Posts Tagged ‘energy’

New Homes Wanted for Energy Research Study

Friday, 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

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Students’ Bright Ideas Shine at EnergyWhiz Olympics

Wednesday, 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. (more…)

Muradov’s Paper Featured by ScienceWatch®

Friday, May 8th, 2009

An article written by Nazim Muradov, a principal research scientist at the University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center, was recently identified by Thomson Reuters’ Essential Science Indicators SM as one of the most cited papers in the research area of “Hydrogen Economy.”

Read Q&A from Nazim Muradov.

Q&A with Nazim Muradov

Muradov’s highly cited article, “From hydrocarbon to hydrogen-carbon to hydrogen economy,” published in the “International Journal of Hydrogen Energy” in March 2005, is now featured as a Fast Moving Front paper in the field of engineering on Thomson Reuters’ ScienceWatch® Web site:  http://sciencewatch.com/sciencewatch/dr/fmf/2009/09mayfmf/09mayfmfMura/.

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MEDIA ADVISORY: Renewable Energy Solutions Demonstrated by Students at EnergyWhiz Olympics on Saturday, May 9

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

WHAT:
The seventh-annual EnergyWhiz Olympics is a series of day-long activities dedicated to students with an interest in alternative fuels. It is composed of the Junior Solar Sprint, Hydrogen Sprint, Energy Innovations and the new Bright House Solar Energy Cook-off.

  • The Junior Solar Sprint is a competition that challenges middle school students to design, build and race model solar cars. Awards are given based on vehicle design, quality of craftsmanship, innovation and vehicle speed.
  • The Hydrogen Sprint is a high school competition that provides opportunities for students to explore hydrogen power with a hands-on design component and a presentation.
  • The Energy Innovations program is a full-scale solar electric design and marketing challenge for middle and high school students. Each participating team designs and constructs a product or artistic work fully powered by photovoltaics (PV), also called solar electric cells. Teams also create marketing pieces, such as brochures, fliers, and posters, to accompany their products.
  • The Bright House Solar Energy Cook-Off challenges students, in grades 4th – 8th, to design and build solar cookers, and to also cook a recipe of their own creation using the power of the sun.  In Top Chef-style, each dish will be judged by a panel of experts based on taste, ingredients and creativity.

WHY:
These hands-on renewable energy competitions – for elementary, middle and high school students – expose students to alternative energy fuel sources, and encourage scientific know-how, creative thinking, experimentation and teamwork.

WHO:
More than 650 elementary, middle, and high school Florida students – from Tallahassee to Miami and everywhere in between – will participate in the EnergyWhiz Olympics.

Number of Teams in Each Competition –
Junior Solar Sprint:  60
Hydrogen Sprint:  13
Energy Innovations:  12
Solar Cook-off:  46

WHEN:
Saturday, May 9 starting at 9 a.m.

9:00 a.m.    Welcome – Auditorium
Dr. James Fenton, Director, Florida Solar Energy Center

9:30 a.m.    Technical Judging Begins – Junior Solar Sprint, Hydrogen Sprint
Hydrogen Sprint Presentations
Energy Innovations Displays Open to Public
Solar Energy Cook-Off – Design Judging
Solar Cookers – Displays Open to Public

11:30 a.m.    Energy Innovations Judging – Middle School Teams

12 noon    Energy Innovations Judging – High School Teams
Junior Solar Sprint Race Begins (Track Area 1)

1:00 p.m.    Hydrogen Sprint Race Begins (Track Area 2)

2:00 p.m.    Solar Energy Cook-Off – Recipe Judging (Auditorium)

3:30 p.m.    Awards Ceremony (Auditorium)

WHERE:
Florida Solar Energy Center, 1679 Clearlake Road, Cocoa, FL 32922

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

For more information on these exciting educational events, visit
http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/education/k-12/events/ewhiz_olympics.htm or view a video about the EnergyWhiz Olympics at http://vimeo.com/982597.

Contact Susan Schleith, FSEC Education Coordinator, at 321-638-1017 or Susan@fsec.ucf.edu.

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PR09-07

Energy Experts Offer Zero Energy Green Home Webinar Series

Monday, May 4th, 2009

The University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) will now offer a 12-course Webinar series on how to design, build and operate a Zero Energy Home — a home that produces as much energy as it uses.

This series of online courses offers practical education from building science experts with more than 30 years of research and experience. These courses are appropriate for architects, builders, contractors, designers, educators, energy auditors, energy raters, engineers, prospective homebuyers and utility representatives.

During these tough economic times, builders are looking for ways to attract home buyers and the new government administration is concentrating on creating “green jobs.”  Zero Energy Homes provide an opportunity to accomplish both and save consumers money while reducing their carbon footprint. These courses will show participants how to maximize energy-efficient design, make the best “green” choices, and optimize performance from solar and home energy management systems.

12-Course Webinar Series Begins June 3

The 12-course Webinar series begins June 3, 2009.

