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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Dr. Jack Barkenbus of the University of Tennessee will lead the environmental arm of the new National Transportation Research Center being built on Pellissippi Parkway.

Barkenbus, executive director of UT-Knoxville’s Energy, Environment and Resources Center, will head the 15-member NTRC energy and environment focus team that will look at transportation research in areas such as alternative fuels to help the environment.

It is one of six NTRC focus teams for research in defense, manufacturing, planning and policy, intelligent vehicle systems, safety, power trains and other areas.

“Transportation choices almost always involve some type of environmental or energy issue,” Barkenbus said.

“There are pluses and minuses to many alternative fuel technologies. We will be looking at research on these and other transportation issues to learn more about their overall impact on the environment.”

NTRC, a research partnership between UT, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and private industry, is designed to develop affordable, safe, clean transportation. The center will have a staff of about 150.