The Shiley School of Engineering has received three grants totaling $45,000 for undergraduate student research projects dealing with environmental and sustainability issues. The research involves collaboration with other schools and organizations, and each project is funded by a $15,000 grant from the Oregon Alliance of Independent Colleges & Universities (The Alliance) and the Katherine Bisbee II Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation. The grant’s funds are to be applied to projects that are easily discernable, have an element of creativity, and show a long-term benefit to the people and/or natural areas of Oregon.
The first grant involves the second phase of a partnership with George Fox University and Portland General Electric (PGE), who last summer jointly did research on solar-thermal energy production. The project, submitted by UP engineering professor Heather Dillon, provided students and faculty with a “real world” challenge in terms of renewable energy science. Students and faculty developed an automatic load control algorithm to control the electrical load based on variations in local weather. The two universities worked together closely last summer and developed project paths that allowed both schools to end up with relevant laboratory data and experiments. George Fox engineering professor Chad Stillinger was a collaborator on the project, which received feedback from industry partner PGE.
A second grant, submitted by Cara Poor, engineering, will explore the cooling effect, water retention, and water quality from ecoroofs in the Portland area. Collaborators include Ted Eckmann, environmental studies, and Lewis and Clark College environmental studies professor Jessica Kleiss. Industry advisor is Henry Stevens of the City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services.
A third grant, submitted by Jordan Farina, engineering, will focus on testing and analyzing the performance of a natural gas compressor prototype used to fuel NW Natural fleet vehicles. Collaborator on the project is George Fox University chemistry professor Davida Brown. The industry advisory is NW Natural. The Katherine Bisbee II Fund creative conservation research project is funded by a grant to The Alliance from the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF).
The Alliance represents 18 of Oregon’s regionally accredited, nonprofit private higher education institutions. For more information about The Alliance, go to www.oaicu.org.