Merrill renewable energy tower

In order to investigate various renewable energy technologies we have mounted photo-voltaic panels, wind turbines, and a weather station on the tower on the south-east corner of Merrill Science center. We have created a data base with the data collected from these devices. For more detail about the installation or to plot selected data click on the following link.


The site also includes an interesting comparison of various forms of energy.

Motor assisted bicycle

motor assisted bicycle

Doesn't it seem odd that we drag several thousand pounds of steel around with us when we drive to work or school? Obviously, this is a very inefficient way to move a person from one place to another. A simple alternative is to ride a bike. However, sometimes the bike ride is too time consuming or too draining to be done daily. The return half of my commute requires a 10 mile ride up a steep hill which is more than I can manage on a regular basis. The solution that I have found is to add a motor (1.6 hp 35cc four stroke Subaru/Robins) to my bike. I get some exercise by not using the engine on the way in or for the first three relatively flat miles of the return. Then, when the hill gets steep I start up the motor and let it take me home. This brings the time (about 40 minutes each way) and effort of the commute into an acceptable range.  On the flat, the motor propels the bike at about 25 mph.   As a "human-gas" hybrid I have been averaging about 400 miles per gallon of gas.  Compared with driving my car, I save about 4 gallons of gasoline a week along with the associated emissions.

Solar hot water system

Solar Hot water system
Heating your water with the sun rather than with fossil fuels makes sense both economically and environmentally. Federal and Massachusetts tax credits for a solar hot water installation are currently $2,000 and $1,000 respectively. A well sized system in New England can cover 70% of your hot water needs. The savings on one's electric bill can cover the balance of the system cost in about five years.  A picture of our solar hot water panels mounted on the south side of our house is shown.