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UCSD And Sanyo Sign Energy Research Agreement

Goal Is To Develop Smart Grid System

Audio

Aired 6/4/10

A Japanese electric company and UC San Diego are working together to create a smart grid system. The system would store solar energy for local power needs and could one day be used around the world.

A Japanese electric company and UC San Diego are working together to create a smart grid system. The system would store solar energy for local power needs and could one day be used around the world.

UCSD officials said the energy research agreement with Sanyo could allow several campus facilities to completely unplug from the electric grid.

But the larger goal is to develop a smart energy system using renewable energy that could be used even when the sun doesn't shine.

Sanyo is putting up $3 million over three years to fund the collaborative energy research projects.

Two UCSD students will work with Sanyo researchers in Osaka, Japan on solar energy storage as part of the agreement.

Frieder Seible is the dean of UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering.

He said a lot of people are working on renewable energy projects, but the missing link is how to store that energy.

"This is where Sanyo Corporation is the world leader in providing battery technology," said Seible. "I really think we are very complementary here and by working jointly we can really improve on the renewable energy systems technology."

One of the first projects uses research already underway at UCSD on solar forecasting.

A UCSD professor is using advanced weather stations and other tools to create hourly solar production forecasts. The work could lead to determining when to store and release solar energy throughout the day.

Russ Thaxton is Assistant Vice Chancellor with the university's plant services.

"We hope that we're able to set the example for San Diego, San Diego County and eventually the United States and the world," said Thaxton.

Sanyo said San Diego companies will eventually become involved in developing technologies that come from the research.

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