Archive for 2011

FMC Lithium expanding in Gaston

Posted on: November 16th, 2011 by shannon

Story by: Steve Byers, Charlotte Observer


Manufacturer FMC Lithium is making a $50 million investment in Gaston County.

The company, which makes the material necessary to power advanced lithium batteries, said Friday it is expanding its sprawling Bessemer City plant over the next three years. That expansion includes the addition of 20 to 25 jobs at the 215-employee plant. Also, FMC officially launched a new lithium metal purification process designed for high-technology energy storage applications.

U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., was on hand for Friday’s announcement and toured part of the 900-acre plant. She hailed the investment in “clean-energy technologies.”

“Clean energy bolsters our national security and reduces our dependence on foreign oil,” Hagan said at a news conference. “It protects our environment and, what’s most important to me, it creates jobs in North Carolina. And these jobs are not going to be shipped overseas.”

Hagan noted that North Carolina currently accounts for 75 percent of the nation’s lithium production. She quipped that her four favorite words are “made in North Carolina.”

But she cautioned that China is making strides in the clean-energy field and is outpacing the U.S. in terms of private investment in technology.

Earlier this year, Hagan introduced a bill to provide $40 million in Department of Energy grants for research and development of next-generation lithium products. The legislation would encourage companies to conduct R&D to bring advanced battery production to the U.S.

FMC Lithium is a division of Philadelphia-based FMC Corp., a diversified chemical company with 2010 revenues of $3.1 billion and 5,000 employees worldwide.

Jon Evans, Lithium Division general manager, said the new purification process will set the Bessemer City plant apart with its emphasis on sustainability. And he said the company is planning further investments to increase capacity and capabilities in its lithium metal and lithium hydroxide products.

He said FMC used to do the purification process partially in Asia, “but I’m proud to say we brought it back to the U.S., where we can do it better and cheaper.” That elicited a “good!” from Hagan standing nearby.

The lithium storage industry is growing by 11 percent to 12 percent a year, Evans said, and FMC sees that pace continuing for the next decade. The Bessemer City plant makes lithium used in products ranging from rechargeable batteries to pacemakers and military radios, satellites and drones.

Asked about a salary range for the new employees, he said it would vary widely but called it “very competitive for Gaston County and the Charlotte area. These are highly skilled, good-paying jobs.”
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N.C. Solar Center staff presenting at the NC Beach, Inlet and Waterway Association’s annual conference

Posted on: November 15th, 2011 by shannon

The North Carolina Solar Center is participating in the North Carolina Beach, Inlet and Waterway Association’s annual conference November 14th in Wrightsville Beach. The offshore wind panel will be moderated by the Sierra Club’s Sarah King and speakers will be Brian O’Hara with the North Carolina Offshore Wind Coalition, Jen Banks with the North Carolina Solar Center and Jim Leutze, Chancellor Emeritus of UNC Wilmington and a member of the Governor’s Scientific Advisory Panel on Offshore Energy.

New Bern Crown Express Mart to Open First E85 & Biodiesel Station in Raleigh

Posted on: November 10th, 2011 by shannon



 WHO:  Kargo Corp., via its Crown Express Mart; the North Carolina Solar   Center at N.C. State University and Protec Fuel, welcome TWO cleaner-burning renewable fuels  to the capital with the kick-off of Raleigh’s first  commercial fuel station offering both E85 and B20 biodiesel.


WHAT:  Ribbon cutting and kick-off celebration with Renewable Fuels Association $.85 fuel (for 85 minutes) promotion


WHEN:  November 16, 2011  3:00 PM-4:30 PM


WHERE:  Crown Express Mart – 1210 New Bern Ave., Raleigh, NC 27610

WHY:  By being produced in the United States, renewable fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel support domestic economic development while reducing harmful transportation related emissions.



  • Kokila Amin, Secretary, Kargo Corp.
  • Rosa Gill, North Carolina House
  • Ward Lenz, State Energy Division Director, N.C. Dept. of Commerce
  • Jim Trogden,  Chief Operating Officer,  N.C. Dept. of Transportation


PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES:    3:00-3:30 speakers, 3:30 -4:30 ribbon cutting followed directly by fuel promotion with colorfully wrapped E85 compatible flex fuel vehicles fueling with E85  for $.85 per gallon, including “Zymobile” from Novozymes. Additional representatives: Congressman Brad Miller’s office, Biofuels Center of North Carolina, and N.C. Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Science.


