A Message from the Director

Peter Lehman

Peter Lehman, SERC Director

Early in May, we were fortunate to host a visit from California’s Climate Action Team. The team was here to discuss the role of forests in mitigating climate change and to take input from attendees on the state’s Climate Action Plan. The plan is well researched and well written and its very existence puts our state far ahead of our nation in addressing climate change. Energy efficiency, conservation, new technologies, and a carbon trading system are among the important and effective strategies promoted by the plan. In my response to the team, I pointed out that despite the plan’s quality, the most important message about climate change had been omitted. It is this: All of these strategies taken together won’t solve our problems without a reduction in our wasteful lifestyle. That’s a message we at SERC try to stress: Technology, no matter how clever and effective, won’t solve our problems by itself. We have to change too.

We continue working to get our message about clean and renewable energy out there. Our HyTEC hydrogen energy curriculum has been tested in local high schools and has been a rousing success. Our energy capacity building program with the Yurok Tribe is now in full swing and we are again working with Redwood National Park in the University- National Park Energy Partnership Program. Two HSU undergraduate engineering students will install a solar electric system this summer, which replaces an inefficient, noisy, and polluting diesel generator at a ranger residence. And our technology work continues as well, as Arne Jacobson describes in his article about photovoltaic testing.

With energy prices stubbornly high and our president finally saying out loud that “We’re addicted to oil,” it’s a great time to be working in energy. I hope you enjoy reading about our efforts.

About Peter Lehman

Director of SERC and a professor of Environmental Resources Engineering at Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA. Dr. Lehman received a B.S. in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Chicago. He then served as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley where he conducted research on the aerochemistry of photochemical air pollution. Before coming to HSU, he has been a member of the faculties of Sacramento State University; California State University, Northridge; and Deep Springs College. While at HSU, Dr. Lehman has served as chair of the Environmental Resources Engineering Department, co-chair of the International Development Technology masters program, and faculty advisor to the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology. His research interests include renewable energy systems, especially solar thermal and photovoltaic technologies. Dr. Lehman's work at the Schatz Center includes the development of solar hydrogen generation systems, development and production of fuel cell personal utility and neighborhood electric vehicles, and research and production of proton exchange membrane fuel cells. Most recently, the Center is involved in integrating electrolyzers into complete hydrogen generation and dispensing facilities, and developing and producing fuel cell systems for telecommunications, portable power and uninterruptible power supply applications.