Florida Solar Energy Center, The Energy Chronicle, a newsletter of the Florida Solar Energy Center header
A Research Institute of the University of Central Florida Issue No. 3: April 2005

Check out the Director's message in this issue for an inside look at our planning for the future. We're also featuring a write-up on a timely research program growing out of last summer's hurricane damage, as well as a summary of a three-year project in the Virgin Islands on solar water heating and photovoltaics. There's other news as well, so we hope you enjoy this issue of The Energy Chronicle.

Send your comments, suggestions and ideas for future issues to info@fsec.ucf.edu.





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Clean Cities Workshop on Ultra-Low-Sulfur Diesel and Bio-Diesel
April 18
Commercial Buildings Under Attack by Uncontrolled Air Flow
April 25-26

Energy-Efficient Florida Home Building
April 27

Florida Green Home Designation
April 28

Checklist for Sustainable Development
April 29
Residential HVAC As If Comfort and Energy Mattered
April 29
Energy-Efficient Florida Home Building
April 27
EnergyGauge FlaCom I
May 1
Installing Photovoltaic Systems
May 2-6
Energy Gauge Commercial Rater Training
May 3

From Blueprints to Residential Energy Code Compliance
May 4

Window Options for Florida Residences
May 5

EnergyGauge Pro Hands-on
May 5
Diagnosing Moisture Problems
May 6
EnergyWhiz Olympics: Junior Solar Sprint and Hydrogen Sprint
May 7
EnergyGauge FlaCom I Energy Gauge Refresher Training
May 12
Energy Gauge Recertification Training & Testing
May 13

Energy Gauge Class 3
June 13

Energy Gauge Class 2
June 14-15
Energy Gauge Class 1
June 16-18
Energy Gauge Recertification Training & Testing
June 24


Dr. James Fenton
Dr. James Fenton
(Photo: Nick Waters)

It's hard to believe that I've been here more than three months already, but I can honestly say it's been a great start for me in my new position. My family has adapted well to the move and my kids love their new schools. Oh, I can't say that we don't miss the Connecticut winter a little, since we're all into outdoors activities like skiing and skating, but it's really not that tough to adjust to winter in Florida. My kids sailed my wife and me in a hobie cat last weekend. I knew I was officially here when I found myself loudly rooting for my new school, UCF, in the opening round of college basketball's "March Madness" when they played my old school, Connecticut. Guess I've got sand in my shoes already.

I've spent much of my time here so far getting to know the staff and taking part in such activities as working on budgets, putting proposals together and learning all about the varied activities that go on at FSEC. I can tell you it's been a real education so far.
<Full Story> blue diamond Top


Hurricane-Caused Leaking Walls Lead to New Research Effort

Spray box and attached equipment
This simple-looking box and water pumping equipment may help researchers solve a major hurricane-related problem that damaged many Florida homes last year.
(Photo: Nick Waters)

For the past 15 years, researchers at FSEC and in UCF's Industrial Engineering & Management Systems department have worked together on a wide variety of research projects as part of the U.S. Department of Energy-funded Building America and its predecessor program.

However, last summer's hurricanes created a new problem for Florida homeowners that opened the door to an interesting new study just getting underway.

Not long after the hurricanes roared through the state, thousands of homeowners started complaining about water leaking through their walls. FSEC's Subrato Chandra and Neil Moyer met with the College of Engineering's Mike Mullens and Bob Hoekstra to discuss this phenomenon, since such problems hadn't been reported in Florida homes before. What they found suggested the need for some important new research to deal with the effects of hurricanes. <Full Story>blue diamond Top

FSEC Completes Solar Water Heating and PV Project in the U.S. Virgin Islands

PV trailer
Photovoltaics in the Virgin Islands
(Photo: John Harrison)

If you ask John Harrison about the project he and Jim Dunlop just completed in the U.S. Virgin Islands, he uses the word "challenging" to tell about their activities.

