On October 9, SERC shipped its first-ever Stack-Outside-the-Box™ (SOtB™) to Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. This bench-top educational fuel cell system is initially being used by HSU and SERC alumna Denise McKay, now an assistant professor in the Picker Engineering Program at Smith, in her Engineering 390: Photovoltaic and Fuel Cell System Design class. The Picker Engineering Program is the nation’s first and only accredited engineering program for women.
As Humboldt County settles into another rainy winter, SERC senior research engineer Richard Engel is headed for a sunnier locale. Richard has been awarded a Fulbright grant to help Don Bosco University in El Salvador develop a degree program in renewable energy and energy efficiency. During his semester at Don Bosco, Richard will:
• teach a seminar course on energy topics directed at graduate students and energy industry professionals;
• consult with faculty on renewable energy program development;
• assist the university in creating a sustainable energy institute;
• explore opportunities to install a renewable energy demonstration project at the Don Bosco campus.
SERC recently acquired a brand new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle from UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center (TSRC). The smog-free vehicle is a 2009 Toyota Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle (FCHV-adv), and as the manufacturer states, “It is one of the most technologically-advanced vehicles on the planet.” SERC is helping the TSRC road test and acquire operational data for the vehicle.
On November 12, SERC’s Hydrogen Energy in Engineering Education (H2E3) project achieved a major milestone with the delivery of a fuel cell test station and a dozen benchtop fuel cell/electrolyzer kits to University of California, Berkeley. Director Peter Lehman, faculty research associate Eileen Cashman, and H2E3 project manager Richard Engel made the trek to UCB to hand off the newly completed equipment, all built in-house at SERC.
While at UCB, Peter and Richard demonstrated the test station and presented a well-received lecture on fuel cells to nearly 200 undergrad and grad students in a course on energy and society taught by Dr. Dan Kammen of UCB’s Energy and Resources Group.
SERC has begun work on a Renewable Energy-based Secure Community (RESCO) study for Humboldt County. (See SERC Energy News v.4, #2 for more information about RESCO.) The objective of the research is to assess the feasibility of developing local renewable energy resources to meet 75% to 100% of the local electricity demand as well as a significant fraction of heating and transportation energy needs. The project team, including SERC, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company, attended a kick-off meeting at the California Energy Commission in early November.
There have been several firsts at the Schatz Center recently and you can read all about them in this newsletter. We are all very proud of our first Fulbright Scholar, Richard Engel. Richard won his prestigious award competing against many PhDs and as he describes in his article, will be helping Don Bosco University in El Salvador to establish an energy efficiency and renewable energy curriculum. We wish Richard all the best as he extends our promotion of clean and renewable energy to Latin America.