EV Transportation and Technology Summit 2016

September 22nd, 2016

What are the latest developments in electric vehicle technology, policy and planning? Find out at the EV Transportation and Technology Summit on October 17-20, 2016.

EV Summit 2016 logo

The EV Transportation & Technology Summit 2016 will focus on transportation planning and infrastructure.

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USDA Subsidized Energy Audits for Florida Ag Producers and Rural Small Businesses

September 22nd, 2016

By Janet McIlvaine
09/22/2016

The University of Central Florida’s FSEC conducts energy audits, renewable energy assessments, and technical assistance for the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grant and loan program which is specifically for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements. Any Florida agriculture operation or rural small business is eligible for FSEC support. The USDA subsidizes 75% of FSEC’s audit cost.

Two FSEC employees review solar access maps with business owner.

Solar access maps are produced and reviewed with business owners as part of FSEC’s technical assistance.

The audit includes an on-site visit to inventory energy use, utility bill analysis, evaluation of efficiency improvement options, projected annual energy savings, all summarized in a REAP-required Technical Report, and assistance with completing the technical portions of the application. Grants are eligible for up to 25% of eligible project costs and range from $2,500-$500,000 for renewable energy systems and $1,500-$250,000 for energy efficiency improvements.

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Join Us Online! Electric Vehicles: At the Intersection of Transportation and Energy

September 20th, 2016

This month’s UCF Energy Connections Seminar, “Electric Vehicles: At the Intersection of Transportation and Energy,” is now being offered online.

On Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2016 at 11 a.m., please join the seminar from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/570064253

You can also dial in using your phone. United States +1 (646) 749-3131
Access Code: 570-064-253

First GoToMeeting? Try a test session:  http://help.citrix.com/getready

UCF Energy Connections Seminar Series

Listen. Learn. Connect

 

UCF Energy Connections Seminar Series – September 2016

September 19th, 2016

Electric Vehicles: At the Intersection of Transportation and Energy

Presented by: Dr. Paul Brooker

When: September 21, 2016 @ 11 a.m.
Location: FSEC, 1679 Clearlake Rd., Cocoa, FL 32922. Auditorium

Since the introduction of the automobile in the early 1900’s, there has traditionally been a separation between transportation energy and residential/commercial/industrial energy. With electric vehicles on the rise, however, energy will need to flow freely between vehicles and the grid.

UCF Energy Connections Seminar Series

Listen. Learn. Connect

As we move towards this intersection, we will begin to encounter conflicts between the needs of the vehicle owner and the desires of the grid/building energy operator. For example, the electric vehicle owner is concerned about getting home every day, and ensuring that the battery’s lifetime is not adversely impacted. The grid operator is concerned with maintaining high power quality and reducing the risk of outages as renewable energy sources are increasingly added to the mix. Understanding distinctive needs of each user will lead to better management of energy flows that can benefit transportation, the grid, and society as a whole. This presentation will explore how the needs of the vehicle may be met, while also providing added value to the grid.

Dr. Paul Brooker Biographical Sketch

Dr. Brooker received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University in 2004 and his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut in 2009. After graduating, Dr. Brooker came to UCF’s FSEC, where he has participated in research ranging from fuel cells to electric vehicles to solar photovoltaics.

Within the DOE-sponsored Fuel Cell High Temperature Membrane Working Group at FSEC, Dr. Brooker’s role was to apply electrodes onto novel membranes, and to investigate the performance in an operating fuel cell environment. In addition, Dr. Brooker investigated the use of heteropolyacids (HPAs) for reducing membrane degradation during accelerated stress testing. As part of the Electric Vehicle Transportation Center (EVTC), Dr. Brooker has modeled the use of fuel cells in electric vehicles, as well as electric vehicle infrastructure needs. His research is investigating the potential for fuel cell vehicles to contribute to energy needs beyond transportation, such as grid ancillary services, back-up power, and distributed energy resource management. Dr. Brooker is a project leader within the Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium, where he is directing research on diamond wire slicing of silicon ingots. This research is investigating methods to understand diamond wire wear and its effect on the surface of the cut wafer. This understanding could lead to improved control of wafer surfaces, reduced consumption of diamond wire, and increased wafer throughput, all by optimizing the slicing parameters.

UCF and ICAMR Capture DOE Award for Cost-Competitive Solar Energy

September 14th, 2016

September 14, 2016
By Barb Abney

A University of Central Florida-led team will receive $1.1 million to develop new manufacturing processes using a specialized tool that will bring the U.S. a step closer to achieving its goal of affordable photovoltaic (solar) energy.

UCF researcher, Kris Davis, stands next to the ACPVD system that deposits metal oxide material onto silicon wafers.

UCF researcher, Kris Davis, stands next to the ACPVD system that deposits metal oxide material onto silicon wafers.

The project, led by Kris Davis, a research engineer at UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center, will largely take place at the university’s International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research in Osceola County where the tool will be among the first to be installed when the building opens in spring 2017.

Making the research manufacturable was critical to getting the federal funding and having the state-of-the-art facility in Osceola County where process engineers will be on staff to manage the equipment was also imperative, Davis said.

“This is the future,” he said of the process his team will use to ultimately produce thousands of solar cells an hour in and without the costly and cumbersome vacuum-based deposition processes typically used to convert silicon wafers into solar cells. Read the rest of this entry »

UCF EcoStruction Workshops Provide Steps Toward a Sustainable Career

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.

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EVTC Helping to Make STEM Learning Relevant Through Electrathon

July 18th, 2016

By Susan Schleith
July 18, 2016

There was no roar of engines and no smelly fumes as the electric go-carts sped by the attentive crowd of students, teachers and the public gathered by the track in front of UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) in Cocoa. This was the final race of the Electrathon season coordinated by Electrathon of Tampa Bay, which was held in conjunction with the statewide EnergyWhiz event on Saturday, May 14, 2016. Over one thousand people, young and old, attended EnergyWhiz, with the opportunity to learn about a variety of clean energy technologies, including hydrogen, photovoltaics and electric vehicles.

Photo of go-cart type electric vehicles ready to race at FSEC as part of EnergyWhiz.

Electrathon vehicles get in place before the last race of the 2015-2016 Season at the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) in Cocoa.

The Electrathon is a race featuring battery-powered electric go-carts that have been designed and built by the participating individuals and teams.   There are no refueling pit stops during an Electrathon race; the challenge is completing the most laps in one hour without completely draining the vehicle’s battery. Nine organizations were represented at the event with several of those with multiple teams; a total of 13 vehicles raced.

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

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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

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. Read the rest of this entry »

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

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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