OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

energy and sustainability

OSU engineering conference features chemistry-powered cars

CORVALLIS - The Oregon State University Student Chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers will host the institute's 2005 regional conference on April 22-23 on the OSU campus, featuring a unique race car competition with vehicles powered solely by chemical reactions.

The conference brings students, faculty and industry members from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and British Columbia to campus. It includes workshops, a career fair, two competitions, and a banquet with a keynote address by renowned OSU chemical engineering professor emeritus Octave Levenspiel.

"This is the largest conference of its kind in the Pacific Northwest, and we're excited to be hosting it here at Oregon State," said Sean Thomas, a senior in chemical engineering at OSU, and chair of the conference. "This is a great opportunity for the public, and K-12 students and teachers in particular, to get a close look at the exciting field of chemical engineering."

Some of the region's most promising chemical engineers of the future will present current research at the Student Paper Competition on Saturday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Joyce Powell Leadership Center in the OSU Memorial Union.

The student-designed, chemically-powered vehicles will face off in the Chem-E Car Competition in the McAlexander Field House on the same day from noon to 2 p.m. Most events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit the conference website at http://www.aiche2005.com

Source: 

Sean Thomas, 503-332-1592

Legislative hearing set Tuesday at OSU on renewable energy

CORVALLIS - The Oregon Legislature's House Environment Committee will hold a hearing on Tuesday (April 12) at Oregon State University to hear from experts on future and alternative energy sources.

This informational meeting, which is open to the public, will begin at 2 p.m. in OSU's CH2M-Hill Alumni Center Room 110A.

Speaking at the hearing will be Mike McGary, of the Nuclear Energy Institute; Tom Tanton, of the Institute for Energy Research; and a panel of representatives from Oregon alternative energy businesses.

A panel of OSU faculty engaged in alternative energy research also will speak about their work with wave energy, biofuels, fuel cells and other areas.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Gail Achterman, 541-737-9875

OSU nuclear engineering program ranked in top ten

CORVALLIS - The graduate program in nuclear engineering at Oregon State University has been ranked ninth in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, in the magazine's annual ranking of U.S. graduate programs.

"We're extremely gratified to be ranked so highly by our peers," said José Reyes, professor and interim department head in the OSU Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics.

"This is a tremendous tribute to the dedicated efforts of our faculty, staff and researchers," Reyes said. "It adds fire to our commitment to providing quality education and research that will benefit the nation and the world."

Reyes said a goal of the OSU Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics is to be the premier provider of research-enriched education in nuclear sciences and engineering.

Over the past three years, the department has received more than $7 million to upgrade the facilities of the Radiation Center, which houses the department, and to fund scholarships and an endowed chair. As part of a national consortium of universities, the department will collaborate with the new Idaho National Laboratory on cutting-edge research that will respond to the nation's future energy, national security and medical needs.

"Behind the ranking stand the department's world-class faculty - people committed to creating opportunities for students and advancing knowledge of nuclear engineering and radiation health physics," Reyes said.

The U.S. News and World Report specialty rankings are based on assessments by department heads who rate other schools in their specialty area on a five-point scale. In nuclear engineering, ranked for the first time in 2005, 25 schools were rated.

Source: 

José Reyes, 541-737-7065

Klein appointed to Idaho National Laboratory

CORVALLIS - Andrew Klein, professor and head of the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics at Oregon State University, has been appointed the director of education, training, and research partnerships for the new Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Klein will be on loan from OSU in this new position. For an interim period, professor José Reyes will become interim department head and Steve Reese, reactor administrator, will assume Klein's role as director of the Radiation Center.

Klein is an internationally recognized leader in nuclear engineering and has served on various nuclear advisory panels and committees. He has testified before a Congressional committee about funding and direction for the new laboratory in Idaho, which is to be the nation's focal point for nuclear energy research, development, demonstration and education. He also recently chaired the Subcommittee on Nuclear Laboratory Requirements for the Department of Energy's Nuclear Energy Research Advisory Committee.

Last November, the Department of Energy announced the establishment of the Idaho National Laboratory and awarded the 10-year, $4.8 billion, management and operations contract to the Battelle Energy Alliance, which includes OSU in a national consortium of eight universities.

In his new position, Klein will help build relationships among the participating universities and lead the future development of the world's nuclear power industry.

Oregon BEST, OSU team to help Iraq engineers rebuild their war-torn nation using green practices

PORTLAND, Ore. – While Oregon’s economy remains sluggish and the war in Iraq continues, the Oregon Built Environment and Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST) has helped Oregon State University broker funding for a unique project that could boost business for the state’s green building and renewable energy sectors while helping the people of Iraq rebuild their war-ravaged infrastructure.

