December 6, 2006

Residential Scale Renewable Energy Research and Outreach Program Begins

My article about the renewable energy research just came out today, following this post from last week.

Soysal and his associates will be constructing a small station on FSU campus with two photovoltaic solar panels (2 kW) and a 45' wind tower (1.8 kW; much like the one pictured at left). The energy product of the station will power a small building on campus; the excess will be sold back to Allegheny Power.

The data from this station will be streamed 24/7 and available online as soon as the website is up.

Next semester there will also be a renewable energy symposium, during which students will present papers and essays regarding renewables and the research done at that point on campus. Soysal is inviting professionals from across Maryland to attend.

One of Soysal's goals is to engage the entire campus, bolstering interdepartmental cooperation:

The project will be an interdisciplinary effort involving several departments on campus, providing students and faculty with hands on experience directly related to course material.

Soysal recently attended and participated in a wind power debate in a FSU sociology class. English professors are excited about the potential for student papers. The biology department will monitor the wind turbine's effect on bird and bat populations.

Soysal is equally concerned with the environment:

"Anything an engineer does has an effect on the environment," said Soysal. "We have an ethical role to investigate a project fully before it is built and its effect becomes irreversible."

Perhaps he will be able to initiate the first few steps to wean Western Maryland from coal dependence.

Soysal is heading the project, which will be ongoing. I'll have more on it next semester.

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