As shown on our Projects page, SERC’s energy activities fall broadly in the categories of hydrogen and fuel cells, bioenergy, energy for the developing world, and policy and analysis. Our capabilities reflect these themes in our work.
SERC conducts research and analysis; designs, builds, operates, and demonstrates clean and renewable energy technologies; provides training for students in these technologies; and educates the public about the advantages of clean and renewable energy technologies.
SERC has developed and installed fuel cell test stations at five major research universities and has considerable experience in the design, installation and operation of data acquisition and control systems and analysis of data collected using such systems. We have also installed, operated, analyzed, and optimized performance of biomass gasification and torrefaction systems.
SERC’s work does not stop when the installation of energy systems is complete: our engineers go on to provide system testing and startup, technology transfer, operations and maintenance manuals, training services, and technical support and troubleshooting to our project clients.
The Center holds two U.S. patents on fuel cell technology and has commercialized its intellectual property via three license agreements with U.S. corporations. From our work with safety professionals, fire marshals, and code officials, Center personnel have become familiar with codes, standards, and safe practices in dealing with AC and DC electrical circuitry and hydrogen gas.
We conduct policy, economic and feasibility studies for hydrogen and renewable energy technologies. We also assist our clients in the political consensus building necessary to make groundbreaking projects become reality. We develop outreach and educational materials to garner public support for hydrogen and renewable energy projects, and we develop science-based curriculums to teach primary, secondary and university level students about hydrogen and renewable energy.
SERC’s three co-directors all hold PhDs in engineering or affiliated sciences and are members of the faculty of HSU’s department of Environmental Resources Engineering. Most of our research staff are graduates of the ERE program at the B.S. or M.S. level. We have one licensed professional mechanical engineer on staff. We also employ administrative support staff and a number of undergraduate and graduate students working on degrees in the ERE program.
SERC’s clients have included local, state and federal agencies, non-profit groups, Tribal governments, universities, and private corporations. Among these are: World Bank, US Department of Energy, California Energy Commission, California Air Resources Board, California Department of Transportation, Chevron Technology Ventures, United States Forest Service, Redwood National and State Parks, Natural Resources Defense Council, Alameda-Contra Costa Transit Agency, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, United Technologies Corporation, Yurok Tribe, Indonesian Sugar Group, and University of Michigan.
Since January 2011, SERC has operated out of a new purpose-built facility atop a picturesque hill on the Humboldt State University campus. The 6,000 square foot-plus building houses an exterior laboratory, two indoor labs, a machine shop, a conference and demonstration room, and offices for staff and students.
The new building meets LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold equivalent standards. Funding for the $3.2M project came from the estate of the late Dr. Louis W. Schatz, SERC’s long-time benefactor. Some SERC facilities are located remotely from the main building.
Hover over the different areas in the diagram below for information on SERC’s facilities. In addition to our main building’s ground floor spaces shown in the diagram, we have over 2,000 square feet of office and conference facilities on our upper floor as well as additional research space off-site.