Monday, September 20, 2010

Next Skype Session: Erin Anderson from NREL

We'll be conducting our next Skype session on Wednesday, September 29th, with Erin Anderson from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Please read through all of the following, and then at the bottom of this post click the link to submit your question(s) for the Skype session.

Here is some biographical information Erin provided:
I grew up in Rhode Island, the youngest of four sisters, and quickly took up skiing when I was young. I was a competitive freestyle skier, learning to ski in Vermont. It was the love of skiing that first brought me out to Colorado. I graduated from the University of Vermont with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and I quickly found my first job in Denver. After a few years of engineering design work, I went to DU to get an MBA in Finance and while I was there, I got an opportunity to get a separate Master’s of Science degree in Renewable Energy Science (concentrating in Geothermal) from RES, the school for Renewable Energy Science from the University of Iceland.

I started working at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) on geothermal power production and geothermal heat pumps upon my return back to the U.S. from Iceland. NREL is one of 16 government laboratories in the U.S. and is the only one solely dedicated to renewable energy technologies like solar photovoltaic (PV), wind energy, biomass, and many others.

The project at IKEA is unique in that it involves a hybrid heating and cooling system for the building. Instead of relying on one technology, IKEA is combining geothermal heat pumps and an ice storage system to provide cooling for the huge building. NREL will be responsible for collection live operational data to help determine the true efficiencies and energy savings of geothermal heat pumps. The information will help NREL determine areas that need further research and development to either enhance the performance of a system or decease the cost to consumers.
The IKEA project that Erin refers to is why I contacted her. IKEA is an international company that designs and sells furniture and other home products. They are building a huge store in Centennial (you may have noticed it at I-25 and Dry Creek) that features a fairly unique heating and cooling system. In preparation for this Skype session, please read each of the following:
  1. This article from the City of Centennial.
  2. This article from The Denver Post.
  3. This article from Time Magazine.
  4. Then skim, but don't read the entire thing, this conference paper (pdf) from NREL. Please carefully read the abstract and introduction on the third page (labeled page 1 in the pdf). Skim through the rest of the document, but make note of the equations listed on the sixth and seventh pages (labeled pages 4 and 5 in the pdf). That's Algebra, baby.

    Just as with the paper we skimmed from Professor Garibaldi, notice how the writing is very different for this conference paper compared to the three articles above. Audience matters.
  5. If you want, watch this two-minute story that was on Fox31.
You need to submit at least one thoughtful question via this online form no later than 7 am on Friday, September 24th (and preferably by Thursday evening).

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