OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

energy and sustainability

OSU President: University remains committed to addressing climate change

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray today reaffirmed the university’s unwavering commitment to address climate change.

Ray’s memo to faculty, staff and students was prompted by the Trump administration’s announcement last week that the United States will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation.

“I want to assure the Oregon State University community that we remain steadfast in our resolve to advance our institution’s commitments toward the global challenge of climate change,” Ray wrote. “We are resolute in our work to reduce the institution’s carbon footprint; to pursue world-class research that improves knowledge and informs strategic actions; and to empower our students and communities through education and capacity building.”

Ten years ago – in April, 2007 – Ray signed what was then known as the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, now known as the Carbon Commitment. It set Oregon State on an ambitious path to reduce and ultimately eliminate the university’s planet-altering institutional carbon emissions. During the last decade, OSU has reduced its annual per-student carbon emissions 38 percent.

The university has no intention to reduce or defer its commitment to climate action; instead it must continue to invest to decrease emissions further, Ray wrote.

As a sun grant university, OSU is an international leader in research efforts to develop renewable and low-carbon sources of energy including wave, wind, nuclear and solar energy systems. For example, in December, OSU’s Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center was awarded up to $40 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to create the world’s premier wave energy test facility in Newport.

As the home of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, OSU also participates in a network of more than 150 researchers throughout the state, including partners in state and federal agencies, who are working to address many climate issues, including ocean acidification, rising sea levels and changes in water availability and quality.

Ray concluded his memo with these words: “Let me assure you that we are unwavering in our commitment to address climate change, one of the world’s most pressing issues. We will continue to be a strong partner and collaborate with other universities, cities, states, and key federal entities. With our collective and continued resolve in these efforts, I am confident that Oregon State will continue to be a leader in climate change research and sustainability to provide a healthy planet for all of us.”

To read Ray's full statement visit: http://bit.ly/2r3DN5T

Media Contact: 

Sean Nealon, 541-737-0787, sean.nealon@oregonstate.edu

Source: 

Annie Heck, 541-737-0790, annie.heck@oregonstate.edu

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Edward J. Ray

OSU President Ed Ray

OSU College of Science to host “The Colorful World of Pigments” on May 5

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University will celebrate the blue pigment discovered at the university and its impact on art, culture and industry at an event called “The Colorful World of Pigments” scheduled for May 5 on OSU’s Corvallis campus.

Hosted by the College of Science, the event will include a discussion of color by a panel that will feature the pigment’s discoverer, Oregon State chemist Mas Subramanian; Christopher Manning of the Shepherd Color Company, OSU’s licensing partner for the pigment, named YInMn blue; a color theorist from Nike; and the curator of Harvard University’s 2,500-specimen Forbes Pigment Collection, a scientific catalog of color that includes YInMn blue. 

The Colorful World of Pigments is part of a series known as SPARK: The Year of Arts and Science at OSU. The series explores the intersections of art and science.

Running from 8 a.m. to noon at LaSells Stewart Center, 875 S.W. 26th St., the pigments event also includes an exhibit featuring artworks using YInMn blue, and a wall on which children can color and paint from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

The panel discussion will go from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

At 8 a.m. and 11 a.m., Subramanian will lead tours of the lab where YInMn blue was discovered, and demonstrate how it was discovered. Space on the tours is limited.

YInMn blue was discovered by accident in 2009 when Subramanian and his team were experimenting with new materials that could be used in electronics applications. The researchers mixed manganese oxide – which is black in color – with other chemicals and heated them in a furnace to nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. One of their samples turned out to be a vivid blue. Oregon State graduate student Andrew Smith initially made these samples to study their electrical properties.

The pigment features a unique crystal structure that allows the manganese ions to absorb red and green wavelengths of light while only reflecting blue. The vibrant blue is so durable, and its compounds are so stable – even in oil and water – that the color does not fade.

