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Unconventional Energy Sources And Research In Moldova

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

International Engineering Education II

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Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1357.1 - 11.1357.12

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Paper Authors


Greg Mowry University of St. Thomas-St. Paul

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Greg Mowry received his B.S. and M.S. degree in metallurgical engineering from Iowa State University in 1976 and 1978 respectively. He attended Stanford University from 1979 to 1981 for a non-thesis M.S.E.E. program. He received his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1995. He joined the School of Engineering at the University of St. Thomas in 2003 with 24 years of industrial and entrepreneurial experience. His research interests include alternative energy research, thin-films, MEMs, optics and laser optics, and the pedagogy of teaching engineering.

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Unconventional Energy Sources and Research in Moldova


Located in Eastern Europe Moldova is sandwiched between the Ukraine and Romania just west of the Black Sea. Moldova imports approximately 96% of its energy from the Ukraine and Romania. This situation is clearly unsustainable and highly undesirable. Moldova is also one of the poorest countries in Europe with little native mineral wealth but blessed with incredibly fertile soil. The primary industries in Moldova are based on agriculture and wine products. The energy situation provides Moldova with the incentive for developing a detailed review and analysis of its renewable energy potential which will then provide the basis for developing a long-term energy strategy. The current energy situation in Moldova can be characterized as follows1: A lack of local traditional energy resources; A lack of funds combined with the country’s energy debt (> $270 million) towards external gas suppliers (Russia) and electricity suppliers (Ukraine and Romania); Energy system inefficiency: energy intensity reaches 1.7 tcf/$1000 (vs. 0.15 for the European Union (EU), 0.50 in Hungary, 0.60 in Poland, 0.82 in Slovakia or 1.28 in Romania); Significant difficulties within the national economy; e.g. the government does not directly control its own internal energy suppliers.

Given this backdrop, and in cooperation with faculty colleagues at the Technical University of Moldova (TUM) lead by Dr. Petru Todos (Vice-rector of the TUM), a team of student researchers from the University of St. Thomas were engaged in alternative-energy research for almost a month in Moldova. The alternative-energy research opportunities in Moldova and the results of the research will be briefly discussed. In addition, since Moldova is a former Soviet Eastern-Block country, this paper will also address the team selection process, the trip preparations, the general conditions in Moldova, what worked well during the trip as well as what did not work, and the challenges of performing research in a country that does not generally speak English.


There were several prominent universities in the former Soviet Union. Among these were the Lomonosov Moscow State University, the University of Kiev, and the TUM2. The TUM is located in Chisinau, the capital city of Moldova (see figure 13). During the decades of Soviet control, the TUM served as one of the primary institutes of higher education for the Soviet Eastern Block countries. In Moldova, the presence of the TUM combined with the relatively small population resulted in an educated population. In the years following the collapse of the former Soviet Union (circa 1990) many of the more educated citizens left Moldova to seek employment in the EU (approximately 1-in-4 from a base population of ~4 million). During the

Mowry, G. (2006, June), Unconventional Energy Sources And Research In Moldova Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois.

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