At a recent weekly staff meeting, we welcomed a couple of new graduate research assistants, Michael “Joe” Purdon and Colin Sheppard. You can read about them and their interests in this newsletter. The addition of Joe and Colin to our staff means that we’ve grown to 20 people, a milestone for the lab and the largest we’ve ever been. It’s heartening to see how far we’ve come since the early days when Charles Chamberlin and I and two undergrads were the entire staff.
It’s also heartening to see the progress we’ve made towards building a new SERC facility. We’ve decided on a design-build procurement process and we’re now working with Facilities Management staff at HSU to develop the Request for Proposals that will go out to contractor-architect teams. They will respond with proposals and we hope to have chosen the winning team by early summer. Groundbreaking is scheduled for late summer. We’ll keep you informed about our progress.
In this issue, Greg Chapman reports on progress with our hydrogen station. We’re nearing completion of the station and we’re celebrating getting word from the California Air Resources Board that we’re finally going to receive a hydrogen powered Prius that will refuel at the station. As described by Ranjit Deshmukh, we’re gearing up to receive an experimental gasifier from India. We’ll be using the gasifier for experimentation that we’ll be doing in collaboration with colleagues at UC Berkeley. Arne Jacobson writes about his continuing efforts to measure effectiveness and improve standards for LED lighting. Arne is working with colleagues at Lawrence Berkeley Lab and the World Bank; he’ll be traveling to Ghana in May to present this work at a lighting conference there. You can also read about our sixth and latest UNPEPP project, coming up this summer. This partnership with Redwood National Park has been gratifying and productive and we’ve had some wonderful summer interns over the years.
As I write this, the cost of oil has broken the $100/bbl barrier and shows no signs of going lower. Evidence of global climate change and its disastrous consequences continue to mount. More than ever we need to reign in our consumption of energy and develop renewable sources. We at SERC are working to do our part.