From the monthly archives: January 2010

El Centro, CA – The City of El Centro Parks and Recreation Department was notified recently that they have been chosen to receive the 2009 California Park & Recreation Society (CPRS) Award of Excellence for the category of Agency Showcase for their summer brochure.  The awards raise awareness for work well done among cities and communities throughout the state of California.

Kristie Riester, Director of Parks and Recreation stated “Our department is so excited to receive this award! We feel honored that we were selected from many cities that have also been doing great things across the State! For us, it means so much to receive recognition from CPRS as well as from our peers!”

The Parks and recreation Department staff has been invited to attend the awards banquet in Palm Springs in March. A formal presentation will also be made at an upcoming City Council meeting.


TORRANCE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Honda today began operation of a next generation solar hydrogen station prototype at the Los Angeles Center of Honda R&D Americas, Inc., intended for ultimate use as a home refueling appliance capable of an overnight refill of fuel cell electric vehicles.

Designed as a single, integrated unit to fit in the user’s garage, Honda’s next generation Solar Hydrogen Station reduces the size of the system, while producing enough hydrogen (0.5kg) via an 8-hour overnight fill for daily commuting (10,000 miles per year) for a fuel cell electric vehicle.

The previous solar hydrogen station system required both an electrolyzer and a separate compressor unit to create high pressure hydrogen. The compressor was the largest and most expensive component and reduced system efficiency. By creating a new high differential pressure electrolyzer, Honda engineers were able to eliminate the compressor entirely – a world’s first for a home use system. This innovation also reduces the size of other key components to make the new station the world’s most compact system, while improving system efficiency by more than 25% (value calculated based on simulations) compared to the solar hydrogen station system it replaces.

Compatible with a “Smart Grid” energy system, the Honda Solar Hydrogen Station would enable users to refill their vehicle overnight without the requirement of hydrogen storage, which would lower CO2 emissions by using less expensive off-peak electrical power. During daytime peak power times, the Solar Hydrogen Station can export renewable electricity to the grid, providing a cost benefit to the customer, while remaining energy neutral.

Designed for simple, user-friendly operation, the intuitive system layout enables the user to easily lift and remove the fuel hose, with no hose coiling when the hose is returned to the dispenser unit.

Engineered for an 8-hour, slow fill for overnight refilling of a fuel cell electric vehicle, the home-use Solar Hydrogen Station would replenish the hydrogen for a typical daily driving, meeting the commuting requirements of many drivers. As with the previous generation system, the hydrogen purity from the new station meets the highest SAE (J2719) and ISO (14687) specifications.

Installed at the Los Angeles Center of Honda R&D Americas, the new Solar Hydrogen Station will employ the same 48-panel, 6.0kW solar array that powered the previous system. The array utilizes thin film solar cells composed of copper, indium, gallium and selenium (CIGS) produced by Honda Soltec Co., Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Honda that was established for the mass production and sales of solar cells capable of efficient renewable electricity generation. Honda’s unique solar cells reduce the amount of CO2 generated during production as compared to conventional solar cells.

Designed to support the needs of the future owners of fuel cell electric vehicles, the Honda Solar Hydrogen Station was also designed to complement a public network of fast fill hydrogen stations. The Honda FCX Clarity electric vehicle is fast fill capable and offers an EPA-estimated driving range of 240 miles. With fast fill public stations providing 5-minute fueling time for longer trips, and the opportunity of convenient nighttime slow filling at home using a solar station with a Smart Grid connection, the Honda FCX Clarity can cover a wide range of driving demands from the daily commute to weekend trips.

A key strategy in creating a solar hydrogen station for home-use was to create a new lifestyle with convenient, clean, energy-efficient and sustainable home refueling, by addressing the need for refueling infrastructure that can advance the wider use of fuel cell electric vehicles by consumers.

The combination of a fuel cell electric vehicle and the solar hydrogen station could help lead to the establishment of a hydrogen society based on renewable energy, resulting in a major reduction of CO2 emissions and greater energy sustainability.

