DOE News
    Doe Science news source
    The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
    • 2010-04-21 11:30:00
    • Article ID: 563715

    Students Using Solar Power To Create Sustainable Solutions for Haiti, Peru

    • Credit: Rensselaer/Erin Lennox

      Students from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will return to Peru this summer, to continue their work on designing and creating a solar-powered milk pasteurization system for communities in the country’s rural south.

    • Credit: Rensselaer/Alex Worcester

      Students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute designed, built, and installed a 2.4-kilowatt solar power system on the roof of a school Lascahobas, Haiti. The system is robust enough to power 10 tablet laptop computers donated by Rensselaer, plus additional laptops the school and other nearby schools received from the One Laptop Per Child program.

    News from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    April 21, 2010

    http://green.rpi.edu

    Green@Rensselaer: Students Using Solar Power To Create Sustainable Solutions for Haiti, Peru

    Student Members of “Engineers for a Sustainable World” Develop Green Innovations To Spur Social Change

    Troy, N.Y. – Students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are harnessing the strength of the sun to improve the situation of an impoverished Haitian school and jumpstart a new dairy industry in rural Peru.

    As members of the campus group Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW), the students are applying what they have learned in the classroom and laboratory to real-world problems with important repercussions for developing nations. ESW projects have a strong sustainability focus and are carefully designed to serve as platforms that encourage and enable long-term future growth for the host communities.

    “What we learn in classes is great, but traveling to another country and applying what I’ve learned is an excellent challenge,” said Alex Worcester, a sophomore electrical engineering major. “I love being able to take the project from start to finish, from sitting around the table talking about it, to designing the system, going there and installing it, and seeing how it helps people. This is what reminds me why I want to be an engineer.”

    Solar-Powered Laptops in Haiti

    With fellow ESW members and Rensselaer classmates Andrew Chung, Casey McEvoy, Gloria Condon, and ESW faculty adviser Michael Jensen, Worcester visited Lascahobas, Haiti, in January. After about a year of planning, designing, building, and testing, the group installed 2.4 kilowatts of solar panels on the roof of a local school – enough to power 10 HP tablet laptop computers donated by Rensselaer, plus additional laptops the school and other nearby schools received from the One Laptop Per Child program.

    The power system includes 32 large backup batteries that can store enough electricity to power all of the laptops for three days without sunlight. Worcester and Chung said the group designed the system to be as efficient and effective as possible, easy to repair, and require only minimal maintenance. The team removed the power converters on the computers, which allows the laptops to run on DC power straight from the solar panels. The project was a collaboration between Rensselaer, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Troy, N.Y., and General Electric.

    A high-tech solar power system may sound out of place in a community with no reliable access to electricity, no running water, and where no more than one student each year goes on to attend college. But ESW members said it was the best solution they could devise to meet the needs that were clearly laid out by the rector of the school in Lascahobas.

    “This isn’t a hand-out, it’s a hand-up,” said Saadia Safir, a senior mechanical engineering major who worked on the project. “This is a sustainable project. We didn’t just give them solar panels – we taught them how to run the system, upkeep it, and derive long-term value from the system. It’s not only environmentally sustainable. It’s also socially and financially sustainable.”

    Group members said they are looking into the possibility of returning to Lascahobas over the summer. Along with checking on the solar power system, Chung said they want to install additional software on the computers, deliver digital books, and investigate the possibility of developing a solar-powered fryer, as many traditional Haitian meals are fried in wood-fire fryers. Other longer-term goals would be developing water pumps and purifications systems.

    “ESW allows us to apply the knowledge we learn as students to a cause that is both immediate and visible,” said Jaron Kuppers, a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering, who worked on the Haiti project. “It’s something that gives us an outlet to address a different community, a different group of people that we wouldn’t normally get to interact with. There’s a lot to be gained in terms of life experience, working in the field as an engineer, and being adaptable.”

    ESW at Rensselaer

    The Rensselaer chapter of ESW was launched in 2005. Barrett Rehr, current president of the Rensselaer group and a sophomore dual-majoring in mechanical engineering and Design, Innovation, and Society (DIS), said ESW membership at the Institute has grown from around 12 students in the 2008-09 school year to its current roster of 40 students. He said the group is actively seeking new members, and is always looking for new and interesting challenges to pursue. Several students are earning credit while working on ESW projects in the course Introduction to Engineering Design or as independent studies, something Rehr hopes to expand next year.

