FSEC Scientist Receives UCF Institutes and Centers Award for Excellence in Research

May 15th, 2012

Nazim Muradov, right, accepts award from UCF's Vice President of Research and Commercialization, M.J. Soileau.

COCOA, May 15, 2012 – A researcher who has developed a novel method that uses sponge-like carbon particles to clean up oil spills in water and among some other exciting work at UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) has received one of UCF’s highest honors.

Nazim Muradov, a researcher at FSEC since 1990, recently received the UCF Institute and Centers Award for Excellence in Research.

Aside from the promising sponge-like carbon clean up method, Muradov also developed a novel high-energy density seawater-based hydrogen generator that can be used to propel Navy’s unmanned undersea vehicles.

“I am honored to receive this award because it underscores the high value and impact of research work conducted at FSEC,” states Muradov.

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New Homes Wanted for Energy Research Study

May 11th, 2012

COCOA, May 11, 2012 — The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is seeking homes to participate in a State of Florida-sponsored energy research study.  Homeowners of selected homes will be compensated $200 for completion of the energy audit and participation in the energy monitoring study.

Eligible participants are homes that were permitted and built after March 2009, have 1500-2300 square feet of living area, and are owner-occupied year-round.

The FSEC research team will conduct an energy audit within each home and monitor energy use for approximately a three-month period.  Testing will examine house airtightness, air conditioner performance and duct leakage.  The FSEC research team will also collect the previous year’s energy bills.

If you are interested in participating in this research project, please visit http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/go/CodeResearch or contact Jeremy Nelson at 407-243-8197 or jnelson@fsec.ucf.edu by May 31, 2012.

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PR12-03

EnergyWhiz Olympics to Showcase Students’ Solar Cars, Cookers and Hydrogen Experiments

April 20th, 2012

EnergyWhiz Olympics

The tenth-annual EnergyWhiz Olympics is a daylong event showcasing student projects in alternative energy. Activities include Junior Solar Sprint, Energy Innovations, Hydrogen Challenge, Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff, and new this year, the Electrathon.

More than 650 Florida elementary, middle and high school students—from as far as Tallahassee and Miami—will participate in the EnergyWhiz Olympics, starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 5, at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center. FSEC is located at Brevard Community College’s Cocoa Campus, 1679 Clearlake Road. The public is invited to attend free of charge. Read the rest of this entry »

Subrato Chandra Remembered

January 13th, 2012

Subrato Chandra, Ph.D., retired project manager for the Building America Industrialized Housing Partnership (BAIHP) and one of the pioneers of the building research division of the Florida Solar Energy Center, died Jan. 12 following complications from surgery.

A pioneer of buildings research at FSEC, Subrato Chandra, died Jan. 12, 2012 due to complications from surgery.

Subrato Chandra, a pioneer of buildings research at FSEC.

Subrato, who worked for FSEC for 34 years before retiring in 2010, was passionate about integrating energy efficiency into home design and, long before most people had ever heard the term photovoltaics, helped develop the concept of a PV powered house in Cape Canaveral in 1979.

One of his proudest achievements was highlighted in an email he recently sent a colleague in which several FSEC initiatives were touched upon in a listing of the most transformative homebuilding trends in the last 75 years.

Subrato’s compassion can be seen in the types of projects he championed:   As director of FSEC’s research and development division in 1995 he helped the Environmental Protection Agency launch the Energy Star Homes project that has become the most widely accepted energy-efficient green homes projects in the country.  The Building America project he led still works directly with Habitat for Humanity home builders throughout the country to help make housing more affordable for needy families and helps make manufactured or HUD-code homes more efficient.

Subrato led FSEC’s first major funded project in the buildings area with a $400,000 contract on passive cooling by natural ventilation received in 1981 from the Department of Energy.  During his career at UCF he was involved in $14 million of funded projects. In addition to his work at FSEC, Subrato served as a faculty member in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Subrato was able to succeed because he always championed the personal relationship over the pure technical work. He communicated equally well with a housing subcontractor and a renowned scientist. And in so doing he was able to have a number of happy employees and help funding agencies achieve their goals. His loss will be felt nationwide in the building research community.

“He was a great teacher, a respected scientist, and a classy gentleman, ” said Craig V. Muccio, a colleague from Florida Power and Light who first met Subrato in a solar engineering class Subrato was teaching in 1980.

Most recently Subrato was working with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as a senior buildings engineer.

Subrato’s wife Mitra works in the Office of Research & Commercialization and he has two grown children.

Florida Manufactured Solar Electric Panels

December 21st, 2011

Dr. James Fenton Speaks to Florida House of Representatives, Energy & Utilities Subcommittee on December 6, 2011

Below is the transcription of the 12-minute video recording, located here: http://vimeo.com/33415686.

My name is James Fenton, I’m director of the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center here today and I would like to talk to you about manufacturing, manufacturing renewable energy in Florida.  Specifically I’ll use examples of photovoltaics; solar to electric panels.

Which purchase is best for Florida?

