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Updated 10:00 AM September 10, 2007




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DTE Energy Foundation creates professorship
with $1.5 million grant

DTE Energy Foundation has pledged $1.5 million to the College of Engineering and the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute (MMPEI) to create the DTE Energy Professorship of Advanced Energy Research.

The gift comes as part of The Michigan Difference, the U-M's $2.5 billion fund-raising campaign.

"This grant, one of the largest our foundation has ever made, underscores DTE Energy's commitment to leading our state and industry in creating an energy future that is sustainable and that offers reliable, affordable energy," says Fred Shell, DTE Energy vice president of corporate and government affairs and president of the DTE Energy Foundation. "We're looking forward to collaborating with the University on this exciting and critically important work."

The DTE Energy professorship will support a faculty member whose research will include alternative energy sources, energy storage and conversion, transportation, fuels or sustainability.

"The DTE Energy Professorship will permanently link DTE Energy with the University's energy activities, significantly advancing our expertise in an area that is of keen interest to both DTE Energy and the University," says David Munson Jr., the Robert J. Vlasic dean of engineering.

Launched in December 2006, MMPEI facilitates multidisciplinary, energy-related research across the University.

Starting this fall, MMPEI will head a consortium that includes DTE Energy as a leading member to examine the technical challenges now facing plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). Also known as gas-electric hybrids, PHEVs feature batteries that can be recharged by plugging into an external electrical outlet. They conserve fuel by operating off battery power for short distances at moderate speeds. The two-year, $2 million research effort is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy with $1 million going to U-M.

"As the state's leading diversified energy company with a strong interest in encouraging creative approaches to energy challenges, DTE Energy is an ideal partner in the University's expanding energy education and research agenda," says MMPEI Director Gary Was, professor of nuclear engineering and radiological sciences as well as materials science and engineering in the College of Engineering (CoE). "This high-visibility partnership holds extraordinary promise for the future."

DTE Energy Foundation leaders say they were initially attracted to MMPEI because of the institute's multidisciplinary approach to addressing complex energy issues. For example, MMPEI has funded a research project at U-M to study the relationship between renewable energy technologies, electricity consumption patterns and environmental policy. The project's investigators represent the CoE, School of Natural Resources and Environment, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

Earlier this year, DTE Energy sponsored a two-day symposium, "Energy Science, Technology, and Policy: Facing the Challenge" that featured U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman and served as the MMPEI's official debut.

More information about the MMPEI and energy research at U-M is available at

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