September 10, 2009

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Department of Defense Appropriations Bill Includes $2.5 Million For Binghamton University

Funding Would Aid Binghamton University's Center for Autonomous Solar Power in the Research and Development of Cost-Efficient Solar Technology

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the Department of Defense appropriations bill includes $2.5 million for the University of Binghamton's Center for Autonomous Solar Power. The funding would be used to research and develop new materials to improve the power density and energy density of ultracapacitors to help promote the use of alternative energies.

"This is terrific news for Binghamton University and the entire Southern Tier and will help put BU at the forefront of solar energy innovation," said Schumer.  "With the current energy crisis slamming New Yorkers, solar technology and the development of cost-efficient energy sources are a key part of our efforts to offer some relief to residents across Upstate  -- and to reduce our reliance on foreign fossil fuel."

"Developing new, clean, homegrown sources of energy is a vital part of our economic recovery," Senator Gillibrand said. "These federal dollars will help Binghamton University research and develop new solar technologies - helping to cut emissions, improve our environment, and lower our energy bills. Binghamton is at the forefront as we work to meet the energy needs of the 21st century. I will continue working with  Senator Schumer to make sure New York gets its fair share from the federal government."

Binghamton University's Innovative Technology Complex launched the CASP in an effort to increase the nation's solar power resources, making them less costly and more accessible. The CASP researches new solar cells that capture more solar radiation and produce higher power using state-of-the-art technology that combines electricity generation and storage into one integrated system. The CASP's mission is to optimize solar conversion efficiency, energy yield, storage capability, solar module stability and achieve significant solar power system cost reduction.

The funding secured through the appropriations today will fund research that would focus on developing new materials to improve the power density and energy density of ultracapacitors. Capacitors are used to store and release energy, and are especially important components of solar energy and wind energy systems, because the energy can only be generated at certain times and needs to be stored for later use. Currently, the supercapacitors available do not have the ability to release large enough bursts of energy (insufficient power density) nor can they store enough charge (insufficient energy density).

Today, the Appropriations Bill for the Department of Defense passed the full committee. The legislation will head to the floor for a full vote before the Senate. The bill will then proceed to the House-Senate Conference Committee, before final passage in both chambers, and sent to the President to become law.