This weekend wasn’t just Homecoming for the faculty and staff of the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering. It was the perfect opportunity for them to present a showcase of the college’s cutting-edge sustainability research.
Faculty from across the college presented projects on “Engineering Our Sustainable Future” in Ram Town before the game against Utah State. Environmental sustainability is a major research area of strength for the college, which features about 145 faculty members and about 3,000 students.
Faculty, graduate and undergraduate students showed research projects from laboratories across the college (lead faculty member in parentheses):
- EcoCar 3, Hybrid Plug-In Electric Chevrolet Camaro: Transform an American muscle car into an environmentally friendly vehicle without sacrificing performance. Give the car 380 engine horsepower, with ability to run in electric-only mode (Professor Tom Bradley, Systems Engineering and Mechanical Engineering)
- Algae for sustainable fuels and materials: Develop ways to grow algae at large scale and efficiently convert it to biofuels and materials (Professor Ken Reardon – Chemical and Biological Engineering)
- High-efficiency and low-cost electricity generator: Develop a fuel cell-based generator that achieves 70% electrical conversion efficiency (compared to 35% for thermal electricity generation) (Professor Todd Bandhauer – Mechanical Engineering)
- Sustainable biomanufacturing: Select and engineer microorganisms that can make the molecules we need. Develop innovative processes to efficiently convert plant-derived sugars and waste biomass into valuable products (Ken Reardon – Chemical and Biological Engineering)
- Improving weather predictions with remote sensing, AI: Develop advanced AI algorithms and remote sensing technologies to effectively anticipate and respond to challenges of too much — or too little — water and other weather extremes (Professor Haonan Chen – Electrical and Computer Engineering)
- TEMPEST-D: Provide advance warnings of hurricanes and severe storms using global data from small satellite constellations (Professor Steve Reising – Electrical and Computer Engineering)
- Clean water production using electricity and membranes: Novel technology (electro-dialytic crystallizer) that converts wastewater into purified water and valuable salts using electricity (rather than thermal energy) (Professor Tiezheng Tong – Civil and Environmental Engineering)
- Can a fuel have zero carbon emissions? Producing and using hydrogen: Design a system that can produce and consume hydrogen with very low emissions. Develop a gas turbine system that is fuel flexible with hydrogen and natural gas blends for rural areas. (Professor Bret Windom – Mechanical Engineering)
- Next-generation manufacturing of lightweight composite structures: Develop new techniques for rapid, energy-efficient and cost-effective manufacturing of carbon fiber composites (Professor Mostafa Yourdkhani – Mechanical Engineering)