These characteristics make the new pigment versatile for a variety of commercial products. Used in paints, for example, they can help keep buildings cool by reflecting infrared light. Better yet, Subramanian said, the pigment’s ingredients are non-toxic.

Media Contact: 

Steve Lundeberg, 541-737-4039

Source: 

Mas Subramanian, 541-737-8235
mas.subramanian@oregonstate.edu

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Blue pigment

YInMn blue

Sustainability

 

About the OSU Sustainabiity Office: The OSU Sustainability Office focuses on integrating sustainability into OSU's mission and operations.  It provides consultation and support to departments across campus and directly manages operations, outreach and assessment programming.

OSU recognized for sustainability efforts

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has been recognized as a top performer in the 2016 Sustainable Campus Index.

The university ranked seventh overall among universities identified as doctoral/ research institutions, and fifth among all participating universities in the grounds category.

The 2016 Sustainable Campus Index, a publication of the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), highlights top-performing colleges and universities in 17 areas and overall by institution type, as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, or STARS.

Oregon State was the first Oregon university to be rated by STARS, and received gold designations in 2011, and 2013- 2016.

“Being included in AASHE’s 2016 Sustainable Campus Index is always great, and it’s nice to see a summary of the best sustainability-related work of our fellow higher education institutions,” said Brandon Trelstad, OSU’s sustainability coordinator.

“However, one of the nicest surprises was we were featured in the very short list of colleges and universities with zero or near-zero data errors in their STARS submission. STARS requires input of thousands of data points and I’m glad that the culture of high-quality control and attention to detail in the Sustainability Office, and our partner departments, is recognized.” 

The index also featured a short story on OSU’s humanitarian engineering program, which is one of the few of its kind co-located with a Peace Corps Masters International program. Faculty from engineering, the humanities, public health and forestry all participate in the program. Recent projects by students in the program include creating modeling tools for micro-hydro development in Pakistan and ground-sensing stations for an international trans-African hydro-meteorological observatory.

To view the complete index: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxl_G1Xg76XlMTNPZ2pLa3NrUjg/view

For more information on OSU’s efforts in sustainability, go to http://fa/oregonstate.edu/sustainability/

Story By: 
Source: 

Brandon Trelstad, 541-737-3307; Brandon.trelstad@oregonstate.edu

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Recycling Pledge

New type of cement could offer environmental protection, lower cost

CORVALLIS, Ore. – If widely adopted, a new approach to making cement could significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, help address global warming, produce a more durable concrete, and save industry time and significant costs.     

The findings of a recent study show great potential for a type of cement that gains strength through carbonation, rather than the use of water. Concrete made with this cement also appears to better resist some of the most common de-icing salts that can lead to failure and dramatically reduce the lifespan of roads.

The research was published in Construction and Building Materials, by engineers from Oregon State University, Purdue University and Solidia Technologies. This work was supported in part by Solidia Technologies, which licensed core technology from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. 

“Instead of water reacting with cement, this carbonated cement reacts with carbon dioxide and calcium silicate,” said Jason Weiss, the Miles Lowell and Margaret Watt Edwards Distinguished Chair in the OSU College of Engineering.

“This new product at first blush looks like conventional concrete, but it has properties that should make it last longer in some applications,” Weiss said. “In addition, use of it could reduce carbon dioxide emissions, which is an important goal of the cement industry.” 

Crude cement was used by the Egyptians to build the pyramids, improved during the time of the Roman Empire, and reached its modern form around 180 years ago. When used to make concrete – a combination of cement, sand and crushed rock - it’s one of the most proven building materials in human history.

This is actually part of the problem – concrete works so well, for so many uses, that 2-4 tons per year are produced for every person on Earth. It’s popular, plentiful, cost effective, and research is continuing to reduce its environmental impact. Production of the cement used in concrete is believed to be responsible for 5-8 percent of the global emissions of carbon dioxide, largely just because so much concrete is used. 