    Safir said ESW is also seeking greater academic diversity, and is actively recruiting non-engineers. “It would be helpful to have more of an interdisciplinary team, because our projects are not just engineering,” she said. “There are social aspects, there are business opportunities, and there’s a lot more we will be able to do as a group with a wider range of expertise.”

    Michael Jensen, ESW faculty adviser and a professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Nuclear Engineering at Rensselaer, said ESW allows students a direct link to connect classroom lessons with real-world problems and solutions.

    “I think working on ESW projects can give students the idea that they they’re not required to go work for a for-profit company after graduation,” he said. “There are other avenues to pursue if they want to do engineering and make a difference in people’s lives, but also fulfill their altruistic tendencies to help those in need.”

    The national ESW organization named the Rensselaer student group a “chapter of the month” in December 2009.

    Solar-Fueled Pasteurization in Peru

    Several ESW members will return to Peru this summer, to continue their work on designing and creating a solar-powered milk pasteurization system for communities in the country’s rural south.

    The project kicked off in 2007 under the leadership of former Rensselaer Professor Lupita Montoya, and aims to help the Langui and Canas communities in southern Peru by developing affordable, solar-powered pasteurization equipment. Many families in the region have dairy cows and produce milk, yogurt, and cheeses on a small scale, but cannot obtain certification to market these products because they lack proper sanitation equipment. The new pasteurization systems will allow these families to meet governmental regulations so that they can begin to sell their dairy products and earn additional income. In addition to solar power, ESW members are investigating how to create and use a “biodigester,” which converts dung and other waste into biogas, as another means to power the pasteurization system.

    The ESW team of John Cannarella, Ryan Lewis, Jared Stepanauskas, and Natalie Maslow, guided by Michael Jensen, has a working prototype of the system, which pushes milk through a tube that passes through a bath of boiling water. Heat from the boiling water transfers into the tube, sufficient enough to sanitize–but not spoil–the milk. ESW member and past president Erin Lennox, who earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer and is now pursuing a doctorate in ecological economics, said the group is partnering with the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets to test the equipment and, ultimately, certify that the system meets U.S. pasteurization and sanitation guidelines. The team is also working with a pair of local artisan cheese makers from New York’s Capital Region and Vermont to learn more about the process and business of cheese production.

    Lennox, who visited Peru with other ESW members in the summer of 2009 to work on the system, said the next phase of the project includes testing the prototype on-site in Peru, in addition to making business connections to help ensure that the farmers have a profitable market in which to sell their newly pasteurized cheeses.

    “The city of Cusco is about three hours away from Langui, and it attracts a lot of tourists and has a healthy eco-tourism industry. So we’re hoping that the main consumers of these cheeses are tourists who are interested in purchasing fair trade and artisan products,” Lennox said. The group will also try to help connect farmers with steady local customers such as restaurants and hotels, and start laying plans to create and construct a dairy cooperative that will serve as a local advocate and education center for Peruvian artisan cheese makers.

    Lennox said the first ESW project she worked on as an undergraduate was designing water filters for rural communities in Mexico.

    “I loved it, and since then I’ve only wanted to do engineering for the developing world,” she said. “There are problems in the United States, but not to the levels that there are in other countries. We have poverty, but not extreme poverty with people living on $1 or $2 a day. It’s in those situations where we can bring very real, very transformative improvements to the lives of many people.”

    For more information on Rensselaer ESW’s work in rural Peru, visit: http://news.rpi.edu/update.do?artcenterkey=2579.

    For more stories on topics related to sustainability, energy, and the environment, visit: http://green.rpi.edu.

    Contact

    Michael Mullaney

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    Troy, NY

    518-276-6161 (office)

    518-698-6336 (mobile)

    mullam@rpi.edu

    Follow us on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/RPInews

    For more story ideas, visit the Rensselaer research and discovery blog at: http://approach.rpi.edu

    X
    X
    X
    • Filters

    • × Clear Filters

    Climate Simulations Project Wetter, Windier Hurricanes

    New supercomputer simulations by climate scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have shown that climate change intensified the amount of rainfall in recent hurricanes such as Katrina, Irma, and Maria by 5 to 10 percent. They further found that if those hurricanes were to occur in a future world that is warmer than present, those storms would have even more rainfall and stronger winds.

