Archive for the ‘Press Release’ Category

FSEC to Host Workshop for National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Cocoa, FL – The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) will host an alternative fuel workshop on October 3, 2008, as part of the National Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Odyssey Day.

The National AFV Odyssey Day is a nationwide event being held in 86 different locations throughout the U.S. this year. Coordinated by the National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Training Consortium (NAFTC) in a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Clean Cities Program, the goal of this national program is to promote the awareness and use of AFVs, as well as promote energy conservation and independence for the U.S.

The Space Coast Clean Cities Coalition, a Florida chapter of the U.S. DOE Clean Cities Program, has coordinated and organized the Advancing the Choice alternative fuel workshop locally as part of this national event. The workshop will feature presentations and discussions about AFV ownership opportunities, biodiesel production, quality standards for fuel grade, utilizing biodiesel in current vehicles, and construction of biodiesel fueling stations. Guests will also be able to test drive AFVs and speak with auto manufacturers and industry experts at this event.

The workshop will run from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., and the cost to attend is $10. Space is limited, so please register early at www.floridaenergycenter.org/go/afv4.

For more information about this workshop please contact FSEC researcher Bill Young at (321) 638-1443, or visit www.clean-cities.org.

FSEC to Lead Team for DOE Project, Making Solar More Practical

Monday, August 18th, 2008

COCOA, Fla. – The University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) will lead one of 12 research and development teams that will work on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Sandia National Laboratories’ Solar Energy Grid Integration Systems (SEGIS) projects. DOE plans to invest up to $24 million over a number of years to provide funding for the research and development of new solar electricity, or photovoltaic (PV), technology resulting in more versatile, higher-performing products. This research will make PV systems more practical for home and business owners, as well as for utilities, by improving the operational characteristics of the systems. These newly planned PV systems will allow solar electricity to become a more fundamental part of household and commercial energy systems while simultaneously serving a vital role in the utility portfolio of generation resources.

(more…)

FSEC Researcher Selected to Advisory Board for Partners in Sustainable Building

Monday, June 9th, 2008
Photo of Janet McIlvaine
Janet McIlvaine

Janet McIlvaine, a research analyst for the Florida Solar Energy Center’s (FSEC) buildings division, was selected to be an advisory member for Habitat for Humanity International and The Home Depot Foundation’s new national green building initiative, Partners in Sustainable Building. This program will provide funding and resources to assist in making at least 5,000 homes built by Habitat affiliates more energy efficient and sustainable according to nationally recognized green building standards.

McIlvaine is part of a team of sustainable building experts, providing technical assistance, general advice and feedback during the Partners in Sustainable Building program’s pilot phase, which began in May. She will also participate in the nationwide training effort when the program is officially launched in 2009.

Over the next five years, the Partners in Sustainable Building program will provide cash incentives to Habitat affiliates throughout the United States for improving their construction specifications and techniques to help qualify new homes for ENERGY STAR status, which requires homes to be at least 15 percent more efficient than standard, built-to-code homes. Funds and resources provided through this program will help Habitat affiliates expand their use of energy-efficient equipment, install more water-conserving fixtures and ensure good indoor air quality. These homes will be more durable and energy efficient, which will make them more affordable for the homeowners.

Through funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Building America program, FSEC has built a rich partnership with Habitat for Humanity that has spanned more than a decade and reaches every corner of the nation. “FSEC is delighted and honored to have Janet bring her experience to the development of this new, timely program,” said Subrato Chandra, FSEC’s project director for the DOE-sponsored Building America Industrialized Housing Partnership. “She has spearheaded FSEC’s involvement with Habitat for Humanity for more than 10 years, making her an ideal representative who can provide an extensive knowledgebase for this program.”

About The Home Depot Foundation

The Home Depot Foundation was created in 2002 to further the community building goals of The Home Depot. The Home Depot Foundation is dedicated to building homes for working families that are healthy to live in and affordable to own. Through the incorporation of responsible design, homes built with durable and quality materials are more energy and water efficient, have good indoor air quality, and are overall a safe and healthy space to live. Since its formation, The Home Depot Foundation has granted $70 million to nonprofit organizations and supported the development of more than 50,000 affordable, healthy homes.

About Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 250,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 1 million people.

Florida Students Compete With Energy Solutions

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Cocoa, Fla. – With the constant rise of gas prices, energy is on everyone’s mind these days, including our students’. On Saturday, May 3, hundreds of students from more than 40 schools all over Florida competed in the sixth-annual EnergyWhizOlympics at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center in Cocoa. Here they put their knowledge and skills to work toward finding solutions to our nation’s energy challenges.

This alternative energy competition, sponsored by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, highlights the science and engineering skills of middle school and high school students as they participate in activities related to real-world energy issues by racing solar and hydrogen-powered model cars.

“We were so impressed with the level of competition this year,” said Susan Schleith, project manager for the EnergyWhiz Olympics. “Students are beginning to take a real interest in alternative energy, which is promising for our future energy independence.” (more…)

EnergyWhiz Olympics on May 3 at the Florida Solar Energy Center

Friday, April 25th, 2008

Cocoa, Fla. – Hundreds of students from more than 60 schools across Florida will participate in the sixth-annual EnergyWhiz Olympics at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) in Cocoa. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, May 3, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The EnergyWhiz Olympics, sponsored by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, highlights the science and engineering skills of middle school and high school students as they participate in activities related to the real-world issue of energy.