Engineering faculty from OSU, working with the Michael Scott Mater Foundation, used a $27,000 grant from Oregon BEST to leverage more than $400,000 that will support a two-week, hands-on workshop in August for 20 Iraqi delegates who will visit Oregon to learn about green building, sustainable design and renewable energy from researchers at OSU, University of Oregon and Portland State University.

“This will be the first time an event of this type has been undertaken in the United States,” said Scott Ashford, head of the OSU School of Civil and Construction Engineering, which is organizing the visit through its Kiewit Center for Infrastructure and Transportation.

Joshua Mater, CEO and founder of the Mater Foundation, said the American Embassy in Bagdad is excited about the project.

“We’ve been informed that Gen. (Ray) Odierno, who took over for Gen. (David) Petraeus, has received briefings on the project,” Mater said. “And we’ve even had calls from Hollywood producers who want to make a documentary about this project. It’s very exciting.”

In addition to learning from their U.S. academic counterparts, the group of university presidents and engineering professors from 13 Iraqi universities will also visit a range of green building and renewable energy projects under way in the state and spend time with some of Oregon’s leading construction, engineering and architecture firms, including CH2M HILL, Granite Construction, Gerding Edlen Development, SERA Architects and others.

Delegates will also meet with Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski and tour state agencies, including the Oregon Department of Transportation.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for Oregon businesses, universities and state agencies to make connections with Iraqi engineering professors and others involved in the rebuilding efforts under way in that country,” Ashford said. “Our Iraqi colleagues will have a tremendous impact on their students in Iraq, where they are tasked with essentially rebuilding the infrastructure of an entire country.”

The seminar is a part of the SENERGI Initiative (Sustainable ENERGy and Infrastructure) at OSU, which is having an impact on sustainability by sharing the university’s leadership on efficient use of limited resources, Ashford said.

“Oregon is internationally known for our green building and renewable energy research and innovation, and this is an excellent way to share that with the global community, which could lead to increased business for Oregon companies,” Ashford said. “Although their contribution is often overlooked, construction managers have a tremendous impact on green building, because they are the people tasked with making sustainable projects a reality.”

The exchange will also benefit Oregon faculty members and students, offering exposure to international and cultural differences that will prepare students to compete in the global marketplace.

“Not only will engineers from Iraq learn about green built materials and environments, but Oregon’s engineering faculty and students will learn how to incorporate sustainable engineering and design into new cultures – making them more competitive in a green jobs market,” Ashford said.

The relationship between OSU and the Iraqi campuses started a year ago, when then-U.S. Army Capt. Josh Mater, an Oregon State alumnus, gathered engineering textbooks worth $10,000 for donation to Dhi Qar University. Mater had been stationed in Iraq as part of rebuilding efforts, and had seen firsthand the dire need for supplies. He and his family, through the Michael Scott Mater Foundation, paid to ship the textbooks to Iraq. The foundation, which he founded, is named for Mater’s late father; his mother, Catherine Mater, is director of sustainability for the College of Engineering at OSU.

In February, the presidents of Dhi Qar University in southern Iraq, and Babylon University east of Baghdad, visited Corvallis to meet with OSU President Ed Ray and other campus leaders, tour the College of Engineering research facilities and sign memoranda of understanding between their institutions and Oregon State.

Since then, the project has come together quickly for OSU and the Mater Foundation with assistance from the U.S. Embassy in Bagdad and the U.S. Department of State helping to fast-track the project in Iraq.

“But none of this would have happened without the initial $27,000 investment from Oregon BEST,” he said. “And this is just the beginning. I believe we’ll be able to secure much higher levels of future funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, which is great news for Oregon’s economy.”

The initial funding from Oregon BEST helped leverage an additional $240,000 from the U.S. Department of State in Iraq and $50,000 from an OSU engineering alumnus. These funds were matched with cost sharing from the OSU College of Engineering ($75,000), the Michael Scott Mater Foundation ($14,000) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (up to $19,000).

“This is an excellent example of how Oregon BEST helps Oregon businesses and Oregon universities collaborate to help create jobs and develop a trained green jobs labor pool for the state’s emerging green economy,” said David Kenney, president and executive director of Oregon BEST. “This unprecedented visit will lead to stronger ties between Oregon and Iraq, which can create jobs for our state’s green building and renewable energy sectors.”

Following their stay in Oregon, the delegates will return to Iraq to apply their knowledge to the reconstruction efforts in their country and to improve the engineering curriculum at their universities.

