For Immediate Release


Contact: Sara Tournade
1679 Clearlake Road
Cocoa, FL 32922-5703
Phone: (321) 638-1004
FAX: (321) 638-1010
Ambassadors Glean Solar Energy Solutions from FSEC
COCOA, Fla. - When the U.S. State Department wanted to show ambassadors from more
than 40 nations some of Florida's most comprehensive research in sustainable energy,
they came straight to the University of Central Florida's Florida Solar Energy
Center (FSEC). 

On Thursday, those ambassadors toured the center and observed sunlight being used
for everything from cooking food and heating water to creating electricity that can
be used to power homes and offices. 

Ambassador Nancy Brinker, United States Chief of Protocol and the initiator of the
State Department's "Experience America" tour program for members of the Washington,
D.C. Diplomatic Corps, said FSEC was the perfect choice for the ambassadors'
inaugural tour.

"The practical application of what UCF is doing here is fantastic," Brinker said. 
"Now the ambassadors can see and understand [the potential of alternative energy]
and take this knowledge back to their countries and their universities."

The "Experience America" program was designed to facilitate travel within the U.S.
for the heads of foreign diplomatic missions and their staff members to enhance
their understanding of the diverse elements of life in the U.S.

Ambassador Brinker led the Diplomatic Corps to her home state of Florida because of
the state's demonstrated leadership in key areas of international interest such as
sustainable energy, international space cooperation, and security.

The ambassadors were welcomed to FSEC by Florida Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, who
gave an overview of Florida's dedication to transforming to a renewable resource
society, and FSEC Director James Fenton.

The group visited a variety of research labs at the center, including the hydrogen 
lab. There, they learned about the research being conducted to find new methods for
producing, storing, and using hydrogen safely. Fenton, an accomplished hydrogen
fuel cell expert, also demonstrated the use of mobile fuel cell devices.  Several of
the visitors were particularly impressed by FSEC's solar simulator, an indoor lamp
powerful enough to reproduce sunlight in order to test the performance and
durability of solar water collectors.

"If Florida is the sunshine state then we are the sunshine country," said Ambassador
Raymah Hussain of Malaysia.  She said her country is studying multiple sources of
alternative energy but is still trying to determine which methods are most efficient
and cost effective. 

Brinker said the visit to FSEC exceeded her goals for the program. "All people have
to do is come visit and they can see this is the way of the future."

The Florida Solar Energy Center is a research institute of the University of Central
Florida. It is the largest and most active state-supported energy research institute
in the country. Center divisions and their research activities include Advanced
Energy Research: alternative transportation systems, hydrogen fuel and fuel cells;
Buildings Research: energy-efficient buildings; and Solar Energy: solar water and
pool heating and solar electric (photovoltaics) and distributed generation systems.
For more information, visit or call
the FSEC Public Affairs Office at 321-638-1015.

** Photographs from event are available upon request. Please contact Sara Tournade
at (321) 638-1004 or