Texas, my home!

I've been living and working in Texas for almost a quarter-century.

No, it was not planned...

My dream country since childhood was Australia.
I had wonderful experiences there. Great memories.
I was working on and close to move there as I had planned for a long time.

Well, life happens.

When I moved to Dallas, Texas, I had no idea what Texas was like. Cactus and cowboys on horses were just about the images I had.
The first night, we had torrential rain. Roads became rivers and I was horrified.
I had two babies and one toddler at my toe, needless to say, was overwhelmed.
I remember crying "What's in the world I was thinking to agree to come to the place like this!"

The thing is...Plano, Texas, where I've been living since, turned out to be a wonderful place to raise children (my treasures), really a great place to live and is getting better and better!

That's how the title, Iitoko Dallas and then Iitoko Texas came about. Iitoko means "good place" in Japanese.

I love here, warts and all.
I am a proud transplanted Texan.
"Home is where the heart is."
This is my home.


DFW Solar Tour next Sat (Oct.7) Free and open to public

Interested in clean energy? On October 7th (Sat), you have a chance to see solar and energy efficiency in action and learn from homeowners and businesses who use them.

8th Annual DFW Solar Tour is free event.

About 20 individual sites and 7 education centers with lectures/events throughout DFW to choose from.
Check the locations page for details and schedule at each site.

My 3 years old rooftop solar PV system has been producing slightly more electricity than I have consumed since the installation. I am happy with my PV system and glad I have one.

Attending these events and learning from people who have been using is one of the best ways to ask questions without pressure. They have gone through what you are going through and happy to help if you just ask, I'd bet.


183 EVs at Grapevine Mills Mall today (Sep 9, Sat 10am - 12pm)

183 Electric Vehicles of 20 different models - will be at Grapevine Mills Malls today between 10am to noon.

Proud owners of these EVs volunteer to bring their vehicles, share their EV stories, answer questions, and may let you test drive!

I drive Prius C - hybrid, not an EV, because it is one of the most fuel efficient, reasonably priced, dependable car that let me have the mobility I want / need in Dallas area.

But, I've been looking for more options for clean energy vehicle for sometime. 

As more automakers will bring EVs into the market in coming years, we want to learn more about then. Learning from the current owners, at the event like tomorrow's, is one of the best opportunity to do so.

Hope many of you can join!


SpaceX launch, IKEA visit, and my contribution

Yesterday was a good day. 
SpaceX's Falcon 9 launched and returned beautifully. 
NTREG's sustainability field trip to IKEA I planned and lead went well.

Watching SpaceX's launch event live makes me giddy, every time. When they were developing Grasshopper (reusable rocket testing vehicle), I went to SXSW 2013 just to listen to Elon's keynote. He treated us by showing the first ever video footage...a rocket shot up, and stopped midair, then came down to land softly straight back on the launchpad intact.

I rarely miss their launch livestreams. They excite me. Watching them makes me glad and proud that I am alive here and now. I thank for all those super smart and dedicated people at SpaceX and NASA. Yes, I love rockets and SpaceX's mission, but there is really nothing I can contribute other than cheering and thanking.

On the other hand, there is something I can do to promote clean technology and sustainability. As a co-program chair at NTREG (North Texas Renewable Energy Group), I reach out to experts in the field and put together programs for our monthly meetings to educate the masses.

A few months ago, we had an energy storage expert as our speaker. Next month, we will welcome a PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) finance specialist. Each meeting attracts roughly 50 to 70 participants, many of them are experts in the fields themselves, some are passionate about energy and others are just curious.

Yesterday, we visited with IKEA's sustainability team and toured their facility. Their Frisco store has 3,780 solar panels on top of their roof, which produce roughly 35% of their annual electricity usage. Their PV system had been installed several years after the store opened. However, IKEA is now committed to cover every roof of their new stores with solar PVs. They also own wind farms. Store's lightings are all LED. Along with many other energy efficient measures IKEA has been taking, they aim to be carbon neutral by 2020.

Becoming energy and resource efficient is great for business. They reduce cost, improve productivity and revenue.