Challenging indeed! All the two FSEC researchers did was direct a wide-ranging project for the Virgin Islands Energy Office, supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Energy, that demonstrated the use of solar water heating and photovoltaics (PV) in a variety of buildings, determined hot water usage by system owners, conducted site inspections, wrote functional and operational requirements and design standards, worked with industry on everything from bidding out projects to installing and then inspecting systems, evaluated the performance of solar water heaters and PV systems, and coordinated work between the Florida solar industry and technicians and installers in St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John. <Full Story> blue diamond Top

Landfill Gas May Be Used for Hydrogen Production

A team of FSEC researchers is currently examining ways to use local renewable resources like landfill gas in the production of hydrogen. The research is a component of FSEC's NASA-funded project that supports the hydrogen-related space and space launch activities at the Kennedy Space Center.

According to FSEC's hydrogen division director Ali Raissi, "A lot of people have researched various ways of producing hydrogen over the years. But interestingly, because we have the Kennedy Space Center's launch pads virtually in our backyard, we looked at production options a little differently than others have, and we came up with the idea of using the landfill gas." <Full Story> blue diamond Top

Middle School Science Bowl Promotes Academic Excellence

Two team members of the Prodigies team
Prodigies (Lockhart Middle School) team members
(Photo: Nick Waters)

The third annual Florida Middle School Science Bowl was hosted by FSEC on April 2, with a record-setting 29 teams participating in the event.

The Science Bowl, which is designed to encourage middle school students to excel in mathematics, science and engineering, has the underlying theme that academic success is on a par with athletic success. The event has two components: a fast-paced question- and-answer competition and a hands-on engineering event. Teams participate in the academic competition until one winning team remains. The top eight teams then participate in a hands-on science activity, building and racing a hydrogen fuel cell model car.
<Full Story>
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Darlene Slattery Receives FSEC Distinguished Researcher Award

Photo of Darlene Slatter
Darlene Slattery
(Photo: Nick Waters)

Darlene Slattery, a Senior Research Chemist, has been named the Distinguished Researcher at the Florida Solar Energy Center for 2005.

Slattery, who has worked in FSEC's Hydrogen R&D Division since 1989, earned her Ph.D. in chemistry at the Florida Institute of Technology in 1999.

Her primary area of research has been in the storage of hydrogen to be used for automotive purposes. She has investigated magnesium hydride, lanthanum magnesium hydride and complex hydrides such as lithium aluminum hydride. All of this work has been funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. <Full Story> blue diamond Top

RESNET Conference Produces New Home Rating Standards

Three FSEC staff members played key roles in the recent Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET) national conference in San Antonio, TX.

FSEC deputy director Philip Fairey is the current president of the RESNET Board of Directors, and he welcomed conference attendees and presented the RESNET Leadership Awards. Tei Kucharski, Energy Gauge Program Coordinator at FSEC, moderated a conference session. She was recently appointed to the RESNET Education and Training Committee, which ensures the integrity of the National Core Test for certification of energy raters. Brian Hanson, an FSEC computer scientist, also attended the conference and staffed the Energy Gauge Booth.

RESNET 2005 ConferenceRESNET is the premier national forum on home energy ratings, residential energy efficiency financing and building performance business development. Attending the 2005 conference were more than 300 national experts on home energy ratings, energy mortgages, and high performance homes from across the nation, who gathered to share the latest information on successful program delivery and to shape business development strategies for the 21st century. <Full Story> blue diamond Top


State Energy Officials Visit FSEC

Bill Edmonds tours FSEC with UCF VP M.J.Soileau.

