Tag Archives: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

In Nebraska, a unique carbon-capture concept has a lot of unknowns

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Energy News Network

In November, the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) announced a partnership with Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology and Wärtsilä, a Finnish manufacturer, to explore using that company’s technology to generate electricity from methanol, which would be synthesized by combining hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

While a news release touts the study as intending to help “accelerate the move towards a future where energy will be produced from 100 percent renewable carbon free sources,” NPPD does not yet know whether any carbon reduction benefits will result. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Wärtsilä


ASU engineers break solar cell record, ASU News
Arizona State University researchers continue to break solar cell efficiency records in an effort to harness the sun’s energy more economically as a renewable source for electricity. Last year, Assistant Professor Zachary Holman and Assistant
Research Professor Zhengshan “Jason” Yu in ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering set a world record of 23.6 percent
efficiency for a tandem solar cell stacked with perovskite and silicon.

The number was a few percentage points shy of the
theoretical efficiency limit for silicon solar cells alone. Now, the team improves upon the record by nearly two percentage points, to 25.4 percent, in a joint project with researchers at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, predicting they’ll be nearing 30 percent tandem efficiency within two years.

Photo: The perovskite/silicon tandem solar cell created by researchers at Arizona State University and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has the potential to transform mainstream silicon technology and lower the cost of solar energy. Photo by Erika Gronek/ASU


Stanford scientists locate nearly all U.S. solar panels by applying machine learning to a billion satellite images, Stanford University News. Stanford researchers have identified the GPS locations and sizes of almost all U.S. solar power installations from a billion images. Using the data, which are public, they identified factors that
promote the use of solar energy and those that
discourage it. Photo: Telesis Inc’s solar array in Lincoln 

Editorial: UNL displays impressive success with sustainability

Lincoln Journal Star Editorial Board

Among the 11 Big Ten universities whose carbon dioxide emissions are publicly known, UNL ranks first by a wide margin with 182,600 metric tons in 2016. That’s nearly a third better than the University of Maryland at College Park, which recorded 239,800 metric tons over the same interval.

Plus, even as UNL has reported years of record enrollment, added research staff and constructed several new facilities, its energy usage has been nearly halved in the last two decades. The university provides living proof that investing in energy-saving techniques can pay for itself through decreased utility costs. As a result, UNL hasn’t operated its coal-fired power and heating plant to power campus for several years . . . Read the entire editorial here.

Related Reading
UNL inching toward setting greenhouse gas reduction goals, by Chris Dunker, Lincoln Journal Star
No longer does UNL use a coal-fired power and heating plant built at 14th and W streets in 1930 (now the site of the City Campus utility plant), giving the university an advantage over the University of Iowa, University of Illinois and others within the Big Ten still generating electricity on their campuses and expanding their carbon footprint. UNL instead purchases 100 percent of its electricity to power lights and computers, charge cellphones and run other equipment through Lincoln Electric System, which in turn buys power from the Southwest Power Pool and Western Area Power Administration.

Photo Credit: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Department of Energy awards UNL nearly $1.5 million to set up and operate a regional Industrial Assessment Center

On December 14, 2016, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy announced nearly $35 million for 28 higher education institutions from 25 states across the country to set up and operate regional Industrial Assessment Centers (IACS). The centers will provide site-specific recommendations to small manufacturers with opportunities to improve productivity, secure information, reduce waste and save energy while providing training for undergraduate and graduate engineering students in manufacturing processes, energy assessment procedures, and energy management systems. Read more here.

Photo credit: U.S. Department of Energy

To apply for an assessment, contact UNL’s IAC Program Director:
Dr. Robert Williams
Phone: (402) 472-4755
Email: rwilliams2@unl.edu

UNL starts construction on new energy storage facility

By Zoe De Grande, The Daily Nebraskan


To help make the university more sustainable and decrease energy costs, UNL is opening a new Thermal Energy Storage facility on City Campus. There’s been an operational TES facility on East Campus since 2012, but the City Campus addition will help further decrease costs and increase energy efficiency, Charlie Gibbs, technical manager at UNL, said. Planning for the new City Campus facility began in 2011, and facility construction is now underway. Read more.

Cherry County Commission votes against permit for wind farm

By Mary Roberts, KNOP News


The commission voted against a plan by Bluestem Sandhills LLC to erect 30 windmills over several thousand acres. Critics have cited concerns about the wind farm’s effect on the environment . . . “I’m a fourth generation rancher myself. My family has been here for a number of years,” David Hamilton, vice president of Cherry County Wind, LLC., said. “You just look at some of the development areas where wind energy has been developed, like in the Broken Bow area. None of the things [protesters] are proposing will happen are occurring.” Read more here.

Photo: Wind-farm turbine near the small, centrally-located city of Broken Bow. Credit: Caroline Jezierski

According to the KNOP news story, the Bluestem Sandhills project would add $108 million to Cherry County’s tax base. This would be a major economic boost, especially at a time when Midwest rural economies continue to decline, as reported in today’s Omaha World-Herald:
Rural economy continues to weaken

Nebraska lawmaker sees wind energy as an urgent lifeline, Midwest Energy News 

Q&A: Does clean energy face a tougher standard on its impacts? Midwest Energy News

Community members swap energy ideas, concerns, Norfolk Daily News 

Nebraska Wind Energy and Wildlife Project – University of Nebraska-Lincoln

“The Zero Energy House – Key Features, Benefits & Value” Panel Presentation Hosted by Nebraskans for Solar

Tuesday, March 1st from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
UNO’s Community Engagement Center, Room 201, 64th & Dodge
This event is free and open to the public. 


  • Tim Hemsath, Associate Professor in UNL’s College of Architecture, Research Fellow, UNL’s Center for Urban Sustainability. Tim was the architect for the ZNETH and ZNETH II energy efficient prototypes working with the College of Engineering.
  • Mahmoud “Moe” Alahmad, PhD, Associate Professor in The Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His industry experience includes over 10 years of infrastructure planning, design and analysis of electrical distribution systems for the built environment.
  • Avery Schwer, PhD, Associate Professor in The Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Director for the Sustainable Communities Project. Teaches the sustainable construction courses. Research focuses on the investigation of renewable and sustainable high performance building & community applications.


  • What are Zero Net Energy Homes?
  • What are their benefits?
  • How do you design and build a Zero Energy Home?
  • How do you transform your existing home into a Zero Energy Home?
  • How affordable are Zero Energy Homes?
  • Are there any Zero Energy Homes available for sale in Nebraska?
  • Can a home produce MORE energy than it uses?

Reserved parking is available in the lot in front of the Community Engagement Center, near the Durham Bell Tower. Refreshments will be served. Please join us and bring a friend! Questions? Email nebraskansforsolar@gmail.com