Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Solar Research Center to Open at OSU

Last year, I described a grant made possible by Oregon BEST, benefitting Oregon State University and the University of Oregon. In completing that circle, it is exciting to know that OSU's solar energy research center is well under way.

Oregon State's Oregon Process Innovation Center for Sustainable Solar Cell Manufacturing has begun acquiring equipment and expects to be up and running in May. Oregon Best provided the initial investment through their grant to the tune of $232,000 and was instrumental in assisting with additional funding.

Of course this is wonderful for students in the State of Oregon.  This work continues to enhance the Oregon University System in ways that will help to keep our Renewable Energy students right here in the state. In a more unselfish tone, it also shows that students everywhere continue to see improving opportunities. This improving environment allows them to explore the wide range of existing and nascent technologies supporting Renewable Energy in their post-secondary education.

The OSU facility has the potential become an international leader in solar cell innovation and manufacturing. "We’re reaching the limits of what can be done through incremental improvements in traditional, silicon-based solar cell technology,” said Greg Herman, an associate professor of chemical engineering at OSU and associate director of the center. “We’re aiming for a revolution in solar cell processing and manufacturing that might drop costs by as much as 90 percent while being more environmentally sensitive.”

Consistent with the manner in which Gresham, Oregon's own Center for Advanced Learning has partnered with local businesses, Oregon State's facility with extend that even further with more than 20 faculty and researchers from OSU, the University of Oregon, Portland State University and the Pacific Northwest National
Laboratory.  They will not only allow, but foster collaboration with private industry, and provide unique student educational opportunities in some of the newest concepts in solar energy.

The center will work closely with some of the leaders in solar energy in Oregon and around the
world, said Chih-hung Chang, director of the center and the Sharp Laboratories Faculty
Scholar at OSU. Collaboration is planned with Oregon companies such as SolarWorld, Voxtel
and CH2M Hill, as well as leading universities in Germany, Taiwan and South Korea.

So what does this tell us in the K-12 world?  We're doing the right thing by promoting the teaching of Renewable Energy.  Sure, this just happens to be a solar example, but these kinds of "educational success stories" are taking place all across the energy spectrum.  Energication will continue to be the place to learn about them all.


1 comment:

  1. Mt. Hood Community College's biodiesel training lab provides a sustainable training center for the metro-Portland area and East County!

    The lab, the first housed on a college campus in Oregon, offers classes to students and members of the community who are interested in making biodiesel at home.

    To read more about this center, click on the following link:


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