Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

UCF Establishes Chapter of National Academy of Inventors

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

By Barb Abney

November 8, 2016

Group photo of inductees into National Academy of Inventers UCF Chapter. UCF Office of Research and Commercialization backdrop behind members.The University of Central Florida inducted 29 researchers into its new chapter of the National Academy of Inventors on Monday night in a gala focused on innovation and invention.

The NAI membership has more than 200 institutional organizations that encourage and support their faculty, staff and students to create innovative and groundbreaking technologies.

“We have faculty and students who are creating technologies that change the world,” said Elizabeth Klonoff, vice president for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies. “Our past success, in combination with our ever-expanding potential to impact areas as diverse as engineering, education and health, is growing our reputation as a change agent. This NAI chapter will play an important role in growing that reputation and spurring on more innovation, which will benefit our community here and beyond.”

Issa Batarseh, professor of electrical engineering, and Tom O’Neal, associate vice president for commercialization and innovation, will lead UCF’s chapter.

“Innovation is on the rise at UCF and this strong inaugural class of inventors makes it clear that we are making an impact,” O’Neal said.

UCF has routinely ranked among the top universities in the country for the strength of its patents. Together, the inaugural class holds 541 of the 925 patents the university has claimed since 1989.

Several new chapter members – who are already NAI Fellows – were recognized at the gala.

UCF’s newest national fellow, Guifang Li, professor of optics and photonics, physics and engineering, was recognized by the NAI in 2015 for his optical-fiber communications technologies. He is the lead inventor on 24 U.S. issued patents and his work has been influential in building faster and more efficient network-communication systems.

Some of the inaugural members are James J. Hickman, professor of chemistry, biomolecular science and electrical engineering, who is building human-on-a-chip systems to test toxicity of pharmaceuticals and ultimately eliminate the need for human and animal drug trials. Hickman has received 10 U.S. patents while at UCF.

Also, Richard Blair, associate professor of chemistry, has developed a proprietary method to give industry-affordable access to graphene – one of the world’s strongest materials. He has licensed the technology to UCF startup company Garmor Inc. and is the lead inventor on eight U.S. issued patents.

Founded in 2010, the NAI is a non-profit organization with more than 3,000 members. The NAI seeks to recognize and encourage inventors with U.S. patents, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate its members’ inventions to benefit society.

Inventors from UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center, and the number of patents they earned while at UCF, include: Danny Parker (30), Nazim Muradov, Ph.D. (27), Issa Batarseh, Ph.D. (21), and Ali Raissi, Ph.D. (18).

The complete list of UCF fellows is at https://tt.research.ucf.edu/nai

Research Paper Illustrating Novel Approaches in Solar Hydrogen Production Wins Best Paper Award

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

June 22, 2016
By Sherri Shields

FSEC researchers and their Texas A&M University co-authors win Best Paper Award at the International Conference on Hydrogen Production (ICHP) in Hangzhou, China last month. Illustrating the novel approaches in solar hydrogen production, the paper, “Solar reactor investigation for the thermochemical steps of the sulfur-ammonia water-splitting cycle,” has also been included in a special issue of the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy.

Photo of experiment behind yellow plastic curtain.

Experimental set-up of photocatalytic hydrogen production at UCF’s FSEC.

“In our work, we presented the solar-driven hybrid sulfur-ammonia water splitting cycle (HySA) for hydrogen production. HySA is a promising technology for energy and environment applications, utilizing both solar photon and thermal radiation in a series of reaction steps. This study presented our efforts toward the design of a solar aerosol reactor for the thermochemical steps of the cycle. For this, we developed a conceptual particle model, based on our experimental and numerical findings,” said Agni Kalyva, Texas A&M University at Qatar. (more…)

Gainesville Middle School Science Bowl Team Overtakes Miami in Double-Elimination, Melbourne Team Places Third

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

By Sherri Shields
March 16, 2015

Florida is one of 50 regional science bowl competitions nationwide that yields the winning team that advances to the National Middle School Science Bowl. This year, 17 middle school teams came to the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute of the University of Central Florida, in Cocoa on March 5 to flex their intellect muscle in a fast-paced question-and-answer competition.

Four-member teams sit at a six-foot table, waiting for their question to be delivered.

Seventeen Florida teams competed in the double-elimination regional science bowl challenge.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, the science bowl encourages middle school students to excel in mathematics, science and engineering. It provides an avenue of enrichment and reward for academic science achievement

Eight Florida finalist teams worked through the double elimination rounds over the course of several hours. Those teams were: Abraham Lincoln Middle from Gainesville, Archimedean Middle Conservatory from Miami, Edgewood Jr/Sr. High from Merritt Island, Falcon Cove Middle from Weston, Forest Grove Middle from Ft. Pierce, Westglades Middle from Coral Springs, West Shore Jr./Sr. from Melbourne, and Westwood Middle from Gainesville.

