Posts tagged ‘U.S. Department of Energy’

Solar House Finds Its Home in Pittsburgh

Photo: Geoff Rushton ’01

The solar house that Penn State students built last fall now has a permanent home. It’s now in place at Bayer MaterialScience in Robinson Township, Pa., just outside Pittsburgh; the house was commissioned in its new location today.

Students from three colleges—Engineering, Earth and Mineral Sciences, and Arts and Architecture—built the house for the 2009 Solar Decathlon, an event in which 20 schools from across the country and around the world compete to build the best solar house. The houses in the competition were on display on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. last October. The decathlon is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Natural Fusion, Penn State’s entry, is a small building—just 800 sq. ft.—and is a solar-powered, zero-emission structure. We took some photos of the construction progress back in August, but if you want to check out the end result, you’ll have to head to the Bayer MaterialScience campus, where the building now serves as a conference center and a showcase for Bayer’s new EcoCommercial Building initiative. (Bayer helped to fund Natural Fusion and helped review its initial designs.) You can also check out a virtual tour at the team’s website.

Penn State students also entered the 2007 Solar Decathlon. That entry, MorningStar, is on display next to the Centre County Visitors Center, across from Beaver Stadium. It’s open for tours most Sundays between 1 and 4 p.m.

Amy Guyer, associate editor

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May 26, 2010 at 4:56 pm 1 comment

Behind the Scenes of the Chevy Volt

mel-and-paris-cropped-150x150Mel Fox ’95 MS EMS says that her favorite car is her boyfriend’s 1969 Camaro. That’s undeniably a cool car, but it certainly falls into the “gas guzzler” category. (Excuse me. Muscle car.) In her professional life, though, Fox is working on a car that’s at the opposite end of the spectrum — the Chevy Volt, a plug-in hybrid in development.

Fox was featured this week on a new General Motors blog that is focusing on the people behind its technology. She’s a battery engineer, and her job is “ensuring the Volt batteries will last as long as possible — think of me as an advocate for the Volt battery!”

Fox’s path is no surprise. We mentioned her in a 2006 article about students working on a hybrid SUV for the ChallengeX competition, which was sponsored by GM and the U.S. Department of energy. You can click here to download a PDF of our article.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

August 7, 2009 at 2:06 pm 7 comments


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