Archive for the ‘Press Release’ Category

UCF EcoStruction Workshops Provide Steps Toward a Sustainable Career

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

By Sherri Shields
August 3, 2016

EcoStruction is a series of workshops offered by the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) that provides the first steps toward a sustainable career path in clean energy, sustainability or the environment.

Sponsored by CareerSource Brevard as part of the Clean Energy Jobs Accelerator Grant, participants of the pilot training program on August 1 – 5 were able to choose from five different courses:

  • Introduction to Construction Jobs & Energy Efficient Housing
  • Introduction to Sustainability
  • Introduction to Building Efficiency Performance
  • Introduction to Photovoltaic Systems Technician
  • Introduction to Photovoltaic Sales and Marketing

In addition to their chosen workshop, participants received Sustaining Service training by UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality to develop customer service and soft skills that are in high demand by Brevard employers.

Students constructing wall sections for an energy efficient dog house.

In the Introduction to Construction Jobs & Energy Efficient Housing workshop, students learn basic construction techniques and how to integrate energy efficiency features. Photo: Sherri Shields

“Combining Sustaining Service with specific occupational skills, and a layer of clean energy training, elevates these participants’ chances of securing employment,” said Valerie Carothers, CareerSource Brevard business liaison to the clean energy industry.

“Thanks to our training partners, Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition, the UF/IFAS Extension Service in Brevard County, and UCF Continuing Education, we were able to offer a variety of clean energy topics, and so far the feedback has been fantastic,” said Colleen Kettles, program director for business and workforce development at FSEC.

“I started this class knowing nothing, and even had a hard time pronouncing photovoltaics, but now I feel like an expert,” said Joussette Calvo, a participant in the Introduction to Photovoltaic Sales and Marketing workshop.

Tesla electric car (silver with black racing stripes) with all doors and hood opened for workshop participants to take a look.

Students were able to see a Tesla electric car and learn how it integrates into a LIfeStyle solar-powered home. Photo: Nick Waters

Students also had the opportunity to see a Tesla electric car and hear from guest speaker, Larry Hufford, founder of homebuilder LifeStyle Homes, about how homes, photovoltaic systems and electric cars are integrating. “The LifeStyle solar-powered home generates its own electricity from sunshine. The Tesla then uses this sunshine-generated electricity to get its battery charge. This means that the Tesla essentially runs on sunshine!”

Instructor in front of seated students with an instructional model of a home in the background.

Instructor Tei Kucharski discusses Home Energy Ratings in the Introduction to Building Efficiency Performance workshop. Photo: Nick Waters

Although the EcoStruction workshops are only offered as part of this pilot training series, FSEC offers other courses that support clean energy career development. Visit http://ce.fsec.ucf.edu/ for a full course listing.

For additional training information, please contact Colleen Kettles, ckettles@fsec.ucf.edu.

PR16-04

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…)

EnergyWhiz to Showcase Students’ Solar Cars, Cookers and Inventions, Hydrogen Cars and Contraptions

Monday, March 21st, 2016

By Sherri Shields
March 21, 2016

COCOA, FL–Elementary, middle and high school students—from Jamaica to Virginia—will show off their energy conscious inventions during the EnergyWhiz competition on Saturday, May 14th.

EnergyWhiz is a daylong event where students showcase their hands-on renewable energy products, which reflect their knowledge of alternative energy fuel sources and use scientific know-how, creative thinking, experimentation and teamwork. The students have built everything from solar-powered vehicles and cooking ovens to remote controlled hydrogen-powered mini-vehicles.

The Junior Solar Sprint competition is judged on technology, craftsmanship, appearance and performance.

The Junior Solar Sprint competition is judged on technology, craftsmanship, appearance and performance.

The annual event is held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Cocoa campus of the University of Central Florida (UCF) and Eastern Florida State College, at UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center, 1679 Clearlake Road. The event is free and open to the public.

Activities will include: Junior Solar Sprint, Energy Innovations, Energy Transfer Machine, Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff, the Electrathon, and the Hydrogen Horizon Automotive Challenge. (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.

(more…)

New Home Energy Rating Software, EnergyGauge® USA 5.0 Released; Free Trial Available for Limited Time

Monday, August 24th, 2015

24 August 2015

EnergyGauge USA logo with eagle head on top of red, white, and blue-starred background.