    Tiny Titanium Barrier Halts Big Problem in Fuel-Producing Solar Cells

    New design coats molecular components and dramatically improves stability under tough, oxidizing conditions.

    X-Rays Show How Periods of Stress Changed an Ice Age Hyena to the Bone

    An international team has unearthed what life might have been like for a now-extinct subspecies of spotted hyena. They found that despite their massive size, some cave hyenas experienced times of hardship that affected them to the bone, causing areas of arrested growth that appear as dark lines, like rings on a tree trunk.

    Turning Wood Scraps into Tape

    A new chemical process converts a component of wasted wood pulp and other biomass into high-value pressure-sensitive adhesives.

    Very Heavy Elements Deliver More Electrons

    Scientists revise understanding of the limits of bonding for very electron-rich heavy elements.

    Detecting Light in a Different Dimension

    UPTON, NY--Scientists from the Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN)--a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science User Facility at Brookhaven National Laboratory--have dramatically improved the response of graphene to light through self-assembling wire-like nanostructures that conduct electricity.

    From the Cosmos to Fusion Plasmas, PPPL Presents Findings at Global APS Gathering

    Invited Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory talks at 60th American Physical Society-Department of Plasma Physics annual meeting.

    Scientists Bring Polymers Into Atomic-Scale Focus

    A Berkeley Lab-led research has adapted a powerful electron-based imaging technique to obtain a first-of-its-kind image of atomic-scale structure in a synthetic polymer. The research could ultimately inform polymer fabrication methods and lead to new designs for materials and devices that incorporate polymers.

    Probing Water's "No-Man's Land" Temperature Region

    Measuring the physical properties of water at previously unexplored temperatures offers insights into one of the world's essential liquids.

    Novel Soil Bacteria with Unusual Genes Synthesize Unique Antibiotic Precursors

    A large-scale soil project uncovered genetic information from bacteria with the capacity to make specialized molecules that could lead to new pharmaceuticals.


    • Filters

    • × Clear Filters

    DOE issues call for HPC for Energy Innovation proposals

    The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) High Performance Computing for Energy Innovation (HPC4EI) Initiative today issued its first joint solicitation for the High Performance Computing for Manufacturing Program (HPC4Mfg) and the High Performance Computing for Materials Program (HPC4Mtls).

    DOE funding advances project to turn captured CO2 into key chemicals

    The U.S. Department of Energy has selected Southern Research for an award of up to $1.5 million to advance technology for carbon dioxide utilization.

    Sierra Reaches Higher Altitudes, Takes Number Two Spot on List of Fastest Supercomputers

    Sierra, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's newest supercomputer, rose to second place on the list of the world's fastest computing systems, TOP500 List representatives announced Monday at the International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage and Analysis conference (SC18) in Dallas.

    Green energy: Wind energy agreement will provide savings, 50 percent of electricity needs for Kansas State University Manhattan campus

    Kansas State University has signed an agreement with Westar Energy to provide approximately 50 percent of the energy needs for the university's main Manhattan campus from a wind farm in Nemaha County and save the university nearly $200,000 annually.

    INCITE grants awarded to 62 computational research projects

    The U.S. Department of Energy announced new projects for 2019 through its Innovative and Novel Computational Impact on Theory and Experiment (INCITE) program.

    Argonne's Raj Kettimuthu Named ACM Distinguished Member

    Argonne computer scientist Raj Kettimuthu recently was named a Distinguished Member of the Association for Computing Machinery for his development of tools to analyze and enhance end-to-end data transfer performance.

    Jefferson Lab-Affiliated Researchers Honored as APS Fellows

    The Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility now has a few more fellows on campus. The American Physical Society, a professional membership society that works on behalf of the physics community, recently announced its list of 2018 fellowships.

    Jefferson Lab Receives DOE Award for Energy Efficient Upgrade

    On Oct. 23, a team from the Department of Energy's Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility was honored at the 2018 Federal Energy and Water Management Award Ceremony for upgrades made to the lab's data center, ultimately improving its energy efficiency.

