Navigation : EXPO21XX > ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY 21XX > H26: Desalination > University of South Florida
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  • Research performed here is leading the nation in renewable energy solutions, computing technology, sustainability, transportation, and biomedical engineering. Our reach extends locally to the global community.
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  • Clean Energy is green and renewable

  • Harnessing the sun for our renewable energy solution . . .

    Florida has no substantial indigenous supply of fossil fuels. It must import virtually all the energy it uses. But the Sunshine State has good solar and biomass resources. Solar and hydrogen resources and technologies, applied both electrically and thermally, can mitigate the State’s fossil fuel dependency, improve the environment and provide substantial economic growth opportunities.

    The USF Clean Energy Research Center’s fundamental investigations into new environmentally clean energy sources and systems (hydrogen, fuel cells, solar energy conversion and biomass utilization) meet the needs of power and energy producers and the transportation sector through multi-disciplinary research, technical and infrastructure development and information transfer.

    CERC actively supports regional economic development of manufacturing and high technology businesses, as well as helping to drive the National goals of improving our global competitiveness and technology leadership, through its mission of developing, evaluating and promoting commercialization of renewable energy solutions.


    - Developed photocatalytic technology for detoxification and disinfection of water and indoor air.
    - Developed the nation’s first 20,000 watt solar/electric charging station for electric vehicles.
    - Achieved a world record efficiency (15.8%) thin film cadmium telluride solar cells for low cost applications.
    - Developed the Rivolta Isigo neighborhood electric vehicle.
    - Created a mobile data acquisition system for the U.S. Department of Energy EV Site Operator program.
    - Constructed a microturbine power plant fueled by landfill gas at the Hillsborough Heights Landfill in Tampa
    - Awarded over $15 million in contracts and grants over the past 10 years.
      • Photovoltaic Thin Film Technology

      • The direct conversion of solar energy to electricity by photovoltaic cells or thermal energy in concentrated solar power systems is emerging as a leading contender for next-generation green power production.

        The photovoltaics (PV) area is rapidly evolving based on new materials and deposition approaches. At present, PV is predominately based on crystalline and polycrystalline Si and is growing at >40% per year with production rapidly approaching 3 gigawatts/year with PV installations supplying <1% of energy used in the world.

        Increased cell efficiency and reduced manufacturing expenses are critical in achieving reasonable costs for PV and solarthermal. CdTe thin-film solar cells have reported a manufactured cost of $1.25/watt.

        There is also the promise of increased efficiency by use of multijunction cells or hybrid devices organized at the nanoscale. This could lead to conversion efficiencies of greater than 50%.

        Solar energy conversion increasingly represents one of the largest new businesses currently
          • Photocatalytic Bacteria Destruction

          • According to UNICEF,nearly 6,000 people die each day due to water related illnesses

            Solar Detoxification: Inexpensive and Efficient Approach

            Sunlight can supply energy for chemical reactions that destroy contaminants in air or water
            Photochemical reactions can be enhanced by using photocatalysts that absorb ultra-violet light from the solar spectrum to power chemical reaction
            Catalysis is a promotion of specific chemical reactions by the addition of a substance, the catalyst, which itself remains unaltered after the reaction has completed
            Photocatalysis is catalysis under light irradiation
            Efficient photocatalysts destroy the contaminant millions of times faster than traditional oxidants such as oxygen, or ozone.

            TiO2 is environmentally friendly inexpensive photocatalyst. However, it only absorbs 3% of the solar spectrum. As result, a substantial portion of the sunlight does not produce a reaction. Therefore, an efficient photocatalyst capable of utilizing solar energy is needed.

            Photocatalytic Desinfection of Indoor Air
            After the deliberate release of Bacillus anthracis spores (anthrax) in 2001, the quality and decontamination of air that flows in air-conditioning ducts has come to the forefront

            The indoor air environment is currently considered one of the most important health concerns for industrialized nations
            Indoor air pollution can be 2-5 times higher than outdoor pollution due to poor air exchanges and accumulation
            Photocatalysis has been proven to kill airborne microorganisms

              • * Solar Thermal Power for Bulk Power and Distributed Generation

                * Hydrogen Storage in Metal Hydrides and Complex Hydrides

                * Combine Power/ Cooling Thermodynamic Cycle

                * Antenna Solar Energy Conversion

                * Energy Efficient Building Technologies

                * Thermochemical Hydrogen Production from Solar Energy and Biomass

                * Thermochemical Production of Liquid Fuels from Biomass

                * Carbon Capture and Sequestration

                * Solar Water Desalination and Distillation
                  • Florida Energy Systems Consortium (FESC)

                      • Recent state legislation following the 2nd Summit on Global Climate Change in Miami during 2008, created the Florida Energy Systems Consortium (FESC). The FESC brings together research expertise within the state university system to work on Florida's energy future, including new solar biomass, and other renewable energy technologies. The CERC is a member of the Florida Energy Systems Consortium.

                        The Florida State University System provides the bakcbone of renewable energy expertise for the Florida Energy Systems Consortium. FESC menber universities include:

                        - Florida Atlantic University
                        - Florida Gulf Coast University
                        - Florida International University
                        - Florida State University
                        - New College of Florida
                        - University of Central Florida
                        - University of North Florida
                        - University of South Florida
                        - University of West Florida

                        Centers and Colleges involved within the FESC at the University of South Florida include:
                        - Clean Energy Research Center
                        - Center for Urban Transportation Research
                        - Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions
                        - College of the Arts (School of Architecture and Community Design)
                        - College of Arts and Sciences
                        - College of Engineering
                        - Power Center for Utility Explorations
                        - Nanomaterials and Nanomanufacturing Research Center

                        USF FESC RESEARCHTask

                        1: Power Generation Expansion

                        Tapas Das, PI (Industrial Engineering): Developing a
                        comprehensive generation technology portfolio to
                        expand educational resources and train a workforce.

                        Task 2: Liquid Fuels from Biomass

                        Babu Joseph, PI (Chemical Engineering) Develop economical
                        thermo-chemical conversion of non-food
                        grade biomass to clean-burning liquid fuels.

                        Task 3: Establishing PV Industry in Florida

                        Don Morel, PI (Electrical Engineering): Transitioning to
                        solar PV will mitigate pollution, create jobs, and enhance
                        energy security.

                        Task 4: Solar Thermal Power

                        Yogi Goswami, PI (Chemical Engineering/CERC) Designing
                        and constructing a pilot100 kW concentrating
                        solar power plant on campus.

                        Task 5: Beyond Photovoltaics

                        Shekhar Bhansali, PI (Electrical Engineering): The rectenna
                        (antenna and rectifying diode) concentrates a
                        range of photon energies, obtaining high efficiencies.

                        Task 6: Zero Energy Homes

                        Stan Russell, PI (Architecture): Building affordable residential
                        scale homes to use renewable energy systems
                        and technologies.

                        Task 7: Energy Delivery Infrastructure

                        Alex Domijan, PI (Electrical Engineering): Simulating a
                        micro-grid renewable energy generation system
                        feeding into the electricity distribution system.

                        Task 8: Carbon Sequestration

                        Mark Stewart, PI (Geology): Capturing CO2 in geologic
                        repository to meet State-ordered reductions in
                        greenhouse gas emissions.

                        Task 9: Clean Drinking Water

                        Lee Stefanakos, PI (Electrical Engineering/CERC) Solar
                        powered water desalination for small community
                        needs and photocatalytic air and water disinfection
                        to remove contamination