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Energy Experts to Share Their Knowledge at Sunsational EarthFest

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Sunsational EarthFest, a new Earth Day event, will help residents learn about renewable energy, resource conservation and the environment in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

The University of Central Florida’s Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) and the Brevard Community College Green Team will host the event on Saturday, April 18, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Everyone is invited, and admission is free.

Learn from the experts how to cut your energy costs without sacrificing comfort, the benefits of green roofs, the basics of solar energy and the latest research in alternative fuel technology. Tours of the center will also be offered.

Exhibitors and vendors will offer presentations, demonstrations and activities.
Solar energy, environmental and educational exhibits — including various types of alternative fuel vehicles — will be on display, and a farmer’s market will feature local organic food. Activities for kids include a bicycle rodeo, solar boat demonstrations, a bouncy house and face painting. In addition, the Middle School Science Bowl finalist teams will race their model hydrogen fuel cell cars.

The BCC Green Team will present free educational and environmental films, “Gimme Green,” “Who Killed the Electric Car?” and “Kilowatt Ours.” The BCC Planetarium and Observatory will present two showings of the movie “A Living Sea,” which is shown in IMAX, at a discounted rate of $3.

Sunsational EarthFest activities will be located throughout the north end of the Brevard Community College Cocoa Campus and at the Florida Solar Energy Center, 1679 Clearlake Road, Cocoa.

Sunsational EarthFest is sponsored by the Florida Solar Energy Center, the BCC Green Team, Bright House Networks, FLORIDA TODAY and SolarWorld.

For more information, call Susan Schleith at (321) 638-1017 or go to www.floridaenergycenter.org/go/earthfest.

Director’s Message: Energy Too Costly for Florida

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

While gasoline prices have recently dropped, electric costs are skyrocketing!  Gasoline for all of the 90s was about $1 a gallon, oil $18 a barrel, natural gas was $2 for a thousand cubic feet and residential electricity in Florida was 8 cents a kWh.  Gasoline at its peak last year was over $4, oil over $140 a barrel, and natural gas over $11 for a thousand cubic feet and residential electricity in Florida was 12 cents a kWh.  In the last several months, the price of electricity to some consumers in Florida has reached 15 cents per kWh.  The average Florida customer who used 1,250 kWh of electricity per month paid $120 in 2005 and $152 per month in 2008.  In 2009, the average customer will be paying more than $160.  So by doing nothing, the price has gone up more than $40 per month (33%) since 2005.  Some customers will be paying $188 per month, a $68 per month increase (50%) since 2005!

Alternative energy is called alternative, until it is cheaper, but cheaper than what? – electricity out of the wall at 12 cents yesterday, 15 cents today, 18 cents tomorrow?  Are you aware that people in the U.S. pay different amounts for electricity?  The average residential retail price of electricity in the U.S. was 10.6 cents per kWh in 2007.  Florida was 11.2 cents, most southern states were about 9 cents, WV 7 cents, UT 8 cents, NY and CT about 18 cents, and CA and NJ 15 cents.  So, states that burn coal have the cheapest electricity rates. Places like Utah and West Virginia burn their own coal, so even though they get all the pollution and the greenhouse gasses, at least they get to keep all their money, unlike Florida which ships more than $25 billion out of state to purchase fuel.  Florida has already been paying more for cleaner burning fossil fuels than the Southern states to our north.  We are now paying more for natural gas than we are for coal, and that price increase is more than what is being suggested to add to our electric bills for solar energy.

New Jersey has more solar than Florida because homeowners in NJ have a Renewable Portfolio Standard, and fees (collected into a Public Benefit Fund) are used to incentivize the homeowner for solar on their roof.  If such a fund collected $1.50 on your electric bill in Florida, we could have the equivalent of California’s Million Solar Roofs Program.  Clearly $1.50 is less than the $40 a month cost of doing nothing.  While solar water heating is cost effective today, solar electricity (photovoltaics) without a subsidy is not cost effective today, but the subsidy is still less than the cost of “accelerated cost recovery” for nuclear power.  What about the jobs?  These jobs will not be in China and India, they will be done by your neighbor.  Vote Solar estimates that more than 3,800 megawatts (MW) of solar could be added by 2020 and with it approximately 85,500 new jobs in Florida. What a great way to love your neighbor.

Jim Fenton, Director
Florida Solar Energy Center

EnergyGauge® Summit Premier 3.15 Saves Energy Modelers Time

Friday, November 7th, 2008

This easy-to-use, state-of-the-art software offers construction-industry professionals substantial time savings while completing required energy modeling calculations for LEED® projects.

The Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a research institute of the University of Central Florida, today released EnergyGauge Summit Premier 3.15. FSEC will be exhibiting the software at the Greenbuild conference in Boston Nov. 19 – 21. This state-of-the-art software provides construction-industry professionals with the opportunity to substantially reduce the time required to complete energy modeling for the commercial construction LEED® rating system. It also offers a time-saving automatic federal tax deduction qualification feature.

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Governor Crist Sets New Energy and Environmental Agenda for Florida

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

On Friday, July 13, 2007, Governor Charlie Crist signed three executive orders that will move Florida from “business as usual” to a national leadership position in renewable energy, energy efficiency and carbon emission reduction.

