Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center

The Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center (MAREC) was a facility located in Muskegon, Michigan that promoted research, education and business development in alternative and renewable energy technologies.[1] In May 2016, the Center was renamed the Muskegon Innovation Center and the organization refocused on supporting innovation and entrepreneurship.[2]

History and development

Development and planning for the center began in 1999 when a group of Grand Valley State University faculty and Muskegon business people proposed a research and development facility focused on alternative energy. Subsequent partnerships between the business, community, and the private sector resulted in groundbreaking for the center in late 2002, and its completion in 2003.

The building

The 25,000-square-foot (2,300 m2) facility was powered, in part, by a fuel cell and a micro turbine, which turned natural gas into electricity. In addition, the building's photovoltaic solar roof tiles harnessed the solar power generated by the sun to create useful energy. MAREC then used a nickel metal hydride battery system to store some of the energy produced by these sources for use during peak energy consumption periods.[3]

The building was also constructed using many alternative and renewable building materials including flooring surfaces produced from fast-growing bamboo and recycled tires, and rigid wall surfaces made from pressed wheat. These materials were used to conserve and recycle valuable natural resources.

Economic development

MAREC was part of the Muskegon Lakeshore SmartZone, a joint venture with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the city of Muskegon, and Grand Valley State University. The Muskegon Lakeshore SmartZone is intended to promote and attract high technology business development in Muskegon and the region.

MAREC had 4,000 square feet (400 m2) of space devoted to incubating businesses that would research and develop alternative energy sources and uses. The focus on alternative energy was expected to be a catalyst for economic development and job growth in the area. Research and development initiatives was also intended to fuel business expansion at Edison Landing, the 32-acre (130,000 m2) SmartZone being transformed into a multi-use office, retail, and residential center. Overall SmartZone development was expected to complement the array of human, physical, and capital investments made at MAREC.


  1. "The Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center (MAREC)". Absolute Michigan. Archived from the original on November 29, 2010. Retrieved July 14, 2010.
  2. Wiegand, John. "GVSU's MAREC relaunches with new name, co-working space in Muskegon". mibiz.com. Retrieved 2016-06-01.
  3. "Michigan Alternative & Renewable Energy Center". The Chief Engineer. Retrieved July 14, 2010.
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