Our Hydrogen Energy in Engineering Education (H2E3) project continues to grow as it enters its third year. This semester we brought hydrogen-related curriculum to five engineering and environmental science courses at Humboldt State, including new activities for a probability and statistics class, an upper- division renewable energy course, and a new thermodynamics class for non-engineering students.
Twenty years ago Jim Zoellick measured the performance of every one of the 192 photovoltaic modules just before they were installed in the Schatz Solar Hydrogen Project array. Nine years ago Antonio Reis and Nate Coleman retested every module after it had been in service for eleven years. This year Mark Rocheleau, Marc Marshall, and Scott Rommel tested every module for the third time after twenty years of service.
These painstaking measurements provide a unique opportunity to track the degradation of the performance of individual modules over twenty years of service in the cool, coastal, marine environment 150 meters from the Pacific Ocean at HSU’s Telonicher Marine Laboratory in Trinidad, CA.
SERC has recently begun working with Frostburg State University (FSU) and Instant Access Networks to design and build an off-grid hydrogen storage and power system. FSU, located in Western Maryland in the city of Frostburg, is looking to create a backup power system for important equipment in the case of a long- term power outage caused by natural or manmade disasters. They plan to generate hydrogen via electrolysis and renewable energy and store it on site; a fuel cell will provide power when needed. The system will be housed at FSU’s Sustainable Energy Research Facility, an off-grid and renewable energy powered building currently under construction.
As I wrote in this column last time, the November election in California was crucial to our progress to address climate change. Whatever else resulted from that election, one thing was clear – Californians are solidly behind their state’s efforts to limit our effect on climate. Voters soundly defeated Proposition 23, which would have undermined the Global Warming Solutions Act, California’s landmark bill to tackle the difficult climate change issues facing us.
The California Air Resources Board lost no time. It recently approved a cap and trade program to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases. Though many details are still to be worked out, this is the first effort in the U.S. to set a meaningful price on emitting carbon and start us on the path to repairing our atmosphere. Once again, I’m proud to be a Californian.
The Humboldt County Renewable Energy Secure Community (RESCO) project gives all of us at SERC a welcome opportunity to focus our effort on the community where we live, work, and play. The goal of the RESCO project is to forge a strategic plan for Humboldt County to develop clean and renewable energy resources that meet at least 75% of our electricity needs and a significant fraction of our heating and transportation needs. Our main project partner is the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA). RCEA is focused on political and strategic issues; SERC is doing the technical and economic work.