About the North Carolina Solar Center

Created in 1988, the North Carolina Solar Center, as part of the College of Engineering at North Carolina State University (NCSU), works closely with state and local government and the renewable energy industry. It manages and maintains the NCSU Solar House and serves as a resource for innovative, green energy technologies through research and demonstration, technical assistance, education, outreach and training. It also administers the Database of Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE), a resource providing financial incentives and policies. For more information about the N.C. Solar Center and the clean transportation program visit:


About Protec Fuel

Protec Fuel is a turnkey E85 company based out of Boca Raton, Fla., who supplies the fuel and conducted installation of the E85 station,

Contact: Anne Tazewell, N.C. Solar Center, 919—619-0185,

Shannon Helm, N.C. Solar Center, 919-423-8320,



Dr. Alex Hobbs, Assoc. Director at the N.C. Solar Center, receives NCSEA 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award

Posted on: November 10th, 2011 by shannon

Dr. Alex Hobbs received the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association’s 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award at the NCSEA Annual Conference on November 9, 2011. This award is given to an individual demonstrating exemplary leadership in the advancement of sustainable energy in North Carolina.  Dr. Hobbs has made a considerable impact in the fields of renewable technologies and energy efficiency during his career.

Dr. Hobbs is currently the Associate Director for Renewable Technologies at the Solar Center, an outreach component of NC State University’s College of Engineering. He has more than 40 years of engineering experience in the areas of electric power generation and delivery, water and wastewater treatment, as well as production agriculture and food processing. He has worked as a design/startup engineer and as project manager on conventional fossil fuel based power generation projects. As an in-house technology consultant and researcher for a major southeastern utility, Dr. Hobbs led applied research and development programs to evaluate advanced power production techniques, development and combustion of biomass based renewable fuel resources, new environmental assessment and remediation technologies and innovative load management equipment and strategies. Concurrent with the electric utility work, Dr. Hobbs has maintained a consulting engineering practice in the Raleigh area for the past 30 years. These activities have included animal waste treatment, post harvest crop handling system design, and evaluation of both large and small combined heat and power applications. Concurrent with the electric utility work, Dr. Hobbs has maintained a consulting engineering practice in the Raleigh area for the past 30 years. These activities have included animal waste treatment, post harvest crop handling system design, and evaluation of both large and small combined heat and power applications.

Dr. Alex Hobbs receives NCSEA 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Alex Hobbs receives NCSEA 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award (alongside Ivan Urlaub, NCSEA Executive Director and Maria Kingery, Southern Energy Management)

RTI International Adds EV Charging Stations

Posted on: November 10th, 2011 by shannon No Comments

RTI International recently added two electric vehicle charging stations on their Research Triangle Park campus.  The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center’s Clean Fuel Advanced Technology Project recently provided RTI with a grant to purchase three neighborhood electric vehicles. RTI leadership decided to puchase the charging stations to strengthen their commitment to creating a green work environment at RTI.

RTI installed two charging stations in their parking deck, which will be compatible with all 2010 or newer EV’s, plug-in hybrid EV’s and extended range EV’s. EV charging station at RTI 2

EV charging station at RTI

EV charging station at RTI

2011 Freeing the Grid released

Posted on: November 2nd, 2011 by shannon

2011 Freeing the Grid released; more states make the grade on renewable energy policies

Renewable energy advocates today released the 2011 Edition of Freeing the Grid, a policy guide that grades all 50 states on two key programs: net metering and interconnection procedures. Together these policies empower energy customers to use rooftop solar and other small-scale renewables to meet their own electricity needs.  Now in its fifth year of publication, the report shows that states nationwide are continuing to embrace best practices and drive further improvements in these core renewable energy policies. The report’s methodology was also adopted for use in the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot initiative, which aims to reduce the cost of going solar by 75% before the end of the decade.

“It is clear that our nation’s states can and will continue their proud role as the growth drivers of America’s new energy economy. Renewable energy has strong support from state policymakers and the citizens they serve. That support is not restricted to any particular party affiliation or geographic location. It is bi-partisan, it is pervasive, and it is no surprise. If there’s one thing Americans in all our diversity can agree on, it’s that we can do better with our energy choices. Freeing the Grid outlines a better path forward,” said Adam Browning, Executive Director of Vote Solar.


Click here to read the highlights of the 2011 ‘Freeing the Grid’ policy guide

IREC’s 2011 Updates and Trends Annual Report released

Posted on: November 2nd, 2011 by shannon

The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC’s) 2011 Updates & Trends Annual Report was released on October 17, 2011 in Dallas, Texas – take a peak and learn more about the latest in net metering, state policies and incentives (prepared by the DSIRE staff!), solar installation trends and other program areas – Happy reading!


Click here to download the Report as a PDF

The N.C. Solar Center awarded Green Education Program of the Year by the Triangle Business Journal

Posted on: October 28th, 2011 by shannon No Comments

The Triangle Business Journal recognized the N.C. Solar Center’s Clean Transportation program Thursday, October 27th for their Drive Green Save Green workshops that introduce North Carolina fleet managers and the general public to the technology and practices that can make a difference to every driver’s bottom line.

