Al Stone Lecture: Dr. Richard Llyod discusses renewable energy on campus and beyond

Category:  News
Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 at 10:50 PM

The spring leg of the university’s Al Stone Lecture Series commenced this past Thursday, April 11 with a talk on renewable energy by Dr. Richard Lloyd.

Lloyd is chair of the physics and technology department on campus, and his research centers around renewable energy, specifically targeting the development of more sustainable solar panels. His talk, titled “Renewable Energy: a sustainable path forward,” discussed the current impact of renewable energy on the U.S. economy and its potential for the future.

“Renewable energy is really the only energy source that we can rely on indefinitely,” Lloyd said as he began his lecture.

According to Lloyd, the amount of energy that we use to retrieve non-renewable energy (such as oil), is a contributing factor to global warming, changes in the growing season for farmers and an increase in the severity of natural weather events.

After discussing the disadvantages of non-renewable energy, Lloyd discussed the advantages and limitations of renewable energy.

“One of the things that is good about it (solar energy) is that it’s completely renewable. I don’t have to worry about getting a new sun; it’s always there [and] as long as the sun is burning, we’re all good” Lloyd said. “Solar panels have no moving parts. They also last for decades and have very low environmental impact, at least at the site of installation — there are some impacts in the manufacturing of the solar panel.”

He then spoke about limitations.

“The energy source is intermittent. When the sun’s out, the solar panel functions. A cloud comes over and day turns into night, and the solar power shuts off (because it needs solar energy) — a solution to this is devising a way to store the excess energy and dumping it right back in,” Lloyd explained.

Another issue that Lloyd brought up was land use. “Where are you going to put it? It needs to be relativity close to where you are going to use it. The infrastructure to build this is not available.”

Lloyd’s interest in renewable energy can be seen in his on-campus efforts, as well. In 2009, he wrote a grant for $500,000 for the construction of the 190 kW solar panels near McComb Fieldhouse. These solar panels, in the amount of time that they have been on campus, have produced enough energy to power 24 normal households.

The next Al Stone lecture will take place today at 9:30 a.m. in the basement of Diebold.

The topic of discussion will be “The future of the Erie County Democratic Party: demographic trends.”

The lecture will be given by Dr. James Wertz, associate dean of the college of arts, humanities and social sciences, as well as the chair of the Erie County Democratic Party. The Al Stone Lecture Series is set to run every Thursday until May 9.

Shayma Musa |

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