilities all enabled through improvements in fundamental technologies such as materials, analysis, and modeling, and through applied technology such as lean manufacturing and rapid prototyping. Particular focus is given to wind turbine technology, the fastest growing renewable energy source today and where GE has recently built a $7B business.

No single technology is likely to be the entire answer. Each will challenge engineers well in to the future. Continuous technology development, however, will create the options from which to choose energy sources that are cost effective, secure, and environmentally sustainable.

Bio: James R. Maughan, a second-generation GE employee, was born in Schenectady, NY. He received a B.S. from Brigham Young University, and a M.S. and Ph.D. from Purdue University, all in Mechanical Engineering. He joined GE in 1989 at the Corporate Research Center, in Schenectady, NY, working in the area of low emissions combustion research, aircraft engines combustion, and gas appliances. He joined GE Energy in 1997 to lead the introduction of low emissions combustion systems into GE gas turbines, and held subsequent leadership positions in Gas Turbine, Steam Turbine, and Energy Services. He was later global manager of energy-related research at GE’s Research Center, and was General Manager of Controls and Power Electronics in Salem, VA until early 2007, when he moved into his current role as General Manager of Product Service and Warranty for GE Wind Energy.  In this position, he is responsible for customer satisfaction and the reliable and efficient operation of GE’s global and growing fleet of 9000 turbines.

He and his wife Sharon are the parents of four children, with whom he spends the bulk of his free time. He also enjoys a variety of social pursuits, volunteering with Scouting, and outdoor activities such as hiking, caving, and astrophotography.

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