Honda began operation of its first Solar Hydrogen Station at the Los Angeles Center of Honda R&D Americas in 2001:

  • July 2001: 3-unit system with hydrogen storage begins operation.
  • October 2003: new 2-unit system with an original Honda electrolyzer and a new solar array utilizing prototype Honda CIGS solar cells offers improved system efficiency.
  • August 2008: solar array fitted with mass production CIGS cells from Honda Soltec Co., reducing the size of the array by 20% and further improving photo voltaic (PV) energy efficiency.
  • January 2010: new single-unit station begins operation, improving to world’s best system efficiency – increasing the efficiency by more than 25% (value calculated based on simulations) compared to the previous solar hydrogen station system, for a world’s highest system efficiency.

About Honda R&D Americas, Inc.

Honda R&D Americas, Inc. (HRA) is responsible for creating advanced technologies and products in the U.S. that provide new value to Honda and Acura customers. HRA began R&D operations in the U.S. in 1975 with market research activities in California, and has steadily grown its capabilities over the past 35 years to include all aspects of new vehicle design and development, as well as taking a leading role in the advancement of leading-edge safety and environmental technologies.

Today, Honda operates 15 major R&D facilities in the U.S. with more than 1,300 designers, engineers and support personnel engaged in the development of automobiles, motorcycles and power equipment products for North America and global markets.

HRA’s major centers include the Los Angeles Center (Torrance, CA), responsible for market research, concept development and styling design; the Ohio Center (Raymond, OH) responsible for complete product development, testing and support of North American supplier development; and a dynamic test facility in Ohio; and the North Carolina Center (Swepsonville, NC) responsible for power equipment R&D.


New iPhone App Helps Residents Report Issues on the Go and Tap Into Government Around the Clock

PLEASANTON, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Potholes that need filling, barking dogs that need quieting, and graffiti that needs removing are now an iPhone tap away in dozens of cities and counties with today’s launch of the GORequest for the iPhone app by Government Outreach, Inc.

“Cities of every size told us they wanted to give their residents the same iPhone convenience that only a few big cities have offered”

iPhone users simply open the app, select an issue, take a picture, and tap submit – the app knows the exact location and sends the issue directly to the staff member at city hall who can fix it. Users are kept up-to-date on the status of their issue, and it’s all done 7×24 without having to visit city hall or go to a computer.

“Cities of every size told us they wanted to give their residents the same iPhone convenience that only a few big cities have offered,” noted Government Outreach president Kendall Smith. “We’ve already helped many agencies around the country dramatically improve customer service through the web, but with GORequest for the iPhone they can now connect with residents on the go,” Smith added.

A picture is worth a thousand words – with GORequest for the iPhone, a photo and GPS coordinates allow large and small cities such as Santa Monica, CA, Arvada, CO, and Queen Creek, AZ to efficiently find and fix issues. Fully integrated with the GORequest system, automatic request routing allows cities and counties to improve service with less staff, which lowers costs. With GORequest, city hall is open 7×24, even in this era of staff reductions, furloughs, and reduced office hours.

About Government Outreach: Founded on the belief that there is a better way for local governments to serve their communities, Government Outreach brings the public sector a suite of products that support the unique needs of local agencies. Government Outreach is a leading provider of web-hosted citizen relationship management (CRM) and automated code enforcement solutions for local governments. GORequest for the iPhone is the latest enhancement to Government Outreach’s award-winning GORequest CRM solution.


LARNACA, Cyprus–(BUSINESS WIRE)–One of the leading online casinos in the industry, Royal Apollo, has announced that it is now accepting players from the United States. This comes following a growing need to offer top quality online gambling entertainment to US players in a safe and secure gaming environment.

US players should be able to find an excellent variety of bonuses to attract them to the Rival Gaming powered Royal Apollo online casino, starting with the $1,200 welcome bonus that is spread over the player’s first ten deposits.

According to Royal Apollo, the welcome bonus is divided as follows:

  • First deposit – 100% up to $200
  • Second deposit – 100% up to $150
  • Third deposit – 100% up to $150
  • Fourth deposit – 100% up to $100
  • Fifth to tenth deposits – 100% up to $100

The site also recently upgraded its weekly bonuses by launching its ‘Happy Days’ promo schedule, meaning that rewards are given out every day of the week.