The cement industry has committed itself to the goal of cutting those emissions in half, and this new approach might help. Beyond that, the new research shows the ability of this “carbonated calcium silicate-based cement,” or CCSC, to be far more resistant to degradation from deicing salts such as sodium chloride and magnesium chloride.

“In places where deicing salts are routinely used, they can cause damage to roadways that cost about $1 million a mile to fix, and can reduce a 40-year lifespan of a surface to as little as 8-10 years,” Weiss said. “By using a type of cement that requires carbon dioxide to make, and in turn greatly extend the lifespan of some roads, the environmental benefits could be enormous.” 

These products are just now being developed and tested, Weiss said, and some obstacles exist to their widespread, global use. New construction codes and standards would need to be developed. However, the new approach has already been adapted to existing raw materials, formulas and equipment.

Some of the first uses of these products, Weiss said, will be in pre-cast concrete products that can be created in a factory and transported to where they are needed. More ambitious and widespread use of the new approach may take longer. Other technologies, such as topical treatments to resist deicing salts, or the use of waste products to produce supplemental cements, may gain earlier use to address some of these issues. 

In the latest research, the new CCSC concrete was shown not to react with deicing chemicals in the way that conventional concrete does. Such chemicals can cause a serious and premature deterioration in concrete pavements, even if the concrete does not experience freezing and thawing.

Story By: 
Source: 

Jason Weiss, 541-737-1885 or Jason.weiss@oregonstate.edu

OSUsed Store changing, expanding schedules in 2016

The OSUsed Store, OSU's on-campus reuse store, is changing its public and departmental sales schedules in 2016.

Public sales will now be held twice a week, instead of once, on Tuesdays from 5:30-7:30 p.m. and Fridays from noon to 3 p.m. The changes, which are now in effect, will allow extra times to shop, more evening times, and a schedule that does not change from week-to-week, officials say.

Between 250 and 275 members of the public currently attend weekly sales at the OSUsed store. These changes will provide more opportunity and evening sales for people with busy schedules and work, said Rae DeLay, manager for materials management with Surplus Property.

The new public schedule will also be consistent from week to week, rather than offering one monthly evening sale and three afternoon sales.

With this change, the new hours for OSU departments, government agencies and nonprofits to shop will be Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. They may also shop during the public sales, but will have better selection and faster service during these times.

 

The shop’s merchandise has increased dramatically over the last three years, DeLay said, and opening the shop to the public more often will help turn over items more quickly and allow new ones to be added. Staff will also be able to more promptly pick up surplus items from campus departments.

Story By: 
Source: 

Andrea Norris, 541-737-5398; andrea.norris@oregonstate.edu

“Beyond Earth Day” celebrations begin at OSU

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University is expanding this year’s Earth Day celebration into 11 days of festivities.

“Beyond Earth Day” will include 24 events from April 18-28. The events will include a wide range of sustainability-related topics, as well as activities related to the environment and social justice, film showings, educational events and service projects.

Many of the events occur annually, such as the 15th annual Community Fair on April 21 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Student Experience Center Plaza. With more than 40 booths from local student and community organizations, students can learn about sustainability topics through interactive games and activities.

The celebrations will begin on April 18 with the fourth annual Earth Day of Service, where students can help at one of five projects. Last year, more than 100 volunteers provided a total 400 hours of service.

The celebration concludes April 28 with a screening of the film “Food Chains” about the impact and buying power of major supermarkets. The film’s producer and several local organizations will hold a dialogue after the film. It takes place from 6 to 8:15 p.m., in the Memorial Union Horizon Room.

Visit the official calendar at http://bit.ly/1JQCyuL for a full list of events, locations and times.

 

Story By: 
Source: 

Andrea Norris, andrea.norris@oregonstate.edu or 541-737-5398

OSU again named green college by Princeton Review

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University received 95 points out of a possible 99 as a ‘green’ school in the latest edition of “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 332 Green Colleges: 2014 Edition.”

