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February 2012 Archives

Thumbnail image for SmartLabs Logo.pngEnerNex, Knoxville-based electric power research company, will test, evaluate and demonstrate smart grid technology at its new Smart Grid Labs facility.  It will also be used for education and training.

The company will be able to model the connection and disconnection of equipment and demonstrate how it will affect its local grid.

"EnerNex's commitment to innovation, grid modernization, and interoperability is woven throughout the Lab's design. We plan to continue to invest in the Lab's testing infrastructure to meet the evolving Smart Grid architecture and technologies," said Brad Singletary, Deputy Director. 

The independent facility simulates a utility substation, control center, residential or light commercial service entrance, residential utility room (washer, dryer, water heater), kitchen, and a living space. These will be used to help vendors, utilities and regulatory elements to evaluate and understand technology readiness for Smart Grid in ongoing and emerging technology efforts.

EnerNex is the administrator for the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel. In August 2009, the company was awarded an $8.5 million contract by the National Institute of Standards and Technology to sustain the accelerated development of the standards that will be required to build a secure, interoperable smart electric power grid.


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An electronics recycling event will be held 9 a.m.-4 p.m. February 17 at Pellissippi State Community College's Magnolia Avenue campus at 1610 E. Magnolia Ave..

Scott Recycling of Knoxville will accept electronics for disposal in the rear parking lot of the campus.

Items accepted include all types of equipment that contains electronic parts like copiers, fax machines, printers, computer and telephone equipment, power backups, servers and small appliances.

Recycled electronics will count toward Pellissippi State's total for Recyclemania, a national competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. Recyclemania started February 15 and continues through March 31.

For more information call (865) 694-6400 
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A University of Tennessee, Knoxville professor and a team of researchers have developed a solar cell system that taps into the         photosynthetic processes of plants to produce efficient and inexpensive energy. 
algae.jpg
Barry Bruce, part of UT's Bredesen Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Education, worked with researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ecole Polytechnique Federale in Switzerland, to develop a process that improves the efficiency of generating electric power using molecular structures extracted from algae.

The biosolar breakthrough has the potential to make "green" electricity cheaper and easier, Bruce says.

To produce the energy, the scientists harnessed the power of a key component of photosynthesis known as photosystem-I (PSI). This complex was then bioengineered to specifically interact with a semi-conductor so that, when illuminated, the process of photosynthesis produced electricity. 

The research team says the system self-assembles and is simple enough to be replicated in most labs.





A new biosolar system system taps into photosynthetic 
processes from blue-green algae to produce electricity.
Image credit University of Tennessee, Knoxville
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The state of Tennessee is adding a second car model to its electric vehicle rebate program, which so far has drawn fewer participants than expected.

WSMV-TV reported Wednesday that the state will soon begin offering $2,500 rebates to owners of the Chevrolet Volt, an electric hybrid car.

The rebate program in Tennessee is now only open to people who buy the all-electric Nissan LEAF.

Car owners who chose to participate in the program must agree to allow data about how they use and charge their vehicles to be collected for a government-funded study. The information is being gathered by the California-based ECOtality. The company received a $99 million stimulus grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The state added $2.5 million in matching grant money for the rebates.


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