Source: 

David Kenney, 503-725-9849

OSU STUDENTS COMPETE WITH UNIQUE TRANSPORT VEHICLES

CORVALLIS - How do you design a remote-controlled vehicle that will safely transport heavy loads of hazardous material across inhospitable, rugged terrain without the material coming into direct contact with humans? Or a vehicle that is able to climb up and down stairs without spilling its load?

Teams of mechanical engineering students at Oregon State University recently designed and built functioning prototypes of just such vehicles as part of a hands-on design class aimed at exposing budding engineers to real-world problems. And on Thursday, Dec. 2, the student teams will compete against one another as they showcase their innovative designs before a panel of judges.

The event will be at 7 p.m. in Milam Auditorium, and is free and open to the public.

Devices built by 26 teams will each attempt to successfully navigate through a 10-minute challenge course while carrying as much rice as possible from a loading area to a receiving container. The course includes an L-shaped stair setup on each delivery loop.

The winning team will take its prototype on to the regional design competition, where OSU engineering student teams have won first place the past three years in a row. "This year, we have some very unique designs, so this should be an interesting evening," said Ping "Christine" Ge, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at OSU and teacher of the design class. "This is an excellent example of applying engineering skills to solve very real problems."

Load-delivery devices based on the designs developed by the OSU engineering students could be used in mining operations, agricultural applications, environmental cleanup situations, coastal preservation projects, and other applications where conventional automotive vehicles are not feasible.

The OSU class adopted an annual design contest sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineering, which specifies a design problem, and challenges students to find a solution.

"Oregon State is one of the few engineering programs that use the ASME challenge in the required curriculum," Ge said. "The class gives our students a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate individual strength/potential and creatively apply engineering theory to real-life problems. And the formal competition inspires young people in the audience to consider studying engineering."

OSU mechanical engineering faculty, staff and students will be on hand before and during the formal competition to answer questions.

Source: 

Ping "Christine" Ge, 541-737-7713

OSU SUSTAINABILITY SERIES FEATURED ON OPAN NETWORK

CORVALLIS - Oregon State University Extension Service will explore a series of sustainability issues on a new cable network modeled after C-SPAN. Beginning Thursday evening, Dec. 9, viewers with cable access can tune in to some of OSU Extension's award-winning programs on the new Oregon Public Affairs Network (OPAN).

The series of eight 30-minute programs cover current public issues from rural community development to urban runoff to watershed restoration. Most stations will air the series on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. Check local listings.

The first program, "Towns in Transition," follows the fate of three natural resource-dependent communities in the Pacific Northwest as they manage changes in their local industries.

Following each program, viewers can go to a special web site to learn more. Online, they can access hundreds of publications and videos produced by OSU Extension experts.

OPAN is a new nonprofit television network bringing public issues and government to the living rooms and computer terminals of Oregonians. Modeled on the nationally successful C-SPAN, OPAN is a partnership among OSU, the State Legislative Media Service, the Oregon Wireless Instructional Network (WIN) and local cable access centers in six counties - Multnomah, Lane, Polk, Linn, Benton and Deschutes.

OPAN is broadcast from 6 to 8 p.m. each night, and also will provide daily gavel-to-gavel legislative coverage in Portland and the Corvallis area. Programs can also be viewed online at http://www.opan.org.

The eight OSU Extension programs that will air on OPAN include:

  • Dec. 9: "Towns in Transition: Managing Change in Natural-Resource- Dependent Communities"

     

  • Dec. 16: "The Miracle at Bridge Creek"

     

  • Dec. 23: "Rethinking the American Dream and Why Should I Bother? Waste Prevention in the Work Place"

     

  • Dec. 30: "Beyond Recycling: Waste Prevention in Manufacturing and Distribution" and "Better Than Recycling: Waste Prevention in the Office"

     

  • Jan. 6: "Strangers in Our Waterways"

     

  • Jan. 13: "We all Live Downstream"

     

  • Jan. 20: "After the Rain: Urban Runoff"

     

  • Jan. 27: "Life on the Edge: Improving Riparian Function and Buying Time: Instream Restoration"

Local cable networks that will broadcast the OSU Extension series include: the Eugene area, Channel 21; Corvallis/Albany, Channel 27; Washington and Clackamas County areas, Channel 28; the Portland area, Channel 29; Monmouth/Independence, Channel 17; Bend, Channel 11; Lane and Douglas County areas, Channel 9.

