Summer Renewable Energy Workshops Announced

Posted: May 25, 2017

This July 27th, Penn State Extension is pleased to offer a series of technical half day workshops in renewable energy (Solar, Bioenergy, Wind) and sustainability.

The parallel tracks cover the following exciting topics:

Track 1: Biomass Densification, Systems and Science

Pelleting, briquetting, and cubing has quickly become a large component of the world’s renewable energy economy, used primarily for residential-scale heat production and utility-scale cofiring applications. This introductory workshop provides attendees with an overview of:

  • the biomass pelleting process,
  • fundamental scientific principles of granular material densification, and
  • commercial pellet facility layout and operation.

In addition, a hands-on pelleting activity will give attendees experience producing andevaluating biomass pellets at a laboratory scale. Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems. Closed-toe shoes are required for the lab activity.

Track 2: Best Practices: Collection and Use of Solar Resource Data in Energy Applications

Penn State is the home base of a major solar radiation monitoring station, called
"SURFRAD", and also has developed the Solar All-Seeing Eye (ASE) monitoring system for fieldwork. Penn State has been developing new tools for collecting and processing satellite solar data to be used in forecasting as well. In the coming workshop for the RESS Program, we plan to build on that success and share insight into the field's "Best Practices" to collect and use solar resource data. This solar workshop will address measurement practices for collecting, processing, and using solar data from the field, including satellite data and ground measurements. The workshop will also describe the suite of solar services emerging from that data (solar forecasting, solar site management, risk assessment), as well as exploring the potential applications solar products for ag and building systems. The program will be based off of the "Best Practices" handbook from the DoE National Renewable Energy Laboratory. A tour of the SURFRAD station in Rock Springs is planned, weather permitting.

Track 3: Making the Argument for Renewable Energy

A core feature in building renewable energy enterprises is that they typically require significant efforts in public outreach, political persuasion, and engagement in stakeholder processes. This condition often requires the enterprise side of renewables to be effusive advocates for not just their renewable energy interests, but for all renewables working in conjunction. This workshop, intended mainly for biofuels, solar, and wind participants, is a "crash course" in various approaches central to Sustainability Management and Policy (SMP). This workshop will provide participants with overviews of the following:

  • Finding and using renewable energy growth projections and data
  • Linking renewable energy with sustainability goals
  • Using Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and nonmarket strategies
  • Understanding stakeholders and stakeholder engagement
  • Communicating your renewable energy message to various audiences

Participants are encouraged to bring relevant cases or questions to be evaluated during the workshop. Any and all students and professionals interested in increasing their capacity to advocate for renewables are encouraged to register.

Track 4: Wind Energy Software Tool Workshop – Xturb-PSU & Windographer

If you are interested in understanding how software tools are applied in the wind industry, come check out this workshop to learn about two different wind energy software tools. You will come away with an understanding of how wind turbine blades can be designed for optimum operation via an in-house developed wind turbine design and analysis tool, XTurb-PSU. You will also learn how to analyze wind data using a software tool that is popular in industry, Windographer. Windographer imports wind data which has been collected from anemometers and allows you to very quickly visually explore it and analyze the statistical characteristics of the data. You can also weed out the invalid data entries and icing conditions which can cause errors in your analysis if not removed. During the workshop, we will walk through how to get each program set up on a computer, go through basic functions, and we will run through examples.

These workshops are being held in conjunction with the annual symposium of Penn State's online Master's Degree Program in Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems (RESS), but are open to all. Registration is $50 and includes lunch. The workshops are technical in content, and provide participants with detailed information and skills related to renewable energy and sustainability project development. For details or to register, visit the event website.

Contact Information

Daniel Ciolkosz, P.E.
  • Assistant Professor and Research Associate
Phone: 814-863-3484