Allan Bedwell (second from right), the state's Deputy Secretary of Regulatory Programs and Energy for the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and Jim Tatum (third from left) from DEP's Solar Programs, visited the center on February 9 for a close-up look at current research activities. They met with a number of staff members to discuss opportunities for closer interaction with industry in Florida. Jim Huggins (right) explained FSEC's testing and certification program, while Jim Fenton (far left), Philip Fairey and Dave Block (center) listen. The group toured the center's research facilities and met with division directors.
(Photo: Nick Waters)

Bill Edmonds and M.J.Soileau vist FSEC

On February 18, Bill Edmonds (left), director of Research & Economic Development for the state's Division of Colleges and Universities, Florida Board of Education, toured the center along with UCF Vice President M.J. Soileau (center). They discussed the state's research priorities and interest in energy technologies with a number of staff members. In this photo, Ali Raissi is showing them some of the current work in the hydrogen lab.
(Photo: Nick Waters)

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FSEC hosts Sunwize Technologies conference

Exhibit hall at Sunwize Techologies conference
PV manufacturers attend a roundtable discussion as part of the Sunwize Technologies conference.
(Photo: Nick Waters)

About 75 people participated in a PV dealers' conference sponsored by Sunwize Technologies held at FSEC January 20-22. The purpose of the conference was to educate PV contractors on the latest developments in the field. Presentations from manufacturers were given on the first two days, followed by seven different training courses on the final day. Manufacturers participating in the conference included Beacon Power, Fronius, Outback, PV Powered, Sharp, SMA Americas, Unirac, Unisolar and Xantrex. FSEC's Kevin Lynn reports that this venue provided the center with the opportunity to educate manufacturers and installers about our work with the SERES including module testing, design review and approval, inverter testing, and training. As a result, we received pledges for equipment from SMA, Sharp, Unirac, PV Powered and Outback that can be used for training and testing. blue diamond Top


FPL launches statewide partnership with Habitat for Humanity:
"BuildSmart for Humanity" to build 300 Energy-Efficient homes throughout Florida

February 25, 2005 JUNO BEACH, Fla. - Florida Power & Light Company today announced a new partnership with Habitat for Humanity to build energy-efficient homes across the state. As part of the company's commitment to making a positive difference in the communities it serves, FPL is launching BuildSmart for Humanity, bringing together FPL's BuildSmart program for energy-efficient new home construction, and Habitat for Humanity, to build homes for families in need.

Working with Habitat affiliates in 32 counties across the state, the 300 BuildSmart for Humanity homes will be more energy-efficient, making them more affordable to maintain. The BuildSmart for Humanity partnership will ensure that each home is upgraded with energy-efficient air conditioning and attic insulation, which will keep homes cooler and energy bills lower for these first-time homeowners.

For more information on Florida Power and Light's Habitat for Humanity project, visit http://www.fpl.com/news/2005/contents/05022.shtmlblue diamond Top

Hydrogen Energy Technologies Act could bring 142 jobs to Florida

TALLAHASSEE (March 22)- The Washington Economics Group, Inc. today released an in-depth economic analysis of the proposed Florida Hydrogen Energy Technologies Act (FHETA), projecting that the legislation would bring in $47.3 million in hydrogen energy investments and 142 jobs to Florida in just its first year.  Sponsored by Senator Lee Constantine and Representative Adam Hasner, the legislative proposal would grow the revolutionary energy technology, increase corporate investment and diversify Florida's economy.  

According to the report by the Washington Economics Group, "The immediate economic impacts of FHETA are significant, and as the Florida industry matures the creation of jobs, payroll and business revenues will grow significantly. FHETA is an investment in the future of Florida's economy." <Full Story> blue diamond Top

Florida Hydrogen Business Partnership finalizes hydrogen roadmap

TALLAHASSEE (March 23)- The Florida Hydrogen Business Partnership convened today in Tallahassee to release the finalized strategy for hydrogen business development in the State, recommending public-private partnerships, a streamlined siting process, tax incentives and a diverse portfolio of demonstration projects.

"Florida is continuing to take a leadership role in clean fuel technology," said Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Deputy Secretary for Regulatory Programs and Energy Allan Bedwell. "This commitment to developing pollution-free energy technology benefits Florida's natural resources, quality of life and economy." <Full Story> blue diamond Top

This newsletter has been produced by Ken Sheinkopf, Adrienne Henzmann, Sherri Shields and Dianne Wood.

Florida Solar Energy Center