For more information about OPAN programming, see: http://www.opan.org. For more information about OSU Extension programs and publications, see: http://extension.oregonstate.edu.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Lynn Ketchum, 541-737-0802

Distinguished Professors Speaking This Month on Climate Change, Materials Science

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Two Oregon State University professors who last year earned the highest honor that OSU confers upon faculty members will make major presentations this month as part of the Distinguished Professor Lecture Series.

Chemist Douglas Keszler and marine biologist Patricia Wheeler earned the “distinguished professor” title at the end of the 2005-06 academic year for research and scholarship that has not only been prominent at OSU, but that has contributed significantly to their respective academic disciplines. Keszler’s work on transparent and printed electronics and optical materials has earned international notoriety, while Wheeler’s breakthroughs on phytoplankton have changed the way that scientists look at ocean productivity.

Keszler, a distinguished professor of chemistry in the College of Science, will discuss his latest research as well as new directions in his field in a Tuesday, May 22, lecture titled “New Materials for Energy and Process Efficiency.” The lecture is set for 3 p.m. in the Memorial Union Journey Room.

A distinguished professor of oceanic and atmospheric sciences in the college of the same name, Wheeler will speak on “The Arctic Ocean: Early Exploration, Recent Scientific Expeditions and Impending Climate Impacts” on Thursday, May 31. Her talk also will begin at 3 p.m. in the MU Journey Room.

Accommodation requests related to disability should be made to the Office of the Provost via Nancy Hoffman at (541) 737-0733 or nancy.hoffman@oregonstate.edu.

Source: 

Sabah Randhaw,
541-737-2111

Wave Energy Moving Forward, Update to Congress Planned

CORVALLIS, Ore. – University research programs, private development and political interest are all continuing to move forward in initiatives to make the United States, and Oregon in particular, a leader in the development of ocean wave energy – a renewable power source seen as environmentally friendly, cost effective and increasingly practical.

A range of efforts are under way at Oregon State University to improve the technology of wave energy generation. Significant outreach programs with coastal communities are helping to integrate them into the development process. Multiple partners hope to create a national wave energy research and demonstration center in Oregon.

And on May 17, at the invitation of U.S. Congresswoman Darlene Hooley, one of the OSU scientists leading these efforts will discuss the issues with the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, a part of the Science Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Congressional leaders want to find out more about how wave power could help address the nation’s energy needs, and what the federal government might do to help,” said Annette von Jouanne, a professor of power electronics and energy systems in the OSU College of Engineering.

“Things are really picking up speed now,” von Jouanne said. “The public, political and agency leaders are understanding how electricity produced by waves could be a significant contributor to our energy portfolio, and people are beginning to see the value of a focused, national center to move research forward.”

In her Congressional discussion, von Jouanne said she also hopes to outline the technological obstacles that must be overcome to commercialize wave energy, the ways that streamlined permitting and agency cooperation could help, and the need for more environmental and ecological studies.

In other recent developments:

  • OSU scientists are already working on a fifth and sixth prototype of novel, direct-drive wave energy generators, with both laboratory and ocean testing anticipated this summer.
  • Preliminary applications by private industry for wave parks off the Oregon Coast have already been submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
  • OSU, the Oregon Department of Energy and other stakeholders are promoting Oregon as the optimal location for the nation’s first commercial wave park.
  • Studies have begun to examine the sociological, biological and ecosystem effects of wave energy systems, and the OSU Hatfield Marine Science Center is coordinating plans for a workshop this September.
  • A Wave Energy Linear Test Bed research facility is being completed in the OSU College of Engineering, funded by multiple partners, to facilitate studies on this technology.
  • Oregon political leaders are assisting in efforts to obtain federal funding for wave energy research and a national wave energy initiative.
  • An international ocean renewable energy conference will be held at OSU this summer.

Experts say wave energy should be able to provide clean, renewable energy with minimal environmental concerns. However, challenges remain in developing ways to tap wave power with systems that are reliable, maintainable and able to survive a tough ocean environment.

Electrical engineers at OSU have been pioneers in the development of new technologies and advanced solutions to these challenges. And Oregon should be a lead player – an independent study has determined that the state is an optimal location for wave energy demonstration. It has an excellent wave energy climate and existing electrical transmission lines that would facilitate bringing power onto the grid.

OSU also has the highest-power energy systems laboratory of any university in the nation, one of the leading research programs on wave energy in the country, and the unique capabilities of the university's O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory, including a 340-foot-long wave flume and the world's largest tsunami wave basin.