“This event provides students with a great opportunity to develop and show off their engineering skills and their knowledge of emerging energy concepts,” said Susan Schleith, project manager for the EnergyWhiz Olympics. “Each year we have more schools participating, and it’s great to know that students are taking a real interest in alternative energy.” (more…)

University of Florida Professor Wins Florida Energy Achievement Award

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Dr. Ann C. Wilkie, associate professor at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), has been named winner of the third annual Florida Energy Achievement Award. The award, presented by the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), recognizes a company, organization or individual that has made a significant achievement in the efficient utilization of energy, energy conservation, energy education or renewable energy in the state of Florida.

The FSEC award committee chose Wilkie for her extensive work in alternative energy -creating bio-energy from animal waste – and her leadership in promoting awareness and understanding of renewable energy and sustainable practices. (more…)

Lincoln Middle School Wins Academic Portion of Regional DOE National Science Bowl®

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

COCOA, Fla. – Lincoln Middle School, in Gainesville, Fla., is this year’s Southeastern regional winner of the academic portion of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Science Bowl® for middle school students. The event was held Saturday at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC). The Lincoln “A” Team must now compete against seven other finalist teams from the region in the Hands-On Hydrogen competition, where they must demonstrate a functional fuel cell-powered model car, for a chance to represent Florida at the national finals in Golden, Colo., this summer. The hydrogen car competition will be held during the EnergyWhiz Olympics on May 3, 2008, at FSEC.

This year’s Lincoln “A” Team members are Matt Banks, Zadia Dupee, Rachel Keen, Rohit Singh, alternate David Liu, and coach, eighth grade science teacher, Roberta Harbrucker.

The morning started by awarding teams with candy for honors like “most creative uniforms” and “longest distance traveled”. Once the candy prizes ran out, the competition for the real prize began. During the first half of the competition, teams were given 20 seconds to discuss and decide on answers to multiple choice questions. This part of the competition ended in a “sudden death” showdown between two schools to determine who would take the final spot among the eight finalist teams continuing on in the competition.

The final eight teams were from Andrew Jackson Middle School in Titusville, Archimedean Middle Conservatory in Miami, Challenger K-8 School of Science and Math in Spring Hill, Lincoln Middle School in Gainesville, Professional Academies Magnet School in Gainesville, Ronald McNair Magnet School in Rockledge, St. Charles Borromeo in Orlando, and Trinity Preparatory School in Winter Park.

These eight teams attended an hour-long workshop where they learned how to construct and use hydrogen fuel cells. Using fuel cell kits provided by DOE and General Motors, each of the eight finalist teams must design, construct, and demonstrate a functional model car powered by the fuel cell at the EnergyWhiz Olympics.

After the fuel cell workshop and a relaxing lunch break, it was time for the double elimination round. In this fast-paced portion of the event, each team relied on its individual members to quickly buzz-in and answer questions correctly without consulting their teammates. Hours of intense academic competition passed before Lincoln Middle School was announced the winner. (more…)

Florida Solar Energy Center Director, Dr. James Fenton, Recipient of 2008 UCF Award for Excellence in Distinguished Research

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

Cocoa, Fla. – Dr. James Fenton, director of the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) and recognized expert in electrochemical engineering, received this year’s University of Central Florida Award for Excellence in Distinguished Research. This honor is awarded to researchers whose work has created an impact within their discipline and in society. Their work is recognized by research peers, has been published and presented on numerous occasions, and provides external grant and contract support for the research.

Fenton has led his team in a wide variety of hydrogen research activities, although he specializes in fuel cell applications. Fenton’s award-winning work focuses on the research and development of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells. PEM fuel cells transform chemical energy released during the electrochemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen to electrical energy, rather than producing mechanical energy as current internal combustion engines do. While PEM fuel cells are being developed primarily for the next-generation automobile engine, they are also being developed as sources for portable power and emergency backup power applications. (more…)

Ambassadors Glean Solar Energy Solutions from FSEC

Monday, February 4th, 2008

COCOA, Fla. – When the U.S. State Department wanted to show ambassadors from more than 40 nations some of Florida’s most comprehensive research in sustainable energy, they came straight to the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC).

On Thursday, those ambassadors toured the center and observed sunlight being used for everything from cooking food and heating water to creating electricity that can be used to power homes and offices.

Ambassador Nancy Brinker, United States Chief of Protocol and the initiator of the State Department’s “Experience America” tour program for members of the Washington, D.C. Diplomatic Corps, said FSEC was the perfect choice for the ambassadors’ inaugural tour. (more…)

FSEC Helps Orlando Home Achieve LEED Certification

Friday, December 14th, 2007

An Orlando home rebuilt after it was destroyed in a 2004 hurricane has become the first house in the state to achieve the silver certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes standard.

The Florida Solar Energy Center completed several inspections and performance tests on John and Pamela Parés’ new home, which features solar water heating, high-efficiency windows and doors and many other environmentally friendly features. The home, built by Classic Construction, is only the second home in the state to earn a LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Coalition (USGBC).

After Hurricane Charley destroyed the Parés’ home, they sought out environmentally friendly contractors and features that would promote clean air, clean water and the conservation of resources while also reducing their utility bills. The Parés lived in a rented house across the street while watching the reconstruction of their home. (more…)