Docents Get HyTEC

new docents fall 2006

New docents (left to right) Lucas Siegfried, Kristen Radecsky, Joe Purdon and James Apple. (Photo Credit SERC)

Fall has begun and with it a flurry of activity in our education and outreach program. We added four new docents to our program, three Environmental Systems graduate students and one undergraduate in Environmental Resources Engineering. Our program now has eight docents, our largest group thus far.

During their first week, docents received training in our Hydrogen Technology and Education Curriculum (HyTEC) electrolyzer/fuel cell lab equipment and then provided backup support for the HSU Engineering classes that performed the lab. Even though the HyTEC project was developed for high school chemistry students (as described below), the positive feedback received after performing the lab in college courses demonstrates how the lab can be readily incorporated into college level courses.

The HyTEC project began in 2005 with funding from the Department of Energy. Project partners include lead contractor the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley, SERC, and AC Transit Authority. The goal of the project was to develop and test a hydrogen and fuel cell curriculum for high school chemistry students, and to provide a framework for students to discuss the current challenges and potential promise of a hydrogen economy in the context of energy use and resources. SERC’s role in the project is development of the electrolyzer/fuel cell lab sets, manufacturing a Stack-in-the-Box® portable fuel cell system, and providing curriculum development support and technical oversight.

To date, we have successfully developed a two-week hydrogen and fuel cell curriculum module, designed and fabricated eight student fuel cell sets, and manufactured a Stack-in-a-Box®. We have completed three high school trials testing the fuel cell and electrolyzer equipment and corresponding curriculum, as well as the HSU Engineering class activities.

HyTEC is a success; in each venue where we have tested the materials, we have received enthusiasm and support from both teachers and students. As we wind up our currently funded work, project partners are seeking additional funding to ensure even more students and teachers get “HyTEC.” To stay abreast of our developments visit www.schatzlab.org/hytec.html.

About Allison Hansberry

Allison's responsibilities include program administration and development and coordination of SERC's education and outreach program. Her work includes planning, analyzing and evaluating SERC's fiscal and operational policies and procedures, providing assistance with and leadership in pre-and-post award grant and contract managment, developing educational materials for SERC's K-12 outreach program, managing the Docent Program, and publishing SERC's quarterly newsletter. Allison graduated from Humboldt State University with a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies, Botany minor. Her degree combines the disciplines of Environmental Science, Appropriate Technology, and Sustainable Agriculture. When not engaged in work and raising a family, Allison pursues her interest in native bees, plant/pollinator interactions, and climate change impacts on phenology. She joined SERC in 2001.