Here in Arcata, as in most places across the United States, we take our utility services for granted. Our homes and businesses are served with reliable (most of the time) electricity, natural gas, and clean water, but many people in the developing world are not so fortunate. Since 2007, SERC has helped expand electricity access with our work supporting the Lighting Africa and Lumina programs, which are focused on markets for affordable off-grid lighting devices. This past summer, we worked with Cascade Designs to provide clean water access for the developing world.
Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, more commonly known as AC Transit, boasts the largest hydrogen fuel cell bus program in the United States, and one of the largest in the world. This places them on the leading edge introducing hydrogen and fuel cell vehicle technology. Their HyRoad fuel cell vehicle demonstration program has operated since 2000. This program includes fuel cell bus and light duty fuel cell vehicle operation, on-site hydrogen production, delivery and storage of hydrogen produced off-site, hydrogen vehicle fueling, hydrogen vehicle maintenance, safety training, and public education. Throughout the project period, SERC has partnered with AC Transit, providing education and outreach, training, and consulting services.
The Yurok Tribe recently completed energy upgrades at their Klamath and Weitchpec Tribal offices. This included the installation of a 15.7 kW AC solar electric array in Weitchpec and energy efficiency upgrades at both locations. As reported in our Fall 2011 newsletter, SERC provided the Tribe with technical support for the project. This included services from start to finish.
Initially, SERC helped the Tribe secure American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for the project and worked with the Tribe to define the scope of project activities. In addition to ARRA funding, SERC helped the Tribe secure a rebate from the California Solar Initiative program. This offset part of the cost of the solar electric system.
The HSU Hydrogen Fueling Station high-pressure upgrade is underway. The principal design work is complete and all major equipment has been ordered. The new high-pressure compressor should arrive at HSU any day now. HSU Plant Operations will begin work to expand the east block wall and run new electrical service to accommodate the new compressor. Once Plant Operations is finished, SERC engineers will begin plumbing the high-pressure hydrogen lines that make up the new dispensing system. Testing and commissioning of the upgrade is targeted to begin in early spring.
In September we brought the Hydrogen Energy in Engineering Education (H2E3) project to a successful conclusion. Over the three years the project was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, five universities adopted the curriculum for use in engineering, chemistry, and environmental science courses. In the closing months of the project, we completed our last instructional videos and provided DOE with a draft final report, currently undergoing review. The project will remain alive via its website (www.hydrogencurriculum.org), and we’re always interested in talking with educators who wish to adopt the curriculum. The hydrogen experiment kits and fuel cell test stations featured on the project website can be made to order; please contact us for a quote. We’re now in the process of seeking funding and partners to continue development and dissemination of the curriculum and commercialization of the lab equipment.