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Our Mission
  The Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association (MAREA) is a nonprofit organization, dedicated to informing and educating the public on renewable energy production, energy efficiency, and sustainable living through meetings, workshops, educational materials, and energy fairs.
Your membership makes these activities possible. If you can help, please
[Join MAREA]. The support is greatly appreciated and your dollars are used carefully.

MAREA Monthly Meetings, the More the Merrier!
Free and Open to the Public
(Always the last Tuesday of the month)

TEK Park, 9999 Hamilton Boulevard, Breinigsville, PA 18031-9300
[DIRECTIONS]
Upcoming Tuesday Night Topics
7:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 28
"Biomass Utilization: A Renewable, Versatile Pathway to Fuels and Chemicals"

Chuck Coe, Department of Chemical Engineering, Villanova University
Biomass is the only renewable source of organic carbon that can be used directly for fuel or converted to other carbon-based chemicals and fuels by downstream processing. In the never ending search for sustainable chemicals and fuels, biomass offers some attractive properties along with a plethora of challenges for utilization as a chemical feedstock in a broad range of applications. Biomass, in the broadest sense covers a wide variety of compositions ranging from A to Z (algae to zoo manure). Lignocellulosic biomass is considered one of the most promising biomass resources since it does not compete directly with food and is largely availability on a world-wide basis. Since land use in many regions is insufficient for growing energy crops, the cultivation of plants and algae in our seas is also being explored. This talk will provide an overview of multiple conversion pathways that are being explored to convert biomass to chemicals and fuels.

After setting the proper context for the utilization of biomass and some relevant energy science, the conversion of biomass by chemical, thermochemical, biochemical, and combined hybrid processes will be introduced. Three generations of bio-derived alcohols will be reviewed along with advances in the utilization of algae for the production of biodiesel and alcohols. The importance of interdisciplinary research and biochemical routes to enhance selective production of alcohols will be shown. Selected examples of biofuels and bio-based chemicals will be presented throughout to put the transformation towards a sustainable supply chain in perspective.

Besides the production of traditional biofuels, biomass feedstocks can also be pyrolyzed and upgraded to produce fuel blendstocks for centralized refineries where they are converted to “green gasoline”. Fast pyrolysis of biomass is a promising way to densify the carbon content; however, the liquid produced is corrosive, highly reactive, and not suitable for transport to a central processing facility. Fast pyrolysis is the rapid thermal decomposition in the absence of oxygen to produce light gases, carbon char and about 60% yield of an organic liquid. Catalytic upgrading of these liquids is necessary prior to transporting them to a refinery. Villanova is participating in a large Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) to allow the conversion of waste farm residues to transportable liquid bio-oils which have an order of magnitude increase in carbon density compared to the agricultural waste. Improvements achieved by using catalysts to upgrade the pyrolysis vapor before condensation will be briefly described.

Finally, the challenges associated with considering the entire supply chain, for example, from the field to the pump, will be outlined. It will become obvious that a concerted approach must be taken to achieve the triple bottom line required and expand the impact of bio-based chemicals and fuels as we strive to achieve a resilient bio economy.

After the meeting, plan to stick around and chat with friends old and new. We're also interested in your ideas for MAREA speakers, activities and services. Light snacks will be served. Hope to see you there!

Dr. Charles Coe, Research Associate Professor in Chemical Engineering, comes to Villanova with more than 30 years of experience in the development of catalysts and adsorbents. At Villanova, he is sharing his knowledge with the next generation of engineers and scientists. He is actively involved in developing and teaching alternative energy courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. His research at Villanova, in collaboration with Drs. Satrio and Smith, is focused on the thermal chemical conversion of biomass using catalytic pathways to enhance carbon yield and product selectivity. He also is involved in Corporate sponsored research on the separation and purification of gases over molecular sieves. During his industrial career at Air Products he developed an extensive expertise in molecular sieve science and catalysis. For many years he teamed with project leaders across business units to enable the development of improved adsorbents and catalysts based on creating structure-property relationships targeted at specific applications.
7:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 26
"Bee Pollination Behavior: How it Impacts Human & Ecosystem Health,
the State of Bees and Strategies to Support Them"

Dr. Jordanna D.H. Sprayberry, Associate Professor of Biology & Neuroscience Muhlenberg College
For questions, more information or to suggest a topic or speaker, contact:
Vera Cole: 215-258-0526 or veracole@comcast.net
[Information Available From Previous Talks]

Thinking about going solar? Resources for Homeowners & Small Businesses
"Solar Electricity for PA Homeowners" — Aug 2014 presentation slides
  If your organization would like a speaker on this topic, we’d be happy to help.
Please contact: [themarea@gmail.com]. [DOWNLOAD THE PRESENTATION]
On-Line Resources for those Considering Solar
  List of on-line resources to help you find an installer, estimate electricity generation, understand environmental value, consider financial aspects and more.
  [MAREA’s Recommended Resources]
SunnyMoney Residential Solar Electric Estimator
  Easy, on-line tool (updated 2014!) developed by MAREA to help Pennsylvania homeowners plan & budget for solar electric projects. Quick & accurate estimates for system size, electricity generation, savings, cost, Federal tax credit, environmental payback & more.
  [CHECK OUT SUNNYMONEY]