Which purchase is best for Florida?

Let’s look at Florida manufacturing jobs as a tale of two salad bowls.  The $10.00 bowl made in Florida using Florida materials keeps all the money and all the jobs in Florida.  The $9.50 bowl imported from China, manufactured by Chinese, using Chinese materials sends most of the money and the jobs to China.  Which purchase is best for Florida?

Florida imports almost all of its energy resources.  The citizens of Florida pay $27 billion for electricity and $30 billion for gasoline for a total of $57 billion per year.  This compares to our state budget of $70 billion a year.  But unlike our state budget, which I hope by the way we spend all that money in the state, most of the $57 billion leaves the state of Florida.  We are faced with two energy challenges – How can Florida reduce its imported energy costs and how can Florida’s electricity and transportation fuel be manufactured in Florida?  Can we design an energy future which allows Florida to keep our capital in the state, increasing economic activity and produce high-wage jobs.  We can and there is a path to do it.  I would like to share such a path.
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Energy Research Study Seeks Two-Story Homes in 13 Counties

November 29th, 2011

COCOA, November 29, 2011 — The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute of the University of Central Florida, is seeking qualified two-story homes to participate in a U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored “wind washing” study that will begin next month.

Eligible participants will be compensated $50 for the initial study, and up to $680 for those who are selected to participate in the monitoring and repair portion of the project; repair costs will be paid by FSEC. Homes for the study are being sought in the following Florida counties: Brevard, Osceola, Orange, Seminole, Volusia, Lake, Marion, Putnam, Flagler, St. Johns, Clay, Duval and Nassau.

Diagram of how wind-driven attic air is pushed into the space between floors.

Wind-driven attic air is pushed into the space between floors.

Wind washing involves the flow of air from an attic space into the floor cavity between the first and second stories of the house. Homes with wind washing are likely to experience increased utility costs and, in some cases, indoor comfort problems. Read the rest of this entry »

Solar Power Systems Educate Students, Reduce Costs for Schools and Provide Emergency Power

July 14th, 2011

COCOA, July 14, 2011 – Nearly 100 Florida schools will be soaking up solar rays to power their buildings this fall thanks to the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC).

FSEC, a University of Central Florida research institute, is providing each school with a 10-kilowatt, solar photovoltaic (PV) system valued at more than $80,000. These systems allow schools to capture the sun’s rays and turn them into energy to help reduce electricity costs, and they also serve as generators during a power outage. Installation of the systems – under way now – will reduce energy costs by up to $1,500 a year and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

 

The photovoltaic system at Oak Hammock Middle School in Ft. Myers is near completion.

The photovoltaic system at Oak Hammock Middle School in Ft. Myers is near completion.

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Photovoltaics Are Half the Cost of Gasoline!

May 24th, 2011

Everyone is impacted by the current high price of gasoline. President Obama gets criticized because the public thinks he can actually control the price, Big oil gets called before Congress because it gets substantial subsidies from taxpayers. And we, the citizens, pay the highest gas prices we have ever paid in the face of one of the country’s most severe economic downturns.

But there is hope for the Sunshine State, as every cloud has a silver lining.

For the past half dozen years or so, the automotive industry has become pretty serious about producing electric cars that work. The new Chevy Volt (Motor Trend’s Car of the Year) and the all-electric Nissan Leaf are good examples – and they are real game changers.

But what does this have to do with the cost of photovoltaics and gasoline?

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Students’ Bright Ideas Shine at EnergyWhiz Olympics

May 11th, 2011

COCOA, May 11, 2011 – Florida students have creative ideas for solving some of the world’s greatest energy challenges, and their solutions were demonstrated Saturday at the ninth-annual EnergyWhiz Olympics.

More than 900 students throughout Florida converged Saturday, May 7 at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) in Cocoa to compete in the day-long competition showcasing student projects in alternative fuel technologies.

Solar Energy Cookoff teams were judged for their cooker's design.

Solar Energy Cookoff teams were judged on their cooker's design and the dish they cooked.

Events included the Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff, a solar cooker design and cooking contest; the Junior Solar Sprint, model-size solar car races; the High School Hydrogen Sprint and Hands-On-Hydrogen, model-size hydrogen-powered car races; and Energy Innovations, a full-scale solar electric design challenge. Read the rest of this entry »

MEDIA ADVISORY: EnergyWhiz Olympics to Feature Students’ Solar Cars, Cookers

May 2nd, 2011

The ninth-annual EnergyWhiz Olympics is a daylong event showcasing student projects in alternative energy. Activities include Energy Innovations, Hydrogen Sprint, Hands-On-Hydrogen, Junior Solar Sprint and Bright House Solar Energy Cookoff.

EnergyWhiz Olympics

More than 650 Florida elementary, middle and high school students – from as far as Tallahassee and Miami – will participate starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 7, at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center. FSEC is located at Brevard Community College’s Cocoa Campus, 1679 Clearlake Road. The public is invited to attend free of charge.
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