A new, upgraded VIP Club dishes out generous promotions, offers, bonuses and perks at six different levels to loyal players.

US players wanting to fund their online casino accounts at Royal Apollo should find a wide range of convenient, discreet and easy to use payment methods that are supported at this site. Payment methods include credit cards, ewalletxpress, usemywallet and click2pay and can be used to deposit funds into the player’s account or withdraw winnings.

Players should be pleased to note that Royal Apollo online casino also offers extra bonuses on deposits as a means to encourage the use of available alternative payment methods. The bonuses range from 15% to 25% depending on the payment method selected.

Royal Apollo utilizes industry standard security protocols (128 bit, SSL data encryption technology) to ensure that all transactions – whether deposits or withdrawals – are carried out in a secure manner.

About us: Royal Apollo is an online casino owned and operated by Silverstone Overseas Limited, wholly owned by Bonne Chance NV, licensed and regulated by the Government of Curacao. Royal Apollo works off the Rival Gaming software platform and brings players over 80 casino games to choose from, including the interactive i-Slots series. Royal Apollo offers 24/7 Online Support via chat email or phone.



Only four months after breaking ground, Tessera Solar and Stirling Energy Systems (SES) recently showcased the highly anticipated Maricopa Solar power plant, which is the first commercial project for the SunCatcher concentrating solar power (CSP) technology.

“The opening of Maricopa Solar is a significant milestone for our companies and for the solar industry,” said Bob Lukefahr, Tessera Solar North America CEO. “Maricopa Solar represents a genuine breakthrough in solar energy and demonstrates that Stirling dish solar power is now ready for commercial deployment in the US and around the world. With this milestone now behind us we look forward to breaking ground on our initial 1,500 MW of projects in California and Texas later this year.”

Source: Renewable Energy Magazine

Designed and manufactured by SES, the innovative and highly-efficient SunCatcher system used in the Maricopa Solar CSP plant is a 25-kilowatt solar power system which uses a 38-foot, mirrored parabolic dish combined with an automatic tracking system to collect and focus the sun’s energy onto a Stirling engine to convert the solar thermal energy into grid-quality electricity. Maricopa Solar is comprised of 60 SunCatcher dishes and will provide 1.5 megawatts of renewable energy to SRP customers in Greater Phoenix, Arizona.

“The SunCatcher represents the next generation of grid-quality solar power technology providing clean, reliable and cost-effective solar power to address global climate change and reduce our planet’s carbon emissions,” said Steve Cowman, Stirling Energy Systems CEO.

The electricity generated by Maricopa Solar will be purchased by Phoenix power utility, SRP. “Through partnerships such as Maricopa Solar, we will be able to learn a great deal about this emerging solar technology while helping to create green jobs, economic development opportunities and clean energy for SRP and our customers,” said SRP’s Associate General Manager, Richard Hayslip. “The Maricopa Solar project is just one example of SRP’s commitment to building a renewable energy portfolio that is beneficial to our environment and customers.”

According to SES, SunCatcher has a number of advantages including the highest solar-to-grid electric efficiency, zero water use for power production, a modular and scalable design, low capital cost, and minimal land disturbance.

It was designed and developed in America, through a public-private partnership with the US Department of Energy and the SunCatchers unveiled at Maricopa Solar were manufactured and assembled in North America, mostly in Michigan by automotive suppliers.

Utility-scale projects next

High-volume manufacturing of the SunCatcher begins in Summer 2010 and Tessera Solar breaks ground on utility-scale projects using this system late this year in California and Texas. Imperial Valley is a 750 MW project with the first 300 MW contracted under a Power Purchase Agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric near El Centro, California; Calico is a 850 MW project with Southern California Edison near Barstow, California; and Western Ranch is a 27 MW project with CPS Energy in West Texas.

SES estimates that manufacturing of SunCatcher components and construction of these projects will create up to 4,000 jobs in the near term, both in the Midwest, where SES’s automotive supply chain base originates, and in the Southwest where projects will be developed.

Source: Renewable Energy Magazine

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