The first executive order (#07-126) [Adobe Acrobat PDF 20kb] requires state government agencies to “walk the walk.”  Among other things, it requires that green house gasses (GHG) resulting from state operations be reduced by 10% in the next 4 years and then consistently over time to 40% below current levels by 2025.  It establishes the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program and ENERGY STAR buildings standards as the new “standard practice” for state facilities.  It also directs the establishment of vehicle emissions “baseline” for the government’s state-owned vehicle fleet and then, for new vehicles, the purchase of “only those vehicles with the greatest fuel efficiency in a given class.”

The second order (#07-127) [Adobe Acrobat PDF 23kb] establishes state-wide GHG emission targets.  The Order set targets of reaching 2000 levels by 2017 and 1990 levels by 2025.  The ultimate goal is to reduce 1990 levels by 80% by 2050.  Among other things, this Order directs adoption of maximum allowable GHG emissions by utilities and adoption of the California motor vehicle emission standards.  It also directs the Department of Community Affairs to increase the energy performance of new buildings by 15% through the Florida Building Code.  Additionally, this order requests the Florida Public Service Commission to initiate rulemaking by September 1, 2007, to require Florida utilities to “produce at least 20% of their electricity from renewable sources (Renewable Portfolio Standard) with a strong focus on solar and wind energy.”  The order also requests adoption of IEEE Standard 1547 for Interconnecting Distributed Resources with Electric Power Systems as the statewide standard for utility interconnection and the adoption of net metering on a state-wide basis.

Order number three (#07-128) [Adobe Acrobat PDF 17kb] creates the “Florida Governor’s Action Team on Energy and Climate Change to develop a comprehensive Energy and Climate Change Action Plan that will fully achieve or surpass Executive Order targets for statewide greenhouse gas reductions specified in Executive Order 07-127.”  The Governor will appoint the members of this Action Team and it will be staffed and supported by agencies under his direction, specifically the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Community Affairs and the Department of Transportation.  The resulting Action Plan is to be completed in two phases, with Phase I completed by November 1, 2007 and Phase II completed by October 1, 2008.

In addition, the Governor also signed international agreements with the United Kingdom [Adobe Acrobat PDF 155kb] and the Federal Republic of Germany [Adobe Acrobat PDF 125kb]. Florida joins each nation in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and calls for immediate worldwide action. Florida hopes to strengthen ties with each country while improving upon the science and technologies used for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving public policies and overall increasing climate-friendly commerce between Florida, the United Kingdom and Germany.

For Additional Information

Florida Solar Energy Center Researchers Receive Honor at the 15th World Hydrogen Energy Conference

Sunday, July 25th, 2004

Dr. Ali T-Raissi and Dr. Cunping Huang of the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) received the Innovative Technology Award at the 15th World Hydrogen Energy Conference in Yokohama, Japan earlier this month. The award was presented to the hydrogen research scientists for their work on “A New Solar Thermochemical Water-Splitting Cycle for Hydrogen Production.” It was the only award presented to research scientists from the U.S.

The World Hydrogen Energy Conference provided a setting for scientists to present their research on methods to provide the world with clean energy, including a new paradigm featuring hydrogen. The budding hydrogen economy will be brought about by emerging science and technologies such as those featured at the conference.

The research conducted by Drs. Huang and Raissi was initially supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. It is now part of a multi-year, multi-million dollar grant for a hydrogen research and development program funded by NASA Glenn Research Center, involving research at several Florida universities. The program is managed by FSEC.

Dr. Huang, principal investigator for this project, said, “I am honored to receive this award. To have my work recognized by the leaders of this conference is, indeed, an honor.” Dr. Raissi added that “This is a real honor for us since our work was recognized by the scientific committee of WHEC-15 and especially the committee’s chair Professor Hideo Kameyama, who is the world-renowned researcher in the thermochemical hydrogen production arena and the inventor of the famous UT-3 cycle.”

Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe, but on earth, it is chemically reactive and exists at normal conditions in combination with other elements such as oxygen in water or carbon in natural gas. This leads to a technical problem with hydrogen: it must be produced or extracted from the compound in which it is contained. In the long term, hydrogen must be produced from sustainable resources such as solar energy and water. In their research, Drs. Raissi and Huang address the production of hydrogen through high-temperature thermochemical water-splitting cycles.

The use of thermochemical water-splitting cycles (TCWSCs) employing solar energy as a heat source is an innovative approach to produce hydrogen. It presents a viable option for the future production of hydrogen. TCWSCs can be highly efficient processes compared to other hydrogen production methods based on water splitting.

Several presentations submitted by FSEC researchers were presented at the conference. To view their presentations, please visit http://www.hydrogenresearch.org/WHEC15.htm The Florida Solar Energy Center is the largest and most active state-supported renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development organization in the United States and functions as the State’s energy research and training center. For more information about FSEC’s hydrogen research programs, visit http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/hydrogen or call FSEC Public Information Office at (321) 638-1015 or go to http://www.fsec.ucf.edu.