A Message from the Director

Peter Lehman

Peter Lehman, SERC Director

As Richard Engel reports in this issue’s lead article, the Schatz Center is turning more attention to biomass energy. We’ve come to realize that biomass must play an important role in a renewable energy and carbon constrained future. And as Richard points out, it’s a natural for SERC, located as we are in the midst of the expansive forests of northern California.

The gasifier that Richard mentions and that we’ll be installing soon at our lab is part of a collaborative project with the Energy and Resources Group at UC Berkeley. We’ll be working with the Indonesia Sugar Group to determine if they can use gasification of bagasse to increase their operating efficiency and sell carbon credits in the bargain. We’ll be running the gasifier over the next couple of years, determining optimum operating conditions and measuring gas output and efficiency.

Also in this issue, co-director Charles Chamberlin reports on progress with our new building. We’re excited that things are really rolling after years of planning. Jim Zoellick describes our new wind and hydro project with the Yurok Tribe, continuing our long-standing renewable energy work with them. There’s a great picture of Greg Chapman, manager of the fueling station project, as the station canopies are installed; Greg reports on recent progress with that project. And Arne Jacobson reports on his continuing efforts to carefully measure photovoltaic module performance so consumers can know the truth about the technology they’re buying.

The winter solstice is upon us and the rains have come to Humboldt County. Our countryside is now green and vibrant. Whatever your winter is like, knee deep in snow or sunny and warm, all of us here at the Schatz lab wish you and yours a happy holiday season and a healthy and productive new year.

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.