Berwyn native addresses Capitol Hill gathering hosted by Secretary of Energy Abraham

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 13, 2004 – Bruce Billian of Berwyn, Pa., an electrical engineering graduate student at Virginia Tech and leader of the university's Hybrid Electric Vehicle Team, spoke during a March 24 Capitol Hill event hosted by U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham and Ford Motor Co.

Billian discussed his team's work in converting a Ford Explorer into a hydrogen-powered vehicle for FutureTruck 2004, a national competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and Ford. The Virginia Tech team, which has competed in the FutureTruck competition since its inception in 2000, is one of two teams adapting an Explorer's internal combustion engine to run on hydrogen fuel instead of gasoline.

Teams from 15 universities are competing in FutureTruck 2004. Each team is reengineering a Ford Explorer, donated by the automaker, to achieve lower emissions and at least 25 percent higher fuel economy, without sacrificing performance, utility or safety. The competition will take place June 9-17 at Ford's Michigan Proving Ground near Detroit.

Teams from six other universities--Ohio State, Penn State, University of Maryland, University of Tennessee, University of Wisconsin-Madison and West Virginia University--also demonstrated their competition vehicles during the Capitol Hill event.

The College of Engineering at Virginia Tech is internationally recognized for its excellence in 14 engineering disciplines and computer science. The college's 5,600 undergraduates benefit from an innovative curriculum that provides a "hands-on, minds-on" approach to engineering education, complementing classroom instruction with two unique design-and-build facilities and a strong Cooperative Education Program. With more than 50 research centers and numerous laboratories, the college offers its 2,000 graduate students opportunities in advanced fields of study such as biomedical engineering, state-of-the-art microelectronics, and nanotechnology.

Founded in 1872 as a land-grant college, Virginia Tech has grown to become the largest university in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today, Virginia Tech's eight colleges are dedicated to putting knowledge to work through teaching, research, and outreach activities and to fulfilling its vision to be among the top 30 research universities in the nation. At its 2,600-acre main campus located in Blacksburg and other campus centers in Northern Virginia, Southwest Virginia, Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Roanoke, Virginia Tech enrolls more than 28,000 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries in 180 academic degree programs.