The TSK programs in April were interesting and educational.
April 5, 2010 Ken Elder, CEO of Soltility, Inc. (a company in Friendsville involved in System Design/Financing) spoke on Solar Power Retrofits. Solar power peaks at the right time of day to match TVA’s peak demand . TVA wants 50% clean energy (including nuclear) by 2020. There are several manufacturing companies in our local area. Most installed solar power is not residential- there are not sufficient incentives and the payout time for residential solar power is 12 to 15 years. The
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businesses to install solar power are currently good enough to make solar power a very good investment.. The installed cost of solar panels will not decrease much in the future because the cost of the panels is already only 35% of the installation.
April 12, 2010 Patrick McMahon, PE, a graduate Student at UTK- Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Ken Barry, PE, S&ME talked about material transport in flowing water and the state of the ability to predict it. This is a very complex science and it was interesting to hear that a prominent researcher was Albert Einstein’s son Hans A. Einstein who was told by his father that the subject was too difficult for anyone to understand.
April 19, 2010: Dr. Kelly Tiller, PhD, President and CEO of Genera Energy gave us an update on the semiworks for converting cellulose to ethanol at Vonore which started up in December 2009 using corncobs for a cellulose source. The growth of switchgrass is progressing well and 6000 acres are planned at the end of 2010. Switchgrass is a good crop for East Tennessee. It is harvested once a year and it gives a good yield with a minimum of
attention. It is a perennial crop and a stand can last for 20 years .
April 26, 2010: Elizabeth Porter, PG and Ken Barry, PE, S&ME, Inc.; presented an update on developing water regulatory issues impacting civil engineering in Tennessee. There are a number of new regulations
and proposed regulations that will result in changes in construction regarding stormwater. The jurisdiction over waterways and defining waterways seems to be changing. Standards for acceptable stormwater turbidity are being lowered.
The cost/benefit study for the new EPA stormwater guides requiring best available technology have shown costs greater than benefits!
There is a lot going on in water regulations.
Walter Wunderlich is recovering from his operation and we hope to see him back soon.