A New Home for FREEDM

[ubermenu config_id=”main” menu=”84″] NEWSROOM A New Home for FREEDMJul 22, 2010 North Carolina State University officials have opened the latest building to be developed on Centennial Campus. Called the Keystone Science Center, the privately developed …

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A New Home for FREEDM

Jul 22, 2010

Dr. Alex Huang, director of the FREEDM Systems Center at NC State, speaks at the July 20 dedication of the Keystone Science Center on Centennial Campus. North Carolina State University officials have opened the latest building to be developed on Centennial Campus.

Called the Keystone Science Center, the privately developed two-story facility houses corporate partners and university laboratories. The 72,000-square-foot building, located at the corner of Varsity Drive and Main Campus Drive, was developed under a plan similar to other private development projects on the research and technology campus where the university leases the land on which the property is developed. The building was developed and will be managed by the Keystone Corporation, an international real estate development firm based in Raleigh.

Corporate tenants for the building include WebAssign, Pentair Pool & Spa, and All Systems Broadband. The building will also house the headquarters of the Future Renewable Electric Energy Delivery and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center and an expansion of the Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC).

Approximately 15,000-square-feet of space will be occupied by the FREEDM Center, which is the first National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center to focus on revolutionizing this country’s power grid by integrating it with new, alternative energy technologies such as wind and solar. The center is partnering with universities, industry and national laboratories in 28 states and nine countries, and it is being supported by an initial five-year $18.5 million grant from NSF, along with an additional $10 million in institutional support and industry membership fees. The goal of the consortium is to decentralize the nation’s century-old power grid so that a new power system can enable consumers to generate their energy from renewable sources and sell excess energy to the power companies.

Under the leadership of the Center’s director, Dr. Alex Huang, Progress Energy Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, researchers plan to develop the system based on breakthrough power semiconductor and power electronics technology, advanced energy storage technology and state-of-the-art digital communication technology.

BTEC is one of the premier training programs in the U.S. Through partnerships between NC State, North Carolina Central University and the North Carolina Community College system, it provides distance education and on-site program for as many as 2,000 students and prospective employees per year. Funded by the Golden LEAF foundation, BTEC simulates a biomanufacturing pilot plant facility capable of producing biopharmaceutical products and packaging them in a sterile environment.

“Through the work of the FREEDM Center and BTEC, NC State is leading the development of the energy grid of the future and training workers for jobs in the growing biomanufacturing sector,” said Dr. Louis A. Martin-Vega, dean of the College of Engineering. “The work performed in this new building is just another example of how NC State engineering is finding solutions to the grand challenges facing our society.”

In addition to Keystone Corporation, other companies involved in the project include HagerSmith Design, PA (architect), Bass, Nixon & Kennedy (engineering), Fluhrer Reed (structural engineering), Shelco (general contractor), and Grubb & Ellis Thomas Linderman Graham (leasing).

Centennial Campus is a 1,334-acre multi-use research and education campus that is home to more than 60 corporate, institutional and governmental partners. Created in 1984, the campus holds three top university programs (Engineering, Textiles, and Veterinary Medicine), along with more than 75 research centers, institutes, laboratory, departmental units and the Graduate School. The campus also contains a public middle school, residential units, greenway trails, fishing pier and lake, an 18-hole championship golf course and 9-hole disc golf course. Future development includes the James B. Hunt, Jr. library, additional office and lab buildings, additional private and student residential units, and an executive hotel and conference center.

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