In the past nine years, OSU has built its wave energy program through strong collaboration with state and federal agencies, private industry, utility companies and coastal communities. Outreach to fishing and crabbing industries has been a key part of the work, and a Port Liaison Project team composed of commercial fishing experts has been involved in wave energy device siting and ocean technical expertise. OSU has also worked with a group called Fishermen Interested in Natural Energy to enable ocean testing in the late summer of 2007, and has located a low impact site for this testing.

“Our commercial fishermen are what you would consider ‘practical’ ocean experts, and they’ve been valuable partners in identifying sites that would cause the least disruption to the state’s economically-important seafood industry,” said Flaxen Conway, a Sea Grant Extension specialist. “They also have been consulted on local ocean environments, the waves, currents, debris and climate history. We’re working together with them to plan a mutually beneficial, future use of the ocean and its resources.”

Research and development of wave energy is still very young, in comparison to other forms of renewable energy such as wind power. But wave power, most likely produced by buoys that are anchored two to three miles offshore and move gently up and down with ocean swells, could produce steady and large amounts of electricity.

Studies have suggested that network of about 500 such buoys could power the business district of downtown Portland. Systems could be scaled up or down in size, whatever is needed to meet demand.

Theoretically, estimates suggest that 0.2 percent of the ocean's untapped energy could power the entire world.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Annette von Jouanne,
541-737-0831

OSU Students Vote Self-Imposed Fee to Purchase “Green” Energy for Campus

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University students have overwhelmingly voted to assess themselves a fee of up to $8.50 per student each term to pay for “green” energy for the OSU campus. The proposal passed by a margin of 70.6 percent (yes votes) to 29.4 percent (no), making Oregon State one of the few colleges and universities nationally to pass such a measure.

If the maximum fee is assessed, 100 percent of OSU’s electrical consumption can be offset, according to Brandon Trelstad, the university’s campus sustainability coordinator.

“In essence, this will allow us to purchase for the university electricity produced from renewable, more environmentally friendly sources,” Trelstad said. “Right now, about 75 percent of the university’s electricity is from the burning of coal, which is one of the dirtiest, least-sustainable methods.”

Andrea Norris, director of environmental affairs for the Associated Students of OSU, said a task force of students has been actively working on a green energy campaign since last October. During the fall, the group surveyed OSU students to find out how much, if any, in additional fees students would be willing to pay so that the university could convert to renewable energy.

The result: About 68 percent of students surveyed in the fall said they’d pay up to $8.88 per term for OSU to purchase 100 percent renewable energy – results that closely paralleled the official ballot, held during the annual ASOSU general elections in April. The election drew a huge turnout and, in fact, more students voted in favor of the green energy fee than turned out for last year’s election overall, OSU officials say.

“Now the goal of the ASOSU Environmental Affairs Task Force is to reduce the green energy fee for students – or, at least, hold it steady and eventually receive funding for green energy from all stakeholders at OSU,” Norris said.

One option is to offer OSU employees the option of a voluntary payroll deduction, according to Trelstad.

“A lot of faculty and staff are interest in, and committed to, green energy for the campus,” Trelstad pointed out.

The university’s Sustainability Office and ASOSU plan to work with the Oregon Governor’s Office on a proposal to fund the purchase of renewable energy by state universities. They also will work with the OSU administration to seek additional funding from capital construction funds on upgrading energy efficiency on campus.

OSU will have a new $50 million co-generation facility on campus beginning in 2008 that will give the university much greater flexibility in purchasing and using a variety of energy forms. The fees raised by students will be used to purchase blocks of renewable energy, Trelstad said, such as wind energy from eastern Oregon that will be added to the electrical grid.

“If OSU were to purchase this amount of green energy today, we would rank an impressive third in EPA’s top 10 list of college and university ‘Green Power Partners,’” Trelstad said. More information about the EPA program can be found at http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/partners/top10ed.htm

“By purchasing such a large amount of renewable energy, we’ll be helping to increase the demand for sustainable energy, making it more attractive for potential power producers to get into the green market,” Trelstad said.

Many green power producers also offer reinvestment projects, including local solar collection or watershed enhancement projects, he added. “These projects result in hands-on learning opportunities for students and on-site renewable energy production.”

OSU recently joined a growing number of universities around the United States in an initiative to make its campus “climate neutral” by establishing policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions and reduce its energy usage. President Ed Ray last month signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment pledge.

The commitment requires OSU to launch a two-year planning process to outline its path toward becoming “climate neutral,” which essentially means that the university will either emit no greenhouse gases, or it will offset its emissions through energy credits and other methods.

“The commitment by students is an important step in that process,” Trelstad said.

Media Contact: 
Source: 

Andrea Norris,
541-737-6354