California’s First Rural Hydrogen Station Debuts

Hydrogen fueling station dedication.

SERC Director Peter Lehman cuts the ribbon as Congr. Mike Thompson, HSU President Rollin Richmond, and Project Manager Greg Chapman look on (left to right). (Photo credit Kellie Jo Brown).

Three years of effort at SERC culminated on a sunny September 4 with the opening ceremony for our newly completed hydrogen fueling station on the Humboldt State University campus. On hand for the ceremony were Congress member Mike Thompson, representatives of local government, a wide cross section of the campus community, and many camera- and notebook-toting reporters.

The project originated with a design for a hydrogen power park by HSU engineering students that garnered grand prize in an international competition in 2005. Since then, SERC has worked with numerous partners to make the station happen. Many members of the original student team were on hand at the ceremony to see their dream come to fruition.

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SERC Returns to Redwood National Park

UNPEPP Interns with Ray Cozby

Redwood National and State Parks Chief of Facilities Management Ray Cozby with energy interns Jeffrey Hinton, Lucas Siegfried, and Teresa Persons. (Photo credit SERC).

Three HSU students spent their summer as SERC interns helping to reduce environmental impacts at Redwood National and State Parks. Funding for the collaboration was provided by the nationwide University-National Park Energy Partnership Program (UNPEPP). UNPEPP links national parks with university students to provide energy services to the parks and real-world problem solving opportunities for the students. This was SERC’s sixth UNPEPP-supported project at the Redwood parks since 2000.

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Off-Grid Lighting Research in Kenya

Kristen in Kenya with Hurricane Lamp

Kristen Radecsky measures a vendor’s hurricane lamp to calculate the lamp’s burn rate. (Photo credit SERC).

SERC co-director Dr. Arne Jacobson and graduate student research assistants Peter Johnstone and Kristen Radecsky traveled to Kenya this past summer to collect data for the off-grid lighting project. Lighting is often a large fraction of the operating costs for small, off-grid businesses in Kenya. Because they are not connected to the grid, they use a variety of off-grid lighting technologies to illuminate their shops– including candles, kerosene lamps, and battery powered LED lamps. Kerosene lamps are most popular, but can be expensive due to high kerosene prices. Kerosene lamps can also release tiny particulate matter that causes health problems. A number of manufacturers world-wide are designing off-grid lighting products with the goal of making them more affordable in locations like Kenya, often using LED technology.    SERC researchers will use the collected data to inform manufacturers of the costs for small businesses of using off-grid lighting products in actual field conditions and make recommendations for how lights can be better designed to make them more affordable.

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Yurok Wind & Hydro Study

Cappell Creek stream mointoring station installation

SERC engineers Mark Rocheleau and Richard Engel work with Tribal Planner Austin Nova to install a stream gauging station on Cappell Creek. (Photo credit SERC).

SERC has been assisting the Yurok nation with energy related projects since 1999. Our current collaboration is to examine the feasibility of developing hydroelectric and wind power resources on the Yurok Reservation. To date, three project sites have and data monitoring equipment is being installed. We will be monitoring stream flows on both Cappell and Pecwan Creeks, and wind speeds on McKinnon Hill. We are currently working with the Tribe to install stream gauging stations on the two creeks. We are also awaiting arrival of a 50-meter meteorological tower from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory that we will install on McKinnon Hill. We plan to have all three data collection systems up and running by the end of the year. We will collect data for a one-year period and will assess the data and determine the feasibility of installing energy generation equipment at these sites. Our work will include life cycle economic analyses; preliminary economic assessments; and the development of business, financing, and project development plans. Watch our future newsletters for project updates.

Biomass Gasification Update

Gasifier Start Up

SERC staff gathers for the much-anticipated initial system start-up. See additional start-up photos on the back page. (Photo credit SERC).

This article was written by Ranjit Deshmukh.

We have successfully completed the first phase of our three- year Indonesian Gasification project in collaboration with the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory of the University of California, Berkeley. The project is designed to provide support and advice to the Indonesian Sugar Group (ISG) to play a role in the emerging clean energy markets.

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Schatz Energy Fellow 2008-2009

Meg installs a GridShare device in Rukubji. (Photo credit Arne Jacobson.)

Meg installs a GridShare device in Rukubji. (Photo credit Arne Jacobson.)

We are pleased to welcome Marjorie “Meg” Harper as the 2008-2009 Schatz Energy Fellow. Meg is pursuing a Master’s degree in the Energy, Environment and Society Program at HSU. As a Schatz Energy Fellow, Meg is investigating processes of converting woody biomass from forest fuel reduction into energy products. This project mirrors her interests in local energy generation and the development of alternative fuels from what would otherwise be considered waste products. Meg also has a strong interest in appropriate technology development, especially as applied to energy uses. She spent the past summer designing and building solar water heaters at AIDG in Guatemala. Meg received a BS in Environmental Studies from Warren Wilson College and has worked in the field in a number of different capacities including environmental contaminant and wildlife research, as well as experiential environmental education.

A Message from the Director

Peter Lehman

Peter Lehman, SERC Director

The big news for the Schatz Center this month is the official opening of the HSU hydrogen fueling station. As reported by Richard Engel in this issue, we had a joyous grand opening ceremony on a beautiful Humboldt County day. After almost two decades of installing hydrogen projects scattered all around the U.S., it has been especially rewarding for us to bring our technology home.

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