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Dr. Lixing Gu Receives ASHRAE Distinguished Service Award

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

By Kelsey Dwyer
August 11, 2015

Dr. Lixing Gu, principal research engineer in the Buildings Research department at FSEC, has received the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Distinguished Service Award at ASHRAE’s 2015 Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. He received this award by exceeding 15 service points, exhibiting his abundance of service to the society.  Dr. Gu has dedicated much of his time and talent to ASHRAE, from completing research projects to publishing papers and reports in ASHRAE journals. Robin Vieira, director of the Buildings Research at FSEC, spoke highly of Dr. Gu’s accomplishments, saying, “This was a well-deserved award for Dr. Gu, who has contributed greatly to the knowledge base of heat transfers and buildings for the past 27 years.”

FSEC's Dr. Lixing Gu receives ASHRAE Distinguished Service award.

FSEC’s Dr. Lixing Gu, right, receives ASHRAE’s Distinguished Service Award.

EnergyWhiz Energizes Students in Hydrogen and Solar

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

By Sherri Shields
May 28, 2015

It’s a growing phenomenon in Florida! From the Panhandle to the Keys, EnergyWhiz is drawing in students fascinated with renewable energy technology.

EnergyWhiz logo

EnergyWhiz – a venue for students to demonstrate their science, technology, engineering, art, and math capabilities through hands-on, energy-focused projects and activities.

EnergyWhiz, which includes six separate competitions, is a venue for students in grades fourth through 12th to demonstrate their science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics capabilities through hands-on, energy-focused competitions. At this year’s 13th annual event on May 2, more than 650 energized students from across Florida converged at the University of Central Florida’s FSEC in Cocoa to showcase their renewable energy projects and participate in the competitions. “We like making things run on the sun,” said Conner Dale, a student from Edgewood Junior Senior High. “It’s fun to interact with other students from across the state,” added Raydn Hall.

Tallahassee, Gainesville and Orlando hosted smaller EnergyWhiz Expos this year, leading up to the major EnergyWhiz event. “In an effort to reach more students, we’re encouraging teachers across Florida to host regional EnergyWhiz Expos, and then the winners of the expos will advance to the state level and compete at FSEC,” said Susan Schleith, K-12 education director at FSEC.

Students with red clown noses and neon colored wigs stand around contraption while judges look on.

Team Welcome to the Carnival from Milwee Middle School in Longwood earns the WOW! Award in the Hydrogen Challenge. Photo: Sherri Shields

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Energy Department Funds UCF Research in Housing Innovations

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

By Barb Abney
May 14, 2015

Photo of Eric Martin in lab, leaning on test wall structure.

Eric Martin at FSEC’s Flexible Residential Testing Facility. Credit: Nicholas Waters

 

The University of Central Florida is the only university-led team in the nation to receive part of a $4 million investment by the Energy Department to develop and demonstrate energy efficient methods of keeping homes cool in the summer and warm in winter.

The Energy Department’s Building America program is working with industry partners to develop cutting-edge innovations and resources that will lead to 50 percent savings in new homes by 2025 and 40 percent savings in existing homes by 2030.

The Building America Partnership for Improved Residential Construction, led by UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), will receive nearly $1 million for research focused on optimal comfort systems for heating, cooling, air distribution, and humidity control. The project will also study high performance ventilation systems and indoor air quality strategies.

“This research will help us develop integrated approaches to making homes more energy efficient while keeping them comfortable, healthy and durable,” said Eric Martin, the project’s lead researcher and program director in FSEC’s Building Research Division.

Much of the work focuses on cooling applications in hot and humid climates like Florida’s. Work on keeping homes warm in the winter will be conducted by partners at Washington State University.

Experiments will be conducted in laboratory homes located at FSEC, as well as in occupied homes.

“To ensure near-term market penetration, we are working with several industry partners including production home builders and product manufacturers,” Martin said. “But we are also focused on influencing codes and standards, which can result in a significant market impact for years to come.”

A major focus of the Building America program is reducing home heating and cooling because combined they represent the highest single energy use for U.S. homeowners or 40 percent of a home’s energy consumption. In 2014, U.S. homeowners spent $70 billion to heat their homes and $24 billion to cool them. Improving the energy efficiency of home heating and cooling systems and building envelopes including roof, walls and windows is estimated to potentially reduce space conditioning energy consumption by as much as 70 percent.

Over the past 20 years FSEC has led three Building America Industry Partnerships: the Energy Efficient Industrialized Housing Partnership, the Building America Industrialized Housing Partnership and the Building America Partnership for Improved Residential Construction.

