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Friday, September 22, 2023


BP donates buggy

BP America presented University of Houston President and UH Systems Chancellor Renu Khator with a ‘solar utility vehicle’ and a $300,000 donation at halftime of the men’s basketball game on Wednesday in Hofheinz pavilion.

The donation is part of BP’s initiative to contribute to student research.

‘Funding programs to get students involved and interested in energy science is important,’ said Gabe Cuadra, BP manager of compliance and UH alumni.

The funds will be disbursed among the Cullen College of Engineering, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the’ Bauer College of Business. It will also be used to recruit and retain students with diverse research interests, attract National Merit scholars and support an internship program.

‘The University is a big source of recruiting for us,’ Cuadra said. ‘We recruit almost 30 students a year and feel it is important to get students involved in energy research as early as their freshman year.’

Cuadra presented the check to Khator along with two other UH alumni – BP chief commercial officer of power Gerald Balboa and BP compliance manager Lizzie Nguyen. The solar utility vehicle, which Khator will use to cruise the campus, was placed on display in Hofheinz Pavilion during the game.

The four-passenger all-terrain buggy is equipped with two electric motors with 30 horsepower and more than 170 foot-pounds of torque. It is one of the most powerful all-terrain vehicles available and includes four-wheel drive and a capacity of up to 880 pounds as well as a photovoltaic solar panel that augments the vehicle’s battery system.

‘BP is one of the largest solar panel manufacturers in the world,’ Cuadra said. ‘We are committed to protecting the environment.’

BP’s contributions have gone to energy-related programs at UH for more than 30 years allowing it to become the most diverse research university in the country.

‘We share with BP a social responsibility to find better ways to develop safe, clean and sustainable energy for the future,’ Khator said. ‘This new solar buggy to support our commitment to UH Green initiatives, the environment and renewable energy sources is a great example of social responsibility in action.’

As one the largest producers of oil and gas in the U.S. and the nation’s largest energy investors, BP has become involved in finding renewable energy products and reducing environmental impact.

‘The environment is so important to all of us,’ Balboa said. ‘BP was one of the first companies to recognize the issue of global warming.’

Among other projects, BP has been involved in the Lone Star Wind Alliance. UH is the general manager of the LSWA and has come together with other universities, government agencies and corporate partners to begin a testing facility in Ingleside, Texas committed to advancements in renewable energy.

BP’s donation is the second installment of a $750,000 pledge the company made in March 2008 to support student success and energy advancements through scholarships and research programs.

‘The students are the future and finding new sources of energy is essential for the future,’ Khator said. ‘We are very grateful to BP for their generosity and vision.’

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