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New research consortium aims to find innovative solutions to climate change issues in the West

A man stands at the end of a solar panel array at a solar project site, Sept. 15, 2016, on the Moapa River Indian Reservation about 40 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
John Locher
/
Associated Press
A man stands at the end of a solar panel array at a solar project site, Sept. 15, 2016, on the Moapa River Indian Reservation about 40 miles northeast of Las Vegas. A new research group aims to combat climate change through projects that explore alternative energy sources.

The Southwest Sustainability Innovation Engine will be created with $15 million in funding from the National Science Foundation. It involves several entities including the Desert Research Institute, University of Nevada Las Vegas, University of Utah and Arizona State University.

The consortium is focused on three main priorities: creating new alternative energy sources, exploring carbon capture options and capturing water from ambient air.

Zach Miles is with the Department of Economic Development at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He said yesterday's prototypes will become today's consumer tools.

“You're going to be able to have things or buy them or use them or utilize them, and maybe some of the unseen that is going to make your lives better,” said Miles.

Miles said ultimately innovation means a future where we all thrive.

“And although we're answering questions that need to be solved, the engine is really there to not just solve those, but to be able to say we're going to put out the best technologies so that you're living the best life that you possibly can,” he said.

With this initial funding, The Southwest Sustainability Innovation Engine can now jumpstart its research projects during the next two years.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Yvette Fernandez is the regional reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau. She joined Nevada Public Radio in September 2021.