The Princeton Review tallies its Green Rating scores based on institutional data it obtains from colleges in response to survey questions focused on alternative transportation, advancing sustainability, waste-diversion rate and other related topics.

“It’s great to be recognized by Princeton Review for a fourth year in a row,” said Brandon Trelstad, OSU’s sustainability coordinator. “I believe it’s OSU’s diverse and broad sustainability efforts that have gotten us this far.  Student efforts, specifically, have been key in maintaining our leadership role.”

The guide is the only free comprehensive resource of its kind. It can be downloaded at http://www.princetonreview.com/green-guide and http://www.centerforgreenschools.org/greenguide.  It does not rank schools hierarchically, but each school’s green score can be found in their school profile on the main site (http://www.princetonreview.com/).

“Sustainability at OSU is a campus-wide endeavor that includes areas of institutional strength, like research, diversity, affordability, sustainability coordination and governance,” Trelstad said. “We are lucky to have high on- and off-campus community involvement in addressing campus and community sustainability.”

Among OSU’s green highlights were an overall waste diversion rate of 40 percent, its environmentally based degrees including ecological engineering, and the fact that the campus is in the process of bringing online five planned ground-mounted solar electrical arrays that will generate 2.9 megawatts of solar power.

"Best of all, OSU will help you put that academic knowledge into practice; it hosts a Nonprofit Career Day, with significant participation from national and local green groups," the guide states.

The Princeton Review created its "Guide to 332 Green Colleges" in partnership with the Center for Green Schools (www.usgbc.org) at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)), with generous support from United Technologies Corp. (www.utc.com), founding sponsor of the Center for Green Schools.

Story By: 
Source: 

Brandon Trelstad, 541-737-3307; Brandon.trelstad@oregonstate.edu

OSU ranked 11th in nation as “Cool School” by Sierra Club for green efforts

CORVALLIS, OR. –Oregon State University has once again been honored for its commitment to sustainability, making it one of the top green colleges in the nation.

The Sierra Club has released its “Cool Schools” rankings based on the ‘greenness’ of participating universities, and Oregon State has the highest green ranking in the state, and is listed as 11th in the nation, rising from 24th in 2010.

Brandon Trelstad, OSU’s sustainability coordinator, said he is excited to see the university being honored by the Sierra Club.

“I’m delighted we have again been recognized for our sustainability efforts by the Sierra Club,” Trelstad said. “It showcases OSU’s strength in sustainability – a multifaceted approach that includes student engagement, reducing negative environmental impact, outstanding research and long-term cost savings, all aligned with OSU’s mission.”

“The recognition of Oregon State by the Sierra Club and its Cool Schools program helps the university by supporting our outreach and educational activities,” he added. “Several times in the past year, I have heard of students who, when they were thinking about where to pursue higher education, selected OSU because of its reputation for taking sustainability seriously.”

The Cool Schools ranking is open to all four-year undergraduate colleges and universities in the nation. The award honors 162 colleges that are helping to solve climate problems and making significant efforts to operate sustainably. Evaluations were based on survey information provided by the participating schools, as well as follow up inquiries and outside sources.

Oregon State’s emphasis on “being green” begins the moment when new students come on campus, according to the survey. Sustainability is a large part of the university’s new student orientation, including zero-waste food events, a Sustainability Fair, and an emphasis on recycling in the residence halls.

OSU has been honored for its efforts at supporting alternative transportation for students, faculty and staff living off campus, including ride sharing, a campus shuttle system, bike parking and lockers, utilization of Corvallis transit and WeCar sharing.

There are a number of active green student groups on the Oregon State campus, including the Student Sustainability Initiative, which is involved in everything from the restoration of local watersheds to composting on campus to sustainable food projects.

OSU offers hundreds of courses on campus with a sustainability emphasis, ranging from “Sustainable Forest Management” to “Renewable Energy Alternatives: Economics and Technology.” There are even study abroad programs with a sustainability focus to places like Australia and Costa Rica.

