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Friday, March 23, 2007

Perdue School Students Study Alternative Energy Sources

SALISBURY, MD---With fuel costs constantly rising, Drs. Danny Ervin and Tylor Claggett, professors of economics and finance in Salisbury University’s Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, continue to study alternative energy sources.

They recently joined six SU students to examine one such alternative up close at the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) renewable energy and environmental protection facilities near Atlantic City, NJ. The students were: Jinwoo Kim of Woodstock, MD; Joseph Early of New Market, MD; Richard Betzel of Pasadena, MD; Scott Forney of Crofton, MD; and Rusi Karabaliev and Nyi Nyi Naing of Salisbury.

The ACUA facilities serve the communities that make up the eastern half of Atlantic County, NJ. The authority’s primary purpose is to collect and treat the municipal waste water and solid waste from the several dozen communities in the eastern part of Atlantic County.

However, when driving up to ACUA’s waste water treatment facility, the most striking features are the five 1.5-megawatt wind turbines that tower 380 feet above the complex, Claggett said. These are gleaming white structures capable of generating enough electric power to serve 2,500 homes. The turbines have been operational since December 2005. On many days, the wind farm generates almost twice as much power as ACUA requires. The excess “green” power is sold to the local utility.

ACUA has other state-of-the-art projects in the works.  For example, the authority boasts five solar arrays with a combined rated capacity of 500 kilowatts or one-half of a megawatt.  These are photovoltaic systems that convert solar energy directly into usable electricity.  One array serves as an eye-pleasing and convenient cover for an employee parking lot.

Several miles from its waste water treatment facility, ACUA owns and operates a state-of-the-art solid waste landfill and recycling center. The landfill is equipped with a sophisticated methane extraction system. There is more than enough methane available to power two generators, each with a rated capacity of well over one megawatt of electricity. This power is sold directly to the local utility.

The recycling center separates household garbage into many marketable commodities such as recycled pasteboard, scrape aluminum and bulk plastics. In addition, trash and yard waste is converted to high-grade mulch, which is sold for local soil enhancement.

During the site visits, students also spoke with several ACUA officials, including Richard S. Dovey, president; Tom Lauletta, vice president; and Paul J. Gallagher, vice president and general counsel, who discussed the historical and operational aspects of the installations.

“The trip provided a memorable experience for both students and faculty and should serve to encourage students to think outside the box when contemplating possible career paths,” Claggett said.

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.



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