About the Team
Jay Leaman, electrical wiring for system
Manager of Pinehurst Farm LLC, Project Manager of the Raphael Schmuecker Memorial Solar-Hydrogen System, Retired engineer from Caltech’s NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Several years ago, Jay began to envision a renewable energy project that would be a tribute to his late father, Raphael Schmuecker, who used Ray Smucker in his public life. Ray was a huge proponent of hydrogen as a viable substitute for fossil fuels.
Jay’s 50+ years as a NASA engineer proved to be invaluable in developing the project, from early ideas and calculations scrawled on a sheet of paper to the final hydrogen-powered John Deere tractor working in a field outside Blairstown, Iowa.
“At JPL, we pride ourselves on doing things that have not been done before,” says Jay. “The solar-hydrogen system is such an endeavor. Having worked on spacecraft taught me that doing things the first time takes more time and money than initially estimated, and problems are encountered that will be corrected as the development proceeds.”
Highlights of Jay’s career with JPL, which focused on unmanned planetary spacecraft:
- Mariner II – Responsible for the design and fabrication of part of the structure of this spacecraft and the spacecraft mechanical assembly, which flew by Venus in 1962.
- Mariner IV – Supervised the engineers who designed and assembled the Mariner IV, which took the first pictures of Mars in 1965. He was on duty in the spaceflight operations center when the first picture of Mars was played back from tape the next day.
- Mariner V – As Engineering Mechanics Division Representative to the project office, he was responsible for the Division’s structural, mechanical, electrical cabling, electronics parts, electronic packaging, materials and mechanical assembly activities in support of the Mariner V, which flew by Venus in 1967.
- Mariner IX Mars Obiter – Was Engineering Mechanics Division Representative for the Mariner Obiter, which orbited Mars in 1971.
- Voyager Outer Planet Fly Bys – Managed the 100 personnel who designed and built the mechanical parts of the two spacecraft launched in 1977 that flew by Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
- Worked on spacecraft that visited each planet in the solar system
Founder and President, HEC (Hydrogen Engine Center)
Lead Designer and Developer of the hydrogen engine and modified tractor
Owner and Consultant, Solutions for Automation, Tujunga, California
Lead Designer and Developer of the instrumentation and controls, hydrogen compression, nitrogen generation and compression, ammonia generation subsystem including the second generation reactor, and piping, air compression and pumping components
Thomas Hurd, AIA, NCARB, ASES
Founder/Owner, Spatial Designs, Mason City, Iowa
Lead Power and Facility Designer
Founder and President, Sustainable Fuels, Tustin, California.
Responsible for the conceptual design of the ammonia generation subsystem and for providing the first ammonia reactor (Deceased, 2016)