EnergyGauge USA Version 5.0 is now available

Newly accredited by RESNET as a Home Energy Rating Software (HERS), IECC and Tax Credit tool, EnergyGauge USA 5.0, will be available as a free trial product for 90-days (or until November 30, 2015, whichever comes first). Any interested party may download Version 5.0 to examine the impacts of the ANSI/RESNET 301-2014 Standard on their most popular home designs.

Version 5.0 fully implements the new ANSI/RESNET 301-2014 Addendum A, hot water system calculations. These new hot water calculations allow HERS ratings to gain HERS credits for improved plumbing design, hot water piping insulation, low-flow fixtures, drain water heat recovery systems (DWHR), hot water recirculation systems and low water-use clothes washers and dishwashers. It also supports the national EPA ENERGY STAR new home program qualification and the U.S. DOE Zero Energy Ready Homes (ZERH) new home program qualification.

The trial offer of EnergyGauge USA 5.0 will not allow RESNET registration of HERS Ratings. To be able to register ratings with the RESNET Registry using EnergyGauge USA 5.0, certified raters will need to purchase a license for the software.

To download the free 90-day trial offer, simply go to http://energygauge.com/usares/trial50.htm and click on the download button.

EnergyGauge software is a product of FSEC, a research institute of the University of Central Florida.

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

(more…)

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.

MEDIA ADVISORY: Student-Designed and Built Solar Cars, Electric Go-Carts, Solar Cookers, Hydrogen Cars and Contraptions, Energy Efficient Pet Homes and Solar Inventions – All in One Day!

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

By Sherri Shields
April 8, 2015

WHY:

The 13th annual EnergyWhiz, a daylong event showcasing student-built energy projects. These hands-on renewable energy activities expose students to alternative energy fuel sources and encourage scientific know-how, creative thinking, experimentation and teamwork.

WHO:

More than 800 elementary, middle, high school and college students from across Florida will participate in the University of Central Florida/ Florida Solar Energy Center event.

Brevard County Parks and Recreation, in partnership with FSEC, is sponsoring the EcoLiving Jubilee, where various energy and environmental organizations will be on site to share information about their products and services.

(more…)

UCF’s FSEC to Establish Statewide Alternative Fuel Vehicle Training for First Responders

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

By Sherri Shields
April 3, 2015

Central Florida Clean Cities logo

Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy

The University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), host of the Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition, was selected to establish an alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) training network for the state of Florida that adapts safety and technical training based on existing curricula for local needs. This project will establish training on electric drive, compressed natural gas (CNG) and propane vehicles for first responders, college instructors, tow-truck operators, and salvage/recycling operators.

The project, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program at $600,000 over a two-year period and starting later this month, will bring together Florida’s Clean Cities Coalitions and their stakeholders to increase the acceptance and deployment of AFVs.

The Central Florida Clean Cities Coalition, in partnership with CareerSource Brevard, has demonstrated both the need and demand for this type of training as they have supported classroom, online, and hands-on instruction for nearly 200 local public safety officers.

(more…)

University of Central Florida’s First Electric Vehicle Fast Charger Opens in Cocoa — Grand Opening and Ride and Drive Announced

Monday, March 16th, 2015

By Sherri Shields

COCOA, Fla., March 16, 2015 – Electric Vehicle drivers now have a place to charge up on the Space Coast in Cocoa. Located just two miles off State Road 528, otherwise known as the “Beachline,”—a main artery connecting Orlando to the Space Coast —the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) is now home to a Direct Current (DC) Fast Charger and a dual Level 2 charger.

The grand opening of UCF’s re-charging facility at FSEC is scheduled for Friday, March 20 at 11 a.m. Nissan will be offering a Ride & Drive for the all-electric Nissan LEAF® from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. A variety of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles will also be on display. The public is invited to attend and participate in this special event.

Donated by Nissan North America, and provided by NovaCharge, a leading provider and integrator of EV charging solutions nationwide, the DC Fast Charger is a first for UCF, as well as the City of Cocoa.

“We’re excited to have such a valuable resource for the electric vehicle community right in our backyard,” said City of Cocoa Mayor Henry Parrish III.

Photo of black Nissan Leaf being charged with DC fast charger.

UCF’s first DC fast charger at FSEC in Cocoa will re-charge the all-electric Nissan LEAF to 80% capacity within 30 minutes.

(more…)