– The Florida Solar Energy Center has funded five Florida Tech research proposals valued at almost $107,000. The projects include alternative fuel,
photovoltaic cells, semiconductors, solar energy and a novel photosensor.
Dr. William Arrasmith, professor of engineering systems, will work on adding a sensor suite to a hydrogen-fueled electric airplane. The plane is now under
development by a team of students who hope to make the craft, their senior project, operable.
Dr. Pierre Larochelle, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE), will seek to improve rooftop solar panels. His project is to
design and test novel auxiliary mirror drive mechanisms for photo-voltaic cell arrays. His co-principal investigators are Dr. Y.I. Sharaf-Eldeen and Dr.
Kunal Mitra, of the MAE Department.
Dr. Bo Yang, assistant professor of MAE, will conduct a study of the mechanics of defects in solar cells to improve their efficiency and long-term
Dr. Paul Jennings, head of the Department of Chemical Engineering, with Dr. Sharaf-Eldeen, will try to make solar energy more practical for supplemental
power production. They will experiment with fuel cells from a rooftop solar energy panel to make the peak output of the fuel cell more closely coincide
with the peak in electricity usage.
Dr. Joel Olson and Dr. Nasri Nesnas, assistant professors of chemistry, will expand work on a molecular photosensor, which will be based on compounds, such
as Vitamin A, found in mammalian retinae. They will explore the use of porphyrin molecules, which partly compose the chlorophyll molecule, a photoreceptor
present in green plants.
The Florida Solar Energy Center is a research institute of the University of Central Florida. The state’s energy, research, training and certification
center, the FSEC is located at UCF’s Cocoa campus.