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SUNY Morrisville Offers New Hands-On Clean Energy and Agriculture Experience

By on October 25, 2021 0

A new facility means not only improved educational opportunities, but possibly brighter post-graduation employment potential for SUNY Morrisville students.

For just over a month now, they’ve been attending classes and labs at the college’s new $ 16 million Agriculture and Clean Energy Technology (ACET) center on the Morrisville campus. The 30,000 square foot Applied Learning Technologies building now houses the Renewable Energy, Agricultural Engineering and Diesel Technology programs.

“It’s great going to college for the first time and feeling so blessed to have a brand new $ 16 million facility like this,” said Joshua Griffin-Betsinger, freshman. year in Diesel technology, from Cazenovia. “It will certainly prepare us to work better with outside companies after we leave here.”

“It really is an incredible opportunity for us,” said classmate Matthew Retrosi of Canastota. “The ACET Center will definitely help us later in life.”

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The grand opening of the ACET Center took place on October 21, with public tours of the facility as well as speeches from college and state dignitaries, including the State Agriculture and Markets Commissioner of New York, Richard Ball, and an official ribbon cutting.

“It seems like the right thing at the right time,” Ball told the audience at the opening ceremony. “We are celebrating a project that touches on so many priorities for us in New York State, from strengthening our workforce to investing in the future of agriculture to 21st century technology. which will help us fight climate change and renewable energies. “

SUNY Morrisville hosted the grand opening of its new Farm Technology and Clean Energy Center on October 21, inviting the public for tours, speeches and an official ribbon cutting.

The ACET center has unique educational features such as bioenergy and wind hydroelectricity labs, three large garage bays with remote-controlled overhead cranes for heavy equipment and trucks, indoor solar roofs, wind turbines and even multiple tower towers. ‘Climbing with spans of up to 160 feet for height training.

There are 30 foot ceilings in the garage bays, which gives the space needed to work on large trucks and heavy machinery.

“This larger facility gives us the ability to handle all of this,” said Charles “Chip” Ax, associate professor of agricultural and automotive technology. “This is a real hands-on educational opportunity.”

The real-world-based labs were designed directly from industry standards and offer the training that promises to nurture students for their future success in industries that seek qualified graduates, Ax added.

Ben Ballard, left, and Samuel Doubleday pose on October 21 with soy fuels in the biofuel preparation lab at SUNY Morrisville's new Agriculture and Clean Energy Technology Center.  Ballard is an Associate Professor of Renewable Energy and Doubleday is a Community Solar Sales Representative for Omni Renewables.

Philip Hofmeyer, associate professor of renewable energy, said ACET Center courses will offer two degree programs in renewable energy and one in agricultural engineering technology and diesel technology.

“We now really have the right equipment and the right facilities – and having the right facilities provides a fantastic opportunity for students that they’ve never had before,” said Hofmeyer, 1999 SUNY Morrisville graduate who co- created the college’s renewable energy curriculum. in 2008. “I can’t think of another place in New York State that has this kind of facility.”

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He said they plan to start with 30 classes taken by around 150 students in their first full semester in January. And that’s just the beginning.

“The center was designed for expansion,” he said. “This space allows us to grow in the future.”

The building is 62 percent more efficient than current energy codes. A commercial solar panel produces power to offset electricity in the ACET center, while doubling renewable energy courses to show first-hand installation and industrial-scale solar projects.

There are even social benefits from the center.

“It’s great to have a space dedicated to our major instead of bouncing from one building to another,” said Eden Adler, a junior renewable energy major at Solvay. “It’s also nice to be able to meet other students and to be able to spend time together in a central place.”

For more information on the SUNY Morrisville ACET Center, visit

The quality of renewable energy and agricultural technology education has taken a big step forward with the ACET Center, praised Samuel Doubleday, 2015 SUNY Morrisville graduate and now Omni Renewables community solar sales representative. . This will be a boon not only for the graduates and their new employers, but also for the college in their future recruiting efforts.

“This center will attract students from across the country,” said Doubleday. “They have a program here that really deserves a setup like this.”

Mike Jaquays is the community reporter for Mid-York Weekly. Email him at [email protected]

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