MAREA produces its first movie:
"Saving Sunshine"
Keeping the Lights on with Batteries and Solar Power”
In plain language, master electrician and solar installer Bruce Hankins explains AC Coupling, the combining of a grid-tied solar electric installation with an off-grid battery backup system. This technology, made possible through advanced electronics, offers benefits for all users of the entire electric system—both those with and without solar. Teachers, electricians, system installers, owners of grid-tied systems and solar advocates will find Hankins’ clear explanations in “Saving Sunshine” helpful in learning the specifics of an AC Coupled system and how it forms a local electric distribution system.
Free DVD with MAREA membership
While supplies last, all new and renewing MAREA members will receive a free copy of "Saving Sunshine, Keeping the Lights on with Batteries and Solar Power,” the 30-minute DVD produced by MAREA this year with funding from the Berks Community Foundation and distributed by Bullfrog Films. It’s terrific film, offering an interesting and easily understood explanation of the electricity grid and distribution generation, especially the role of batteries with solar. MAREA is a 501(c)3 non-profit. Donations and memberships are how we keep the lights on. Thanks for your help.
[Watch the Trailer on YouTube]
[Read More and Purchase the DVD]

Event Announcements
Perpetual economic growth is neither possible nor desirable. Growth, especially in wealthy nations, is already causing more problems than it solves.
You are invited to sign the Center for Advancement of the Steady State Economy (CASSE) position statement in support of a sustainable, steady state economy with stabilized population and consumption. For full detail, please visit [TAKE A POSITION]. At the direction of its board, MAREA signed as an organization on Feb 17, 2015.

ATTN: New FEES & SIZE LIMITS for solar in PA?
 
Thanks to all who signed the petition to the PA PUC regarding proposed changes to net metering rules.

A 49-page document
(wow!) of signatures and comments has been submitted on your behalf. We’ll keep you posted.

Solar Advocates Fight Utilities Over Grid Access
  Across the country the solar industry is battling utilities over the financial details of feeding electricity from renewable resources back into the power grid.

Vera Cole, president of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association, a group arguing against proposed rules in Pennsylvania that would put stricter limits on how much grid-connected solar power homeowners can produce on their property.

Berks County Earth Day: Saturday, April 25th from 11am to 5pm at Riverfront Park on Riverfront Drive in Reading, PA. [READ MORE]

PA Sunshine Counts: Our Common Solar Wealth - July 2014
This report is an analysis of records obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for more than 7,000 solar electric systems receiving PA Sunshine Rebates, with detailed findings related to cost trends, system size, installation locations, component manufacturers, and installers.

In the interest of good solar, MAREA has chosen to provide this report at no charge to members and nonmembers alike. MAREA believes strongly that the more informed voices in the conversation the better the outcome.Thank you for reading this report.
MAREA is funded entirely though memberships, events, grants and donations. Your support is needed and genuinely appreciated.

  Solar Hot Water Benefits Homeless Shelter
  To help reduce monthly expenses for Opportunity House, a multi-service organization improving the quality of life for children, families and adults who face various obstacles to independent living in the Reading area, MAREA has spearheaded a project to install a solar hot water system on their main building.
  [READ MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT]
Check out the Progress: [READING EAGLE 8-1-14] [WFMZ NEWS VIDEO]
 

Court Affirms Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Association’s Right to Know,
Orders DEP to Release Solar Data
September 18, 2012, Kutztown, PA A renewable energy organization's request for access to information regarding solar installations receiving rebates from the $100 million state [Sunshine Program] was recently upheld by the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. [READ THE FULL RELEASE]

Community Projects & Workshops

MAREA conducts small group workshops on practical alternative energy projects throughout the year.
[Learn from experts in the field. MAREA members receive special discount on workshops]

MAREA Board Member Don Bucci talks about the benefits of a solar hot water system.
(Reading Eagle 2/10/2013)
Several decades ago, Don Bucci began heating domestic hot water at home using solar energy and still cherishes that original setup's benefits today. [READ THE FULL STORY]
MAREA President Vera Cole on electricity conservation (Allentown Morning Call (12/16/12)
The impulse to save electricity may have its roots in an environmentalist ethic, or it may stem from a simple urge to save money. [READ THE FULL STORY]
MAREA board member Anna Digate talks about recycling (Reading Eagle 12/17/12)
With gift-giving holidays approaching, wrapping paper and décor deserve a chance to be looked at in a greener way.
[READ THE FULL STORY]

MAREA Educational Programs
MAREA is planning a series of two-hour workshops on possible topics that include, so far, solar electric design, solar hot water design, structural engineering for solar electric mounting systems, thermodynamics, commissioning solar electric systems, solar oven cooking, reducing electrical use in the home, all about RECs, considerations for commercial solar electricity installations, solar electricity for homeowners and wire crimping for solar installations. Whew! Let us know topics you would like covered and if there's a topic you, or someone you know, would like to instruct. Dates, locations and times will be announced soon. We expect them to be on Saturday mornings with a fee of around $45 for members. We're also nailing down plans for the next solar electric installation workshops. We'll send details as soon as they're available.
With ideas or questions, please contact
Bill Hennessy, 484-560-4666, bill@berkssolar.com.




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