H2E3 Project Delivers Equipment and Lecture to UC Berkeley

H2E3 Delivery

(left to right) SERC’s Richard Engel and Peter Lehman and UC Berkeley’s Tim Lipman and Dan Kammen gather around the fuel cell test station during its delivery to UCB. (Photo by Eileen Cashman.)

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.

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University Curriculum Project

H2E3 Fuel Cell / Electrolyzer Kit

H2E3 Fuel Cell / Electrolyzer Kit (Photo credit Kellie Jo Brown)

Since our last update, we have completed fabrication of two dozen benchtop fuel cell/electrolyzer kits and one of two fuel cell test stations to be built as part of the Hydrogen Energy in Engineering Education (H2E3) project (see pictures, below). The purpose of the DOE-funded H2E3 project is to bring hands-on hydrogen and fuel cell education into classrooms and labs across the University of California and California State University systems. University of California, Berkeley and several fuel cell companies are partnering with SERC on the project.

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University Hydrogen Curriculum Update

H2E3 Fuel Cell / Electrolyzer Kit

H2E3 Fuel Cell / Electrolyzer Kit (Photo credit Kellie Jo Brown)

SERC’s Hydrogen Energy in Engineering Education (H2E3) project continues to pick up steam. We are now building the first of the two fuel cell test stations we will make for use in undergraduate engineering labs. The stations will be temporarily installed on a rotating basis at California State University and University of California campuses over the next two years. After surveying available fuel cells from commercial suppliers, we decided to build our own stacks for use with the test stations. The stations and stacks will be completed during the coming months.

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University H2 Curriculum Project Gets Underway

The H2E3 fuel cell/electrolyzer kits in ENGR 115

The H2E3 fuel cell/electrolyzer kits in ENGR 115 (Photo credit Kellie Jo Brown).

In our last issue, we announced that SERC was selected for funding by the U.S. Department of Energy to develop hydrogen curriculum and teaching tools for use in California’s public universities. We now have a contract in place with DOE, and on October 30 we held a kickoff meeting with our project partners at the University of California at Berkeley. We have named the three-year project “Hydrogen Energy in Engineering Education” (H2E3).

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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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Growing Interest in Biomass at SERC

Ranjit lights a Gasifier

Schatz Energy Fellow Ranjit Deshmukh fires up the GAS-11 gasifier during a four-day training at Ankur Scientific Energy Technologies in India. (Photo courtesy of Ranjit Deshmukh)

Readers of SERC Energy News may have noticed that our last issue featured two articles on the topic of biomass energy. SERC’s newfound interest in this energy resource is natural and perhaps overdue, considering that Humboldt County where we are based is California’s leading timber producing county. Travel north, south or east of Arcata and dense forests dominate the landscape for many miles. Could materials from these forests make a significant contribution to meeting our energy needs?

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SERC & U.S.F.S. Team Up On Biomass Energy

Richard Engel at Orleans

SERC Engineer Richard Engel (foreground) collects propane usage data for the Orleans Ranger Station. (Photo by Ranjit Deshmukh)

The U.S. Forest Service recently asked SERC to look into the feasibility of using woody biomass as a fuel to replace propane and electricity for space and water heating at the Orleans Ranger District Office in Six Rivers National Forest. Large amounts of woody debris are generated by Six Rivers’ forest thinning operations aimed at reducing wildfire risk. The Forest Service is interested in ways of disposing of this debris other than open pile burning, which is wasteful and can create air quality problems. SERC conducted an energy use audit at the facility and is now investigating commercially available equipment that could be used to heat the building with wood. We have interviewed several nationally recognized experts on commercial-scale biomass heating equipment. We also created a computer model of the building to estimate energy use and energy costs under different heating scenarios. In addition, the model will help us to recommend an appropriately sized replacement heating system for the building.

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SERC Helps United Indian Health Services Go Solar

UIHS roof

Solar panels atop the maintenance wing of the UIHS facility. (Photo courtesy of UIHS)

Local health care provider United Indian Health Services (UIHS) recently received a grant from the State of California to install a 40-kW solar electric power system on the rooftops of two wings of UIHS’s Potawot Health Village here in Arcata. SERC assisted UIHS in developing a conceptual design for the system and writing their grant proposal. Once UIHS received funding, they retained a professional solar contractor to install the system and hired SERC to help them with other aspects of the project.

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