A Message from the Director

Peter Lehman

Peter Lehman, SERC Director

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.

At the Schatz lab, we’ve made significant progress in our efforts locally in Humboldt County to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels and switch to renewables. As Peter Alstone reports, our RESCO project is humming along, providing us with interesting energy modeling results. Richard Engel describes the new developments in our hydrogen education project, including our first video productions. Co-director Charles Chamberlin writes about our continued testing of the Trinidad photovoltaic array and our new plan to test SolarMagicTM, a device to limit mismatch loss in solar arrays. We now have 20 years of detailed performance data, one of the most careful and complete PV data sets in the world. And Andrea Alstone reports about our collaboration with Frostburg State University in Maryland to build their own solar hydrogen system.

As I write this, the boxes are piling up at our old lab as we prepare for our big move into our wonderful new lab and office building. In our next issue (I promise this time!), we’ll have pictures of us working happily in our new digs.

Best wishes to all our readers for a healthy and happy 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.