Category: R&D

Center for Emerging Energy Technologies Joins MSL

The Center for Emerging Energy Technologies (CEET) at the University of New Mexico has joined MSL, the inaugural research university in the consortium. CEET facilitates collaborative research in the inherently interdisciplinary field of emerging energy technologies, a perfect complement to MSL’s cross-sector structure. The Center is a meeting place for faculty, students and practitioners from the School of Engineering, other UNM divisions, and participants outside the university to work together to find the solutions to one of society’s most pressing needs: sustainable energy. In particular, CEET provides an environment to foster large-scale research efforts, involving Universities, Industry and the National Labs.

CEET strives to support the full cycle of innovation, from the conception of a specific energy material to its manufacture and deployment in various forms of energy infrastructure, across the three main domains of materials, devices, and systems. Research groups working in basic scientific discovery are cognizant of efforts in devices and systems, while at the other end of the scale, systems researchers are aware of developing trends in materials and devices. Current research activities include a project sponsored by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), under which CEET is helping the utility industry to catalog and maintain millions of power distribution assets.

CEET also operates the microgrid research and testing facilities at the Mesa del Sol mixed commercial-residential development in Albuquerque, a significant addition to MSL’s facilities network. The fully functioning microgrid was originally created by Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). The system comprises a 50 kW parking lot canopy solar PV system, and a microgrid enclosure containing an 80 kW fuel cell, a 240 kW natural gas-powered generator, a lead-acid battery bank, hot and cold thermal storage, an absorption chiller, and an electric air-cooled chiller for shifting thermal loads.

The Albuquerque-Santa Fe-Los Alamos corridor features a dense concentration of intellectual capital and assets. Joining MSL Members Sandia and Los Alamos National Labs and the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities, CEET completes a highly effective nexus working in the microgrid domain, and will offer additional collaborative opportunities to the full consortium.

Hisham Zerriffi Joins MSL Advisors

MSL is pleased to announce that Dr. Hisham Zerriffi has joined our Advisors, further strengthening our resources focused on solutions to energy poverty and clean energy development in the emerging economies. Hisham is an  Associate Professor in Forest Resources Management, Faculty of Forestry, at UBC. Hisham’s research is at the intersection of technology, energy and the environment, with a particular focus on rural areas of the developing world. (more…)

NREL Teams with MSL, SFCC for Campus Microgrid

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is collaborating with MSL and Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) in their efforts to develop an advanced campus-wide microgrid for training, research, and testing and validation. NREL is a member of MSL, and SFCC is a founding MSL partner with responsibility for workforce and professional development initiatives.

The campus microgrid will be a state-of-the-art facility, unique among community colleges and comparable to university campus installations, with an emphasis on supporting the college’s educational mission, sustainability goals, operational efficiencies, and MSL’s strategic objectives. It will link existing assets, including a 1.5 megawatt photovoltaic array and a district heating and cooling system, with new technology that is capable of demonstrating the full range of advanced microgrid functionality. (more…)

Former EPRI CEO Joins MSL Advisors

Kurt Yeager, the former President and Chief Executive Officer of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), has joined MSL as an Advisor. During his distinguished career at EPRI, he led the development of the Electricity Technology Roadmap and the Electricity Sector Framework for the Future. Following his tenure at EPRI, he led the Galvin Electricity Initiative, and has also worked with the MITRE Corporation, the EPA Office of Research, and the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), for which he was the convening lead author for the Global Energy Assessment. (more…)

MSL Director Helps “Reinvent the Grid”

MSL Managing Director David Breecker participated in the Santa Fe Institute’s invitational workshop, “Reinventing the Grid: Designing Resilient, Adaptive and Creative Power Structures” in April. Co-hosted by two visiting researchers on sabbatical at SFI, Seth Blumsack (Pennsylvania State University) and Paul Hines (University of Vermont), along with SFI internal faculty member Cris Moore, the workshop brought together a fascinatingly diverse set of experts from a range of relevant fields to consider the future of our power systems. These included industry and utility representatives, research scientists and engineers, policy and regulatory experts, ecologists, search algorithm designers, statistical physicists, and network theorists among others.

As the abstract states, “Electric power grids are complex infrastructures that operate across large swaths of space and time. A power grid’s planning and operation timescales can span up to twelve orders of magnitude: from milliseconds to decades. The largest networks, such as the Eastern US and European Interconnections, synchronize power plants across many thousands of kilometers. And this spatial integration is increasing: in many locations, the locus of control is moving from local electric utilities to regional entities. (more…)

Workforce & Training Infrastructure Progress

MSL Partner Santa Fe Community College (SFCC) and its Sustainable Technologies Center has received two funding commitments in support of its Microgrid Education Center (MEC), which now begins its planning and development phase. Together, these commitments address both curriculum and associated equipment and infrastructure, including a campus-wide functional microgrid testbed, in a way that supports MSL’s overall mission and objectives.

The Microgrid Education Center will provide technical training, ongoing development for industry professionals, custom training for industry, and upper-level courses and advanced degrees through university partnerships, along with “train the trainer” offerings for global applications. The electric industry workforce is graying rapidly, and will require large numbers of new workers soon, with concurrent growth internationally in rural electrification. In order to keep pace with the technological innovations affecting the industry, there will be a crucial need for appropriately trained technical staff at all levels and sectors of the industry, a need that MEC will help address. The initial course at SFCC, with the working title of “Introduction to Sustainable Energy Technologies,” will be offered in the spring semester of 2016, and the Smart Grid and Microgrid Program flier can be dowloaded here.


MSL, Universities Chosen for DOE Submission

A team comprising MSL, the University of New Mexico’s Center for Emerging Energy Technologies, NM State University, and NM Tech has been selected to submit the New Mexico proposal to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, under its current EPSCoR funding opportunity. DOE’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (DOE EPSCoR) is a federal-state partnership program designed to enhance the capabilities of designated states and territories to conduct sustainable and nationally competitive energy-related research. DOE EPSCoR addresses this mission by fostering competitions for scientific and engineering research in states and territories that have demonstrated a commitment to develop their research bases and to improve the quality of science and engineering research conducted at their universities and colleges. The New Mexico proposal will focus the state’s considerable assets and capabilities on accelerating the deployment of Utility Distribution Microgrids, including technical and engineering challenges, standardization goals, and policy, regulatory, and social factors. Utility Distribution Microgrids will be critical enabling infrastructure for the nation’s overall grid modernization and smart grid efforts. (more…)