CHAPEL HILL – This week, UNC-Chapel Hill’s seventh annual Clean Tech Summit will convene hundreds of students, faculty and staff members, professionals, executives and government representatives—all passionate about the future of the clean energy industry.

The event features two days of panels, keynotes and workshops covering innovation in the clean energy industry. Co-hosted by UNC’s Institute for the Environment and Kenan-Flagler Business School, the summit will take place this Thursday and Friday, February 20-21, at The Friday Center on campus.

UNC Institute for the Environment Project Manager Kiersten Williams says the Clean Tech Summit has grown each year since its start in 2014. Williams anticipates a turnout of 1,000 attendees for this year’s program.

The overarching theme of the program is “Innovating to a Clean Economy,” which encompasses several sub-topics: Circular economy, regenerative agriculture, smart cities, transportation, energy management, future of energy, coastal resiliency and blue tech.

Within these topics are dozens of breakout sessions with over 100 speakers across academia, venture capital, nonprofits, corporations, startups, and city, county and state government. There will also be two workshops on Thursday, covering diversity in clean energy and developing an entrepreneurial mindset.

Keynote presenters are Wall Street Journal reporter and author Russell Gold (who’ll also have a book signing), JinkoSolar Director of Business Development Jeff Juger, Audi of America Director of Government Affairs Spencer Reeder, Saskia Visser of Wageningen Environmental Research, and Strata Solar Co-Founder and CEO Markus Wilhelm.

The Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster will host a Career Fair on Friday from 3-5 p.m., open to all currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students, in addition to recent graduates of universities in the southeast region at-large.

Students also have the opportunity to meet with mentors during 30-minute blocks on both days of the summit.

The Clean Tech Summit will also include two awards programs, both presented on Thursday from 12:25-1:15 p.m.:

  • StrataSolar will award $10,000 to ideas that offer solutions for solar, wind, energy storage, energy markets or energy efficiency. Eligible staff and students submitted their applications back in January. The winning idea will be announced on Thursday from 12:45-1:15 p.m.
  • Clean Tech Summit organizers will grant an award to a “Southeast Clean Tech Visionary,” in acknowledgment of an innovative individual who is leading advancements in the industry. The award recipient is Tom Butler, owner of Lillington-based Butler Farms, a facility that converts swine and food waste into biogas methane to generate electricity.

Registration closes today. Tickets are $30 for students, $30 for K-12 and community college faculty, $75 for university faculty and administration, $175 for nonprofit and government attendees, and $275 for industry professionals.

Previous Clean Tech Summit coverage:

NC’s role in clean energy economy is focus of UNC Clean Tech Summit

Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster members take center stage at NC Cleantech Summit

International network of cleantech innovators bring biz development opportunities to Triangle