ASU Insight: Breaking the Gridlock How to steer through stalemates and get government working again (8 minutes)

May 27, 2014

Why has it become so difficult for our Federal government to negotiate, come to agreement, and pass legislation? How can we improve the policy making process in Washington to boost overall government effectiveness? Is it time to modernize our Federal government and what should reform look like?

Join us for two solutions oriented discussions on how to make the Federal government work for America again. seated panel discussion Panel discussion on how to steer through stalemates and get government working again. Download Full Image

Featured panelists will include:

- Michael Barone, Senior Political Analyst, Washington Examiner

- The Hon. Evan Bayh, former Governor and former U.S. Senator, D-IN

- Michael M. Crow, President, Arizona State University

- The Hon. Jon Kyl, former Senate Minority Whip, R-AZ

- The Hon. Trent Lott, former Senate Majority Leader, R-MS

- Jonathan Rauch, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution

- Chris Wallace, Host, Fox News Sunday

Ben Nelson is the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Minerva Project and former head of Snapfish. Founded in 2012, the Minerva Project has attracted $95M in venture capital and seeks to reinvent higher education by building a new kind of liberal-arts university that is a unique blend between residential and online, is built on a technology platform that utilizes the latest in learning science, and is more affordable and accessible to students from around the world.

The Frank Rhodes Lecture on the Creation of the Future: A Lecture Series for a New American University began in the Fall of 2011 at the direction of ASU President Michael Crow to help advance his vision for a New American University and the need to redefine the role of higher education in society.

Ken Fagan

Videographer, ASU News


US Navy supports ASU's development of algae-based biofuels

May 27, 2014

The similarities between the U.S. Navy and civilian cities and industry may not be readily apparent, said Dennis McGinn, U.S. Navy Assistant Secretary for Energy, Installations and Environment, but in the realm of energy use and reliability, there are often parallel problems to be solved. Where there are overlapping issues, such as cost, sustainability, efficiency and energy security, McGinn said the Navy is interested in working with research institutions and industry to improve the energy outlook for all.

“We are thinking about energy in three different ways: first in technology terms; biofuels, wind and solar energy storage, power grid systems and more,” McGinn said during a visit to Arizona State University. “But it takes two other critical elements to achieve our energy goals: partnerships and culture. This is why we’re interested in forging and strengthening relationships with outstanding organizations like ASU.” U.S. Navy Assistant Secretary Dennis McGinn at AzCATI Download Full Image

While the Department of the Navy broadly funds energy research, another key aspect is its considerable influence in setting purchasing standards for their operations. The Navy is using its authority under the Defense Production Act, which allows the Navy, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to invest in industries that are determined critical to national security; in this case, biofuels. McGinn said that the Navy has already invested millions in projects with the DOE and USDA in order to bring down the cost of producing biofuel.

“The Navy wants to buy anywhere between 10 and 50 percent biofuel blends for our ships,” he said. “We want it to be a cost-competitive program. We are working specifically with the USDA to bring down biofuel costs to $3.50 a gallon or less at the commercial scale of 170 million gallons a year by 2016.”

As part of his visit to ASU, McGinn toured the Arizona Center for Algae Technology and Innovation (AzCATI) at the Polytechnic campus in Mesa. As the largest university-based algae facility on the globe, AzCATI leads the DOE-funded national algae testbed, the Algae Testbed Public-Private Partnership (ATP3). The Navy has interest in the work done by AzCATI and ATP3, especially if the cost of creating algae biofuels can shrink to compete with traditional fuel markets, McGinn said.

“The Department of the Navy is very interested in developing alternative transportation fuel to power our fleets,” he said. “Algae biofuel represents great potential in that it is sustainable and scalable. That’s why we’re interested in working with ASU and the industry to advance this technology."

The use of U.S.-made, renewable fuels may not only assist the Navy in becoming more sustainable and independent, but it may also help the nation achieve even better national and economic security.

“Globally, there is a continuing overreliance on fossil fuel. And while we are very appreciative and view it as a blessing to our country to have this current oil and gas boom, in the national security business we get paid to look over the long-term horizon,” said McGinn. “When we look 15 or 20 years out into the future, we see significant potential for great competition, and even conflict, related to increasing world demand for petroleum.”