Bryan Hamilton, publisher of the Triangle Business Journal, presented the award to Aranzazu Lascurain, clean transportation specialist at the N.C. Solar Center, during the 2011 Green Awards luncheon at the Embassy Suites in Cary.

The Drive Green Save Green workshops emphasize that driving for fuel economy is the single fastest way to save money on fuel and reduce harmful emissions. This education and outreach program is geared toward simple, low-cost solutions that maximize fuel economy while at the same time reducing emissions. Swedish Truck manufacturer, Scania’s president and CEO Leif Ostling states, “Driver training is the single, fastest way to reduce the carbon footprint of our trucks. We know that the difference between skilled and less skilled drivers can be up to 20 percent fuel consumption.1

The goals of the program are to convince people that eco-driving results in better fuel economy, which then translates to saving money, and also building awareness and behavior change to daily driving patterns.

The 2011 Drive Green, Save Green workshops consisted of three, free, half-day workshops focusing on driving for fuel economy, or “eco-driving” that targeted fleet managers, but were also open to anyone interested in maximizing fuel economy (including the general public). The workshops included both classroom and on-road experience with eco-driving practices and the mechanics of fuel economy.

The initial roll-out of workshops were held in Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte between the months of April and May 2011.

New NCSU Solar House hours of operation

Posted on: October 28th, 2011 by shannon

After briefly being closed due to state budget cuts, the NCSU Solar House is now back open on a limited schedule. The house is open to the public and for scheduled group tours.  To schedule a group tour, please call 919-515-7085.

Hours of operation are:

Monday – Friday: 10:00am – 2:30pm


Come and pay us a visit and learn more about renewable energy technologies!

N.C. Solar Center and N.C. Dept. of Commerce exhibiting at Solar Power International 2011

Posted on: October 28th, 2011 by shannon No Comments

The N.C. Solar Center and the N.C. Dept. of Commerce are exhibiting together as the State of North Carolina at this year’s Solar Power International tradeshow and conference held in Dallas, Texas from October 17th-20th. There are many exciting new developments in the solar industry particularly in North Carolina.   To highlight these developments, daily in-booth presentations are planned from 11am and 1pm Tuesday – Thursday:

Be sure to come by to visit and learn more: Booth #2937


Tuesday, October 18th


Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster

Smart grid, advanced transportation, renewable energy, energy efficiency. North Carolina’s Research Triangle region is a leading center of today’s cleantech revolution. Learn how your company can tap into a cutting-edge initiative that’s bringing together businesses, universities and government to advance the industry in N.C.

Speaker: Wade Fulghum, Assistant Director, Economic Development Partnership, Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development, N.C. State University



Growth of Solar in North Carolina

Hear updates on solar policy, industry dynamics and future

Speaker: Ivan Urlaub, Executive Director, NCSEA outlook


Wednesday, October 19th



myDSIRE and Other Customized Services

Learn more about myDSIRE, solar thermal testing, financial modeling and other services offered by the N.C. Solar Center

Speakers: Steve Kalland, Executive Director, N.C. Solar Center; Amanda Vanega, Energy Policy Program Manager, N.C. Solar Center; Betsy McCorkle, Economic Development Coordinator, N.C. Solar Center



Solar Policy Trivia – presented by DSIRE

Attention all policy nerds! Take a break for some fun and networking as we test your knowledge of solar policy!

Speakers: Amanda Vanega and Amy Heinemann, Policy Analyst, N.C. Solar Center


Thursday, October 20th



Solar Energy Workforce Development

Learn about the DOE Solar Instructor Training Network’s “Train the Trainer” Program and the Renewable Energy Diploma Series offered by the N.C. Solar Center.

Speakers: Wade Fulghum, Office of Research, Innovation, and Economic Development, N.C. State University  and Betsy McCorkle, N.C. Solar Center



Annual Updates & Trends in Solar Policy – presented by DSIRE

Missed the Interstate Renewable Energy Council’s annual meeting? Come hear the DSIRE team review the year’s solar policy news.

Speaker: Amanda Vanega, N.C. Solar Center


About Solar Power International

Solar Power International (SPI) is North America’s largest, most comprehensive solar power trade show and conference. This annual, business-to-business event was the first of its kind in North America and grows bigger and better every year.

Nearly 24,000 professionals from 125+ countries attend. With one out of five attendees coming from outside the United States, SPI is truly a global event.

In 2011, over 1,200 companies from all vertical markets in the solar power spectrum will exhibit in a space of more than 1 million gross square feet.