Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center

Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center

The Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center (MAREC) is a facility located in Muskegon, Michigan that promotes research, education and business development in alternative and renewable energy technologies.[1]


History and development

Development and planning for the center began in 1999 when a group of Grand Valley State University faculty and Muskegon business people proposed a research and development facility focused on alternative energy. Subsequent partnerships between the business, community, and the private sector resulted in groundbreaking for the center in late 2002, and its completion in 2003.[citation needed]

The building

The 25,000-square-foot (2,300 m2) facility is powered, in part, by a fuel cell and a micro turbine, which turn natural gas into electricity. In addition, the building's photovoltaic solar roof tiles harness the solar power generated by the sun to create useful energy. MAREC then uses a nickel metal hydride battery system to store some of the energy produced by these sources for use during peak energy consumption periods.[2]

The building was also constructed using many alternative and renewable building materials including flooring surfaces produced from fast-growing bamboo and recycled tires, and rigid wall surfaces made from pressed wheat. These materials were used to conserve and recycle valuable natural resources.

Economic development

MAREC is part of the Muskegon Lakeshore SmartZone, a joint venture with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the city of Muskegon, and Grand Valley State University. The Muskegon Lakeshore SmartZone is intended to promote and attract high technology business development in Muskegon and the region. MAREC has 4,000 square feet (400 m2) of space devoted to incubating businesses that will research and develop alternative energy sources and uses. The focus on alternative energy is expected to be a catalyst for economic development and job growth in the area. Research and development initiatives will also fuel business expansion at Edison Landing, the 32-acre (130,000 m2) SmartZone being transformed into a multi-use office, retail, and residential center. Overall SmartZone development is expected to complement the array of human, physical, and capital investments made at MAREC.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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