In my household, I have been learning and implementing small scale energy efficient measures for years. Results have been good and I'm happy with them. But, one household makes just a tiny difference. I started to share the knowledge to my clients at the time. The effects were small. To make bigger impact, I started to work with groups like Plano Solar Advocates and NTREG. We made slightly bigger impact. But, it quickly dawned on me that the real big difference comes when businesses take on it either by changing their business practices and/or creating sustainable products we can use.

Many large corporations, including IKEA, have been aggressively working on this and have witnessed their bottom line improved. I will continue to volunteer when time/energy allows, however my top priority for this year is to improve my work and career. If any sustainability and efficiency improvement tasks can be incorporated into my role, that would be a great first step for me to start contributing in a larger scale.


Advanced Batteries for Stationary Energy Storage - Speech by Dr. H. Frank Gibbard, Ph.D.

I have been waiting for this coming Saturday, the 12th.

NTREG (North Texas Renewable Energy Group) will host an incredible speaker, a battery and energy storage expert, Dr. H. Frank Gibbard, Ph.D., at our November meeting.

Ever since becoming a co-program manager of NTREG, I've been dreaming to have energy storage experts at our program. I was super thrilled that Dr. Gibbard had agreed to speak for us. 

Our meetings are free and open to public. Bring your family and friends and join us this coming Saturday morning.

Date: Saturday, November 12, 2016
Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 noon

Location: Midway Hills Christian Church, 11001 Midway Road, Dallas, Texas. (Map)
Our meetings are held in the Fellowship Hall, which is accessible through the church main entry, or from doors in the rear.
Details: NTREG Events


North Texas Renewable Energy Group
November 12, 2016
Advanced Batteries for Stationary Energy Storage”
Presented by:
H. Frank Gibbard, CEO
Devens, MA
In the past few years the demand for large-scale energy storage has increased for several applications, including renewables integration, ancillary services, arbitrage, grid asset optimization and T&D deferral.

Although several mechanical systems, such as flywheels, pumped hydro and compressed air, have been demonstrated for specific ranges of power and energy, battery systems offer the widest range of applications for energy storage.

Since traditional batteries such as lead acid, nickel cadmium and nickel metal hydride fail to meet the demands for cost, lifetime, reliability, efficiency or environmental suitability, advanced battery systems have been proposed, developed and demonstrated for large-scale energy storage. These include lithium ion, sodium metal and flow batteries, as well as several new systems which either are limited to niche markets or are an early stage of development.

This presentation will describe the advantages and limitations of several of the principal contenders for large-scale commercialization, with emphasis on redox flow batteries as the most likely to achieve demanding requirements for lifetime and cost.


CEO, CTO & Co-Founder

Dr. Frank Gibbard is a seasoned executive in the field of electrochemical power systems. He has managed battery and fuel cell activities at levels of responsibility ranging from senior scientist to Vice President R&D and as the Chief Executive Officer of two publicly-owned NASDAQ companies — H Power Corp, an early-stage PEM fuel cell company (now Plug Power Inc.); and Altairnano, a lithium ion battery company.

Frank holds a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is an internationally recognized leader in energy storage and power generation. His technical experience includes directing and carrying out work on primary and rechargeable batteries, including the following: lithium ion, nickel metal hydride, alkaline manganese oxide; alkaline zinc air; high-rate and reserve lithium thionyl chloride; lithium sulfur dioxide; lead acid; flowing-electrolyte redox; zinc bromine; high-temperature molten salt rechargeables; and thermal primaries.

As CEO of H Power Corp., a proton-exchange membrane fuel cell company, Frank grew the company from 17 employees to more than 200 and led its IPO to raise more than $100 million in public equity capital. He has published and presented more than 100 technical papers in journals, conference proceedings, and battery handbooks.



Fourth, Fireworks, NASA, and Google

Today is Fourth of July.

I stepped out the door, walked multiple yards, lay flat on the grass, and watched huge fireworks right above my head. 

Walked back up and saw NASA's Juno successfully entered Jupiter's orbit after traveling 5 years from the earth.

Then, saw Google changed its doodle to this!

They all made me smile. I feel so lucky to be alive here and now.