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July 8, 2010
By Mike Wolterbeek
Sierra Nevada Corporation has provided a $1 million research project to the University of Nevada, Reno to develop a transportable, renewable energy power generating system that could produce enough power to supply a small village.
The University’s engineering department will bring together experts from multiple disciplines and integrate a number of technologies to develop a solar-thermal power generating system. The Desert Research Institute will assist with the project.
“We’re combining mechanical, thermal, electrical, advanced composites and materials and chemical engineering with renewable energy principles into the design and testing of a lab-scale system,” said Mano Misra, primary researcher on the project. Misra is also the University’s Renewable Energy Center director and a materials engineering professor.
“The test system will initially focus on storage to generate about 40 to 60 kilowatts,” he said. “The transportable system has a number of important applications since it produces both thermal and electric energy. Electricity and water production are crucial needs in remote and disaster locations.
“Today, these needs are usually met with diesel generators. The transportation of diesel fuel is difficult and very expensive. This system will be inexpensive, efficient and renewable.”
In disaster situations, such as Haiti, the system can be quickly transported to the area to provide life-saving power and water. Further, since the system operates on clean solar energy, the relief supply efforts can dramatically reduce the fuel they transport and can instead focus on more important food and medicine.
“Projects such as these exemplify our mission of working with industry to advance engineering, address important challenges, and provide economic benefits to Nevada,” Manos Maragakis, Dean of the College of Engineering said. “This is a model of how the College of Engineering can play a major role in the diversification of our economy.
“This solar-thermal power generating system will demonstrate the impact of having our energy researchers working collaboratively and along side industry to integrate advanced materials and systems to enhance commercial off the shelf components, but it is only the first step. The University has significant renewable energy expertise spanning across several colleges and I hope this is the beginning of more projects of this type to follow in the future.”
The University of Nevada, Reno is the largest Nevada public research facility and its College of Engineering is nationally recognized for top programs and research.
About Sierra Nevada Corporation
Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) is known for its rapid, innovative, and agile technology solutions in electronics, aerospace, avionics, space, propulsion, micro-satellite, aircraft and communications systems for both the private and public sectors. Founded in 1963, SNC’s seven unique business areas employs approximately 2000 people in 35 different locations in 20 states – all of whom are dedicated to providing leading-edge solutions to SNC’s dynamic customer base.
Over its 46 year history, SNC has remained focused on providing its customers the very best in diversified technologies to meet their needs and has a strong and proven track record of success. . For more information on SNC visit sncorp.com