Other highlights include OSU’s leadership in the formation of Oregon BEST (Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center) which helps Oregon businesses compete globally by transforming and commercializing university research into new technologies, services, products, and companies, all with an emphasis in renewable energy and sustainable products.

The campus participates in an annual, month-long Campus Carbon Challenge, which encourages students, staff and faculty to reduce their carbon footprint by changing their daily behaviors. There is an emphasis on reducing waste and using sustainable products in the dining centers, and around campus, a variety of alternative energy approaches have been used, including the utilization of solar hot water systems at the Kelley Engineering Building and at the International Living Center, which supply half of those buildings’ hot water needs.

To learn more about the Sierra Club’s “Cool Schools” survey, go to: www.sierraclub.org/coolschools.

Lewis & Clark College came in at in 19th place, followed by Southern Oregon at 26th, Portland State University at 31st, and University of Oregon at 46th.

Story By: 
Source: 

Brandon Trelstad, 541-737-3307, Brandon.trelstad@oregonstate.edu

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recycling
Students recycle items
when moving out of dorms

Pass the salt: Common condiment could enable new high-tech industry

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Chemists at Oregon State University have identified a compound that could significantly reduce the cost and potentially enable the mass commercial production of silicon nanostructures – materials that have huge potential in everything from electronics to biomedicine and energy storage.

This extraordinary compound is called table salt.

Simple sodium chloride, most frequently found in a salt shaker, has the ability to solve a key problem in the production of silicon nanostructures, researchers just announced in Scientific Reports, a professional journal.

By melting and absorbing heat at a critical moment during a “magnesiothermic reaction,” the salt prevents the collapse of the valuable nanostructures that researchers are trying to create. The molten salt can then be washed away by dissolving it in water, and it can be recycled and used again.

The concept, surprising in its simplicity, should open the door to wider use of these remarkable materials that have stimulated scientific research all over the world.

“This could be what it takes to open up an important new industry,” said David Xiulei Ji, an assistant professor of chemistry in the OSU College of Science. “There are methods now to create silicon nanostructures, but they are very costly and can only produce tiny amounts.

“The use of salt as a heat scavenger in this process should allow the production of high-quality silicon nanostructures in large quantities at low cost,” he said. “If we can get the cost low enough many new applications may emerge.”

Silicon, the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust, has already created a revolution in electronics. But silicon nanostructures, which are complex structures much smaller than a speck of dust, have potential that goes far beyond the element itself.

Uses are envisioned in photonics, biological imaging, sensors, drug delivery, thermoelectric materials that can convert heat into electricity, and energy storage.

Batteries are one of the most obvious and possibly first applications that may emerge from this field, Ji said. It should be possible with silicon nanostructures to create batteries – for anything from a cell phone to an electric car – that last nearly twice as long before they need recharging.

Existing technologies to make silicon nanostructures are costly, and simpler technologies in the past would not work because they required such high temperatures. Ji developed a methodology that mixed sodium chloride and magnesium with diatomaceous earth, a cheap and abundant form of silicon.

When the temperature reached 801 degrees centigrade, the salt melted and absorbed heat in the process. This basic chemical concept – a solid melting into a liquid absorbs heat – kept the nanostructure from collapsing.

The sodium chloride did not contaminate or otherwise affect the reaction, researchers said. Scaling reactions such as this up to larger commercial levels should be feasible, they said.

The study also created, for the first time with this process, nanoporous composite materials of silicon and germanium. These could have wide applications in semiconductors, thermoelectric materials and electrochemical energy devices.

Funding for the research was provided by OSU. Six other researchers from the Department of Chemistry and the OSU Department of Chemical Engineering also collaborated on the work.

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Source: 

David Xiulei Ji, 541-737-6798

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Silicon nanostructure

Silicon nanostructures


Table salt

Table salt