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September 10, 2008

FSU will establish renewable energy facility

School receives $738,000 grant

FROSTBURG —In a few years, Frostburg State University will have its own sustainable energy research facility, or SERF, thanks to a $738,000 U.S. Department of Energy grant.

“SERF will accommodate the FSU Renewable Energy Center to conduct extended research, education and community outreach programs on renewable energy applications,” said Oguz Soysal, FSU professor and SERF project co-director. “The facility will also serve as an example of a self-sufficient off-grid building for individuals, such as homeowners, farmers or entrepreneurs who seek energy security in Western Maryland or similar geographic locations.”

The SERF project began Sept. 1 and should be competed in two years. The first step is site selection, according to Hilkat Soysal, FSU professor and project co-director.

Although the location is yet to be determined, the residential-style green building will be on the FSU campus, according to Oguz Soysal.

The 4,000-square-foot building’s heating, cooling and electrical power will be sustained by renewable energy sources. The building will feature lab space and work stations for research as well as a public exhibition area, according to Oguz Soysal.

The facility also will help researchers better evaluate sustainable energy options as a back-up plan for catastrophic and disaster situations.

“I would like to congratulate Frostburg State University President Jonathan Gibralter and Oguz and Hilkat Soysal for their contributions to FSU becoming a leader throughout the tri-state and Appalachian region area in renewable energy research, applications and training,” said U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett.

“I am very pleased to announce this grant to Frostburg State and its Renewable Energy Center,” he said. “The provision of energy is one of our greatest challenges, and this facility will provide us with new insight into the usefulness of off-grid energy applications.

“As an off-grid farmer myself, I understand the practicality of energy independence. We cannot start renewable energy projects soon enough to meet the challenge of transitioning from finite fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. This facility is a terrific step on the path toward energy independence.”

Contact Jennifer Raley at jraley@times-news.com.

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