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Midshipman Hoffman Receives the Department of Energy's "Excellence in Energy Award"

KINGS POINT, N.Y., April 25, 2013 –On Thursday, Midshipman Haven Hoffman received the U.S. Department of Energy’s Excellence in Energy Award for his independent study entitled Solar-Hydrogen Home and Feasibility of Photovoltaic Technology in Marine Applications, which promotes alternative power and energy efficiency. The award was presented by Daniel Howett from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory during the Class of 2013 Marine Engineering Systems Capstone Presentations, before an audience of midshipmen, professors, and industry professionals.

The Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program sponsors several awards that are given annually to each federal service academy to recognize excellence in energy conservation and sustainability. The winners are chosen based on their innovation and potential impact related to the individual Academy’s mission. The United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) is the first Academy to receive one of these awards.

“I believe it is significant that we are the first Academy to qualify for one of the Department of Energy’s Excellence in Energy Awards. Especially, considering the effort that is now underway in our industry to increase vessel fuel efficiency and reduce airborne emissions. The energy conservation and sustainability efforts recognized by this award are directly related to our mission,” said Captain William Sembler, Ph.D., P.E., Professor and Head of the Department of Marine Engineering.

In his report, Hoffman evaluated the use of solar panels to provide shore power to the new T/V Kings Pointer. He conducted research using the photovoltaic systems installed on the solar-hydrogen home located at the USMMA. This research platform was originally developed by the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) in collaboration with USMMA for the Department of Energy's 2005 Solar Decathlon Competition in Washington, DC. Using data collected from instrumentation installed in the solar-hydrogen home, Hoffman conducted a study to evaluate the practicality of installing solar panels onboard the USMMA training vessel T/V Kings Pointer (ex M/V Liberty Star) to supply renewable electrical power to the vessel while in port. In addition, the feasibility of a pier-side solar-panel system that would supply the T/V Kings Pointer with shore power during periods when the vessel is at the dock was also evaluated.

The selection was made earlier this week by Captain David Palmer and Captain Brian Ackerman, the co-directors of the Academy’s Alternative Power Program. They reviewed all seven of the Phase I Marine Engineering Systems Capstone Design Projects and Hoffman’s individual independent-study report before selecting the winner. Academic Dean, Dr. Shashi N. Kumar, Ph.D., commented, “This is an excellent testimonial to the quality and credibility of our nationally ranked engineering program. I congratulate Midshipman Hoffman for his outstanding paper and our engineering professors for their excellent guidance and supervision.”

Updated: Monday, May 6, 2013