    Free Science Events and Educational Opportunities Expected to Draw Thousands

    The Plasma Sciences Expo--planned as the biggest celebration of plasma physics in the country--presents teachers, students and the public with a free opportunity to explore what scientists call "the fourth state of matter."

    Triad National Security Takes the Helm at Los Alamos National Laboratory

    LOS ALAMOS, N.M., November 1, 2018 -- Los Alamos National Laboratory begins operations today under a new management and operating (M&O) contract between Triad National Security, LLC (Triad) and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The NNSA awarded the M&O contract to Triad on June 8, 2018.


    • Filters

    • × Clear Filters

    Tiny Titanium Barrier Halts Big Problem in Fuel-Producing Solar Cells

    New design coats molecular components and dramatically improves stability under tough, oxidizing conditions.

    Turning Wood Scraps into Tape

    A new chemical process converts a component of wasted wood pulp and other biomass into high-value pressure-sensitive adhesives.

    Very Heavy Elements Deliver More Electrons

    Scientists revise understanding of the limits of bonding for very electron-rich heavy elements.

    Probing Water's "No-Man's Land" Temperature Region

    Measuring the physical properties of water at previously unexplored temperatures offers insights into one of the world's essential liquids.

    Novel Soil Bacteria with Unusual Genes Synthesize Unique Antibiotic Precursors

    A large-scale soil project uncovered genetic information from bacteria with the capacity to make specialized molecules that could lead to new pharmaceuticals.

    Warmer Temperatures Lengthen Growing Season, Increase Plants' Vulnerability to Frost

    Experimental warming treatments show how peatland forests may respond to future environmental change.

    Rising Stars Seek to Learn from the Master: Mother Nature

    A trio of scientists was recognized for their early career successes in uncovering how microbes produce fuel, insights that could change our energy portfolio

    How Plant Cells Decide When to Make Oil

    Signaling mechanism details discovered, potentially leading to strategies to engineer plants that make more bio-oil.

    Cryocooler Cools an Accelerator Cavity

    Researchers demonstrated cryogen-free operation of a superconducting radio-frequency cavity that might ease barriers to its use in societal applications.

    Shining Light on the Separation of Rare Earth Metals

    New studies identify key molecular characteristics to potentially separate rare earth metals cleanly and efficiently with light.


    Spotlight

    Thursday October 11, 2018, 04:00 PM

    Research on Light-Matter Interaction Could Lead to Improved Electronic and Optoelectronic Devices

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Wednesday October 03, 2018, 07:05 PM

    Innovating Our Energy Future

    Oregon State University, College of Engineering

    Tuesday October 02, 2018, 03:05 PM

    Physics graduate student takes her thesis research to a Department of Energy national lab

    University of Alabama at Birmingham

    Friday September 21, 2018, 01:05 PM

    "Model" students enjoy Argonne campus life

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Thursday September 06, 2018, 01:05 PM

    Writing Code for a More Skilled and Diverse STEM Workforce

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Tuesday September 04, 2018, 11:30 AM

    New graduate student summer school launches at Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Friday August 31, 2018, 06:05 PM

    The Gridlock State

    California State University (CSU) Chancellor's Office

    Friday August 31, 2018, 02:05 PM

    Meet Jasmine Hatcher and Trishelle Copeland-Johnson

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Friday August 24, 2018, 11:05 AM

    Argonne hosts Modeling, Experimentation and Validation Summer School

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Wednesday August 22, 2018, 01:05 PM

    Students affected by Hurricane Maria bring their research to SLAC

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

    Wednesday August 22, 2018, 10:05 AM

    Brookhaven Lab Pays Tribute to 2018 Summer Interns

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Monday August 20, 2018, 12:05 PM

    Changing How Buildings Are Made

    Washington University in St. Louis

    Thursday August 16, 2018, 12:05 PM

    CSUMB Selected to Host Architecture at Zero Competition in 2019

    California State University, Monterey Bay

    Friday July 20, 2018, 03:00 PM

    Department of Energy Invests $64 Million in Advanced Nuclear Technology

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Thursday July 19, 2018, 05:00 PM