2015 EnergyWhiz Winners

Monday, May 4th, 2015

REVISED
May 21, 2015

SOLAR ENERGY COOKOFF

EnergyWhiz logo

EnergyWhiz – a forum for students to demonstrate their science, technology, engineering, art, and math capabilities through hands-on, energy-focused projects and activities.

Best Design – Yellow Division

  • 1st Place – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ocean Breeze Elementary, Indian Harbor Beach
  • 2nd Place – Team B.A.M., Martinez Middle, Lutz
  • 3rd Place – Solar Sizzlers, Newberry Elementary, Newberry

Best Design – Orange Division

  • 1st Place – Solar Buddies, Hidden Oaks Middle, Palm City
  • 2nd Place – Rain in Spain Cooking Company, Lake Nona Middle, Orlando
  • 3rd Place – Girls, Doing Work!, Lake Nona Middle, Orlando

Best Design – Red Division

  • 1st Place – Solar Apes, Pine Ridge High, Deltona
  • 2nd Place – Thunder Tabemono, Lake Region High, Eagle Lake
  • 3rd Place – The Doctor’s Delight, Edgewood Jr/Sr High, Merritt Island

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Crowe Honored as Electric Vehicle Transportation Center’s Outstanding Student of the Year

Friday, February 6th, 2015

February 6, 2015

Each year at the annual winter meeting of the U.S. Transportation Research Board, the most outstanding student from each participating University Transportation Center (UTC) is honored for his/her achievements and promise for future contributions to the transportation field.

Mr. Thron Crowe was selected by the University of Central Florida’s Electric Vehicle Transportation Center and honored at this year’s 24th Annual Outstanding Student of the Year awards banquet in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2015.

Photo of Thron Crowe holding certificate

Mr. Thron Crowe (center) accepts award from Dr. Neville Parker, chair, CUTC Awards Committee, The City University of New York (left), and Mr. Greg Winfree, assistant secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, US Dept. of Transportation, Washington, DC.

Mr. Crowe, an engineering student at Valencia College and employee at UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), received the award for being responsible for locating and identifying accurate vehicular data in Florida’s main traffic arteries, which will be used for computational modeling of transport systems. He coordinated data collection with the University of Maryland’s Regional Integrated Transportation Information System and the Florida Department of Transportation. Additionally, Mr. Crowe has helped educate students, teachers, consumers, and fleet owners about the benefits of Plug-In Electric Vehicles (PEVs) and using Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment in the public and private environments. Mr. Crowe also recently assisted in the award of a 50-kilowatt Direct Current Fast Charger at FSEC’s research testing facility in Cocoa, Fla.

For more information about UCF’s Electric Vehicle Transportation Center, visit http://evtc.fsec.ucf.edu/ or contact Dr. David Block at block@fsec.ucf.edu or 321-638-1001.

Central Florida “Most Improved” in Petroleum Reduction Nationwide

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

By Sherri Shields
Feb. 5, 2015

Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition logo

Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition encompasses a 10-county area.

The Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition was awarded first place for Most Improved Petroleum Reduction, among nearly 100 coalitions nationwide. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Coalitions advance the nation’s economic, environmental, and energy security by supporting local actions to reduce petroleum consumption in transportation.

The Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition territory encompasses a 10-county area consisting of Brevard, Flagler, Indian River, Lake, Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, St. Lucie and Volusia Counties. The coalition had a 247 percent increase in petroleum reduction in 2013 compared to the previous year. The Most Improved award was announced at the annual Clean Cities Coordinator Workshop in December 2014.

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FSEC Affordable Housing Partners Recognized for DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

By Danielle Daniel
October 8, 2014

ZERO Energy Ready Home U.S. Department of Energy logo

The DOE Zero Energy Ready Home Leading Builders awards are presented to builders who are changing the way homes are designed and constructed.

Southeast Volusia Habitat for Humanity and Habitat for Humanity of South Sarasota County—affordable housing partners of the University of Central Florida’s FSEC—were the honored recipients of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Zero Energy Ready Home Leading Affordable Builders awards in September. A total of 28 industry leaders (including six affordable builders) were recognized at the 2014 Housing Innovation Award ceremony at EEBA’s Excellence in Building Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. DOE Housing Innovation Awards acknowledge the outstanding efforts of contractors and builders to design and construct high performance, zero energy ready homes.

Energy efficiency, comfort, and durability are key components of DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes. To qualify for this certification, homes must meet stringent requirements in seven categories. To reduce energy consumption and resulting energy costs, these high performance homes must achieve a very low score on the Home Energy Rating System (HERS) Index. The closer the score is to zero, the less energy is needed to run the home.

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