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Solar power center in line to get $5 million

By : Eric Coker

The University’s Center for Autonomous Solar Power (CASP) could soon be receiving more federal funding.

During a news conference earlier this month at the Innovative Technologies Complex, U.S. Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey announced that he has secured $5 million in the 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill. The House approved the bill July 30; Hinchey expects Senate passage sometime in September. The potential support comes nearly a year after the CASP received $4 million in federal funding.

“When you walk around this building — and walk outside of it — you get a good, clear sense of the advancements that are being made,” Hinchey said.

President Lois B. DeFleur, Assemblywoman Donna A. Lupardo, CASP Director
Seshu Desu and Executive Director of Economic Development Bahgat Sammakia joined Hinchey at the event.

“This research, and the work we are doing here, fits into the broader agenda of Congressman Hinchey, who is well-known for his commitment to environmental issues,” DeFleur said. “He has been helping us in our development of solar technology.

“This funding will have an impact over the long term on the Southern Tier and on New York,” she added.

A part of the University’s New York State Center of Excellence in Small Scale Systems Integration and Packaging, CASP focuses on tapping into the sun’s supply of renewable energy and making it more accessible as a flexible, large-area and low-cost power source.

CASP, whose office is expected to open this fall in the Biotechnology Building, also will work with industry to develop new technologies for defense, energy, aerospace, consumer and industrial markets by focusing on solar power sources integrated with new product designs. Potential applications include power generation for buildings and devices that will charge laptops without the use of batteries.

The latest round of funding will be used to develop super-capacitors that store solar energy when solar power is not available, Desu said.

Sammakia displayed a new tool that helps in the creation of low-cost, highly efficient solar materials.

“With the help of federal, state and industrial supporters, we are making exciting progress in our research which will enable technology that will reduce our impact on the environment and improve homeland security,” he said.

There is much government interest in solar and other forms of renewable energy, Hinchey said.

“The energy technology we have now is limited,” he said. “We see the limitations expressed in the rise in prices. The cost of energy has gone up. All of that (encourages) us to develop new forms of energy that are solid, secure and significantly less expensive.”

Binghamton University and the Southern Tier is just the place to help lead the effort, Lupardo said.

“Everywhere I go and every meeting I hold, I am constantly pointing out that our community has all of the critical ingredients for a successful and thriving green economy,” she said. “This project and the work you are doing here is the centerpiece to that development.”


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Last Updated: 10/14/08