    Professor Miao Yu Named the Priti and Mukesh Chatter '82 Career Development Professor

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Tuesday July 03, 2018, 11:05 AM

    2018 RHIC & AGS Annual Users' Meeting: 'Illuminating the QCD Landscape'

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Friday June 29, 2018, 06:05 PM

    Argonne welcomes The Martian author Andy Weir

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Monday June 18, 2018, 09:55 AM

    Creating STEM Knowledge and Innovations to Solve Global Issues Like Water, Food, and Energy

    Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA)

    Friday June 15, 2018, 10:00 AM

    Professor Emily Liu Receives $1.8 Million DoE Award for Solar Power Systems Research

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Thursday June 07, 2018, 03:05 PM

    Celebrating 40 years of empowerment in science

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Monday May 07, 2018, 10:30 AM

    Introducing Graduate Students Across the Globe to Photon Science

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Wednesday May 02, 2018, 04:05 PM

    Students from Massachusetts and Washington Win DOE's 28th National Science Bowl(r)

    Department of Energy, Office of Science

    Thursday April 12, 2018, 07:05 PM

    The Race for Young Scientific Minds

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Wednesday March 14, 2018, 02:05 PM

    Q&A: Al Ashley Reflects on His Efforts to Diversify SLAC and Beyond

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

    Thursday February 15, 2018, 12:05 PM

    Insights on Innovation in Energy, Humanitarian Aid Highlight UVA Darden's Net Impact Week

    University of Virginia Darden School of Business

    Friday February 09, 2018, 11:05 AM

    Ivy League Graduate, Writer and Activist with Dyslexia Visits CSUCI to Reframe the Concept of Learning Disabilities

    California State University, Channel Islands

    Wednesday January 17, 2018, 12:05 PM

    Photographer Adam Nadel Selected as Fermilab's New Artist-in-Residence for 2018

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)

    Wednesday January 17, 2018, 12:05 PM

    Fermilab Computing Partners with Argonne, Local Schools for Hour of Code

    Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)

    Wednesday December 20, 2017, 01:05 PM

    Q&A: Sam Webb Teaches X-Ray Science from a Remote Classroom

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

    Monday December 18, 2017, 01:05 PM

    The Future of Today's Electric Power Systems

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Monday December 18, 2017, 12:05 PM

    Supporting the Development of Offshore Wind Power Plants

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Tuesday October 03, 2017, 01:05 PM

    Stairway to Science

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Thursday September 28, 2017, 12:05 PM

    After-School Energy Rush

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Thursday September 28, 2017, 10:05 AM

    Bringing Diversity Into Computational Science Through Student Outreach

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Thursday September 21, 2017, 03:05 PM

    From Science to Finance: SLAC Summer Interns Forge New Paths in STEM

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

    Thursday September 07, 2017, 02:05 PM

    Students Discuss 'Cosmic Opportunities' at 45th Annual SLAC Summer Institute

    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory

    Thursday August 31, 2017, 05:05 PM

    Binghamton University Opens $70 Million Smart Energy Building

    Binghamton University, State University of New York

    Wednesday August 23, 2017, 05:05 PM

    Widening Horizons for High Schoolers with Code

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Saturday May 20, 2017, 12:05 PM

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Graduates Urged to Embrace Change at 211th Commencement

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

    Monday May 15, 2017, 01:05 PM

    ORNL, University of Tennessee Launch New Doctoral Program in Data Science

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory

    Friday April 07, 2017, 11:05 AM

    Champions in Science: Profile of Jonathan Kirzner

    Department of Energy, Office of Science

    Wednesday April 05, 2017, 12:05 PM

    High-Schooler Solves College-Level Security Puzzle From Argonne, Sparks Interest in Career

    Argonne National Laboratory

    Tuesday March 28, 2017, 12:05 PM

    Champions in Science: Profile of Jenica Jacobi

    Department of Energy, Office of Science

    Friday March 24, 2017, 10:40 AM

    Great Neck South High School Wins Regional Science Bowl at Brookhaven Lab

    Brookhaven National Laboratory

    Wednesday February 15, 2017, 04:05 PM

    Middle Schoolers Test Their Knowledge at Science Bowl Competition

    Argonne National Laboratory





    Showing results

    0-4 Of 2215